What is Network Marketing?

Network marketing, or multilevel marketing (MLM) , is a form of Direct selling method in which independent-agents serve as distributors of goods and services, and are encouraged to build and manage their own sales force by recruiting and training other independent agents. In this method, commission is earned on the agent's own sales revenue, as well as on the sales revenue of the sales-force recruited by the agent and his or her recruits (called downline).

Network marketing programs feature a low upfront investment--usually only a few hundred dollars for the purchase of a product sample kit--and the opportunity to sell a product line directly to friend, family and other personal contacts. Most network marketing programs also ask participants to recruit other sales representatives. The recruits constitute a rep's "downline," and their sales generate income for those above them in the program.

Things can get sticky when a network marketing network compensates participants primarily for recruiting others rather than for selling the company's products or services. A network marketing system in which most of the revenue comes from recruitment may be considered an illegal pyramid scheme.

Since network marketing programs are usually exempt from business opportunity regulation and aren't defined as franchises under state and federal franchise laws, you'll need to do your own investigation before investing any money.


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