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  1. #1
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    the morals of MLM

    I'd really like if this topic didn't stray to far from what I'm trying to get at. Instead of focusing too much on particular companies, I'd just like to focus on the structure or how MLM's operate generally.

    My situation is I'm currently with a company, but I'm not particularly convinced structurally that it is actually selling a "product". And in the end its emphasis is on signing up more people and in the monies are generated on monthly member dues. I've read the recent Melaleuca topic, and I have my share of issues with the company. But the thing I believe it has going for them is it is selling a product to people who want to be a part of the business, and those who like the products. With the company I'm involved with, I do not get the sense the "selling" of the "product" is at the forefront. There are all kinds of opportunities in the future that sound promising, but not the one telling me members are making incomes based on sales other than of bringing other people into the business.

    I do not know if I can continue on in this company. I've gone through this stage a couple times now. But there was something in a conversation with a fellow business associate that struck me. It wasn't anything they said negatively. It just highlighted what I may be involved in. I remember some time ago being at this message board and hearing from an individual who has had some previous experience in them. He or she simply said they believe MLM is wrong. That the structure basically is mostly a using process of bringing people into your organization that places emphasis on the sales of bringing in more and more people.

    He didn't say much about the sales of products, but that is what I'm getting at with illegal pyramids. It just doesn't revolve around the top making all the money, but that illegal pyramids can be defined as selling upon people without a product. Or there is a product, but it just isn't at the forefront of sales. Even if I did extremely well in this business and reached the peak, I'm not sure I could live with the outerlying thought of the strong possibility I am making money off people, the same many people who will likely never reach the goals as the few.

    The people directly above me are good people in terms of they way they have treated me. I'm sure you've heard that line before. On the other side of things, I've had one or two instances where I felt a little less secure with where I'm at. I remember a while ago a person up from me said, and I kid you not, "It's all about leverage." Now I was thinking that maybe that wasn't exactly the best choice of words, or they really didn't know what they were saying. There was another issue within the last couple days that was maybe by accident, but nonetheless penetrating. It was just the way my fellow business associate put the emphasis on bringing in more people under her. I dunno. It was the tone I imagine. Kind of like for a business that is so much about building relationships (as nearly all MLM's state, or atleast I think to purport), it's a kind of funny one that doesn't maybe view them as people first. I dunno. Sales as a slippery slope.

    This person hear talked about "the way they treat one another." And I'm not quite sure where he was going with that as I wasn't given examples.

    I guess in many ways I've made up my mind already. For the benefit of the doubt, I am going to demand the company answer my compensation questions directly.

    So for those of you reading this, if you would please take the time to respond to this and not just pass this by. I'd really like to remove all the muck and just get to if you believe MLM's structure is ok or not. Do you believe "sales are sales", or am I right about the lack of selling a product in MLM? I'm doubting I can continue on, but I do want to give the other half the opportunity to be heard. Thanks much.

  2. #2
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    Hello Morals of MLM,

    I am surely in MLM with a company whose product is selling travel. Not only is this "sooo" moral, it is the MLM dream of my life. My company provided me my online travel booking site. From this booking site, you purchase travel, amusement, tickets, etc. Thereby, I am offering the product of travel sales to the public. I was also provided with another web address we call our marketing site used for recruiting referring travel agents and selling online travel agencies to build a downline of marketing representatives to sell the online travel agencies. Essentially what we do is offer people the opportunity to purchase an online travel booking site, our product, and the ability to sell online travel agencies and build a team of network marketers of the online travel booking site. It's a real, tangible Home-Based Travel Agency Business you can run from anywhere in the world or from the comfort of your kitchen table! I think it is the right product because it is something everyone needs or wants. Every time I sell an online travel agency to a new representative, I get paid a referral bonus. Every time, someone books travel on my booking site, I get paid a commission. This opportunity has given me the opportunity to earn income from 11 different streams. I have to be careful I don't hyperventilate when I tell people about it because of the enthusiasm generated by My Travel Biz.
    Last edited by travelhound; 04-19-2006 at 05:21 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    There are two different issues here that shouldn't be confused. First, there are mlms that are illegal or border-line illegal pyramid schemes. These companies are obviously immoral because by design they cannot last and exist only as a money grab for a few people.

    But don't confuse those situations with legal mlm programs that emphasize recruiting for the purpose of leverage. That is the nature of the beast. Not because there is no legitimate product or service but because more reps mean more customers. McDonalds sells more burgers than anyone else not because they have the best burgers but because they have the most outlets. This is simple business logic.

    So if your company is an illegal pyramid scheme then run away as fast as you can. But if they are a legal mlm program that emphasizes recruiting as a business strategy then that is the intention of the mlm marketing model. Understand it and embrace it or do something else because otherwise you are wasting your time and money. But don't confuse one with the other.

  4. #4
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    I dunno. You'd have to help me out by reading the Bizbuzz scam post below. To me it seems like it's dressed up in legal MLMing, but ultimately it is borderline pyramid scheme at best. A little help anyone?

  5. #5
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    It may be an illegal pyramid scheme dressed up to look semi-legal. But again, the key is not that they emphasize recruiting because that is the nature of legal mlm programs. Emphasizing recruiting is the path to more customers. An illegal pyrimid scheme has no legitimate product or service and the new reps can't advance above or make more money than their sponsor/upline by design. Don't confuse the two.

  6. #6
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    I think this all depends on what MLM you get into. I truly believe that not all MLMs are completely focused on recruiting, although many are.

    I think a good way to distinguish the recruiting MLMs from the actual product-sales MLMs is by looking at the comp plan. What are the residual percentages like? Do you get paid more for selling product or with recruiting bonuses? Is the comp plan set up so that if you STOP recruiting... will your paychecks stay the same (provided that you don't lose or gain customers) or will they drop dramatically?
    I do not believe that MLM/Network Marketing is a bad business model. I believe it's the shady people in MLM that make it LOOK bad. As long as you work hard, run your business ethically, and work with ethical people, then MLM can help you reach your financial goals... whether it's just to make extra money on the side or a full-time income.

    "Never argue with an idiot. They just drag you down to their level and beat you with years of experience."

    Pink Zebra Sprinkles

  7. #7
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    Again, MVP is the developer of "a" product. Multiple video games in the future. My issue is they are not selling this product directly towards anyone it seems. They are making their money through advertising on the games themselves, but not by directly selling the product to the consumer so to speak. Or the product is being distributed to people by us distributors who are members in the Country Club.

    The companies also will be having cell phone packages, Bizbuzz's network marketing tools, prize drawings, amongst other things. They are doing wonderful things I imagine but the one thing telling me the product is going direct to the consumer. Well, again, in a roundabout way it is because we distributors can promote our business with the games. I could charge you $10 per game or just hand you one for free and generate more exposure via the advertising dollars.

    But the big money so to speak I have to believe is in recruiting others. It still feels like all the other marketing stuff is mere decoration. When I go to the grocery store, I don't feel guilty because I'm buying a product that goes directly to me. I hand them the money and that is that. But with this company I'm involved with, their doesn't feel like a product that is being used directly necessary. It's just kind of their for the advertising. People may or may not use it.

    "It may be an illegal pyramid scheme dressed up to look semi-legal. But again, the key is not that they emphasize recruiting because that is the nature of legal mlm programs. Emphasizing recruiting is the path to more customers. An illegal pyrimid scheme has no legitimate product or service and the new reps can't advance above or make more money than their sponsor/upline by design. Don't confuse the two."

    By this time I'm probably repeating myself. I guess what I'm looking for is it even right morally speaking.

    If I'm a member of this company and I am paying to get a hold of these games they will ship me once a month so I can make a profit and therefore it is the center of my income, maybe I do not have a problem with that. But again, it just feels like everything is coming from dues, like I'm really ultimately not selling a product that my downline would have a value in. In this business there is the potential as far as I can see for people below to do nearly as well as the top if not as much so. But again all the money seems to be based on recruits and not a product that people will actually use.

    In Mela, I hear people talking about how much they love the business AND believe in the products. With the CC Biz, I don't get the feeling the games are actually being sold to anyone. It doesn't feel like a tangible product people will use and sign up as a member for because the product is marketable.

    I'm sorry. At this point I'm confused. Please bear with me. The only way I can get to the heart of it is to remove myself from the legal/illegal and ask myself if it is morally right? And I'm not thinking it is if there isn't a solid product in place to sell to people.

  8. #8
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    I guess my issue is: Can a company rely on distributing a product for exposure and more advertising dollars while also creating a downline of people to do the same? Again though, there is no actual selling of the product until the distributorship at best.

  9. #9
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    If you get paid for recruiting that is illegal. If you get paid when they sell a product or service that is a legal override no different than any sales manager would receive in any marketing organization.

  10. #10
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    LOL! That didn't help. The Country Club hierarchy have said they are not a pyramid scheme, that they are legal (because they are distributors of a video game, a product). I'd have to argue that. Again, because it isn't a direct sale. Recruitment is still at the core of the potential income to make. But that could be the issue with every MLM company? Why do you need to sign up people when you could just sell them the supposed product directly? Because it's recruiting?

  11. #11
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    Quote Originally Posted by How Come?
    LOL! That didn't help. The Country Club hierarchy have said they are not a pyramid scheme, that they are legal (because they are distributors of a video game, a product). I'd have to argue that. Again, because it isn't a direct sale. Recruitment is still at the core of the potential income to make. But that could be the issue with every MLM company? Why do you need to sign up people when you could just sell them the supposed product directly? Because it's recruiting?
    I suggest you focus on your main question, which has nothing to do with legality. Is this business MORAL? It appears your gut has already answered that one, and believe me, it knows best (for you).

  12. #12
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    You're right. In fact I think you are the person I was refering to. Well anyway if you were, thank you.

  13. #13
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    Quote Originally Posted by How Come?
    You're right. In fact I think you are the person I was refering to. Well anyway if you were, thank you.
    I know I'm right on that point. It has NEVER been a legality issue (for me nor for many others). Ignited drives him/herself crazy over that point, but it irrelevent. It's not about whether Uncle Sam is going to come get you. It's about how you want to (or don't want to) conduct your life...among other things.

    Referring to me where??

  14. #14
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    Referring to me where??
    I think you said a couple months back on the subject, "the way they treat one another", refering to people in MLM. You were either talking about someone in Mary Kay, or you were talking with someone about that business. You may have also said to a hopeful MLMer that it was "the creed" of MLMing to promote how you can be the one living your wildest dreams even though most everyone else on your downline will either do very little or end up quitting. You may have also been the one to say that a certain high up probably justified to themselves they made their money honestly from their downline, etc. If I've mistaken you for someone else, I apologize.

  15. #15
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    Believe me, I hear you. I've been involved with many MLM plans, and there are good ones, and bad ones. I think the very name "MLM" now has a bad image, and many are now called "networking" or "network marketing" or "access marketing".

    The difference between "good" and "bad" is in the sale of the product. Is the product first and foremost, a product people will need and not just buy to do the business? There are plans out there that require a purchase of product once a month, or a certain amount each month, of product that you would normally never buy, except it is "required". I think that is morally wrong, even if it is legal.

    I've been in a couple of those, and believe me - they don't last. Sooner or later the people at the bottom get tired of buying something they don't need in the hopes that they will - sometime in the distant future - make some money on their recruits, who by that time have already decided to quit. The people at the top are making money, but not the "little guy".

    Research carefully, and do what your heart tells you is right.

  16. #16
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    Re: the morals of MLM

    I would like to say, thank you for joining my topic on TCC and Bizbuzz. You have a sense of tenderness in your writing.

    I have also e-mailed the company asking about the comp plan and how they are doing things other "real" mlm companies can't or have been told to stop doing. Its been over a week and no reply.

    I have also sent a letter to the FTC, which I will post below.

    I once talked with a group of Bizbuzz/TCC distributors in a company forum/message board, and none could answer my questions on the comp plan, they tried for days. But unlike you they never questioned that the company could be a scam, it was I that did not understand.

    I do not normally distress over scams, but as I said in my topic, I was asked by a family friend to join. This friend is many years older then himself and not computer skilled. He did not know what the company meant when they talked about the 1,000 downloads that pays $10 per download which adds up to $10,000. He was unsure what download was.

    He is in my upline from an mlm company that I feel strong about. He has been a distributor since 1987, and signed up my grandpa, who signed up my dad in 1989. As you can see, this mlm company has been apart of my life for a great many yeas, and it pains me to think he could lose big, when MVP falls.

    My upline is a very smart man, but does not understand the whole computer thing. He can not get passed the money the company is talking about. He plans on feeding TCC/Bizbuzz down his other mlm opportunities, and believes he can make Hugh money, which I am sure he will, up until MVP Falls. But what about the people he brings in.

    I have told him how I feel, and that I would not be joining this opportunity, I am a one opportunity person, and would never do anything that would harm that company or put mlm in a bad light.

    I am also unsure; if he does not already now that it is a scam, but believes he can make the money and get out before it falls. He once said on the phone that he is high enough in the company that the people he brings in will be able to make money as well.

    In a real mlm, you dont need to be one of the first in order to make money, in real mlm, most of your profits come from the sales of the associated product or service to customers who are not themselves enrolled, with some coming from the retail sales your downline sells.

    The fact that he may know its a scam when he talked to me, has me questioning his character.

    I could not live with myself knowing someone that I bring in, or that they bring in could lose money, so I could make it.

    A part of me is hoping that this is not a Pyramid scheme, but an Ponzi scheme, where almost everyone loses money.

    Wouldnt that be funny, if a Ponzi Scheme was hidden as a Pyramid Scheme?

    Wamrly,
    Brad

    ------------
    I was contacted by a family friend and I was asked about joining bizbuzz.com (selling online marketing tools), that just joined their matrix with a company called The Country Club (selling online Golf game). All owned by Online Exchange Inc (Also known as - MVP Online).

    Back in Jan, 06 Bizbuzz said they are going to start adding 1000 people per day into their Matrix from their sister companies, and people wanting to take part in this, must be at Silver level ($99 investment) or higher.

    As far as I can tell The Country Club is a Pyramid scheme.

    The compensation plan is paying for the mere act of recruiting. No retailing requirement.

    You buy into the next level with your own commission checks, that you use to purchase products and recruit to move up.

    It goes something like this, you get 3 to join at level A, you then take your recruiting bonus for getting those 3, give it back to the company and then you move up to level B. You then find 3 who will do what you did, and then you move up to level C.... And this roll-up keeps going and promising specific and greater income the higher you go, until you stop. This is all date and time sensitive.

    The people that own Bizbuzz and The Country Club run another company call MVP Network, which has its own opportunity for selling and making money off of getting people to advertise on the same online game.

    I count three companies/opportunities you can join to make money off of this online game. MVP Online also runs another company called eGolfInternational, another way of making money off this same online game.

    MVP Online also have a web site called weeklytournament.com and you can buy tickets to play the Weekly online Golf Tournament. You pay $90 for five tickets or chances to win the $10,000 prize. This is not apart of the other opportunities.

    MVP Online run other online opportunities not talked about above.
    Last edited by [email protected]; 04-20-2006 at 01:21 AM.

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