This Is Not MLM – What’s Wrong with MLM?

This Is Not MLMAs a lifelong advocate and consumer of alternative healthcare products of all sorts, it wasn’t all that difficult to lure me into Multi-Level Marketing a good number of years ago because it was easy to see that these products typically require more customer education than most.

Actually, my first exposure to MLM was prior to that. It was a brief — and painful — experience MANY years ago during my first marriage.  Yecccch. The worst thing I remember about that period was the hard sell and sometimes manipulative argumentation we were trained to use on friends, relatives, anyone we ever met.

Manipulative as in: “We’ve just discovered this business opportunity and would love for you to tell us what you think, give us your advice.”

Advice, hell. We  wanted their participation and buy-in! I am ashamed to realize I fell for that duplicitous approach back then, and actually tried using it on friends and relatives. Those relationships thankfully survived; my dignity did not.

Fast forward maybe 20 years and a combination of factors helped me believe that MLMs aren’t inherently evil after all, and could even be quite good and beneficial, especially when you have a product that needs so much customer education, as many alternative health products do.

So I got involved with a number over the years. And while they were excellent products, in the main, the “opportunity” wasn’t. I’m not at all sure the founders or top line participants realized it at the time, or even now realize it, but we who people their downlines succeed mainly at one thing: spending our own money to “do the business” on their behalf.

Sound eerily familiar?

I’ve come to understand that whether intentional or not on the part of the company big wigs, the vast majority of MLMs are not beneficial for the vast majority of people who buy into them.

Two events converged to promote the research that led to this epiphany. First I encountered an opportunity that was clearly a pushback on something to do with some MLM somewhere, or the whole genre perhaps, because it’s called ‘This Is Not MLM.” The other, nearly simultaneous, was the particular MLM that it was pushing back on came to my attention in a big way: Empower Network.

Now I hadn’t heard much about Empower Network, but when I started looking into it I was appalled that someone had forced blogging into an MLM business model or “opportunity.”

Ridiculous — that’s what I thought then, and still do.

If you’re not familiar with Empower network, Ana Hoffman at Traffic Generation Cafe, wrote a review that captures the whole problem brilliantly: Why I Gave Empower Network Two Thumbs Down. (And by all means go read the whole post.) She said, in part:

Here’s my new business plan:

I’ll sell you a sub-page at

I’ll make it very easy for you:

  • you won’t have to worry about setting up a new blog (since you are buying a blog within a blog);
  • you won’t have to worry about what your blog looks like (I won’t really give you any choices – there will be only one theme available);
  • you won’t have to worry about any plugins (I’ll make it easy for you – you won’t have any);
  • and I’ll let you customize your new blog with your picture and bio (of course, my picture will remain at the top of YOUR blog, and I am even thinking of taking my shirt off for that one).

I’ll even make you a deal: you’ll get all of the above for the rock-bottom price of $25/month.

Who’s in?

OK, fine; I’ll sweetened the deal – you can resell this awesome opportunity to have a subpage on my blog to your family, friends, and even total strangers.

Sounds like a win-win, don’t you think?

Much more in her review, if you’re interested.

But in my travels and research, I learned that it’s not just Empower Network that’s questionable — it’s the whole MLM structure. So I wrote a report: You Didn’t Fail MLM: MLM Failed YOU!

If you’ve ever been in an MLM, if you’ve ever considered joining one, if you’ve ever quit an MLM in disappointment if not disgust, you will likely find my specal report eye-opening and validating. You’ll see how — intentional or not (and some definitely are) — MLMs are structured in ways that work to ensure your failure.

You can get my free report here: You Didn’t Fail MLM: MLM Failued YOU!





7 Responses to This Is Not MLM – What’s Wrong with MLM?

  1. Great post. Unfortunately because of too much sugar coating from MLM business, such as less work and gazillion profits, many people become irrational and fall in this business type.
    Benny recently posted..Applying the Asset Management for the Business

  2. Pingback: Weekly Marketing Skinny: May 11, 2013

  3. Oh good old EN – are they MLM – I called them a pyramid scheme – because as Ana points out what they offer is of so little value, I don’t think they are selling a product -they are sellling the opportunity to be a member of EN.
    Lis Sowerbutts recently posted..Why Authors Should Use An Email Marketing Service

    • Lis — the opportunity to be a member of EN is their product. LOL. Isn’t that a hoot? But they do give you a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all blog. Nice looking, too, until you’ve seen about 3 of them. After that they’re a gigantic bore.

      And in truth, MLMs are very close to being a pyramid scheme. It depends on how much the MLM depends on internal sales versus external sales. All internal? Probably a pyramid. That, IMO, is one of EN’s biggest problems.

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