I’ve made a conscious and personal decision not to support any MLM (multi-level-marketing) style businesses any longer. These used to be known as pyramid schemes, but the bad connotations associated with that name have caused the companies set up that way to spawn a new one.
You know the gist; person at the top of the pyramid creates a product (which may be good or bad) and instead of retailing it the traditional way they encourage people beneath them to become their consultants; marketing their product usually via social media to friends and family. Each person in the downward tiers of the pyramid filters money up to the top. The people standing at the very top of the pyramid can indeed make a great deal of money; but those outliers do so at the cost of every consultant that they convince to stand beneath them.
There is a constant string of consultants on the bottom tier signing up, spending a pant load of money (they usually cannot afford to waste) on startup costs and convention fees, then dropping out as their personal business founders and the vast wealth promised to everyone by the few folks standing at the top of the pyramid fails to materialize. Those consultants are the ones whom the company founders make most of their money from; and I am sick and tired of seeing good people who I like, love, and admire being victimized this way.
Some of these MLM companies sell decent products; even products I have purchased and appreciated over the years. Some of them are just snake oil – pure and simple; usually promising effortless weight loss and even going so far as to claim that essential oils draw the attention of protective angels and other such nonsense. Honestly, the product and its merit (or lack thereof) is not the point.
From a simple business standpoint MLM’s are not a good idea. In doing research about business and marketing I know that businesses pay market analysts a lot of money to accurately predict how to find the sweet spot where there is enough of their product out there for people to buy, but not too much that excesses of it are sitting unsold on shelves. MLM’s don’t take this into account at all, they skip this step entirely. All consultants are encouraged to sell as much as possible and acquire as many new consultants working beneath them in the pyramid as possible with no analysis whatsoever of when each consultant’s personal marketplace of friends and family has become over-saturated and exhausted. So unless consultants keep going out and making new groups of friends and family, their current supply, however interested they may be in the product, is going to run dry. This is why people may initially make some money as an MLM consultant only to see sales dry up over time.
I find the tactic of encouraging people to hard sell to friends and family to be dangerously damaging to relationships. Since most MLM consultants are busy, hardworking women who need to earn extra money for their families they primarily damage female friendships and the support systems that these women desperately need. I find this unconscionable and I will not support it.
Most infuriatingly, I dislike how some of these MLM’s try to appeal to people’s religious convictions; convincing them that their business practice is God’s will for their life and enhances God in some way. As I recall, Jesus had some fairly strong words about utilizing faith to forward commerce.
Allow me to be clear; it is not the consultants in these schemes that I am criticizing. It is them I am imploring to get out of these hurtful, futile business practices before they can further be taken advantage of. Cut your losses and get out now. I have stood by and watched so many good, hardworking, intelligent people be taken for a ride by these companies over the years that I cannot in good conscience stand by any longer without saying something.
MLM’s are bad. I would go so far as to say that the business model they follow is exploitative and evil. The only way to force the practice from the marketplace is to stop supporting it; both as a consultant and a consumer. So even if an MLM company is selling literally the best product ever invented; I will not purchase it any longer. I implore anyone reading this to do likewise.