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Sign up for the MLM News Global newsletter for top headlines, news stories, scam alerts, videos, articles, and more information on the network marketing industry.

There are a lot of outspoken bloggers and critics online, as well as negative opinions floating around the social networks. It’s not hard to find a loud voice criticizing the direct selling industry through a quick Google search. And it is true… there are many pyramid/ponzi schemes, primarily internationally-based, that parade themselves as MLM/direct selling… and they are not. They are merely pyramid headhunting recruitment schemes that often use bogus products and services as an excuse to move money. The entire emphasis of such organizations is to encourage investors to pay money and get others to do the same, with a thin veneer of an actual product or service. In fact, the revenue to pay commissions instead comes from distributor payments and not sales to the ultimate user or end-consumer.

Despite this, the facts remain, MLM and direct selling are a major part of the fabric of commerce. Statistics on 2014 sales, compiled by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations, indicate global sales of $183 billion and 100 million distributors. In the U.S., there are 18 million distributors posting $35 billion in sales. Numerous direct selling companies are traded on the NYSE.

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We have hosted more than 70 national conferences on starting and running a direct selling, network marketing, MLM or party plan company. We have started and advised many of the leading companies in the industry and we have a “big picture” that may be difficult to find elsewhere. We are big believers in education and our website, www.mlmlegal.com, is hopefully evidence of this, with hundreds of articles, cases, statutes, and scores of videos. We take a particular satisfaction in helping entrepreneurs pursue their dreams and the consequence is often the creation of thousands of jobs and opportunities. And at our conferences, we have started many companies that are today, household names. It has been a pleasure and honor to assemble professionals in these conferences to assist individuals to create “something from nothing.”

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MLM attrition is high. This is a fact of life. All of those distributors, who you have signed up, have competing demands on their time. So, if they go passive, it is not your fault. If that happens, you should give it a good shot to encourage them to reengage. However, after a few attempts, you should realize that you may be wasting your time. Hopefully, the value and quality and service proposition of your company’s products will allow you to convince the passive distributor to remain as a preferred customer.

At some point, however, you need to move on and focus on finding new recruits. One company executive succinctly captured the strategic decision in a metaphor when he said, “You can throw alarm clocks at the cemetery, but you won’t wake up the dead; it is easier to make babies.” Although a bit crass, this point is well taken. You should invest your time and effort where it will pay off.

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So far, 2015 has been a fantastic year!! For instance, three year old granddaughter of Jeff Babener, Ani, reluctantly learned how to paint.

So far, 2015 has been a fantastic year!! For instance, three year old granddaughter of Jeff Babener, Ani, reluctantly learned how to paint.

So far, 2015 has been a fantastic year!! For instance, three year old granddaughter of Jeff Babener, Ani, reluctantly learned how to paint.

And, our newest addition, Luka (son of Charity Dunning — Editor of MLMAttorney.com), has unenthusiastically learned to swim.

And, our newest addition, Luka (son of Charity Dunning -- Editor of MLMAttorney.com), has unenthusiastically learned to swim.  What else is new?

And, our newest addition, Luka (son of Charity Dunning — Editor of MLMAttorney.com), has unenthusiastically learned to swim.
What else is new?

What else is new? Well, hold your breath! MLMLegal.com is launching 63 new videos on MLM education to our already-expansive video library and Youtube Channel! Mr. Babener will address a wide range of commonly-asked questions as expert-host in our upcoming video additions. You can look forward to a great expansion of our video library very soon!

The following are just some of the topics that will discussed in our new videos:

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Our conference is not a vendor event. It’s an educational event. Our conference offers you the chance to speak with all of the industry experts at one time and walk away with a wealth of information.

Our conference is not a vendor event. It’s an educational event. Our conference offers you the chance to speak with all of the industry experts at one time and walk away with a wealth of information.

Did you miss the February MLM Startup Conference? In attendance were over 100 people, representing 65 companies from 20 states and five countries (Canada, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States). The companies in attendance represented the entire spectrum of company ages, from startups to established companies. All attended to learn more about the network marketing industry, to grow their companies, to meet experts in the industry, and to educate themselves on the MLM industry.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend February’s conference, don’t fret! Our next conference takes place May 14 and 15, 2015 in Las Vegas. At the conference, you will learn how to structure your compensation plan, build a legal MLM company, recruit key consultants, write a business model, generate leads, find funding, build your website, develop your back-office software, and so much more.

In addition, attendees get the opportunity to chat one-on-one with industry experts representing their specific field (i.e. legal, software, technology, recruiting, etc.). You choose who you’d like to spend valuable one-on-one time with and they will answer the questions you have that are specific to you and your company.

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Learn how to get two free tickets to the February 26 & 27, 2015 conference!

Learn how to get two free tickets to the February 26 & 27, 2015 conference!

The Starting and Running the Successful MLM Company Conference is just around the corner! For over 27 years we have hosted over 69 national conferences to educate startup and existing MLM company executives. All executives/owners of MLM, direct selling, network marking, and party plan companies are welcome to attend. This is the original MLM Startup Conference, hosted and perfected by direct selling industry expert, MLM Attorney Jeff Babener.

To learn how to get TWO FREE TICKETS to attend this valuable event, click HERE!

WHO ARE THE SPEAKERS?

Direct Selling Attorney, Jeff Babener, Founder of Babener & Associates and Sponsor of the MLM Startup Conference, has over 25 years of experience in the industry, representing companies such as Avon, Nikken, Melaleuca, Discovery Toys, Usana, and NuSkin.

MLM Industry Consultant, Mike Sheffield, with The Sheffield Group and Co-Sponsor of the MLM Startup Conference, has helped launch over 800 companies over the last 27 years.

Over the course of two days, you will hear from many leaders in the direct selling industry, who include:

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Jeffrey Babener’s – Editor of MLMLegal.com and MLMAttorney.comYoutube channel has surpassed 80,000 views! As the leading MLM industry expert, Jeff Babener has launched over 80 educational and informational videos for MLM, network marketing, direct selling, party plan executives and distributors (consultants, representatives, members, etc.). The videos cover topics from pyramid schemes to recruiting, to MLM success to finding the right product, to legal opinion to compensation plans, etc.

The various network marketing topics discussed on Mr. Babener’s Youtube channel are vast and highly educational. For years he has been compiling educational videos on the direct selling industry as a service to MLM company owners and distributors. Do you have a question about the network marketing industry? Attorney Babener answers your MLM legal questions! Click on the links below to watch his videos!

Do You Ever Wonder What a Real MLM Trial Is Like? Watch one for yourself!

http://mlmlegal.com/trialvideo.html

Executive Interview Forum Questions and Answers (Q&A) NEW!

Executive Interview by the DSWA – “Legal Hotspots for Direct Selling Companies” with Jeff Babener NEW!

Attorney Jeff Babener, Discusses Various Topics in a MLM Compliance Training Session NEW!

Earnings Claims and Consumer Protection Laws

Interviews with Expert MLM Attorney, Jeffrey Babener

Short Course on Network Marketing: Q&A with Jeffrey Babener on Pyramid Schemes NEW!
The Difference between MLM Earnings Calculators and Earnings Claims
From a Legal Perspective: The Difference between a Pyramid Scheme and Legitimate MLM
Compliance Guidelines for Direct Selling Companies and Network Marketers

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The issue of levels has not been the focus of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state attorneys general in the enforcement of pyramid laws.

The issue of levels has not been the focus of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state attorneys general in the enforcement of pyramid laws.

The issue of depth of levels seemed to be a major focus prior to the internet and other non-postal (mail) means of communication. In the late 1980’s the United States Postal Service (USPS) examined numbers of levels to make a determination of whether or not, in its opinion, the depth of levels created a “lottery” element under U.S. Postal lottery laws that forbid payment based on chance. Various cases and consents sorted out a safe harbor (at least from the U.S. Postal Office standpoint) for at least four levels (not necessarily agreed to by the direct selling industry). Separately, the Postal Service looked for evidence of “supervisory requirements.” Most companies adopted specific supervisory requirements of sponsors to demonstrate some managerial activity by distributors. For the past 25 years, little recruitment activity is conducted by U.S. mail and it has been a long time since the U.S. Postal Service has expressed a serious interest in this subject. The issue of levels has not been the focus of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or state attorneys general in the enforcement of pyramid laws. Instead, the focus for the last two decades has been on the whether or not product/service

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MLMLegal.com Releases Comprehensive Analysis on Landmark Case on Pyramid Guidance and the Role of “Personal Use” in Pyramid Analysis

PORTLAND, OR–(Marketwired – June 26, 2014) –

Click for the full article analysis and actual BurnLounge case at BurnLounge Appeal Decision: Guidance on Pyramid v. Legitimate MLM and the Role of Personal Use in Pyramid Analysis

Excerpt of the BurnLounge Analysis Article:

On June 2, 2014, in the case of FTC v. BurnLounge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a seminal decision, affirming a lower court finding that the BurnLounge MLM (multilevel marketing) program was an illegal pyramid scheme, in violation of section 5(a) of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act, a decision that will dramatically impact the landscape of direct selling to provide guidance on two fundamental legal issues:

(1) What activity constitutes a “pyramid scheme?”

(2) What is the role of “personal use” (by distributors) in pyramid case analysis?

Stakeholders: “We Won!!” Proxy Wars…

Victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan. – John Kennedy (1961)

As with any inconclusive war, the stakeholders offered immediate statements of victory or vindication.

That is, other than BurnLounge. BurnLounge lost, and a permanent injunction was affirmed.

However, BurnLounge was a proxy war on the tests for “pyramid” and the role of “personal use” in pyramid analysis, among the interested parties, short sellers of publicly traded direct selling companies, publicly traded direct selling companies, industry spokespersons such as the DSA, the FTC, MLM critics, etc.

Each, in turn, issued press releases or statements claiming victory and validation of their respective positions.

The BurnLounge decision offered guidance for all stakeholders and a clear message for “going forward.”

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It depends on which hat you are wearing that day as to whether they are to be considered MLM professionals or MLM junkies.

It depends on which hat you are wearing that day as to whether they are to be considered MLM professionals or MLM junkies.

The answer here is somewhat “tongue and cheek” and should be taken with a “grain of salt.” This question is often asked of people who are starting network marketing companies. The majority, if not all of them, respond that they want to recruit MLM professionals to their companies. An industry observer once commented wryly that, too often, “junkies” and “professionals” are merely flip sides of a coin. The commentator said, “A MLM junkie is someone who will raid your distributors and take them to another company while a MLM professional is someone who leaves their company, raids the distributors and brings them to your company!” It depends on which hat you are wearing that day as to whether they are to be considered MLM professionals or MLM junkies.

In all seriousness, the above comment too often contains more than a kernel of truth.

Lastly, companies that pay people to bring recruits with them to the new company are not conducting good business strategy. They will often claim to recruit thousands of individuals and only bring a few, yet still get their money. Unfortunately, this happens time and again and it is not an ethical way to do business.

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