The MLM industry has, during the last 20 years, developed positive working relationships with regulatory agencies such as attorneys general and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). There was a time, however, back in the 1970s, when the FTC challenged the legitimacy of the direct selling industry as being a pyramid scheme. They accused Amway of operating illegally and Amway prevailed in a very famous 1979 case [below] where it was held that the network marketing industry is a legitimate business model and the business opportunity is not a pyramid scheme.

No legal ruling has been more impactful on the direct sales industry than The Landmark Amway Case.

Afterwards, regulatory agencies and the industry went quiet until the 1990s when it was questioned whether or not product-using consultants were a legitimate end-destination for products or whether consultants were simply retail customers. There has been an ongoing tug of war between the MLM industry and the FTC in terms of determining whether or not personal use should have an impact on a company’s legitimate operations. The industry, with the cooperation of attorneys generals in more than a dozen states, were able to amend legislation in those states to recognize that personal use of product by distributors is a legitimate end-destination, just as if it were a retail sale.

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MLM Expert Attorney, Jeff Babener offers ten FTC vs. Vemma litigation bullet points.

MLM Expert Attorney, Jeff Babener offers ten FTC vs. Vemma litigation bullet points.

On August 17, 2015, the FTC filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Arizona, seeking a permanent injunction against Tempe-based Vemma International Holdings, Inc., a long-time direct selling marketer of health-related products. The FTC was successful in obtaining a temporary restraining order, which shut the company and froze its assets. Further proceedings for a hearing on a preliminary and permanent injunction and other relief were set to the future.

Such a scenario has been a common approach for the FTC. The most recent actions resulted in permanent injunctions against BurnLounge and Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing. For a summary of the most significant federal actions during the past few decades, please see:

Herbalife: What Short Sellers Missed on the Way to the Press Conference…

Jeffrey Babener (2013)

The primary accusation against Vemma is that its program focused on recruitment rather than sale of product to the ultimate user, thus rendering the program a pyramid scheme and a deceptive practice under FTC legislation. In addition, the FTC has charged that Vemma is deceptive in its earnings representations.

FTC vs. Vemma Litigation Bullet Points:

  1. (a) This case affirms the BurnLounge standard requiring emphasis on sales to ultimate users, which includes nonparticipant retail customers and personal use in reasonable amounts. Primary motivation for distributor purchases should be destination to ultimate users and not to qualify in the plan for compensation.

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MLM Startup Conference

The next MLM Startup Conference takes place October 22 and 23, 2015 in Las Vegas.

With the costs of the compensation plan, attorney’s fees, software, hiring staff, recruiting consultants, creating/designing products, the list goes on… starting a direct selling company can be expensive and difficult! We understand how complex it is to tackle a MLM startup. That’s why we offer the Starting and Running the Successful MLM Company Conference.

We offer MLM entrepreneurs a way to network with experts from all sectors of the direct selling industry: legal, recruiting, technology/software, compensation plans, funding, generate leads, website and back office, business model, and more – all in one place, for one affordable price ($195 for the first attendee, each additional is $150).

So, if you’re starting a MLM, network marketing, direct selling company, or just thinking about starting a MLM company, come join us at the MLM Startup Event/Seminar in Las Vegas! The Hosts are Business Consultant and MLM Legal Expert, Jeff Babener, and MLM Compensation Plan Consultant, Mike Sheffield.

Our next conference takes place October 22 & 23, 2015 in Las Vegas (who doesn’t want a good reason to go to Las Vegas?). We even offer the Innovation Campaign for those who are on an even tighter budget.

Visit our website, www.mlmlegal.com, or our conference page to learn more and to see the full line-up of speakers. Read testimonials and watch our invitation videos. Anyone who is starting or running a MLM, network marketing, direct selling, party plan company is welcome to attend.

Call us at 800-231-2162 to register.

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A post on Facebook is really no different than a mass email, by www.mlmattorney.com.

A post on Facebook is really no different than a mass email.

Clearly, while consultants are with a company they are asked not to get involved in raiding activity. Network marketing companies have mixed opinions on post-termination behavior. Most companies ask that consultants not raid the downline for a certain period of time after they stop consulting for the company. Companies that ask this of their consultants argue that the consultant’s Facebook profile is basically an email list; a post on Facebook is really no different than a mass email. Not many companies specifically outline post-termination rules in their policies and procedures; however, most companys’ position on the issue is effectively the same as if you started sending emails to everyone in your downline once you left the company.

Several approaches have been noted, including the drafting of agreements where companies and distributors have bifurcating social media pages. Basically, consultants would have a personal and professional Facebook page. This causes a bit of a dilemma because many consultants will make close friends with those in their downline. Perhaps not everyone fits into a personal or professional-only account. Companies look at it as more black and white. Companies see it as a consultant holding a lengthy email list, whether it be on Facebook or Twitter, etc., and once they’ve sent our an announcement saying “come join me at my new company…” then it is just as if they are sending a mass email to their downline. Both perspectives are understandable, and so far, there is no industry-wide solution to the problem.

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Front loading generally refers to a process in which a MLM company, or a sponsoring distributor, encourages a new distributor to purchase far more product than is commercially reasonable under the circumstances. Often the “push” is explained to the recruit as necessary to qualify in the plan. This is an unacceptable practice is often one indicia of a pyramid scheme.

On the other hand, virtually all regulatory agencies recognize that a purchase of an “at cost” sales kit is an acceptable practice in the mainstream of leading direct selling companies. Such mandated kits are typically in the $50-$100 range. They generally entail “hard copy” or online supply of sales and marketing materials as well as ongoing sales and marketing materials updates for a year. Typically the mandated sales kit does not include product and generally a company offers an optional deluxe kit that may include product. Such an optional kit, which is often referred to as a “fast start” kit, may contain several hundred dollars of product. This is not unusual. Although the same regulatory standards on

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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, by www.mlmattorney.com.

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, but the positives drown out the negatives. 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 delling… 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 cause investors to pay money and cause 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.

Despite this, the facts remains 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. by www.mlmattorney.com.

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? by www.mlmattorney.com

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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