The term “pay to play” is actually a negative term in the direct selling and MLM field. It is used to reference a program which encourages independent distributors to make purchases to qualify for commissions and rank advancement. Obviously, personal use is not unusual in the direct selling industry. However, programs in which distributors are driven to purchase product or service, more by the desire to qualify than by a genuine desire to use the product for personal use, are sometimes referred to as dominated by “pay to play” and this may suggest that the product or service does not stand on its own in the marketplace.

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