Making A Stand Against Monavie & Juice Scams

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-04-2021

The following guest post is by Lazy Man and Money who not only writes about personal finance but also blogs about MonaVie.

A few weeks ago, I invited SVB and a few other bloggers (Budgets Are Sexy and A Gai Shan Life) to my home for a friendly game of Settlers of Catan. Upon meeting me for the first time, Revanche of A Gai Shan Life said, “Oh so you are the MonaVie blogger.” I’ve become accustomed to this reaction. In fact, SVB often begins a conversation with “How is MonaVie treating you?”

Sometimes you don’t choose your path, your path chooses you. Before I go any further I should step back and explain what MonaVie is. To be as unbiased as possible, I’ll use the Wikipedia definition of MonaVie:

“MonaVie is a beverage company distributing products made from blended fruit juice concentrates with freeze-dried açaí powder and purée through a multi-level marketing (MLM) business model.”

My History with MonaVie

Almost exactly two years ago, my wife came home from a meeting from a charity group she’s involved in. She mentioned that one of the members there was pitching this juice and she asked if we should buy some. After she told me it was $45 a bottle, the answer was a very quick, “No.” The person gave her two bottles for free and asked her to try the juice. This set off a number of questions in my mind such as, “What makes this juice worth $45?” and “Why is this person so quick to give us $90 of value?”

Monavie, Acai Berry Juice
Image from the great

It was a perfect article for Lazy Man and Money. After a couple of hours of research I asked my readers “Is MonaVie a Scam?” It turns out that MonaVie is a very controversial subject. People who were very positive about MonaVie and people who were very much against MonaVie started commenting back and forth. The back and forth continues today, two years later with over 4,000 comments on the article.

Somewhere early in this discussion, I found myself agreeing with the people who were against MonaVie. Those people backed up their arguments logically and they were unbiased — they had nothing to gain by being anti-MonaVie. However, it was the pro-MonaVie people who really swayed me. They made bad claims that they couldn’t back up. Worse, they made illegal health claims like MonaVie could help with a number of diseases.

I started to feel bad that all this great information was being buried in the comments, so I started, a site devoted to spreading all that great information. In rare circumstances, I actually do the smart thing, and fortunately this was one such time… I bought MonaVie is a registered trademark of MonaVie’s (of course), and I didn’t want to get caught in their legal crosshairs.

But what I want and what happens are usually quite different things. This was no exception, as I found out when MonaVie first threatened to sue me. Their claim was that I couldn’t use their trademark in any part of my URL. I’m no lawyer, but even I knew that their case against me didn’t have a leg to stand on. They’d have to sue Wikipedia and a thousand other companies that employ the same methods. In some of the comments I’ve received, a MonaVie employee even resorted to calling me a pretty bad name.

The Consumerist picked up the story and contacted MonaVie’s lawyers to find out what they were thinking. There they found that MonaVie planned another legal threat. It wasn’t long before MonaVie sent me a second cease & desist request. This time they claimed that I couldn’t use their trademarked name, “MonaVie” in my webpages. I didn’t need to find a lawyer to know that I wasn’t going to be in any legal trouble. In fact, I was able to point out numerous ways that MonaVie’s lawyers were in error.

In that second letter, MonaVie specifically complained, “When an individual does a Google search for MonaVie, the first thing that appears is your article.” This was the first clear sign that MonaVie was upset that I was being critical of their business. Rather than try to engage in discussion to address the criticisms and use it as an opportunity to make their product better, they went to lawyers.

Where I Stand with MonaVie Today

I don’t have the space here to go into a hundred more things on this topic, such as MonaVie lying about the ORAC score of their juice in their promotional materials or illegally promoting their juice as a cure for pain. It’s not just the ethics of the company that gets to me — it’s also the financials.

If you are reading The Digerati Life, you already know that it’s not a smart idea to spend $5,000 a year on fruit juice — especially when independent tests prove that MonaVie lacks nutrition. That $5,000 is what it costs for a family of four to drink the recommended amount of MonaVie. It’s something that I wouldn’t want to see included in a minimum budget for a family of four.

If you want to learn more, please visit my MonaVie site and join the debate!

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Bennett April 21, 2010 at 3:20 am

This is important stuff.

The internet blog is a new communications medium. The rules that are going to forever govern what is achieved through use of this medium are not yet written. Those of us who blog today (and those who contribute comments to blogs today) are in the process of writing them. The precedents we set through our behavior today will be affecting people for many years to come.

Thanks for the work you do, Lazy Man. And thanks for bringing attention to this work, SVB.


Evan April 21, 2010 at 7:04 am

I have been following LazyMan and this ordeal for a while, and I just figured out what I would do if I were a MonaVie executive. If I were MonaVie, and after legal threats failed, I would just offer to buy from you, and maybe that one post. I have no idea what YOUR price would be, but everyone has one.

Credit Girl April 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm

I’d never heard of MonaVie but now I know to just stay away. Besides, $45 for any drink is totally not worth it.

Lazy Man and Money April 21, 2010 at 12:26 pm


I’m a big believer that everyone has their price. I honestly would have expected MonaVie to make an offer at this point. In the past, Dr. Stephen T. Talcott was critical of people taking his research on acai and making medical claims on it. Now he’s on MonaVie’s board of advisors. It is my guess that MonaVie found Talcott’s price.

I imagine that MonaVie is concerned that if the price they offer me is too low, I’ll post about the bribe and further make them look bad. Well if they are smart and are thinking about buying me out, they should highly consider that possibility.

Client April 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm

MonaVie .. Who created its name? Is it of French origin?

Stella April 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Over 4,000 comments? That’s impressive! Thanks for exposing this quackery. It always amazes me how seemingly rational people can be so easily suckered.

Silicon Valley Blogger April 21, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Let me share my own .02 on MonaVie, which I’ve actually relayed to Lazy Man a while ago. I actually like the product as it is. I came across this product not through the usual MLM channels (like parties, get togethers or what). I actually had some health conditions I wanted to address in past years which compelled me to seek what is called “functional medicine” (a combination of traditional and alternative approaches, I assume). Anyway, the clinic I attended would, on a regular basis, invite its patients to try out things in the market — including MonaVie at one point, Mangosteen juice, and a whole slew of recipe books that are great for those seeking healthier diets.

I tried their MonaVie product and paid a cheaper amount as quoted by the medical professional. I liked the taste and would have very certainly continued guzzling it down had it not been so expensive. As far as health benefits — not sure if it helped since I did not try it for long — again, the expense was what took me back. Then Lazy Man tells me that there are some questions on what kind of health benefits to expect from it…

Anyway, long story short, I don’t drink it anymore (although it’s tasty IMO)! But Lazy Man found this awesome substitute (I keep forgetting the name) that he has in his fridge all the time. Much cheaper stuff, can be a great alternative to those of you berry lovers, and it’s what I make a beeline for when I visit his home. 🙂 Thanks Lazy Man. Now hope you can share the name of that juice here.

Lazy Man and Money April 21, 2010 at 7:37 pm

The alternative that I like is V8 Fusion Acai Berry. It’s $3-$4 for 46 ounces in almost any grocery store. I also happen to like the pomegranate-blueberry version as well.

Eric April 21, 2010 at 9:13 pm


Nice to hear the update from you on here. I remember being part of this whole she-bang when you were talking about it on your blog. Needless to say, I felt incredulous.

I didn’t know you created that new web site though. Good for you for educating consumers and I hope MonaVie ceases tricking ppl.

J$ April 22, 2010 at 10:55 am

I don’t know why but i’ve never heard of this whole thing before?! What a mess! If you’re looking to spread the news even farther, you’ve always got a standing guest post on my site 🙂 LOVE some good controversy like that, esp when it involves another financial blogger – and even more so when that blogger is right! haha…

seriously, that post was dope. well done, sir.

Silicon Valley Blogger April 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

J Money,
Lazy Man’s other name is “the MonaVie blogger” who stands for the rights of customers who’ve been overly charged by a juice drink …. we need to give him a superhero outfit for this one day. 🙂 I heard he looks good in a onesie!

Lazy Man and Money April 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

Who doesn’t look good in a onesie?

John Wilsons August 5, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Containing antioxidants, amino acids and vitamins, Monavie juices are regarded as diet and weight loss supplements. Ours is a trustworthy resource of procuring acai berry juice which is rich in proteins, fiber and essential fatty acids.

Monavie juices have been raved by many doctors and health professionals as a great product for improving health. You can procure these health improving products from our site which offers these at affordable prices.

John Wilsons

Silicon Valley Blogger August 6, 2010 at 10:06 am

@John Wilsons,
I don’t agree with you…. you are obviously doing a pitch for your product. From the facts I’ve read, Monavie is NOT the health drink you tout. It is a much more expensive juice drink that people are trying to sell at higher price points because of the so-called “health healing” properties. At best, it’s a placebo.

I like the taste of Monavie though, but my friends have shown me alternatives that are tastier and cheaper.

Winston Smith August 25, 2010 at 6:16 pm

Evan (above) is obviously a man who has a price.

However, not everyone does, of course. And I’m sure we all know what the difference is between those who have one and those who don’t.

The Great Product November 21, 2010 at 6:45 pm

People call it a scam because they are not sure what it is!! They say it sounds too good to be true!! But they never experience the value of the product or tried the business behind it!!

It has helped me get back in the best shape of my life! Not just because I use it but because I made the changes necessary to maintain a healthy life style, otherwise ignored before I got involved with this amazing product.

Nobody told me to joined the business or sold me any rich ideas. I just simply bought the product from him and to this date I still do. Again it’s my personal choice to buy it!! I don’t care about the price I like the taste and I love the product. A bottle of blue label Johnnie Walker could cost you $170.00 and yet you still buy it, and yet it’s not good for you, it could lead to many health problems. There is many cheaper brands that may do the same effect you are looking for but you want JOHNNIE WALKER BLUE LABEL PERIOD!!!

Talking negative of a product because some bad apples in the company are struggling to market themselves and failing at the business it’s very ignorant. Running around talking negative about a genuine opportunity because of their own fear of failure!!! Watch this video and see the big picture!! Be open minded and make an informed decision!!!

Peter Decosta December 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Monavie is a super-food for my daily life. I am very thankful for Monavie juice, as it helps me reduce my extra fat and blood pressure.

Susan Gomez December 19, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Ummmm….MonaVie health claims are totally unfounded. Sorry, that’s a fact.

MonaVie January 11, 2011 at 2:45 am

Monavie juices have been raved by many doctors and health professionals as a great product for improving health. You can procure these health improving products from our site which offers these at affordable prices.

CollegeFreshman January 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm


Johnnie’s Walking blue label what? At $170? What is that? I never heard of such a thing! Bad for me? Then why do you buy it? Personally, if you buy stuff that you know is bad for you and is also very expensive, why should I follow your advice and buy MonaVie?

Something is wrong with talking about MonaVie in a negative light? If an organization is scamming people, don’t you think it would be a great act of kindness to point it out to people before they get burned? We should be open-minded? What does that mean? Have we not listened to what you had to say? Did we not hear your side? Did we close our ears? No. We instead have corrected mistatements and pointed toward the truth. Is that being close-minded? No. A wise man will consider each point given and place it up to the light to see if it stands the test of authenticity. Do you want us to simply accept everything you say as gospel truth? The thing you are asking us to do here is akin to turning off my antivirus program and download your material.

René De Beaumarchais March 30, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Bwahaha at the pro-Monavie commenters… It’s very sad.

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