Network Marketing (also known as MLM) is sweeping across the internet. Each month tens of thousands of people worldwide begin their first attempts at earning money online through network marketing programs. But is network marketing for real? Is the internet the key to network marketing success? In this article we will ‘pull back the curtain’ on network marketing online so you can see how it began, how it works now and whether or not true success is actually possible.
First, lets consider the network marketing method itself. Some people think MLM is a scam because you usually have to pay a little something to get started whether it be buying the product yourself or buying a kit or website fee. Some people call it a scam because it emphasizes recruiting others to sell/consume the products in addition to selling them yourself. Most of the people I know who call MLM a scam do so because at some time someone tried to convince them them they would get rich by joining their company. They were led to believe they would make easy money by simply “sharing the plan” with others, who would share it with others, etc. and then money would just flow in. However, once they joined they found out MLM is really just another form of sales that requires a lot of work and patience they felt betrayed the business wasn’t more honestly explained to them. Rightfully so, because honesty should be at the foundation of any recruiting efforts but often is not. However it is erroneous to consider a business opportunity dishonest simply because it requires selling and work or because the person presenting it was dishonest to you.
It always amazes me how quick people are to call something a ‘scam’ because they don’t make money at it. Sure there is plenty of dishonest junk out there but if a marketer does his/her research properly up front they will be better prepared to recognize a scam. The ugly fact is that ANY business will COST you money to start. Ugly fact number two is that ANY business will cost you money to maintain. Most MLMs will have an initial cost to get started, whether it be buying their introductory ‘business kit’ and/or monthly product or service purchase. Often with MLMs there is a monthly fee for your personalized company website or web store. Even free opportunities, like affiliate marketing will cost you something to market. Be prepared to spend some money before you will see earnings.
Too many people online are looking for a quick score. The truth is many people are so desperate for money they fail to see (or ignore) the flaws with something. They need money, they want it fast so they take stupid risks. Just look at how many people are still falling for the latest incarnations of the Nigerian e-mail scam even today. Then when these people do finally join a legitimate program they get all upset when they don’t see instant cash flow or heaven forbid, it actually costs them money! They don’t seem to understand there is no free ride. You have to do the work and you have to spend some money before you will see results, plain and simple. The important thing is to keep your spending managed and learn to maximize the results for the dollars you spend.
Now let’s take a closer look at internet based approach to network marketing.
The advent of the internet certainly did open up a whole new marketing channel for the network marketing industry. At first MLM distributors started building their own websites to recruit or market products. Eventually all the major companies began to provide their members with replicated websites so every distributor could have an internet presence. Usually the intention of these companies was to provide a convenient way of providing information or allowing online ordering to support the distributor’s offline efforts. No longer would a member have to physically pass out brochures or audio recordings to offer more detailed information to their prospects. Now they could just send them to the company website to learn more, order product as a customer, or even sign up as a distributor themselves. In time what began as a support tool for offline effort became for many a total online marketing system.