This is part of an ongoing series on network marketing that will hopefully, eventually, cover everything and cover it as fairly as I can. If you missed the beginning seeDoug Wead, Amway Adventure.
So are MLM’s evil? The short answer to the question is “no.”
People can be evil and their motives can be evil and the way they do things can be evil but MLM’s are not intrinsically, morally wrong in and of themselves. Websites that purport this idea may be good theatre but they are not logical. No major government outlaws MLM’s. The laws that would be needed to do that would have ramifications far beyond the Direct Sales industry and some believe that they would cripple insurance, real estate, car sales and many other industries including a huge number of internet enterprises.
What? But aren’t MLM’s pyramid schemes. No. They do not have infinite payout. A person can earn more than the one who recruits them. And people in the industry are always saying that the biggest earner probably hasn’t yet been recruited. While sometimes luck and circumstances and personality all play a factor in success, and I have seen many fail at a MLM and go onto become very successful in other enterprises, I’ve also seen that rubric proven over and over again throughout the years. Some declare the industry dead and leave it, just as others get in and go right to the top.
But didn’t the British government recently shut down Amway in the U.K.? Yes, but if you will research that story you will see that it was related to the pricing of their products and the promotional system developed by their field to grow their networks. Many other MLM’s operate freely in the U.K.
Are there problems with MLM’s? Sure. Scandals? Yes.
But there are problems and scandals with retailing too. Petland was accused of misrepresenting the origin of their puppies. Burlington Coat Factory was allegedly caught selling fakes.
And there are problems and scandals with manufacturing companies. Chinese toy makers were using deadly lead paint on toys that were marketed to the children of the world. An American peanut manufacturer was overlooking the issue of contaminated peanut butter to keep their profits flowing uninterrupted.
Hey, there are even, occasionally problems and scandals with banks, hedge funds, NBA referees, Olympic ice skating judges, the medical system, the law, the courts, university admissions, and, oh this will be hard to believe, but even with the government of the United States itself. Noooooo.
There are even – get this – problems and scandals with sites that attack MLM’s for being unethical. I don’t know how accurate they are about other things, but sites such as MLM Survivor, Scoop – New Zealand, Glenn Hauman and others have published false stories about me and kept them on the web for years, refusing to correct them. (See Doug Wead, Amway Adventure.)
Now, there are indeed problems in MLM-land and in future posts I will get into what can go wrong but if you are getting your information from sites that declare that all MLM’s are evil all the time, well, it is sort of like visiting those odd ball sites that insist Barack Obama is not really a U. S. citizen. It may make the angry partisan, person feel good for a moment but it is not going to change reality.
Pronouncing MLM’s as evil and retailing virtuous is kind of like saying that multiplication is bad but addition is okay.
For the next in the series see Glenn Hauman and lies on the internet
And after that there is Amway and the Tools