Monday, April 27, 2020

Money Monday: Multi-Level Marketing is Not a Pyramid Scheme

Image copyright Robinraj Premchand on Pixabay

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links.

Over the past few days, I've seen several instances of people being accused of attempting to scam others when promoting products. I have not had anyone aggressively accuse me of attempting to scam my readers, but I have seen several bloggers accused of it. On my recent post promoting the Cryptotab Browser, the commenter wasn't aggressive towards me, but they erroneously referred to Cryptotab's multi-level affiliate marketing platform as a "Ponzi scheme," also known as a pyramid scheme.

Legitimate multi-level marketing is not a pyramid scheme. 

There is an excellent post at about the differences between a legitimate MLM platform and a pyramid scheme. I am going to share the main points from this post, but I recommend that readers take a look at the entire article.

Here are the key points from the post.

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a legitimate marketing strategy where an actual product is provided. This says nothing about the quality of the product. This is open to debate. The point is, there is a product provided. With a pyramid scheme, there is no real product sold.

Multi-level marketing is legal. Again, a customer may debate the quality of the product being offered, but there is a real product and it is legal to market products in this manner.

With multi-level marketing, prospects pay money upfront in order to enroll in a program. Participants in MLM can make money from enrollment fees AND by selling products. The time, money, and energy invested in the program may not be worthwhile to the prospect in the long run, but multi-level marketing is a legal strategy.

With a pyramid scheme, prospects pay money upfront in order to enroll in a program. Participants make money primarily from enrollment fees of prospects who sign up under them rather than by selling products.

A participant in legitimate multi-level marketing may opt to focus on recruitment rather than the sale of the product offered.  This is perfectly legal as long as there is an actual product offered.

In a previous post, I praised Cryptotab's in-browser cryptocurrency miner. You set the thing and forget it, letting it do its thing while you do yours. I am admissibly new to cryptocurrency, and the commenter may be correct that users don't get that much payout from the miner's efforts and most of their payout will come from promoting the Cryptotab browser. I've only had the browser for about two weeks and I just started promoting it, so I really can't say if this is the case. However, the commenter is incorrect about Cryptotab's affiliate program being a "Ponzi scheme." It is a legitimate multi-level marketing program.

There is an actual product being offered (the Cryptotab browser) and in this case, anyone choosing to become an affiliate puts no money into the program. You download the Cryptotab browser free of charge. You can simply use it as a browser without ever utilizing the miner, but I don't know what sense that makes when utilizing the miner costs you nothing. You don't have to be an affiliate to use the browser or the miner. The worst thing a user is risking by trying the Cryptotab browser is discovering that they don't like it, in which case they can remove it from their computer.

The other program that I promote is Watkins, which is a legitimate multi-level marketing program that requires a small investment to join: usually $29.95 per year, but the fee is reduced to $14.95 through April. This fee gives consultants access to the back-office area, which includes printable promotional materials and links to web pages that the consultant can share in order to recruit new prospects AND sell products. I use these products myself and initially signed up as a consultant simply so I could get discounts on them but decided that this was a product that I could see myself promoting.

Again, one can debate the quality of the products being sold, could say that participation in the program is more trouble than it's worth and that the investment is too costly. Whatever arguments might be made regarding those points, Watkins is not a scam or a Ponzi scheme. It is a legitimate multi-level marketing program which, in my opinion, is more transparent than many legitimate MLMs. The cost to join the program appears on the first page of the website. Further, there are no quotas to remain part of the program.

Avon, which is another legitimate MLM program that I have been a consultant for in the past and might consider being a consultant for again, requires consultants to put in an order once every six campaigns in order to maintain their consultant status. I don't like this particular requirement, but it doesn't mean that Avon is a scam or a pyramid scheme. They provide a legitimate product and it is possible for consultants to make money selling that product.

Another thing that impressed me about Watkins is the fact that no-one is going to hound me or give me a schpiel about why I should be a consultant. No-one will ever call me unless I request that they do so. I'm not even obligated to receive the monthly consultant email. I could use my annual membership fee the same way I use my annual Costco membership fee and accrue points to buy my own products at increasingly deep discounts and keep my pantry, cleaning closet, and medicine chest stocked. Just because I am part of a multi-level marketing plan where I will receive monetary compensation if a new consultant signs up through my link does not mean that Watkins is a pyramid scheme. It clearly is not.

In the future, I will direct anyone stating that the programs I am promoting are pyramid schemes or scams to this page. The promotion of products and services is permissible on most blogging platforms as long as the poster clearly states their intent. I am fine with legitimate concerns and politely worded constructive criticism. Shouting SCAM on every post containing affiliate links is unproductive and tiresome. I for one don't have time for that muckity-muck and will not entertain it.

I lost thousands of dollars to scams and unscrupulous schemes in the 1990s and early 2000s and pride myself on being transparent about my affiliate marketing efforts and only promoting products and programs which are free or reasonably priced. Ripping people off is not a win. Helping others prosper and lead fulfilling lives is.

Your ornery old Aunt Cie

This post is copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Cross-posted to:

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Naughty Netherworld PSA: Social Distancing Acrostic

is for sliding and side-stepping away
O is for only staying within your own circle
is for care of yourself and others
is for isolating
is for always taking precautions
is for spreading love, not contagion

D is for dancing at least six feet apart
is for insisting on doing what's right
is for soap and frequent hand-washing
is for taking time to be safe
is for asking others to maintain a safe distance
is for nicely considering needs
is for compassion and consideration
is for indoors in your own home
is for nature in a place that's uncrowded
is for growing and changing to find new ways to do things


I am aware that this reads like a motivational poster.

Content coyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Please do not repost

Reblogging is acceptable on platforms that allow it.

Sharing a link to the poem is acceptable.

Quoting portions of the poem for educational or review purposes is acceptable if proper credit is given.

NaPoWriMo: Write a poem about the letters of the alphabet or perhaps a poem where the letters form a short word. I kind of took liberties with that idea.

April PAD Challenge: Write a poem about social distancing. There you have it!

If you enjoyed that poem, there's more in my first published poetry volume, Another Autumn. Available for 99 cents on Kindle.

Cross-Posted to:

Monday, April 20, 2020

CryptoTab Browser: Definitely Worth a Look

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Have you been using Chrome, Firefox, or Edge for more years than you care to admit?
Are you ready to try a new browser?
Do you want one that doesn't slow down your computer's performance, that comes with a built in cryptocoin miner, and that is so easy to use that even your old Aunt Cie can get up to speed with it in minutes?
Then the CryptoTab browser is the one you want.
I've used a few different browsers in the past week. 
My top two picks are CryptoTab and Brave. Both have everything I like about Chrome but without the frequent crashing. Brave allows users to earn BAT tokens for viewing ads. CryptoTab has a set-it-and-forget-it coin miner that lets you earn coins just for having the browser open. You can earn coins for getting a cup of coffee and a snack or taking a long pee break. You can earn coins for taking a nap and leaving the browser open. You can earn coins for binge-watching whatever it is that floats your boat. The CryptoTab coin miner doesn't judge, it just mines coins for you whatever you do.
I also tried the BitTube browser this week and wasn't sold. This one is more like Firefox or Sea Monkey and has the same problems that made me stop using both of those browsers such as long-running scripts. Another annoying feature: when I tried to download a picture from Pixabay, it didn't give me an option of where I wanted to save the picture, it sent it straight to my temp folder. My only other option was to have it send the picture to Photoshop and then save it where I wanted it, but that's an extra step I don't need. This browser would need a lot more work before I'd consider putting it in my top three.
In order of preference, my top three browsers are:
This browser has everything I like about Chrome but is a lighter browser and crashes less frequently. It has a built-in coin miner and an easy-to-join affiliate program.
2. Brave
Brave is another light Chrome-type browser. Users can earn BAT tokens for allowing them to show you ads. They have worked out a lot of the bugs that stopped me from using the browser for a while. I'm still irritated with them about the unrealistic amount of pain-in-the-ass in having to remove and reset the two-factor authentication on my creator account. I'm in Brave Jail for 30 days because of this nonsense. I signed up for the account two years ago, then didn't use it because the browser was so glitchy at that point. Also, Brave just crashed on me during the creation of this post. So, I still have some issues with it.
3. Chrome
The old tried and true, but I see no reason to open it when Brave and CryptoTab have the same features but are less likely to grind to a halt.
Go on and give Brave and CryptoTab a try. You have nothing to lose and coin to gain.
Don't waste your time with BitTube browser unless you really have a fondness for Firefox or Sea Monkey.
Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie
Cross-posted to:
Content copyright Cara Hartley 2020

Friday, April 17, 2020

Multiple Ways to Save with Watkins

Disclosure: I am an independent affiliate for Watkins.

As those who have been following me for a while are aware, I signed up with Watkins to get discounts on my own products but realized that these are products that will sell themselves. Which is a good thing, considering that I have all the charisma of that crust that forms on the edge of a fried egg. I am not a good salesperson and am a terrible liar. Thus, I am a bad fit for promoting any sort of scheme or being a representative for a line of products that requires a monthly quota of any kind.

Since I'm the sort of person whose tendency is to hide when I hear a knock on the door and hope that whoever is there will go away, why would I want to get with selling or promoting anything, no matter how good the product is or how honest the company is?

I've never liked working for other people. My tendency to insomnia ensures that I have no set sleep pattern. I hate punching time clocks. Most of the time, I hate it when I go out in public and the public be there. I am much more of a social spider than a social butterfly. When I was younger and went to parties, I would find a plant to hide behind with my beer until I got drunk enough that my natural tendency to camouflage myself by trying to be the wallpaper wore off. Yet I always seemed to end up in jobs that involved heavy public contact rather than the sort of job that I would have preferred, which involved hiding in a basement sorting books or something of that nature.

Fast forward to late 2019. I am disabled and living in a remote rural area, looking for ways to potentially make money online. I remembered Watkins products as something I had looked into some 15 years previously but never pursued. I found the website and decided that the annual membership fee was reasonable enough that I would sign up. At the time, I only intended to use the membership to purchase my own products at a discount. However, I soon realized that Watkins products were good enough that even I could sell them.

I had designs on getting together a selection of products to promote at my town's annual rodeo, which probably isn't going to happen this year. I was going to make and sell rock candy to showcase the amazing line of Watkins extracts. I was also going to have samples of Watkins lotions and air fresheners.

In trying to make the best of a bad situation, I'm continuing to stockpile Watkins products, both for myself and for when the world is able to emerge from its protective cocoon. I always shop from the monthly specials, and I earn points towards bigger and better discounts. This month, for instance, I purchased not only spices and extracts for my baking pleasure but liniments and remedies and also dish soap. Watkins dish soap is effective, gentle, and contains only natural ingredients. As I discussed previously, COVID-19 has a fatty shell. Soap is your best defense against this sucker because it destroys the virus' fatty shell. Hand sanitizer is antibacterial and, thus, ineffective against COVID-19. 

I ordered approximately $163 worth of products from Watkins this month and paid only $133. Included in this order were five bottles of dish soap.  This dish soap is normally $6.99 per bottle, but I got mine for $5.99 each. A little of this soap goes a long way, and I now have enough to last me the rest of the year and possibly into next year. Hopefully, by then, scientists will have created a vaccine for COVID. I'll still be a recluse, but it won't be compulsory.


Your ornery old Aunt Cie

Cross-posted to:

Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Wordy Thursday: Ornery Reviews: Project Tau

Project Tau
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: Three of four stars for Online Book Club and four of five stars for Amazon
Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book for review purposes. This review is a duplicate of my review on Amazon. This post contains affiliate links. If readers make a purchase through the links provided, I will earn a small commission from Amazon.
The author did an excellent job creating the personalities of the main characters, Tau and Kata. I really appreciated the bond they formed as they helped each other cope with the terrible conditions at the lab where they were imprisoned and experimented on.
The book touches on important topics such as the ethics of cloning and the dehumanizing treatment people inflict on those they consider inferior.
The only reason I didn't give the book five stars was because I felt that other than the Trendellian security chief, Samara, the female characters were two-dimensional. The male characters were much better developed.
Homecoming by Jude Austin
I am already reading the second book in the series, Homecoming. I couldn't wait to find out what was next for Kata and Tau after the shocking culmination of the first book.
Your ornery Aunt Cie
Cross-posting to:
Content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 14 + April PAD Challenge 2020 Day 14: Your Legacy

Image by Barbara Bonanno from Pixabay

am not
what you hoped
but I am, nonetheless
the legacy that you created
I am your Frankenstein monster
built from the things
that made your life
worth living
I am a
a failure
of a person
I am not 
what you hoped
but I am, nonetheless
the gifts you gave me


NaPoWriMo: write a poem about the people who inspired you to write poems

April PAD Challenge: write a form poem

I think the shape above is a chess pawn. It started out as a simple diamante but turned into what you see. It is what it is.

This poem addresses my late father. He was a professor of literature and humanities who also taught technical writing. I was a precocious little skidmark who learned to read and write by the time I was four years old. I think my father believed that this prodigious spark meant that I was destined for greatness. He read poetry to me. I started reading Edgar Allan Poe's works when I was six years old.

My father wound up tremendously disappointed in me. I was a fuckup who could never do anything right and I had a slew of psychological problems. I was singled out and abused by my peers. I married too young. I had one abusive relationship after another. I engaged in self-harm. Possibly, worst of all, between a fucked endocrine system and years of yo-yo dieting, I ended up fat. My father believed that being fat was a sign of failure. He always went to great lengths to prevent himself from being fat. He ran six miles a day for many years. However, his vascular system was a disaster. He had a major hemorrhagic stroke at 68 years old. At the time of his death at age 74, he had suffered several more strokes, had congestive heart failure and vascular dementia, and was confined to a wheelchair.

If anyone's first inclination is to tell me "cHeEr Up, U cAn StiLLL LUz3 tEh WaTeZ!!111!!!" my suggestion to you is to check the ever-loving fuck out of yourself. Preferably on ice during a hockey game. I tried to hate myself thin for 33 years. With my endocrine problems, it is highly unlikely that I will ever be thin unless I do what my great-grandmother did. She developed acute myelogenous leukemia, dropped from 300 pounds to 95 in the space of a year, and dropped dead. But hey, she cut a svelte figure in her coffin, and, apparently, that's the only fucking thing that counts. Never mind that she was now, you know, DEAD.

In any case, I'm not going to waste another goddamn minute of my time trying to hate myself into the body that other people think I'm supposed to have. Thirty-three years of that shit is long enough. People who think I, or anyone else should do that, can slam down a hot, steaming cup of STFU, read the following fine books, and fuck off forever. Or if you're not a brainwashed, narrow-minded asswipe and you simply think: "say, those books look like they have some good information," you can read them while drinking what you want and omit the fucking off part. I'd think that was pretty cool.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Keeping it Real: Mini Zippered Tote Bag

Keeping it Real: Mini Zippered Tote Bag: Hello, and welcome. today I'm sharing a tutorial for a zippered tote bag. 

I just ordered some fabric. This would be a neat little bag for all my fun and fashionable diabetic accessories. Don't you-all just wish that you could be carrying a kit with a blood glucometer, lancing device and lancets, and insulin pens, plus an inhaler and spacer just for fun if you're really lucky and have asthma too? Nah--you don't! But if you have to, this would be a neat way to carry them.

It's Caramel Popcorn Day (With Recipe)

Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links

Greetings and welcome to Aunt Cie's Attic. I hope you didn't come here looking for tips on how to become more organized, because if that was your goal, you can consider it a lost cause. Organization is not my strong suit, but sometimes I pull some inspiring ideas out of my hat or an old box that I'm going through.

caramel popcorn

Today is Caramel Popcorn Day. I love caramel popcorn, even though I hate the way the hard outside of the corn has a tendency to get stuck between my back teeth. Sadly, I have no popcorn, caramel or otherwise, at my house, but I've found a recipe for you in case you have popcorn and the ingredients to make a nice caramel honey topping. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Australia's Best Recipes.


  • 1/2 cup popcorn cooked
  • 60 g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp honey


  1. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place the butter, honey and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to boil for 4 minutes or until the mixture is a caramel colour, stirring occasionally. Be careful as the caramel will be very hot.
I would think you could also use the topping for ice cream or fruit, cake, pancakes, all sorts of things.

You could also customize it by adding different flavorings. The Watkins Company has a full line-up of all-natural extracts which work beautifully in baking, candy, syrups, whatever you can imagine. These extracts are not sold in stores, but they are no more expensive than the ones you can purchase from the store, and they are of superior quality. You can buy them from my Watkins page, (the link to the catalog is in the upper right-hand corner) or you can sign up to become a consultant yourself. Through April, fee to become a Watkins consultant is just $14.95 (normally 29.95).

You can use your membership simply to get Watkins products at a discount for yourself, and no-one will ever pester you to meet sales quotas or participate in events or recruit other members. I initially signed up just to get discounts on my own products, but when I saw all the simple tools provided with the membership fee, I felt that I could easily promote Watkins to others. I am an extremely shy person, hardly the sort who could sell ice at the North Pole, so to speak. However, I think that Watkins sells itself, and if you are a bit of a bolder sort than I am, you might really be able to make this opportunity work for you. Plus, it's much more pleasant than selling ice at the North Pole. 

Click on this link to check out the Watkins opportunity.

win free vanilla

Every month, my team leaders have a giveaway featuring free Watkins baking vanilla plus approximately $100 worth of other great Watkins products. Click here to learn more.  

Entering the contest puts you under no obligation to buy anything or receive further promotions. 

The Watkins opportunity and Watkins products are available only to residents of Canada and the United States.

Although I sadly do not have any popcorn, I think I may try my hand at making this sauce and pour it over an apple crisp. I think I will add a bit of Watkins butter vanilla (my favorite extract) for a special twist!

Cheers from your ornery old Aunt Cie

Cross-posted to:
All content copyright 2020 by Cara Hartley

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Monday, April 6, 2020

Blogging Evolution

Image copyright Free Photos from Pixabay

I'm an old-school blogger. I started using Blogger in 2005 and started using Tumblr in 2012. I've seen a lot of blogs come and go since then.

Initially, I started blogging with the intention of sharing my creative work and deep, meaningful thoughts with the world. I hoped to finally find kindred spirits who would "get" me.

Those folks are few and far between. 

After a time, I became aware of the idea of monetizing my blogs.

Until now, this meant affiliate marketing links contained within the posts.

I recently discovered PublishOx, a platform that allows the user to earn cryptocurrency for their posts.

Readers can leave a tip for posts they like. It costs nothing to leave a tip! That's pretty cool.

I honestly know next to nothing about cryptocurrency, but there are a fair number of ways to earn it. Some are better than others. I highly recommend reading Scott Cunningham's Comprehensive Blockchain Social Media Platforms review

Jumping on board with PublishOx, I was questioning how much I still need Blogger. Tumblr serves a different function than Blogger, so it really doesn't enter into the equation. (In all honesty, the main function Tumblr serves is shitposting.) 

I opted to keep some of my blogs active. Crossposting across various platforms can be helpful. Plus, as I said, I've seen blogs--and blogging platforms--come and go. Blogger has been in existence since 1999 and shows no signs of disappearing anytime soon. I hope that PublishOx will thrive, but I like to keep my options open. I believe in monogamy in relationships and polyamory with social platforms.

If you publish the same material on another site besides PublishOx, you will want to indicate that you are cross-posting your work. PublishOx is fine with you cross-posting your own posts elsewhere or copying a post that you originally posted elsewhere, but it should be made clear that the work is yours so you don't end up flagged for plagiarism. 

I'm looking forward to learning and growing with PublishOx.

Your ornery Aunt Cie

Crossposted to Aunt Cie's Attic on PublishOx and Aunt Cie's Attic on Blogger

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Ornery Book Reviews: East Wind

Ornery Book Reviews: East Wind: Buy it here   Genre: Political Thriller Rating:  Four out of Four Stars for Online Book Club Five out of Five Stars for Amazon Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book for review purposes.  

I am trying a new blogging platform called PublishOx where users can earn bitcoin for their posts. There's always a learning curve: publishing this short post took me about an hour! 
Come on by, check out the post, and give it a thumbs-up if you like it. You can also earn bitcoin for tipping authors (no cost to you) if you set up a PublishOx account.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Aunt Cie's Ornery Newsletter

Image by heidijergovsky from Pixabay

Hello, friends of Aunt Cie's Attic, Good Stuff from Grover, and Team Netherworld Creations/Naughty Netherworld Press! Today I am creating my first-ever newsletter, and I've got to admit, I'm in way over my head. So we are going to do this one step at a time.

The nifty little house designed by Heidi Jergovsky actually looks like a cartoon version of the ole Grover Hotel! It's absolutely perfect. So, we will start with this little graphic to create a logo.

I then took the picture to to make this logo. You can do quite a bit with the free Pixlr X.

I then went back to my MailChimp account to upload the logo.

I've sent myself a test email and now I will wait for subscribers!

I put off starting an email list for years because I was overwhelmed by the thought of maintaining such a thing. MailChimp can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. I don't have to maintain a list myself. MailChimp does that. A free account is more than enough for most bloggers. 

I have numerous sites and projects and it was becoming cumbersome to cross-post to multiple sites. Now if folks subscribe to my newsletter, they can stay up to date with what's what on all of my sites. Also, you can thank me for putting my subscription option in the sidebar and not in one of those wretched pop-ups. Those things fill me with liquid murder. I hate having that blasted pop-up fly in my face every time I visit a site, even if I've already subscribed!

That's about it for now. I hope to see some of you subscribe soon!

Your Ornery Old Aunt Cie

Ornery Owl
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay

Don't miss your chance to win free Watkins vanilla plus about $100 in other amazing prizes! Click the banner above to learn more.

The fee to become an independent Watkins consultant is just $14.95 through April (regularly $29.95). Click the banner to learn more about this amazing opportunity. 
(Residents of Canada and the United States only)

Wordy Thursday: Ornery Book Reviews: The Lovely Bones


Five out of Five Stars for Goodreads

If readers purchase a copy of the book using the above link, I will receive a small commission from Amazon. The following is a duplicate of my review for Goodreads.

I really enjoyed this touching and powerful book. I appreciated the author's ability to connect the reader with Susie, the victim of a horrific crime committed by a very evil man. I enjoyed experiencing Susie's thoughts from her vantage point in the afterlife. I also appreciated the fact that the author discussed the ways in such a devastating incident disrupts the family of the victim. I simply can't think of much to say without giving away things that the reader should discover for themselves, so I'll keep it brief. Read this book (or listen, as I did.) It is an amazing experience.

The following questions are from the Insecure Writers Support Group Book Club discussion of this book.

1. The main character, Suzie Salmon, is killed in the first chapter. The author, Alice Sebold, has very little time to build Suzie as a character and get readers to connect to her.

QUESTION: Did you feel a connection to Suzie in Chapter One? What helped to create that connection?

I liked Susie from the beginning. She was an ordinary girl. Personally, that's one of my favorite protagonists: simply an ordinary girl trying to get through life.

2. Have you ever written a story in the point-of-view of a ghost/spirit?

If yes, what technique did you use? (How did you handle not being able to use certain senses such as touch and smell, and was your character able to interact with other characters?)

I primarily write paranormal/science fiction hybrids, so I write about ghosts quite a bit. My ghosts can see, touch, and smell things but have trouble interacting with the living unless they encounter someone who is sensitive to their presence.

3. The story jumps from character to character a lot and includes a lot of flashbacks. Did this detract from or increase your enjoyment of the overall story?

I thought the author did a great job of this and it added richness to the story.

4. What did you think of the description of Suzie’s Heaven?

I liked the realism of it, although I think it would suck to be there. I request a different heaven!

5. Overall, people love this book or they hate it. Where do you stand?

I liked this book very much and recommend it highly. It gets the Ornery Seal of Approval!

Ornery Owl
Image copyright Open Clipart Vectors on Pixabay