Organo Gold is a multilevel marketing company that specializes in enriched coffee.
Specifically, they make a range of coffee blends (and tea blends as well) that include spores from the Lingzhi mushroom, which has a long history of use in traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
Did I get on board? This explains everything:
The company has plenty of true believers, but it has a bit of a checkered past as well. It was featured in a 2014 CBS Money segment that investigated some of its marketing claims and practices. For one thing, its membership in the Direct Selling Association had lapsed.
The DSA ensures that MLMs follow specific ethical guidelines while conducting business. Organo Gold’s lapsed membership doesn’t mean it wasn’t following these guidelines, but it’s definitely not a good sign.
Additionally, the company’s founder has been taken to task by the Food and Drug Administration for claims about the health benefits of his products in the past. CBS Money noted that the company currently takes care not to claim that its products treat or prevent any medical conditions.
Search engine traffic for Organo Gold follows a near-perfect pattern of rise and fall. The company, founded in 2008, experienced a slow growth in brand awareness for a few years, until interest really took off in 2011 and 2012.
By late 2013, interest was starting to wane, and thereafter, search engine traffic for the company dropped precipitously. By 2017, search engine traffic was one-eighth of its all-time peak popularity, with no sign of recovery imminent.
While the company’s focus is coffee and tea, these aren’t the real draw. You can get coffee or tea—even artisan blends—just about anywhere in the world now thanks to the global economy. The essential ingredient is the Lingzhi mushroom, also called the reishi mushroom or referred to by its scientific name, Ganoderma lingzhi.
All of the company’s products include spores from this mushroom, which has a tremendously long history in Chinese herbal medicine and is recommended by herbalists as a treatment for all sorts of different conditions. But what does the science say about its efficacy?
A 2011 scientific textbook on herbal medicine dedicates an entire chapter to Ganoderma lingzhi. This chapter provides a long history of human uses of the mushroom, which trace back over two millennia.
The modern evidence for its efficacy initially came in the form of anecdotal evidence—not much to go on if you insist on hard data.
However, emerging research suggests that it could indeed have some medicinal properties. The authors cite several studies which demonstrate that Ganoderma lingzhi has anti-viral, anti-oxidant, and liver-health boosting properties.
They do note that most of these studies were conducted on cells in a Petri dish or in animal models, and sometimes research in humans does not always line up with what laboratory science finds.
A small-scale study suggests that the mushroom extract is safe for human consumption even in fairly high doses.
Researchers at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine tested the effects of ten days on a Lingzhi mushroom supplement at a dosage of 2 grams per day on a group of human volunteers.
The researchers tracked blood markers for anything that could be indicative of adverse effects or biological damage, and found none at any point during the study.
Clearly, Ganoderma lingzhi mushroom needs more research on its actual effects in humans. However, the good news is that it does appear to be safe.
The main issue with Organo Gold coffee is that the actual dosage of the spore powder is not specified, so even if we do eventually discover an optimal dosage of Ganoderma lingzhi, it’s not possible to tell how much is in Organo Gold’s products.
The cost to join Organo Gold is $49.95, which pays for your business entry kit. From here, you must maintain a monthly product volume of 50 to remain eligible to earn money.
Like with most other MLMs, the primary forms of compensation come in the form of retail profit from wholesale discounts and commissions from your downline.
The retail profit for Organo Gold is pretty good. It’s about 33% for most of its products. This means you can make a larger amount of money from your raw sales amounts compared to other MLMs with lower profit margins.
The first rank commission rates are pretty good too. Even at the lowest rank, you can earn 5% commission on three levels of your downline distributors. The compensation plan is bolstered by various bonuses and rewards for further achievements as well.
Unfortunately, this agreeable compensation plan isn’t enough to allow most distributors to earn a lot of money. According to Organo Gold’s income disclosure statement, an astounding 86% of distributors made less than $600 per year.
This statement includes any distributor who was active and paid in the last year, but it does not include people who have left in the past, or inactive distributors who did not make enough sales in a month to be eligible for commissions.
In the case of Organo Gold, the attractive compensation plan isn’t enough to make up for the downsides.
Their core product is something of a one-trick pony, and their biggest publicity is a negative appearance on CBS Money.
With search engine traffic cratering in the past few years and showing no sign of recovery, this network marketing scheme is probably one to avoid.
Your only hope of success would be emerging scientific research that uncovers impressive health benefits that are associated with the Ganoderma lingzhi mushroom, triggering a revival in interest in the product.
So if you’re set on MLM, this one’s not terrible, but probably not the best, either. There are more profitable opportunities out there.
If you’re doing it for the money, there are better ways to kill your day job. You might like our coaching because it shows you the good life without peddling overpriced mushrooms to your family and friends.