There are two issues that have surfaced in recent years: 1) social networking, and 2) frequent migration of distributors between companies. With social networking concerns, companies have had to decide on positive protocol for consultants who socialize through technology. In terms of the migration of consultants, companies have often found themselves constantly revisiting policy that both protect the livelihood of all its distributors while also protecting the interest of the company. These issues are constantly under review. Most companies continue to revisit these issues multiple times.

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One common question that we hear is in regards to event sales; such as fairs, kiosks, vending machines, and other alternative means of sales, am I authorized to sell my company’s products at such places and events?

Most companies would prohibit sales in flea markets, swap meets, vending machines, or garage sales. It is generally viewed that such locations dilute the value of the company’s products and opportunities. Companies typically prohibit sales in retail stores, but the purpose for this rule is to avoid the appearance of the company being in competition with the direct selling channel of its distributors, a model that is really based on person-to-person marketing.

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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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At the time of ordering by a distributor, don't order more inventory unless you have sold or personally used at least 70% of what you have previously ordered.

At the time of ordering by a distributor, don’t order more inventory unless you have sold or personally used at least 70% of what you have previously ordered.

The 70% rule derives from the 1979 FTC Amway decision in which an administrative law judge recognized that Amway’s 70% rule helped prevent inventory loading (it is not a retailing rule). Basically, the Amway rule provided: at the time of ordering by a distributor, don’t order more inventory unless you have sold or personally used at least 70% of what you have previously ordered. This is one of the Amway “safe harbor” rules that you will see in the policies of leading direct selling companies.

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Credit to labarbosa Most direct selling companies permit advertising, but provide specific guidelines and protocols for promotion. Some companies require that all advertising be submitted to the company for approval.

The MLM company does, in fact, have the right to set the rules for marketing of its products or services, and those rules are typically found in the advertising guidelines section of the company’s policies.

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