Amway stresses that the main difference between a legitimate MLM business model and a pyramid scheme is that a legitimate MLM is focused on selling products, not recruiting more salespeople. In a legitimate MLM, it should be possible to make money by simply selling products directly to customers. With that main criterion in mind, here are some other ways to identify product-based pyramid schemes:

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Multi-level marketing (MLM), also called pyramid selling,[1][2] network marketing,[2][3] and referral marketing,[4] is a marketing strategy for the sale of products or services where the revenue of the MLM company is derived from a non-salaried workforce selling the company's products/services, while the earnings of the participants are derived from a pyramid-shaped or binary compensation commission system.
The structure of MLMs is very similar to a pyramid scheme. This doesn’t mean that all MLMs are pyramid schemes, but some certainly are. Those interested in pursuing a career in multi-level marketing should do research before joining a particular MLM. Generally speaking, if the bulk of the money you stand to earn comes from recruitment rather than direct sales, it’s wise to be very cautious.
MLM, also referred to as direct selling or network marketing, uses a different approach to sell products and services. MLM is different from single-level marketing, where a salesperson earns a commission for selling directly to the consumer. As a MLM operator, you must create you own sales distribution channel. MLM businesses resemble that of a pyramid structure, where you as the top salesperson earns a profit from all sales generated under the sales distribution line that you create. This income is referred to as "residual" income, and is the greatest source of income to your company.
When purchasing leads, you need to know what type of information the person was looking at and where they came from. Nowadays most business opportunity leads are generated online. The leads have done various business opportunity searches on a search engine, such as “make extra money from home”, “start a home business”, etc. and have come to a landing page. They have requested information and are waiting to receive it. Sometimes these leads have visited multiple places to get more information. The quicker you get the leads after they optin the better they are, however, the more you will pay.

I see Melaleuca on here. I see that as both good and bad. They are an awesome company with a great compensation plan. However, they are not an MLM. They are not even listed with the federal agency that oversees those companies. They are a Consumer Direct Marketing company. How does that differ? While I am required to purchase a certain amount each month, that’s all I need to purchase. It’s all products I use in my own home for myself. I don’t have a monthly quota to meet. I don’t have to buy product and sell it to people. The idea is that the product goes to the consumer only. In fact, it’s against company policy to buy product and sell it to others. The only comparison I see are the “levels” of customerS in my group. Can you shed any light on why you think they are an MLM? Thanks, so much!
First: Invite people to look at your business proposition with a direct or indirect approach.  A direct approach would be to ask them to look at your business for themselves. An indirect approach is asking someone to look at your business to assist you with recommendations or referrals.  There are many different patterns of language that you can use based on the relationship you have with the prospective recruit.  The invitation process is a very important skill to learn. Your invitation has a lot to do with whether the person will join your team or support your business.
I am a Network Marketer myself and I think I have seen more than enough in this industry. I have struggled and experienced all the pain in getting the right people to join my business or buy my products. I've spent a lot of money on getting leads, buying solo ads, buying this and buying that just to grow my business. But I came to realize it, all doesn't work... the tendency is, you can buy leads but how many people have the same list of leads as yours? Now, have you experienced calling bought leads? - I DID! Nobody ever answered me. It was very difficult I must say.
On the other hand, if you are the owner of the company where those 100 persons have offered their skills, time and talents, and if you can gain $1.00 from each person on the field, you will earn $3000 after 30 days doing nothing. Obviously, the time spent for both the worker and the owner are the same (30 days), but the gain on the side of the owner is tremendously huge.
Multi-level marketing (simplified Chinese: 传销; traditional Chinese: 傳銷; pinyin: chuán xiāo) was first introduced to China by American, Taiwanese, and Japanese companies following the Chinese economic reform of 1978. This rise in multi-level marketing's popularity coincided with economic uncertainty and a new shift towards individual consumerism. Multi-level marketing was banned on the mainland by the government in 1998, citing social, economic, and taxation issues.[62] Further regulation "Prohibition of Chuanxiao" (where MLM is a type of Chuanxiao was enacted in 2005, clause 3 of Chapter 2 of the regulation states having downlines is illegal.[11] O'Regan wrote 'With this regulation China makes clear that while Direct Sales is permitted in the mainland, Multi-Level Marketing is not'.[10]

I love love love this article! I’m a business growth coach who works with small business owners and often leaders from other MLM’s. From time to time I’ll get someone who has been struggling significantly even getting started and I find that it’s sheer absence of knowledge of the numbers. They are still under the impression that if I get three, and they get three then we’re all going to be millionaires. It’s very sad but the truth is not being told. Being in an MLM is hard. But it is very doable. I have had significant success in the past, while I am not in an MLM now. Nor do I want to be, you must be all In to make it work. Thank you for sharing this. I would love to interview you on one of my webinars
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