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Business model[ edit ] Participant profits and losses[ edit ] The overwhelming majority of MLM participants most sources estimated to be over This creates great profit for the MLM company's actual owners and shareholders.
As noted, many MLM companies do generate billions of dollars in annual revenue and hundreds of millions of dollars in annual profit. However, the profits of the MLM company are derived to the detriment of the overwhelming majority of the company's non-salaried workforce the MLM participants.
Only some of the profit is then significantly shared with none but a few individual participants at the top of the MLM participant pyramid. The earnings of those top few participants then allows the creation of an illusion of how one can potentially become financially successful if one becomes a participant in the MLM.
This is then emphasized and advertised by the MLM company to recruit more participants to participate in the MLM with a false anticipation of earning margins which are in reality merely theoretical and statistically improbable.
Participants, other than the few individuals at the top, provide nothing more than their own financial loss for the company's own profit and the profit of the top few individual participants.
Rather, the true sales pitch and emphasis is on a confidence given to participants of potential financial independence through participation in the MLM, luring with phrases like "the lifestyle you deserve" or "independent distributor.
MLMs very rarely emphasize the extreme likelihood of failure, or the extreme likelihood of financial loss, from participation in MLM. MLMs are also seldom forthcoming about the fact that any significant success of the few individuals at the top of the MLM participant pyramid is in fact dependant on the continued financial loss and failure of all other participants below them in the MLM pyramid.
Differences and similarities to pyramid schemes[ edit ] MLMs have been made illegal in some jurisdictions as a mere variation of the traditional pyramid schemeincluding in mainland China.
According to the U. Federal Trade Commission FTCsome MLM companies already constitute illegal pyramid schemes even by the narrower existing legislation, exploiting members of the organization.
Jurisdictions that retain a legal distinction between MLM pyramid businesses versus illegal pyramid schemes retain said distinction on two key distinguishing features: Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources.
Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. The income of participants, if any income is made at all, is derived only from commissions on their personal sales or their share of the commissions on the personal sales of their downlines the MLM compensation structure.
As non-employees, participants are not protected by legal rights of employment law provisions. Instead, salespeople are typically presented by the MLM company as "independent contractors" or "independent business owners". However, participants do not possess a business in the traditional legal sense, as the participants do not hold any tangible business assets or intangible business goodwill able to be sold or purchased in a sale or acquisition of a business.
These are the property of the MLM company. Lawsuits[ edit ] Companies that use the MLM business model have been a frequent subject of criticism and lawsuits.
Legal claims against MLMs have included, among other things: Critics have argued that the use of these and other different terms and " buzzwords " is an effort to distinguish multi-level marketing from illegal Ponzi schemeschain lettersand consumer fraud scams.
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