The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) shut down ZeekRewards.com for conducting Ponzi scheme activity. News outlets are reporting that ZeekRewards raised over 600 million dollars from over one million customers. Here are some links to the news reports:

SEC Shuts Down ZeekRewards as Scam – Wall Street Journal

U.S. SEC says shuts ZeekRewards.com $600 million Ponzi scheme – Reuters

Investors in Lexington Ponzi scheme confused, upset – Fox8

Read the official SEC Complaint [PDF]. Or, read the official SEC Complaint online (i.e. text only).

Be sure to visit the blog at MLMLegal.com to read MLM Attorney Jeffrey Babener’s article, And the Leaves that are Green Turn to Brown – MLM Penny Auctions, of ZeekRewards’ recent allegations and to learn more about illegitimate direct selling companies.

You may also be interested in reading the following articles which help to identify pyramid schemes vs. legitimate MLM companies:

Is it a Pyramid or Legitimate MLM?

Identifying Illegal Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid: Yes or No?

Tired of reading? Attorney Jeff Babener will explain pyramid schemes to you on video:

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The direct selling industry hasn’t proved to be as vulnerable to a down economy as other industry sectors. Fledgling and startup MLM companies are either flourishing or remaining economically consistent (see our recent blog post on the DSA’s – Direct Selling Association – Annual Growth & Outlook Survey for the latest U.S. direct selling industry statistics). Proof for this can be seen in the latest MLM industry headlines, but also in the growing pending member applications under review by the DSA.

Four new direct selling companies have applied for membership with the Direct Selling Association, announced in a recent DSA press release.

In June, Country Gourmet Home and Origami Owl applied for DSA membership and are under review. They are currently marked as “pending” members of the DSA.

In July, two more companies applied: ArtNest, Inc. and Jamberry Nails. Both are also currently sanctioned as “pending” members of the DSA.

A company must go under extensive review to become a member of the Direct Selling Association. The DSA states the follow requirements for membership:

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MLMLegal.com has recently compiled hundreds of notable cases that impact the direct selling industry. Organized by state, federal, court system, and subject matter, readers can find hundreds of cases on topics that directly impact distributors and MLM company owners. View the cases at MLMLegal.com. Or, download the MLMLegal.com iTunes application to access legal cases, MLM videos, MLM law in 50 states, MLM company profiles, and much more from your smart device.

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MLMLegal.com has worked since 2009 to research, write and collect information on MLM, network marketing, direct selling, and party plan companies in order to compose the “MLM Company Profiles” webpage. To date, there are over 700 active MLM company profiles at MLMLegal.com. The editors of MLMLegal (the website hosted by long-time MLM Attorney Jeffrey Babener of the Law Office Babener & Associates) are constantly updating the profiles, removing companies that have gone out of business and adding newly-launched network marketing companies. Hundreds of MLM companies have come and gone throughout the years, but many have proven they have the longevity to succeed. Visit http://www.mlmlegal.com/profiles/index.html frequently to see for yourself.

We’ve taken the time to organize the hundreds of MLM companies alphabetically and by products sold. Each company profile contains a logo, a brief description of the company’s history, its impact on the industry, an overview of its products, a discussion of the opportunity, and a discussion of the sales and distributor base (if that information is available). These profiles offer a quick way to compare compensation plans between companies or to find a company that offers a unique product that is perfect for your taste. Our research has also shown that no product is immune to direct sales (unless the company has no tangible product at all, in which then you should consider reading about illegal pyramid schemes). MLM companies are selling everything from medical marijuana to maternity products.

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Representatives of the Dietary Supplement Industry have indicated they are pleased that the FDA plans to issue a “revised draft guidance on new dietary ingredients (NDIs) used in dietary supplements,” reported Nutraceuticalsworld.com. The FDA’s new dietary ingredients draft issued in July 2011 has been widely criticized as “a flawed attempt by the agency to reinterpret the NDI section of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).”

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) called for the FDA to withdraw its guidance stating that it would “increase the burden on the supplement industry…”

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Mary Kay recently reported that it has attracted one million Facebook fans. The press release states:

Mary Kay, the No. 6 direct seller in the world according to the 2011 DSN Global 100, recently reached the 1 million Facebook fan mark, a number that has become the benchmark for successful consumer engagement for brands…

Read the full press release here. To read more headlines on the direct selling industry, visit mlmlegal.com.

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