Talk:Multilevel marketing

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I had[edit]

I had to create the category:Business for this. All hail our first business article! But what on earth is it doing here at RW? Seems like a decent enough article, but is it RW territory? DogP 16:08, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

I guess it's all a question of interpretation. I used to complain about this but later decided that fighting subject creep was like pushing water uphill. Somebody can always figure out why it should be included.--Bobbing up 16:22, 17 March 2008 (EDT)
I think this fits the mission of refuting crank ideas inasmuch as multilevel marketing is often a cover for pyramid schemes, and often markets items of dubious utility such as alternative medicine products. Secret Squirrel 16:23, 17 March 2008 (EDT)
SS - pyramid schemes and MLM are not the same thing. Many pyramid schemes claim to be MLM, which is where the confusion arises, but non sequitur. This article seems to be about pyramid schemes, for example - "cut of the sales from every member of their downline" - a no, clearly that's unsustainable. MLMs don't even do that in theory, pyramid schemes do. "MLM developed in a largely rural environment" - nope, started in the California. Solvency - same as any business, product sales. It's pyramids that make money through recruiting, not MLM. You seem to have done little more than rehash VanDruff's drivel.— Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
Bunchanumbers, you'll have to take it up with the authors of this article, since I didn't write it. Heck, didn't even edit it. I do take partial responsibility for the Amway article though :) Secret Squirrel 21:03, 9 February 2009 (EST)

Good enough for me. I like it! But is 'Business' really the correct category for it? Go ahead and re-cat it if you like. DogP 16:28, 17 March 2008 (EDT)

Proposed new text[edit]

Youlovedave proposed the following text:

The MLM business structure is most similar to that of a franchise, in that an individual can pay a startup fee to become an independent contractor for the brand company. Aside from being an independent contract, or business owner, representing the company and being able to sell the product or service themselves, the individual also has the opportunity to bringing other people into their team (downline) to do the same. The original person (upline) usually gets an override on the newer person's production, as well as the production on anybody they bring onboard. Because of this business structure, MLM companies have been largely (and incorrectly) confused with pyramid schemes. So what's the difference?

The main difference between a pyramid scheme and a MLM company is simple, pyramid schemes are illegal. Many MLM companies like Amway, Herbalife, and Melaleuca, are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and undergo stringent regulations from state and government entities to verify the legitimacy of the companies.

Another major difference is that in a legitimate MLM company, it should be possible to make a living in the company without having to recruit a single person.

As stated before, most MLM companies have a startup cost (usually no more than $100-$200), sometimes referred to as an "administration fee", a "startup cost", a "background check" or any other name, it's basically a one time cost to get the individual into the companies system and plugged into all the back office and support supplied by the company. This is another reason MLM are sometimes confused with pyramid schemes. However, unlike a pyramid schemes, in an MLM, the upline usually doesn't make any money off of a downline signing up, only the production the downline produces. So in MLM, it's essential to the success of everybody involved that the emphasis be on selling the goods or services provided.

This seems a lot more MLM-friendly than is warranted. Even the wikipedia article is more critical than this. Youlovedave, would you care to propose smaller changes / identify areas you think are problematic in the current article? --SpecialFFrog (talk) 17:56, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

I agree and as one of the people who spent a lot of time making the wikipedia article what it is, I hold to the idea presented by Timi Ogunjobi in his book SCAMS that the time of the legitimate MLM is long past. To paraphrase Ogunjobi 'the products of MLMs are either bogus or they are available somewhere else to the public at the time or lesser prices'.--BruceGrubb (talk) 21:36, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

The Structure (edit)[edit]

Rather than: Essentially, the idea is that any given upline collects a cut of the sales from every member of their downline. As a result, it's very much in the interest of the upline to make sure that the downline recruits as heavily as possible, with as deep a pyramid beneath them as possible.

Perhaps: Essentially, there are two ways a distributor can earn money with the multilevel marketing business structure: the distributor makes money by personally selling the good or service offered by the company, and can also build a team of distributors underneath them to also sell the good or service, and earn a percentage, or override, from what their team produces. Because of the emphasis on recruiting and building a team, multilevel marketing is often associated with a pyramid scheme.

--Youlovedave (talk) 18:21, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

You appear to be changing the tone of the article to be more MLM-friendly and don't seem to be interested in other topics. This is slightly suspicious. Is there anything factually wrong with the current article? Is there a reason why this wiki should be less harsh towards it? The wikipedia article isn't notably less critical than the current page here.--SpecialFFrog (talk) 19:07, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
I feel like the tone of the article as it is is extremely MLM-critical. I don't want to make it a sappy love story to MLM, however, I do think there are more good to the business model than the current article would have you believe. Rather than having a mostly pro or mostly con toward the topic, I'd rather see it be a mixture of both sides based on facts about the business model. I just figured with a website called "RATIONALwiki, the articles would be more balanced and objective.--Youlovedave (talk) 19:17, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Drink! |₹Λ¥$€₦₦ Star of David.png Anonymous user!electron BAG FUCK 19:20, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
Have you read RationalWiki:What is a RationalWiki article?? From that page, "A RationalWiki article is not afraid to clearly state that some idea is bullshit." --SpecialFFrog (talk) 19:29, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
My mistake. I thought this website is something that it wasn't. Well, have fun then. Peace.--Youlovedave (talk) 19:43, 24 June 2015 (UTC)
We literally never claim to be anything but biased. --"Paravant" Talk & Contribs 20:17, 24 June 2015 (UTC)

Industry Example Section[edit]

Does anybody think we should add an industry example section? I know that Cosmetics, Fitness, Nutrition, and Insurance seem to use MLM the most. Additionally, online tutoring companies seem to be using an MLM model more and more.Klkevelson (talk) 22:24, 14 October 2015 (UTC)

MLM vs. direct sales[edit]

The article should make more explicit the distinction between direct sales (i.e. the ever increasingly archaic business model) and MLM (the scam). Here and here is something more about the differences, plus some more on how these distinctions have been increasingly blurred by MLM companies joining the Direct Sales Association, taking over it, and describing themselves as "direct sales" when they're clearly not. Faunas (talk) 19:15, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

The problem there is as pointed out on the talk page of wikipedia's article on this matter is that "MLM makes up over 90% of Direct Sales". Some of the pro-MLM "sources" presented for that page were a hoot.--BruceGrubb (talk) 22:12, 22 June 2016 (UTC)


Can we re-categorize this with the "Scam" category? I think it's more specific and descriptive than either of the two category boxes that are there now. Spaceboyjosh (talk) 21:39, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

Video + study on profitability of MLM's[edit]

good video

ftc study

really really useful graph

Fuzzy "Cat" Potato, Jr. (talk/stalk) 02:43, 8 September 2018 (UTC)