Do many people on WF do multi-level marketing?

60 replies
I just saw a question about mlm posted here. That got me interested - Do many people on WF do mlm / network marketing stuff? (I don't)

Many things like e-mail marketing/list building, creating a sales funnel and using automation apply to both IM and mlm.
#marketing #multilevel #people
  • Profile picture of the author slowdriver
    Guess not lol I was wondering the same thing. If the product is good why not?
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  • Profile picture of the author ZachWaldman
    I think a lot of people are introduced to IM via MLM. Once they realize they can create their own products, be the boss, and make more money with less work, they make the change.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Allard
    I've been networking with fellow Warriors and I've talked with two that do MLM.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jacob Hargreave
      I personally do not know anyone that does MLM. In my own personally experience I find it unsustainable because the products aren't very good and having an active down line is a lit more work that I can really put into words. Internet marketing is just easier in my opinion.
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  • Profile picture of the author Giftys
    I avoid MLM's like the plague. They're not for me.
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    WWJD

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  • Profile picture of the author mongsky
    there's probably a lot here but the number is uncertain
    i try to avoid MLM as much as possible
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    • Profile picture of the author sgtsavvy
      agreed... try to avoid MLM personally... something about it doesnt ring right with me...

      But i hear its a great OPPORTUNITY! LOLOL.

      not knocking it tho, whatever works for you.
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      • Profile picture of the author larkykid
        Originally Posted by sgtsavvy View Post

        agreed... try to avoid MLM personally... something about it doesnt ring right with me...
        One problem is that many pyramid schemes try to present themselves as legitimate MLM businesses.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Most Warriors are heavily anti-MLM, so those who do work in that arena tend not to talk much about it here. There are a lot of MLMers about, though, and there are also a lot of us out here who don't do MLM... but don't think it's evil, either.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      If I were to be involved with MLM, or if I know of anyone on the WF involved in such actity, hypothetically speaking - to be clear, there of course would be no confirmation nor denial as to any admission of guilt or association whatsoever.
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      • Profile picture of the author ExquisiteMedia
        MLM just isn't my flavor of gravy so I avoid it by all means necessary.
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      • Profile picture of the author SEO Eclectic
        MLM is a great business model for the founders of the company
        and those who are positioned properly during the companies
        formation and infancy. Those who have high energy (assuming
        the products are worth supporting), and believe in the product
        or service tend to do very well.

        MLM, Affiliate Programs, & IM on many fronts are very similar,
        more similar than some would care to admit.
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    • Profile picture of the author DebbieD
      Thanks for your replies.

      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      Most Warriors are heavily anti-MLM, so those who do work in that arena tend not to talk much about it here. There are a lot of MLMers about, though, and there are also a lot of us out here who don't do MLM... but don't think it's evil, either.
      I thought so, too. I did see it subtly referenced often enough, though not very boldly.

      I don't do MLM. I did it once about 10 yrs. ago, didn't make a cent and that company went belly up. (I think there was even a court settlement or something.)

      I don't think it's all trash, because I do see some people making money with that business model. It just happens (?) that there are many scammy, fly-by-night companies using the mlm business model.

      This part, me thinks, is not so different than IM.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ernie Mitchell
    In my younger years, about three lifetimes ago, I was a multi-level marketing junkie. I’ve been in more MLM programs than I can recall.

    IMHO MLM companies are like Halley’s Comet. They are spectacularly beautiful as they streak across the heavens and disappear out of sight.

    The difference being that Halley’s Comet will be back in 76 years. The MLM Company is gone forever. But not to worry because in another 76 hours or 76 days another irresistible opportunity will come streaking across the sky seducing all who were previously disillusioned to follow.
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  • I feel like MLM is a "phase" that a lot of people go through when they look for other ways to make money outside their job... Then they either quit when they realize it takes a LOT more work than they thought, or they quit and start a real business.

    I know that was the case for me.

    I was approached by a sales rep of an MLM company who tried recruiting me and I got sucked into it because well... it sounded like it would be more promising than my job, and that I could take more control over my income.

    But then reality sunk in and I saw all the faults of the MLM business model. (I'm not going to get into it here and start a debate...)

    But long story short I woke up and realized wow, it would be much easier to just start a real business and pay people to work for me than to run around trying to recruit people into my downline...

    At this point MLM is just a fun and whacky memory that my friends and I joke about (because of course I called every single person I knew and tried recruiting them.)

    Last thing I'll leave you with:

    If you're in an MLM, you don't own your own business... You're simply an independent SALES REP for the company and you earn a commission. You're also bound to the "rules and regulations" of the company.

    ...Alright I'm sick of talking about MLM's already I'm going to stop now before this gets out of hand :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by InternetBusinessVelocity View Post

      But then reality sunk in and I saw all the faults of the MLM business model.
      There are advantages to it, too. The thing is, most of us go into it looking for how it fits into our own vision of how a business ought to work, and MLM doesn't work unless you approach it in a radically different way. But if you approach it that way - and you're okay with developing the skills and habits that go along with having that kind of business - it can work very well indeed.

      Warriors don't tend to want that kind of business, so it's just not really that appropriate for most of us. But it's not because the model is flawed or unethical or broken; it's just because the model doesn't work the way we want it to work.
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      "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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      • Profile picture of the author sownsow
        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

        There are advantages to it, too. The thing is, most of us go into it looking for how it fits into our own vision of how a business ought to work, and MLM doesn't work unless you approach it in a radically different way. But if you approach it that way - and you're okay with developing the skills and habits that go along with having that kind of business - it can work very well indeed.

        Warriors don't tend to want that kind of business, so it's just not really that appropriate for most of us. But it's not because the model is flawed or unethical or broken; it's just because the model doesn't work the way we want it to work.
        This was the most intelligent remark that I have read in this entire thread. People HATE MLM because they expect it to be a lottery ticket and it is not. You have to work on yourself to be successful in MLM. MLM is very simple work, however it is also very demanding mentally. SALES is the HIGHEST PAID hardwork in the world.... and the LOWEST PAYING easy work.
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    • Profile picture of the author Giftys
      Originally Posted by InternetBusinessVelocity View Post

      I feel like MLM is a "phase" that a lot of people go through when they look for other ways to make money outside their job... Then they either quit when they realize it takes a LOT more work than they thought, or they quit and start a real business.
      That sounds like half the IM'ers in here. :p
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  • Profile picture of the author FivestarHB
    I think this is a really good question. I have been there done that, and focussing (and making mroe money) with IM. However, I still have that niggling thought (from the deep recesses imprinted in my mind about 5 years ago) that recurring product purchase means recurring income. any way, will still steer clear, having lots of fun with IM.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    There are from time to time, but they always seem to evolve into an argument between those that think it's good, and those that don't...as this thread surely will head...lots of "but you don't know what real MLM is" VS "i've been into MLM and they took my soul"
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff_Gardner
    I've been involved in network marketing consistently for the past 25 years (since I was 15) and I just look at it as an additional income stream. For example, 90% of my income comes from my own products, JV's, etc. - but about 10% comes from income from a few MLM's I'm involved with. In one I joined last year, I have an organization I built of over 6,000 distributors - using only my IM and DRM skills. (I ignore the "warm market" and "face-to-face")

    I don't have an issue with MLM - as its just another delivery method. I think where I see people having problems is when they jump in because of the lure of "making money from someone else" - when, in reality, most of your "someone elses" won't do anything. If you don't have the marketing chops yourself, you're not going to make it in MLM.

    Personally, I only get involved in MLM's if I see that the product is unique - and fits my marketing/business goals. If I feel like I'd still promote it to my clients - even if the MLM part was gone (and there's money in doing so, above every other similar option), then I'll join.

    It's an industry you can make great money in, IF you have an understanding of how it really works - and (my opinion) if you use it as an extra income stream, not a primary one.

    Best,
    Jeff
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  • Having been a MLM junkie and a co-owner of an MLM I think the main problem is keeping a downline together. Despite best intentions most people won't actively market the products or programs.

    Yes you can build "replicatable systems" but at the end of the day the model is relationship oriented and most people won't proactively pick-up the phone and reach out to others an in their isolation they quit. As their sponsors see the downline shrinking they bail for greener pastures, eventually the company dies. Once that momentum is lost its almost impossible for a company to recover.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven W Johnson
      Wow! It took barely 20 posts to collect:

      MLM is just a fun and whacky memory
      I admit to having those!

      I think a lot of people are introduced to IM via MLM
      bingo - not for any devious reason other than the tens of millions who have tried - and quit. however, the opposite is true too.

      I've talked with two that do MLM
      there are many 6-figure and 7-figure network pros lurking here (I know plenty), but they do NOT wear that biz model on their sleeve, for reasons quite obvious from this thread.

      I find it unsustainable because the products aren't very good
      a decades-old dilemma - since the MLM "segment" (I hate calling it an industry) is over 50% wellness niche (nutrition, weight loss, personal care, etc), it struggles to find a balance between profit margins, product innovation, customer and distributor retention, and government regulation

      - I avoid MLM's like the plague

      - Most Warriors are heavily anti-MLM

      - would be no confirmation nor denial as to any admission of guilt
      check, check, and triple-check. IN PARTICULAR in North America, where the tiered comp model is nearly 70 years old, the undercurrent is one of mistrust, apprehension, pop culture about "that pathetic amway distributor", etc etc

      A little food for thought:

      This model has gone through four waves, and is on the verge of a fifth.

      Wave One: The Belly-to-belly local recruiting paradigm. This actually remains the most practiced approached today. It was practically the ONLY way to do the business for 1/2 century (hence, it's resilience, even to this day - lots of people know how)

      Wave Two: The advent of a. the personal computer and b. big iron (IBM mainframes) in the companies that facilitated the arrival of company-to-customer and company-to-distributor direct shipment (instead of that wonderful Amway product garage model of the 40's through 80's)

      Wave Three: The 1990's saw the demise of the giant telecoms, the breakup of Ma Bell, and cheaper long distance, precipitating the rise of the telecom MLM, and the "phone burner" crowd who used MLM geneology lists to call 200 to 300 previous MLMers DAILY and built large NATIONWIDE organizations because of the new tech.

      Wave Four: Beginning in the early to mid 2000-2010 decade, a small group of authors begin to publish a new approach - now largely dubbed "attraction marketing" in which the old "swoop a butterfly net over any unsuspecting 18+ year old who is breathing" model was traded in in favor of what one of them referred to as "Teaching Sells" (Ann Sieg - the Renegade Marketer) - ONLY achievable thanks to the ever-growing wide scale penetration of broadband Internet, which enabled social media marketing (first myspace, then later facebook, twitter, linkedin, and including older technologies such as this forum) and VIDEO marketing, which was a dream come true for the aspiring attraction marketer - suddenly, they literally had the equivalent of their own FREE television station. Toss in advanced attraction tactics familiar to the IM crowd such as professional autoresponders, article marketing, blogging, webinars, and....well, you get the picture - the few early adopters had the tools they needed to literally CRUSH everyone else who hadn't built a huge organization already. Today, these types are still setting records and honing their (mostly misunderstood) Wave 4 model.

      What is Wave five? Here's a hint - a hybrid approach that includes IM, MLM, direct sales, affiliate marketing, digital product dev, personal branding and more, all tightly integrated into an evergreen traffic/lead generation approach that functions on near-complete autopilot (even the ordertaking/closing function is often outsourced)

      Why monetize one's classic IM skills with this "icky" Bernie Madoff compensation approach? Short answer - LEVERAGE - virtually all the tech leverage still applies (bots, scripts, etc), talent leverage of a different stripe (all independent owners - no messy employees) - not really any different than building a massive affiliate team, except if done right, it can be FAR MORE LOYAL - many friends have simply moved their entire organization from one biz to the next, barely missing an income beat if the mlm goes poof. And finally, the icing on the cake: social media leverage - arguably the least understood of all 3.

      One other concept: as far back as the 1970's, I remember BIG network marketers who admitted that they earned up to 2/3 of their income from teaching (books, tapes - in those days, seminars, speaking fees) and only 1/3 from their commission checks. That has NOT really changed - the ultra-successful are performing the classic IM info-product teaching function to make most of their money - and participating in the MLM or MLMs serves the function of providing the requisite info product social proof - a means to an end... oh, and if done properly, that yummy residual cash flow that has always been so elusive for most.
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      • Profile picture of the author nickjoselle
        Been in multiple mlms over the years. I love the idea of exponential income growth, but always end up at the same conclusion: Most of them have inflated prices in order to pay their distributors.

        My acid test: would i buy this product if there was no income opportunity associated with it?

        Rare (but not impossible) to find such a company/product....
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        • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
          I've been around a few MLM's. My parents were in Amway when I was young. (I have no idea if they actually made any money.)

          My dad also tried to get involved in an MLM called The Tax People -- an outfit that tried to save you money on your taxes. I don't know anything about taxes and it felt scammy to me.

          Ironically, my dad is a very successful businessman, self-employed his whole life as a flooring contractor. He's NOT naive or stupid. So the venture with THAT MLM was a little weird. Very out of character for him.

          I personally was involved in Herbalife for a while, in the very beginning of my business ventures at a very young age. I never made any money and wasn't particularly interested in the products either. (Wonder why I didn't make any money...)

          In my experience, most MLMs are scammy, although I can't say they're ALL a scam. Companies like Amway and Herbalife have been around a long time and seem to be legitimate.

          When I finally educated myself thoroughly about starting my own business and figured out what I wanted to do, I stayed far, FAR away from MLMs. Even if they're legitimate, they just "feel" scammy to me.

          BUT... I determined IF I were to ever get involved with an MLM again (NOT likely!), I have three major rules. (Aside from it being a legitimate company that's been around awhile.)

          1. I MUST be able to make a good living just retailing the products. The bulk of my income (or potential income) CANNOT come just from recruiting and building a "downline."

          Having the bulk of my income come from just recruiting and NOT product sales just seems unethical to me, even if it's not technically illegal. I just can't ethically sell a biz op to someone else if all of my money has come from recruiting. Otherwise, I feel like I'm not being honest.

          2. I will NOT try to sell to "friends and family." They can NOT be my primary market. In other words, I need to treat the business like a business and leave my family alone. I need to MARKET it like a business and get legitimate leads elsewhere. I'm not hitting up my friends and family -- no way, no how, no sir!

          3. I MUST get proper training.

          Most MLMs do a horrible job at training their people. And most people getting involved in MLMs are HORRIBLE at business ANYTHING! They don't behave or treat their "business" in a business-like manner. And MLM-speak ("downline", "upline," "commission," etc.) is grossly unprofessional and makes people run the other way.

          So I decided I WILL get proper training and I will NOT behave/speak in MLM-fashion.

          The good news is that I discovered a GREAT resource for training for MLM: Dani Johnson of Secret Millionaire fame.

          I'd never heard of her until I saw her on Secret Millionaire. But the show never said how she made her millions. So I started digging around online and found that she'd made her first million in MLM. (Further digging said it was in Herbalife, though I'm not sure if that's accurate.)

          She now has books, courses, and seminars (DaniJohnson.com) teaching others how to make money in the "home-based business industry", a euphemism for MLM.

          I have several of her products and they are truly phenomenal! I've been tremendously impressed and if I ever DID get back into MLM at any time, I'd go to her for training. Actually, her stuff applies to any type of business, but it's really geared to MLM businesses, specifically all of the objections, fears, and negativity MLMers face.

          Seriously... If you're at all interested or involved in MLM, check her out. She's genuine and the real deal. I'm not in MLM and I've got nothing to sell you. I've just been tremendously impressed and this recommendation comes from the heart.

          The best part of her training is that her approach comes from total integrity and takes away the "ick" factor in MLM. If I ever decided to do MLM, I could do it confidently after going through so much of her training.

          Hope that helps!

          Michelle
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          • Profile picture of the author Steven W Johnson
            That's a very good 3-part criteria, Michelle! In fact, a relatively-obscure sub-class of the direct sales world (of which MLM comprises one part) does precisely what your first point aspires to - earning 5-figures monthly and in rare cases, even 6-figures monthly purely from promoting the product.

            That said, you are NOT compensated in MLM for selling products - you are compensated for recruiting an entire organization who use and/or sell the product. It is really no different than if IBM corp or some other multinational charged you with recruiting, training, and totally supporting a worldwide reseller channel for their product line. The only difference is that your recruits are totally independent, and NOT employees like corporate America would be (even outside sales reps on 100% commission are still employees for the most part)

            As for training, you are dead on. But this is only logical. If the MLM company DID know how to sell and market its own product, why would they bother engaging an independent distribution channel? They could just hire inhouse. After 3 decades in the biz, I still chuckle at the pathetic attempts most companies embark upon to "train" their distributors - usually about the next product they are adding - rarely about what they are really paying them to do...

            Lastly, there is just WHO is joining these opps in the first place? Mostly W-2 employees, with day jobs, little biz experience, little stomach for risk, few (if any) closing skills, few (if any) Internet Marketing skills. And then there is the SHOCK and OUTRAGE that 95% fail? It's almost hilarious if it weren't so sad.

            Here's the sneaky little secret behind marketing an MLM online - it's a novel little marketing trick, practiced by the biggest businesses on the planet (but not MLM). It's called TARGETED RECRUITING - akin to targeted marketing. It is deadly powerful, if you get it right. Unfair advantage stuff.
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            • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
              Originally Posted by Steven W Johnson View Post

              That's a very good 3-part criteria, Michelle!
              Why thank you sir!


              Originally Posted by Steven W Johnson View Post

              That said, you are NOT compensated in MLM for selling products - you are compensated for recruiting an entire organization who use and/or sell the product. It is really no different than if IBM corp or some other multinational charged you with recruiting, training, and totally supporting a worldwide reseller channel for their product line. The only difference is that your recruits are totally independent, and NOT employees like corporate America would be (even outside sales reps on 100% commission are still employees for the most part)
              Ok, let me modify that one teensy, weensy, little bit:

              I'd want my recruits to also be retail clients. Period. No recruiting of non-users and never-gonna-use-the-product suspects. Anything else is just scammy, period.

              Originally Posted by Steven W Johnson View Post

              As for training, you are dead on. But this is only logical. If the MLM company DID know how to sell and market its own product, why would they bother engaging an independent distribution channel? They could just hire inhouse. After 3 decades in the biz, I still chuckle at the pathetic attempts most companies embark upon to "train" their distributors - usually about the next product they are adding - rarely about what they are really paying them to do...
              Very true.

              However, I disagree a bit with your view on this. Yes, the company saves HUGE sums by "hiring" independent contractors. But by using this home-biz model instead of the employer-employee biz model, they get the incredible power of duplication that they wouldn't have otherwise.

              I guess it's a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg...

              Originally Posted by Steven W Johnson View Post

              Lastly, there is just WHO is joining these opps in the first place? Mostly W-2 employees, with day jobs, little biz experience, little stomach for risk, few (if any) closing skills, few (if any) Internet Marketing skills. And then there is the SHOCK and OUTRAGE that 95% fail? It's almost hilarious if it weren't so sad.
              TOTALLY agree here!

              This is what I meant when I said Mom 'n Pops with NO business experience/sense joining MLMs. In fact, I was downright embarrassed by some of my "associates" in these companies. They weren't people I'd normally associate with, personally OR professionally.

              Which reminds me...

              If I ever joined another MLM company, I'd virtually demand (if possible) to be put under one of their most successful people, one who took the time and responsibility to train their people. I don't want a wannabe as my recruiter/trainer.

              I'd take the business SERIOUSLY and be COMMITTED. I'd expect the same of the person above me.

              I'd even go so far as calling company headquarters to get that person's name so I could join under them.

              Originally Posted by Steven W Johnson View Post

              Here's the sneaky little secret behind marketing an MLM online - it's a novel little marketing trick, practiced by the biggest businesses on the planet (but not MLM). It's called TARGETED RECRUITING - akin to targeted marketing. It is deadly powerful, if you get it right. Unfair advantage stuff.
              Yep!

              But you and I know that from our business training. Most MLMers have NO clue about target marketing (or target recruiting) and their companies don't teach it.

              Michelle
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              • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
                And as an aside, apropos of nothing...

                If I ever DO make a huge success of myself in business (which I hope to do), I'd love to dabble in and make a success of being in some MLM company or other just for the heck of it.

                Just to be able to say "I did it!" and know that I could do it in that industry, both for myself and for all of those who fail again and again in MLM.

                It would never be a big thing in my life, just something to say "So there!" first to myself (and all of my MLM fears, doubts, failures and negativity) and to everyone else with all of THEIR MLM fears, doubts, failures and negativity. :p

                Michelle
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  • Profile picture of the author AceOfShirts
    Although I have never written it down, Nightengale's 3 criteria are something I have looked for in a Network Marketing company.

    I finally found one (the first link in my sig) that I am having success with.

    My question to other IMers is:

    Do you think there is a difference between a MLM/Network Marketing company and a "multi-tier" affiliate program?

    The program I joined and mentioned does not have a startup fee and there is no monthly purchases or autoships. Since I don't make money by recruiting people and getting money from their startup fees and monthly purchases, does that make it not an MLM? and just a multi-tier affiliate program?

    The product is not over priced, in fact it's free and will save the customer money on a service they are already using. The customer doesn't have to recruit anyone to get it free either, but they can and make more money.

    Does the product being free make it not an MLM?
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Ace Of Shirts View Post

      Do you think there is a difference between a MLM/Network Marketing company and a "multi-tier" affiliate program?
      I think there is, more in reality than in theory, perhaps. Products sold with a multi-tier affiliate program (with/without forced continuity) have a genuine, retail end-user who isn't "only involved for the business opportunity".

      Some MLM products do ... but many don't, in reality. And eventually, that can cause legal/regulatory problems. (Please note that I'm not for a moment suggesting that MLM in itself is intrinsically illegal - I know better than that!).

      Originally Posted by Ace Of Shirts View Post

      Since I don't make money by recruiting people and getting money from their startup fees and monthly purchases, does that make it not an MLM? and just a multi-tier affiliate program?
      This is a simple, straightforward, factual question. Either it's registered and licensed (and regulated) as an MLM company, or it isn't. The company's Compliance Department will answer that clearly and unambiguously in half a second. (And if they can't, you have a real problem there!).

      Originally Posted by Ace Of Shirts View Post

      Does the product being free make it not an MLM?
      No; it isn't relevant.

      An "MLM" is simply a network marketing company in which at least some of the commissions earned on sales of the company's products/services are divided between multiple levels - those are the four key words that differentiate, in the language of regulators and courts, between "network marketing companies" (broader category) and "MLM companies" (narrower category).

      The two terms "network marketing" and "MLM" are NOT interchangeable, as so many of its lesser-informed participants mistakenly believe.

      At least, that's the approximate legal definition in most places - Northern America, almost all of Europe, most of the far East, India, South Africa and Australasia, anyway.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steven W Johnson
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        An "MLM" is simply a network marketing company in which at least some of the commissions earned on sales of the company's products/services are divided between multiple levels

        Well said, Alexa! But there IS a distinction to consider between a traditional multi-tier compensation vehicle cast in the tradition and culture of the MLM world that has existed over the past 70 years, and one put out by an Internet Marketer who chooses to use a 2TAS (2-tier affiliate system) or even a 3TAS (3-tier) instead of the more traditional (Amazon) single tier, which remains in vogue in no small part because of prejudices among the payment gates (2Checkout and Paypal come to mind)

        IMers who follow a multi-tier model generally forgo any real discussion with their affiliates about how to recruit and support a team - preferring to let the chips fall where they may, and perhaps, to some extent "piggybacking" and/or leveraging the general public's understanding of the power of the multi-tier model (thanks in part to so many trying and failing at MLMs??)
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven W Johnson
          If you'll permit me to pontificate on some of the many reasons the vast majority of MLM initiates fail, perhaps a few of these can also be applied to the IM biz model:

          1. No real decision to make a serious go of it.

          2. ZERO understanding of the logic behind the model.

          3. Scared of their own shadow (no taste for inviting) (note: contrary to popular belief, MLM is not a business of selling, but one of inviting.)

          4. Rotten demographics (they live in a pre-modern village of 600, in the wrong country, with no Internet or phone system)

          5. Poor Internet skills - this forces people into the traditional WGL/NFL behaviors of the past 1/2 century (warm group list / no friends left) - these still work - they're just incredibly painful, stressful, and time-consuming - as the TV ad says - many will try, few will win.

          6. Poor language skills (both written and verbal) - at the end of the day, it's ALL about mastery of the language

          7. Personality challenges (abrasive, anger management, greedy, small thinking, hungry)

          8. No real story, insufficient story, or rotten story

          9. No automated sales funnel (these must be external to and independent of the company, they must be high-converting, they must be custom-branded - to the individual rep, and, like any IM tool, they must be tracked and tweaked constantly for maximum effectiveness)

          10. No clue how to operate a professional followup strategy (this one failing is not owned by the MLM world, but is widespread among all people who deal with customers or clientele, in all industries, online or brick and mortar)
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          • Profile picture of the author Kay King
            I started out online in MLM and did it for three years.

            It was a company that had been around a long time (still is around), it was interesting as I was new to computer and to earning online.

            I did well - didn't know it was supposed to be hard. I built two training sites to help those in my downline and this particular mlm has some good products.
            I was making money by my second month and the income increased from there. Was on the top 10 or top 20 list of sellers for the company almost every month by my second year. I had a great mentor above me and the company offers some good, if general, training.

            BUT - here's why I quit:

            1. The average person with no work/business experience has no clue what to do. Some of those under me were working really hard and I could see they didn't have a chance to move ahead. It bothered me.

            2. I was making four figures a month but every time I started making real money, the payment structure of the company changed and I had to make adjustments to regain my income. This was happening on average every ten months.

            3. The limitations of working to build a company busienss - rather than my own business - finally sunk into my feeble brain. I quit working the business and started giving all my own signups to those in my downline. The money kept coming in (isn't that the big promise) but was less every month. When it became a trickle, I dropped my upgrade and got out.

            The people who make big bucks in mlm do this:

            They have an internet presence and business that is visible and profitable - then they LEAD their followers into an MLM program.

            Good example: Rich Jerk had a book that got buzz everywhere (more from the name and attitude than from anything else) - and after a while he went into mlm. There's money in doing it that way - not much money if you start from the getgo.

            kay
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  • I tried MLM with AmWay for about 5 mintues (LOL) a few years ago. A friend of mine had been in the business for years and was trying desperately to recruit me...so I caved and went to the meeting.

    The speakers results were astonishing and I almost...ALMOST fell for it. Until they started talking about how much product I'd have to buy monthly and how I had to contact friends and family...I immediately knew this wasn't the gig for me.

    And I was able to see why my friend never made any real money. He wasn't surrounded by people who were willing or had the money to purchase the products. And none of the people he associated himself with (except for me) were business minded.

    In our area, people love to go to Walmart and Dollar General for household supplies and never buy in bulk. And you couldn't convince them otherwise.

    Plus, the money wasn't in the products...it was in recruiting people to pass off the opportunity.

    And because he doesn't understand that, he is always chasing the opportunity...poor soul...
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  • Profile picture of the author I.M.Retired
    Here's what the late, great Gary Halbert had to say about MLM:

    The Gary Halbert Letter
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  • Profile picture of the author davesmlmtips
    I'm one of those oddballs that doesn't just do MLM, but actually make a lot of money at it.

    I build a business with more than one dimension though, I sell MLM systems, tools, build a business (successfully) and also make a lot of money in Affiliate marketing.

    I'll tell you, there is a few primary disadvantages of MLM, and a few incredible advantages.

    Disadvantage: No matter what anyone says, all MLM compensation plans stink. (even the good ones) What I mean is - you need a zillion people to make any REAL residual income - any appearance of big income with a small group is actually a result of 'up front' money, NOT residuals, like is usually claimed.

    (normally you're looking at a team of about 2,000 people to earn a piddly $10,000 a month, sometimes more - not the case with all, but most)

    Also, MLM is much harder to sell than information - just take the same idea - and on one hand, try to sell an 'opportunity' and then on the other, try to sell a 'how to succeed with the opportunity'. You can sell the how to for twice as much, keep all the profit, and it's at least three times easier to sell.

    That's about it for the disadvantages. All of the rest of them are just due to not understanding the industry or how to do it properly.

    The advantages of MLM:

    1. You can get a large group of people fanatically promoting a product for a LONG, long time - it's very, very difficult to do that in almost any other kind of 'marketing' industry. Usually, to continue to build an IM business, you have to be a constant source of innovation (not always true - but usually). If you build MLM properly, it is almost entirely self sustaining in promotion.

    2. MLM people buy more 'how to' products than anyone I've ever seen. So if you ACTUALLY produce results that are abnormal (I've sponsored over 2,500 people in the last 12 months, which is abnormal) you can sell an unbelievable amount of info products to teach people to do stuff, both inside and outside your organization - and the 'MLM fanaticism' creates the best repeat customers I've had in any kind of business.

    There are a few more advantages and disadvantages - I think most of the disadvantages actually come from people not understanding marketing, and wandering around hitting up people on Facebook - or in Wal-Mart, to make $10.

    If you mix MLM with marketing and info product sales, it's a magical combination when done properly. Just my two cents.

    -Dave Wood
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    • Profile picture of the author AceOfShirts
      [DELETED]
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      • Profile picture of the author davesmlmtips
        Yes, Ace of Shirts - I'm not knocking the residuals from MLM - merely explaining how many people it takes to make tiny residual income - what I didn't explain, though, is:

        100 customers in a proper sales funnel will make $10,000 a month anyways.

        I've proven this, by earning from $3,000-$5,000 per day with an inbound lead flow of of only 30-50 leads per day.

        So what I'm saying is - develop the residual income - just don't ignore marketing.
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        • Profile picture of the author AeroBuilders
          I decided to do BodyByVi (ViSalus Sciences) after dropping 35 lbs in under 60 days and getting my health back (lowered blood pressure which I needed to do since I am a rated Pilot). I do BodyByVi very very part time with the wife and we do several thousand a month so not bad. If I really worked it full time I am sure we could do a lot better, but I am a full time Futures/Forex trader and that is what I spend most of my time with during the week.

          I am actually transitioning into some new Aviation projects I am lining up (building a new LSA Kitplane) so I will just stick to part time with the MLM side income.
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          Seeking JV partners for Forex Trading products

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          • Profile picture of the author onesan
            I see a lot of people jumping in thinking they'll make tons of money off other people that will work for them. The truth is MLM is not as easy as it sounds, there's a lot of work involved and that's way the majority of people that are trying MLM are ending up in a failure and even with some debts.
            On the other hand I see people making money by teaching others how to MLM. The odd thing is, if they're making so much money with MLM why are they willing to sell their secrets? The answer is they need more people joining MLM, otherwise the initial ones will not make that much money. So, in a way, it works like a pyramid: the first people in the business will make the most money from commissions of others that join, while those that join the boat too late won't be able to make money from commissions because there won't be that many new people to be referred to. Not that you wouldn't be able to make money on your own, I'm just saying it will be harder to get new affiliates into MLM to make money for you.
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          • Profile picture of the author Jacob Hargreave
            MLM put a bad taste in my mouth from the beginning. So as a general rule I don't participate in them or any business with a similar model. I think if I explain my story a bit you will understand where I am coming from exactly.

            From a very young age I always had an eye for business. Coming from a blue collar middle class family this of course was frowned on. However I often found myself fixated on the idea of owning my own business.

            In my teens I was introduced to my first MLM, If memory serves it was what is now called Amway. A friend of a friend gave me a presentation, and looking at the system I thought "This is all wrong, how does anyone make any kind of money?".

            My close friends ended up playing a part, however I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch their progress...which was nothing. However the friend doing the presentation still works the program.

            Stemming from Amway we ran into a travel company. My first impression of it was "This is do able but it must be pulled off correctly". It was a very high price to become part of the business which again set off a red flag in my business mind. $500 would get me domain, hosting, a great website, and enough left over to build a list in less than a week. This $500 got me a generic affiliate link and a package that didn't tell me anything on how to promote...however joining was my second mistake.

            My first mistake with this program was joining with friends. For those that are new...Never get into business with a friend, because it genuinely brings out the worst in them and you. Note the following points.

            • Every conversation is about business: I don't know about any of you but if all you want to talk about is business while I am trying to relax. You just might find yourself bound and duct taped to a bus stop.
            • Greed over takes you or them: You friends start to look like ATM machines. Which causes them to migrate away from you.
            • They become manipulative: They will try to make you feel like crap if you blow them off too many times. This is how most people earn their first dollar.
            • They stay this way: This is the worst. Your friend is no longer the person you knew. Instead they are an annoying salesmen that has 24 hour access to you and your family. Pardon my french but its #$%^ing annoying.
            • There are those that want to do too much and those that want to do nothing. This is just going to piss everyone off.

            Now not to say all MLM is bad but success in it is solely dependent on your approach to it. It's not for beginners or veterans in my opinion and experts don't need to do it because they know there are other effective ways to make more and do less.

            Through my eyes it's simply not a real business. Now I know that may sound harsh but my vision of a real business is not the following:

            • Trying to recruit whoever you can as fast as you can
            • Where your income relies on how long your "down line" stays signed up
            • Going to meeting in hotel conference rooms talking about "how great" the business is with no real or contributing content.
            • Sub par marketing training
            • A crappy looking affiliate link that costs you $50 per month
            • The list goes on trust me so i'll stop here.
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            Jacob Hargreave at your service...

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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan2525
    Originally Posted by DebbieD View Post

    I just saw a question about mlm posted here. That got me interested - Do many people on WF do mlm / network marketing stuff? (I don't)

    Many things like e-mail marketing/list building, creating a sales funnel and using automation apply to both IM and mlm.
    It's all marketing but most people are IM's here.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aubaine
    I remember when I put up my first post right after I got laid off asking for suggestions and listed some things I was interested in. I was approached by numerous ppl that are MLMers (bc I expressed some interest *GASP*) All were good ppl, but I don't think that I would like to put in all that work and then find out how easily I could do my own stuff and make more money. So I drifted from the ideas that were presented, but I'm definitely not anti MLM!
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    Anthony R. Smith
    Marketing | Socialaire Group
    www.socialairegroup.com

    An antonym for ambitious is 'easy'.

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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      Originally Posted by InternetBusinessVelocity View Post

      ...

      If you're in an MLM, you don't own your own business... You're simply an independent SALES REP for the company and you earn a commission. You're also bound to the "rules and regulations" of the company.

      ...Alright I'm sick of talking about MLM's already I'm going to stop now before this gets out of hand :-)
      MLM works...

      ...but not the way they say it does. It's based basically on people's need for to be part of something bigger, with a large dose of laziness and ignorance.

      First of all, most of the math doesn't add up.

      Secondly, the whole premise might work in a perfect world - in reality it doesn't.

      If you are on top of the food chain, and you really understand business, marketing, and money - it will work for you.

      On the other hand, if you follow what the MLM company tells you, you will fail, big time.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    There's one fundamental issue with MLM which people don't like to talk about.

    See, first of all, think about your downline and your upline. You recruit someone who sells the product and gets paid. You get paid. Your sponsor gets paid. And of course the company up top gets paid.

    Who is paying all those people?

    Surprise! It's the customer. So if Joe Schmoe bought a case of juice for $300 and $250 of it gets paid out in commissions and profit margin, what does that mean?

    Why, it means Joe could probably have gotten that case of juice for under $75 if he just hadn't bought it from an MLM company.

    All MLM products are by nature luxury, premium, and status products.

    Because that is pretty much the only way you can sell something for several times what it is actually worth. (Unless, of course, you are selling them to an idiot. Which is a valid strategy, and works better than you would think... but it doesn't scale.)

    So what does that mean about how you have to sell them? What does it mean about who is going to buy them? Who do you have to be if you're going to go up to people and sell them premium, luxury, and status products?

    Now that you know what that means about the products, what does that mean about whom you should be recruiting into your downline?

    If you've failed at MLM in the past, do you now understand why?

    The reality of all business models is that they can be made to work if you just understand what they are and how they can work. And once you grasp that, you can look at the problems you've had in the past and say "well, DUH."
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    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by AuthenticHealthCoaching View Post

      It's definitely NOT true that MLM products are only luxury products...
      You're right. But if you expect to sell them, you have to be able to explain to your customer why he is paying 20 times as much for this product. And "I get a big fat commission" is not particularly convincing to most consumers. So you have to explain that this product is special.

      And if you can't do that with a particular MLM company's product, that MLM sucks and you should work with a different one.
      Signature
      "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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  • I started with MLM in college and became financially free with that. I just recently started IM 6 months ago, but the two do go well together if you do it right.

    It's definitely NOT true that MLM products are only luxury products... It's also not true that you need a high price product to be able to pay 50% + for paying independent distributors.

    Look at pharmaceutical companies, they spend MORE than 50% of their budget on marketing, and that's after the supposedly enormous R&D costs.

    It's very common for most retail products that you buy in any retail store to have a 60% or less COGS, and many physical products have a COGS of 30% or less.

    Customers ALWAYS pay for marketing costs. That's how business has ALWAYS worked...

    Think of your email list - you paid something to get them on your list. Guess what? They have to pay to cover your marketing costs (or you would go broke and stop marketing).
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  • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
    Look, the MLM business model is based on lies.

    There is no such thing as good MLM. However, if people want to be deluded... then fine. They have the right to.

    The fact is, if you really have business and marketing skills you don't need MLM (you'll be able to find/manufacture/create your own products as well and have control over them). If you don't MLM won't help you.

    The only way it can work is, (if you're a beginning marketer like most new recruits) if you focus on selling the stuff, or recruiting - not both. Which means that by definition you won't be doing MLM.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven W Johnson
      Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

      The only way it can work is, (if you're a beginning marketer like most new recruits) if you focus on selling
      Excuse me while I beg to differ here. Picture a newbie (to the model, not to the Internet), who somehow manages to hook up with a guide that brings them up to speed FAST in the following arenas:

      • high volume lead generation
      • professional sales funnel design, construction, and testing
      • automated viral growth of social media presence
      • evergreen traffic tactics
      • relentless and professional long-term online AND offline followup
      • web asset farming, including radically complex linking strategies
      • cloaked feeder site arrrays
      • market samurai, xrumer, scrapebox, senukex, link exchgs et al
      • total revenue-independence from success or failure of downline
      • 100% commissionable digital product inventory - high-converting
      • advanced personal branding and viral traffic facilitation team
      Think that newb just MIGHT have a fighting chance?
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  • Profile picture of the author HIPMama
    This is avery interesting question and I'm equally intrigued by the answers. So, I do MLM, and here is why. As an internet marketer, I offer value to others looking to get onto the internet to make money -- usually people are looking to make money selling stuff...affiliate, etc... The methods that I teach are to provide value in how to market on the internet. This attracts MLMr's that are looking to do MLM online. So, it allows me to create even more stream of income. I even have 2 MLM companies that i represent in the even one isn't for the person, there is another option for them. It ends up working great, because the person is bought how to market online and make multiple streams of income, while also attracting MLMr's who are looking to do MLM online.

    I used to be a corporate online marketer for 12 years until I was laid off. I turned to internet to make money to stay home with my kids due to the insane cost of childcare. I found internet marketing and MLM. Decided to take my MLM online and had to figure it out the hard way. Found a great company that had everything I was looking for so I didn't have to build it myself, and voila....I have a thriving internet marketing/mlm business. Weird how it all worked out. My blog isn't awesome like a lot of people, but it provides the value that is need and especially for newbies to the internet.

    Let me know your thoughts on this....new concept...crazy concept? Thanks!
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    From laid off to 363 out of 40,000 on the Empower Network leader board = tons of leads and lots of sales. I'm a work from home mama having the time of my life!

    I Get 100% Commissions!

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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    MLM has a steep learning curve, and is not for those looking for a quick buck, which is why it isn't so well received in IM circles
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  • Profile picture of the author arkhamindustries
    It can be done but it takes a lot more work than a lot of people realize. Oh wait.... Thats just like every other way to make money online!
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  • Profile picture of the author stayhomedads
    When I was a child we always had family reunions. There seemed to be two sides to the family... One side of the family was considered "Normal" average, every day suburbanites. The other side was considered "Crazy", beer drinking, cussing, bare-chested, hillbillies.

    I'm always reminded of those family reunions when people in IM forums talk about MLM or Network Marketing, and vice versa.


    Most of what was said "bad" about MLMs in these comments can apply equally to Internet Marketing. Unfortunately there are "bad apples" in both businesses.

    You have to do your homework, research the company, leadership, product, etc...

    I've lost $1000's in Affiliate marketing and Internet Marketing, same as some have lost $1000's in MLM. I think it all comes down to research and knowing what to look for.

    Above all, do what feels right to you, and will help others.

    If the company is offering a product that helps others achieve their goals, and it is a reasonable price, and there are documented customers who purchase the products, even without being involved in the "opportunity"...

    AND, if you are willing to work hard at it....

    AND, you are willing to be trained and coached...

    ... Then you CAN succeed in MLM. Just like Affiliate / Internet Marketing. As a matter of fact, aren't Affiliate Marketing and MLM like cousins?

    Anyway, I believe anyone, who is trained properly, and willing to do the work, can succeed at either of these opportunities.

    Best of luck to you!
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    Charles Burleigh
    Helping YOU Succeed!
    www.VitalBizTools.com

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  • Profile picture of the author Chicago87
    I have done MLM before as a teen, it is not something I want to do again unless I am the guy at the top collecting all the passive income from the people that are actually doing work at the bottom. =P
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    Nothing for sale. Just trying to learn and help.

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  • Profile picture of the author Manny Derek
    I don't have any idea if there are.... but i guess there are but only few of them.
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  • Profile picture of the author louie6925
    MLM is hard work! I started out doing GDI a few years back, got tons of sign ups but people drop put as quick as they join! I worked hard with my downing to no avail! That experience put me off doing it again! I know GDI isn't the best anyway but in general a lot of work for little return!
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    Feel free to chat if you live in the UK I may have something for you!
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by louie6925 View Post

      I know GDI isn't the best anyway but in general a lot of work for little return!
      Indeed ... it's based on selling services for higher prices than genuine retail customers are willing to pay.

      It's completely see-through: anyone who looks elsewhere at prices can see at a glance that the prices are high because of all the layers of commissions being paid out of them.

      Which means that the services sell mostly to people joining the business opportunity itself rather than to retail customers. Which, in turn, means that there's no attempt at all to comply with the "70% Rule" (US common law) for flagrant breaches of which so many MLM companies have been closed down by state courts over the last decade or so. :rolleyes:

      Personally, I'd urge anyone planning to invest much of their future in this one take some really good and really up-to-date advice from a specialist MLM lawyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    So, we have a FREE world wide web (Thanks CERN!!) + trillions of web users + billions of new searches every year... and people focus on MLM?

    Okidoki...
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    People make good money selling to the rich. But the rich got rich selling to the masses.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidWincent
    Stay away from MLM as possible. I think MLM business is based on lies.
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    Webmaster Studio -A premier web design and internet marketing company in New York.
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  • Profile picture of the author IceMustang
    I was involved in Amway for one year. That was a bigger failure than Subaru's last marketing campaign, and one that still gives me the inside itches to this day. Wouldn't do it again unless I started my own MLM.
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  • Profile picture of the author JCorp
    I personally have not gotten into MLM. I've seen to many who have tried and failed, realizing later on the they were only the base of the pyramid. In addition, I haven't found one with a business model that I like yet, maybe I'll create my own:confused::rolleyes:
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