This issue, like all issues concerning the evaluation of an MLM’s compensation structure, is fact-specific and usually involves a comprehensive analysis of a variety of factors. It is worthwhile, however, to highlight two topics that the FTC is likely to consider when evaluating an MLM’s payment of compensation that is premised, in part, on participants buying product that is not resold. First, the FTC staff is likely to consider whether features of the MLM’s compensation structure incentivize or encourage participants to purchase product for reasons other than satisfying their own personal demand or actual consumer demand in the marketplace. Second, the FTC staff is likely to consider information bearing on whether particular wholesale purchases by business opportunity participants were made to satisfy personal demand. The persuasiveness of this information in any particular case will depend on its reliability.
At the most basic level, the law requires that an MLM pay compensation that is based on actual sales to real customers, rather than based on mere wholesale purchases or other payments by its participants. In evaluating MLM practices, the FTC, in accord with established case law, focuses on how the structure as a whole operates in practice, and considers factors including marketing representations, participant experiences, the compensation plan, and the incentives that the compensation structure creates. The assessment of an MLM’s compensation structure is a fact-specific determination that the FTC makes after careful investigation.
A: I doubt that we (or future generations) will ever again witness the revolutionary change in the MLM industry that has transpired over the past five years. Today, there are so many companies, so many products, so much information and so many opportunities worthy of our efforts. There has been an increasing number of successful and street-smart MLM distributors as our industry matures. But there are still huge numbers of distributors who struggle to make MLM work.
As in many other areas, the FTC periodically meets with consumer groups, industry representatives, and other stakeholders to learn more about evolving practices and concerns. Also, the FTC has issued and updates consumer and business educational materials. In addition, the FTC’s Bureau of Economics has devoted and continues to devote its research expertise to issues relating to direct sales and multi-level marketing. These various efforts can provide valuable insight to inform the FTC’s investigations of MLMs, which involve fact-specific and comprehensive analysis of multiple factors.
The MLM presenter many times gets out the dump truck, backs it up to the prospect, and then unloads a TON of information on them. NOT! The prospect is NOT a landfill. Present the information one bite size piece at a time, and give them a chance to digest it. Too much info will turn the prospect off. And they will be thinking, "Do I have to learn ALL THIS?"
MLM companies have been trying to find ways around China's prohibitions, or have been developing other methods, such as direct sales, to take their products to China through retail operations. The Direct Sales Regulations limit direct selling to cosmetics, health food, sanitary products, bodybuilding equipment and kitchen utensils. And the Regulations require Chinese or foreign companies ("FIEs") who intend to engage into direct sale business in mainland China to apply for and obtain direct selling license from the Ministry of Commerce ("MOFCOM"). In 2016, there are 73 companies, including domestic and foreign companies, that have obtained the direct selling license. Some multi-level marketing sellers have circumvented this ban by establishing addresses and bank accounts in Hong Kong, where the practice is legal, while selling and recruiting on the mainland.
Own a plane? Want to make some money? Then OpenAirplane is the on-demand platform for you! OpenAirplane allows you to rent out your airplane to qualified pilots. Before leasing your plane, you can verify renter pilots’ credentials and read previous owner’s reviews, so you always know your aircraft is in good hands. Pilots keep 90% of the rental income while 10% goes to OpenAirplane.
This MLM’s motive is a great natural path to healing using Naturopathy as its guide while #cleaneating, drinking medicinal herbs, and those free-loving souls are eating it up. Apparently, they have the “The FASTEST, healthiest, simplest weight loss program on the planet.” Now is this just a lot of gossip…no it’s not. The company has a line of products that are certified organic.
(Update: In June 2017, the co-founder, Dave Wood, has for the time being stepped down following his check-in into drug rehabilitation and the company no longer exists). I wonder if the buzz of Empower Network will ever die down? This is one of those rare gems of the MLM industry that exploded onto the scene and did not hit a bump in the road by dying out only after a year of being out there. Although now the company is on decline, and its highly doubtful they’ll make it on any lists in the years to come.
Although each MLM company dictates its own specific financial compensation plan for the payout of any earnings to their respective participants, the common feature that is found across all MLMs is that the compensation plans theoretically pay out to participants only from two potential revenue streams. The first is paid out from commissions of sales made by the participants directly to their own retail customers. The second is paid out from commissions based upon the sales made by other distributors below the participant who have recruited those other participants into the MLM; in the organizational hierarchy of MLMs, these participants are referred to as one's down line distributors.
Long before becoming a billionaire, and even before starting Omnilife, Jorge Vergara sold tacos on the streets of Mexico. He then secretly brought in Herbalife supplements into the country. While there, he was able to get the Mexican government to change regulations put in place for their nutritional products division. Talk about a life filled with action…this guy could probably sell his life story and make millions more (he could probably win several awards, side note: he’s actually a film producer casually on the side).
Multi-level marketing is a legitimate business strategy, though it is controversial. One problem is pyramid schemes, which use money from new recruits to pay the people at the top, often take advantage of people by pretending to be engaged in legitimate multi-level marketing. You can spot pyramid schemes by their greater focus on recruitment than on product sales.
Diets…fad diets, new diets, old diets…it’s an endless story especially in the 2000’s, and this company is one of those companies. The FDA had a run-in with these guys and they are not in the greatest standings with the BBB either, which seem to be the norm with weight loss pills of the “magical results” variety. Well the good news for this business is that they’ve managed to keep trending for 5 years (that’s a pretty good streak), and the company reps are earning a colossal 50% in commissions.
Thanks for this list. Loved seeing Monat as #1! I am a Market Partner for this company and the money is crazy good because the products are awesome. I was disappointed to see Plexus at #28 and I wasn’t impressed by what you had to say about them. Plexus is NOT a weight loss company. Their products promote a healthy gut and they are clinically proven to decrease inflammation and balance blood sugar. Weight loss is a natural side effect of body balance. The products work and there are a lot of people I know personally making good money with Plexus.
Hey Erica, I’m a doterra gal also. Just over 3 years ago I just wanted to see if these hippie oils really worked from there I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and I share with whomever will listen. I recently read this in the leadership magazine and I love it. “An oil for every household, a drop to change a life”. That is my goal. I never plan to get rich off my sharing but if I can change a life, help someone along the way it will be worth my time.
Right now, MLMs are preying on lower-income, often undocumented immigrant communities and taking advantage of their lack of knowledge and finances. Their reps lure them in by telling that they are giving them the tools to start their own businesses and that they can create jobs for their friends and family members. In the 2016 documentary, Betting On Zero, director Ted Braun talks to several Latino families who have lost their entire life savings to Herbalife. They were told by MLM reps that it’s easy work and that it’s not dangerous, and so they sold their construction businesses to invest in Herbalife.
Now, this one I like. This company doesn’t use your typical Facebook stalking, 3-way calling, auto-shipping tactics. It has leaped into the future, did its homework and decided to succeed with network marketing, finally. The company is an affiliate business opportunity for those who are interested in some first-class digital marketing training; and the icing on the cake is that they have a free trial option.