Belonging to a self-regulatory organization, however, does not shield MLMs engaged in unfair and deceptive practices from FTC law enforcement action. Under appropriate circumstances, the FTC can and will bring law enforcement actions against companies that claim to follow self-regulatory guidelines but in practice do not. Similarly, the FTC can and will bring law enforcement actions against companies that, despite following such guidelines, nonetheless violate the FTC Act.


The Federal Trade Commission warns "Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. Some are pyramid schemes. It's best not to get involved in plans where the money you make is based primarily on the number of distributors you recruit and your sales to them, rather than on your sales to people outside the plan who intend to use the products."[21]
Technically speaking, pyramiding is an illegal practice of a company that solicits their members to recruit more members, more than selling the product. In turn, the primary source of income for its members is the number of members they have recruited instead of the products they have sold over time. Clearly, not all MLMs are pyramid schemes, but it all seems like a matter of degree.
The major defining difference between other companies and MLM, is that they don’t mass market themselves, spending millions of dollars on television, radio and internet ads, but instead allocate that portion of their budget to pay hard working distributors who pound the pavement, form personal al relationships with clients, advocate their product, and hence donthe “marketing” for them.

This eco-friendly MLM is seriously committed: their headquarters are operated with wind power. They’re pretty future-facing in general, having implemented an innovative social marketing strategy amongst their reps. No one likes to be harassed on Facebook, but Modere’s social media plan is still 10 times more effective than holding home parties (kill me).

A downline distributor is a recruited distributor from whom the sponsor (the one who recruited them) gains commissions. Every compensation plan involves recruiting other distributors to help sell the company’s product. Some compensation plans provide higher commissions for recruiting successful distributors (quality over quantity). Other plans only focus on simply hiring more distributors (quantity over quality). Overall, downline distributors help sponsors gain extra commissions.
Hi Ray, All great tips! I love tips no. 7 most. Yes, I agree that it is the biggest of all the Network Marketing tips. We will be forever working on our business if we do not have systems already in place so that ANY new team members can get training and success tips easily. The 'leader' is in trouble. I first learned this from Tom Challan who had found himself trapped in the 'leadership role'! Excellent insights, Ray, about true leadership!
Now we’re getting into the real heavyweights. Tecademics is one of the most extensive digital marketing training programs out there, within and outside of MLM. Founder Chris Record started Tecademics after completely crushing it at Empower Network. Their training comes at a steep price tag, although it’s nothing compared to the price of a university degree. 

94. What is the Latin word in CLOSE? Lose. And that is the way many distributors look at closing. If they don't close the prospect, they have lost. Let's shift paradigms. You don't need to close. You need to OPEN possibilities to the prospect, and OPEN a future that they have only been dreaming about. Open their minds and heart to what CAN BE, not just what is. And after you do that, and If they tell you no, it is not you that is closed, but the prospect is. They are closed to creating their Dreams and building a life of Success. They live a life of permanent hope, not Powerful success.
Sailo is a peer-to-peer boat rental marketplace that connects boat owners, captains and renters on one online platform. If you’re a boat owner, list your boat out for rent and easily cover the costs of ownership. Or, if you’re a captain, offer your services, accept clients and get out on the water, thereby helping you to build your reputation and your business.

Obviously a customer will not earn any money in the MLM scheme, only the person who brought in that customer, and their upline will earn commission from the customer's purchase. The promoter will earn money, every time one of their customers makes a purchase, and also every time one of the promoters in their downline makes a purchase or sale. Thus the term "pyramid" though that may not really be accurate, depending on the way the compensation plan is set up.


Remember to create a plan at your very first opportunity. I know the saying gets old but people never create a plan to fail, but in most cases those who fail, do fail to plan! You would never travel all the way across the country without having some sort of plan, at least a map, on how to get there and how much it will cost. One of the very best MLM tips I can offer is the idea of developing a plan on the very first day you enter your new business. And remember one of the best ways to learn is to listen closely to those who have become successful doing the MLM business in the past.
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 Federal Trade Commission warns "Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. Some are pyramid schemes. It's best not to get involved in plans where the money you make is based primarily on the number of distributors you recruit and your sales to them, rather than on your sales to people outside the plan who intend to use the products."[21]
Technically speaking, pyramiding is an illegal practice of a company that solicits their members to recruit more members, more than selling the product. In turn, the primary source of income for its members is the number of members they have recruited instead of the products they have sold over time. Clearly, not all MLMs are pyramid schemes, but it all seems like a matter of degree.
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.

If you want to learn about the wonderful (and massive) world of internet marketing from the pros, Digital Altitude is where it’s at. Their products might cost up to $10k+, but you’re getting access to a toolbox of pure gold. Then there’s their commission rate…up to 60%. Just take a second to think about what a 60% commission rate on a $10k+ product looks like. Not bad, huh?


The 2004 letter should not be misconstrued as suggesting that an MLM can lawfully pay compensation on wholesale purchases that are not based on actual consumer demand by characterizing such purchases as “internal consumption.” The 2004 letter itself does not support such a construction, nor do subsequent judicial decisions. For example, the court in BurnLounge held that, notwithstanding the defendants’ characterization that participants bought packages for “internal consumption,” the compensation paid on such purchases was not tied to consumer demand for the merchandise in the packages; instead, the opportunity to advance in the marketing program was the major driver of package purchases. Similarly, in granting a preliminary injunction against Vemma Nutrition Company, the court rejected the argument that individuals who had joined as business opportunity “Affiliates” only wished to purchase product for their own consumption, finding that this claim was “not based in fact.”
Multi-level marketing businesses sell a variety of products from vitamins to vacuum cleaners. Starting a MLM business makes you responsible for not only selling but also recruiting a sales team. Keeping your employees motivated is a challenge. You also have to create a payment structure that rewards salespeople sufficiently to keep them happy and at the same time grow earnings for the company.
3. Business cards, buttons and brochures. Most companies offer sales aids that help the cold sponsoring process. If you owned a store, you would put out your "open for business" sign at the start of each day. Wear an "open for business" button promoting your product. Something catchy will inevitably create interest. If people are bold enough to quiz you about the button, they're probably outgoing and a great prospect. Pass out literature with your phone and e-mail, and use your business cards. Do this consistently. The law of averages says something has got to happen.
Great job on the top 25 MLMs. Really like what you’re doing for the industry as a whole. Your analysis is spot on. However, a closer look at retention rates for each company might give you another perspective on the value proposition of any given company. As a Doterra Wellness Advocate we are told by our corporate execs that we have a 65% retention rate with customers repurchasing the product within 3 months. And that if we based it on the industry standard of 12 months our retention would go up to 85%. I’m told that this is unprecedented in network marketing. So I’m believing that Doterra is succeeding because its selling a product that works and that users and word-of-mouth drive the business in the long run.
Technically speaking, pyramiding is an illegal practice of a company that solicits their members to recruit more members, more than selling the product. In turn, the primary source of income for its members is the number of members they have recruited instead of the products they have sold over time. Clearly, not all MLMs are pyramid schemes, but it all seems like a matter of degree.
Join Guy Kawasaki (author, The Art of Social Media), Mari Smith (co-author, Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day), Chris Brogan (co-author, The Impact Equation), Jay Baer (author, Youtility), Ann Handley (author, Everybody Writes), Michael Stelzner (author, Launch), Michael Hyatt (author, Platform), Laura Fitton (co-author, Twitter for Dummies), Joe Pulizzi (author, Epic Content Marketing), Mark Schaefer (author, Social Media Explained), Cliff Ravenscraft, Nichole Kelly, Ted Rubin, Chalene Johnson, Darren Rowse, Joel Comm, Kim Garst, Martin Shervington, Marcus Sheridan, Gini Dietrich, Pat Flynn, John Jantsch, Andrea Vahl and Brian Clark—just to name a few.
Even truthful testimonials from the very small minority of participants who do earn career-level income or more will likely be misleading unless the advertising or presentation also makes clear the amount earned or lost by most participants. (For more information on this topic, see the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)
80. 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?"
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.
Because of the encouraging of recruits to further recruit their competitors, some people have even gone so far as to say at best modern MLMs are nothing more than legalized pyramid schemes[4][19][20] with one stating "Multi-level marketing companies have become an accepted and legally sanctioned form of pyramid scheme in the United States"[19] while another states "Multi-Level Marketing, a form of Pyramid Scheme, is not necessarily fraudulent."[20] In October 2010 it was reported that multilevel marketing companies were being investigated by a number of state attorneys general amid allegations that salespeople were primarily paid for recruiting and that more recent recruits cannot earn anything near what early entrants do.[60] Industry critic Robert L. FitzPatrick has called multi-level marketing "the Main Street bubble" that will eventually burst.[61]
6. MLM trade journal advertising. A well-written and properly placed ad can generate some good contacts. But don't expect thousands or even hundreds of inquires. These publications are read by experienced distributors who see lots of offerings. Yours must stand out in order to compete. Many publications will offer you a press release to accompany your ad that will greatly enhance your inquiries.
88. The most powerful thing you can do to a prospect or downline, is make their dream real. We used to carry brochures of cars, exotic vacations, resorts, boats, million dollar homes, and pictures of enjoying life with us. And we were constantly reminding the prospect or downline what they were working so hard for. We showed the pictures to them. And we also reminded ourselves of what we were working for. Plug them into the HOPE of a bigger car or home, a lifestyle of TOTAL freedom, and let them look at pictures of what it looks like, and feels like.
Many people are scared away from network marketing, also known as multi-level marketing (MLM), because of all the myths and misunderstanding about this type of business. Part of negativity comes from reported low MLM success rates. However, a multi-level marketing business isn't destined to fail any more than any other business. Regardless of the home business you start, success comes from doing the work to build it. 
I learned seo and blogging, failed at that. I learned Facebook ads and email marketing, learned how to target the right demographics for Doterra, now people contact me wanting to know about the oils, then I got present and sign up, this my friend’s is the best of both worlds and what everyone should learn, find your form of marketing, go teach and sign up and leave for friends and family alone, unless you know they’ll want it.
EatWith is a platform for home-restaurants and unique food experiences. EatWith chefs prepare innovative meals and host local foodies in their homes. Whether you are a Michelin-starred chef or a self-taught home cook, EatWith allows you to showcase your cooking chops to an ever-rotating roster of guests from in and out of town. Host a pop-up or cater a private event. Have fun making creative, delicious meals.
Even truthful testimonials from the very small minority of participants who do earn career-level income or more will likely be misleading unless the advertising or presentation also makes clear the amount earned or lost by most participants. (For more information on this topic, see the FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.)
Writing MLM-specific articles is another great way of establishing authority inside of MLM. When people type in a search term or phrase on a specific MLM topic, and an article appears with the networkers name as the author, if the article answers a specific question, and is not just a spam piece, then the reader will visit the site to learn more about the author.

Thanks for the list. As with anything it’s a matter of opinion and you have to put in the work to see results. If you’re just doing parties in your hometown, that’s probably not going to work. With all the tools you have in the Internet you can really promote whatever it is you’re selling. If you want to be successful with a good company, you have to look at it as a business and roll up your sleeves.


Many people are scared of the prospect of getting into network marketing. They’ve heard all about the myths and misunderstandings surrounding the industry, also known as multilevel marketing, and so they shy away from it. To be sure, a multilevel marketing (MLM) business has just about as much success as any other business, if not more, and there are plenty of great network marketing companies out there, like Acti Labs, that have brought massive success to their members. It doesn’t matter what kind of home business you start as the real success of the business comes from the work you put in to build the business.

As stated in the Business Opportunity Rule’s Statement of Basis and Purpose, the Commission crafted the Rule to avoid broadly sweeping in MLMs. It did so by tailoring the definition of business opportunity to exclude certain types of business assistance common to MLMs. 76 Fed. Reg. 76816, 76824 (Dec. 8, 2011). It is important to note, however, that the Rule does not explicitly exempt MLMs from coverage. As with any other business entity, the determination whether an MLM would be a business opportunity to which the Rule applies would have to be made on a case-by-case basis.
A good network marketing company rewards leadership, just like any structured business.  Most businesses have a pyramid structure where the people at the top, ie. CEOs, SVPs, VPs, are the highest paid people in the company.  The unique opportunity you have with a Network Marketing   business is that you START at the top of your business, and your income will be dependent on how large of a team you build “below” you.
One of the greatest pitfalls most network marketers fall into is the lure of huge potential income from an MLM business. Therefore, they end up not paying enough attention to what the company is asking them to sell. In MLM, as in any other industry, you can’t sell something effectively that you aren’t proud of. You won’t be enthusiastic about it, and potential customers will be able to smell that lack of enthusiasm from a mile away.
These actions are both business professional and duplicatable — the kind of actions you want to encourage your distributors to model. Imagine how powerful your organization would be if everyone in it could be counted on to do what they promised they would? Honoring your intention to make and keep your marketing promises is an almost 100 percent guarantee of success in a network marketing business.
Thanks for the list. As with anything it’s a matter of opinion and you have to put in the work to see results. If you’re just doing parties in your hometown, that’s probably not going to work. With all the tools you have in the Internet you can really promote whatever it is you’re selling. If you want to be successful with a good company, you have to look at it as a business and roll up your sleeves.
The Filipino community, much like many immigrant communities, is ripe for the recruitment of participants in MLMs. Filipino immigrants can be particularly easy targets to exploit, as this Filipino-American writer can attest. They are easygoing and friendly. The ones with a college education understand and speak English very well. The community is crawling with network marketers hawking everything from cosmetics to travel packages to insurance products, courtesy of companies that promise the dream of passive income as well as incentives such as car bonuses and vacations.
Multi-level marketing, abbreviated as MLM, also called pyramid selling, network marketing and referral marketing, is a controversial marketing strategy for the sale of products and/or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce (also called participants, and variously known as “salespeople”, “distributors”, “consultants”, “promoters”, “independent business owners”, etc) selling the company’s products/services, while the earnings of the participants is derived from a pyramid-shaped commission system.
Question your recruiter. When you've found a company you're interested in, you'll likely meet with a recruiter or another representative. Be skeptical during the recruitment process. Remember that your sponsor makes more money if you sign on, so he may not be as open with you as he could be. Don't get distracted by promises of how much money you'll make and really think about what you're about to do.[4]
Many MLM companies do generate billions of dollars in annual revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profit. However, the profits of the MLM company are accrued at the detriment to the majority of the company's constituent workforce (the MLM participants). Only some of said profit is then significantly shared with individual participants at the top of the MLM distributorship pyramid. The earnings of those top few participants is emphasized and championed at company seminars and conferences, thus creating an illusion of how one can potentially become financially successful if they become a participants in the MLM. This is then advertised by the MLM company to recruit more distributors to participate in the MLM with a false anticipation of earning margins which are in reality merely theoretical and statistically improbable.[14]
With its anti-wrinkle cream and other products, Jeunesse promises to reverse the signs of aging, if temporarily. Jeunesse also sells products to reduce mental distraction, provide nutrition on the go, and help people lose weight. The company’s impressive live demos and message of remaining forever young have placed them on Inc.’s list of fastest-growing American companies.
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