Introduction to Market America MLM Compensation Plan
Welcome back to Notebook Crazy, seekers of multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunities where you actually stand a chance of making some money. Today you have arrived just in time for my Market America review.
Market America: The Company and Its Products
Market America was founded in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1992. Like many multilevel marketing (MLM) companies out there, it is a family business at its highest levels of leadership. Its founder and CEO is John “JR” Ridinger, and other members of his family, including his wife Loren, his brother-in-law Marc Ashley, and at least one of JR’s daughters occupy high positions in the company. Another thing that Market America has in common with many other MLM companies is that Market America is not the first MLM company with which its founding family has been involved. Prior to founding Market America, JR Ridinger had risen up through the ranks as a distributor of Amway products.
And it shows. If you are an avid reader of MLM reviews, which you probably are if you are reading this site (although there is always the possibility that you ended up here by Googling “fungus beauty queen”, “rock band origin stories”, or “is Weird Al from the Midwest”, and now you are so disoriented that you can’t figure out where to click in order to get back to your original page of search results, you poor, unfortunate SEO voyager)you have probably noticed how, after a certain point, one MLM company starts to sound rather like another, unless they really have something to set them apart from the crowd. After a while, even the flagship ingredients of the various nutraceutical MLM business opportunities start to blend together. I would have to refer back to my other reviews to be sure of which MLM company has aloe vera as an ingredient in all its nutritional supplements, which one has mangosteen (the loveliest super-fruit of them all), and which one has goji berries, and I am not hallucinating when I say that there is more than one MLM company that uses the Ganoderma fungus as its gimmick ingredient. To stand out, an MLM company has to be supremely bizarre, like CieAura of the hologram patches or Amega of the cytoplasm-charming wand.
Or else it has to be supremely boring. Amway is about the most boring MLM company there is. It sells every kind of product imaginable except the ones that it could possibly be fun to shop for, and it involves itself in politics in the most uninteresting ways imaginable. I can tell an Amway copycat when I see one, and I had Market America pegged as such before I even found out that JR Ridinger originally made his fortune through Amway.
In fact, I found this out in the early stages of doing research for my Market America review. The first thought I had when I saw that it was time for me to write a Market America review went something like this: “Market America. That name sounds like it could be anything. I hope it’s not nutraceuticals. Watch it be something charmingly retro, like Longaberger with the baskets. I wonder if Market America is from the Midwest.” In essence, it was the usual train of thought I have when I set out to review an MLM company whose name does not make direct reference to its products, nor does it contain a subtle wordplay that makes sense once you find out what the company’s products are.
Before I even got around to reading other Market America reviews, I read the Wikipedia article about Market America and found out about all the various product lines that Market America distributors can sell, and I immediately thought of Amway. Much like Amway products, Market America products encompass almost anything that housewives can buy without feeling pleasure; it is a shopping experience that hearkens back to the days before the term “shopaholic” entered our cultural landscape. Yes, some Market America products are nutraceuticals, which may be what accounts for that hint of bitterness that you are picking up on in this Market America review of mine, because I loathe nutraceuticals with every fiber of my being, but some Market America products are not. Some of the best known Market America products are the Isotonix vitamin supplements and the Transitions Lifestyle ystem (TLS) weight loss supplements. From there, the Market America products only get less fun. Market America distributors can sell water filter systems, ant-aging skincare products, Internet marketing platforms, personal finance software, household cleaning products, and even pet care products. There are some product lines marketed to women, such as the cosmetics line Motives by Loren and the jewelry lines Yours by Loren Ridinger and Loren Jewels. Since I am a dude, I have a hard time imagining how it could be fun to buy cosmetics and jewelry in the first place, but based on the apparent messages in the cosmetics and jewelry advertisements I have seen and the behavior of female shoppers in the department store jobs I have had (I did not work in the cosmetics or jewelry department), the fun of buying cosmetics and jewelry is the fantasy of glitz. The buyer gets to imagine herself as buying these products in order to wear them at a fun social occasion. It’s fun to buy earrings from Macy’s because, when you try them on, you imagine yourself wearing them at Ebertfest; you imagine them helping you hear memorable movie dialogue and stimulating after party conversation, even though you have no one to go to Ebertfest with and you couldn’t get the time off of work to go, even if you did. It is not hard to imagine that buying such products at a home sales party where a high school principal’s ex-wife is trying to put herself back together financially completely ruins that illusion, taking with it any pleasure that could be derived from buying such products. Buying jewelry through MLM sounds like about as much fun as hearing “Comfortably Numb” on the radio of the IRS office on April 14th when you are the 207th person in line to apply for an extension to file your tax return.
To get started as a Market America distributor, you have to buy a business starter kit for $130. Then, to maintain your Market America membership, you have to pay a monthly membership fee of $20, and a yearly membership fee of $99.95. That does not even count the products you have to buy from yourself in order to keep your Market America distributor status active. Some Market America reviews suggest that, when trying to recruit new members, Market America distributors are not always explicit about these costs. The good news, though, is that a Market America membership includes your own Market America website through which you can sell the merchandise, so you do not have to constantly track down the few friends you have left and the family members whose company is so unpleasant that MLM home sales parties are their only social outlet and keep inviting them to more home sales parties where you can pester them to buy more Market America products.
The Market America Compensation Plan
The Market America compensation plan styles Market America distributors as “UnFranchise Business Owners”, which, I must admit, is a catchy name. It kind of makes the “UnBirthday” song from the Disney Alice in Wonderland movie run through my head. Beyond that, the Market America compensation plan does not seem to have any big differences from other MLM compensation plans. It assesses points based on your sale of Market America products as well as your recruitment of other Market America distributors and their sale of Market America products.
The Market America website does not contain a detailed Market America compensation plan document, which raises a bit of a red flag. Many MLM companies freely publish their compensation plan documents, with all their fine print, sometimes with several pages devoted just to the definitions of terms found within the compensation plan document. In this age of consumers doing extensive Internet research in preparation for every swipe of their credit cards, it seems like having the Market America compensation plan in detail would be the logical thing to do.
The Market America website does say that the Market America compensation plan contains three ways by which Market America distributors can benefit financially.
- Cash Back – The Market America website makes it sound as though there are bonuses to be earned based on your sales and the sales made by members of your downline team.
- Provide Products – The Market America website says that you can earn profits of up to 50% and implies that the higher profits are for when your customers buy Market America products on autoship.
- Leverage Time – The Market America website says that Market America distributors “manage only 2 sales and distribution organizations”. To me, that sounds like a euphemism for a binary downline structure, which is almost always bad news.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- There are a lot of different product lines within the Market America business opportunity, so if you dedicate your Market America business to selling a product line other than the one in which your upline sponsor specializes, you can avoid your local market becoming saturated with the same Market America products.
- The word “UnFranchise” has a nice ring to it.
- I know that Market America is far from being the most nutraceutical-oriented MLM company out there, but I am still of the opinion that the world has far too many MLM companies out there selling nutritional supplements, and Market America is not helping matters.
- I still have a hard time taking the cosmetic and jewelry product lines seriously, with names like Motives by Loren. Cosmetics and jewelry companies use celebrity appeal to fantastic effect. People buy cosmetics that will make them feel more like Penelope Cruz, Beyonce, Aishwarya Rai, Gwen Stefani, and any of numerous other entertainers and models whose names are synonymous with glamor. No one wants to buy cosmetics and jewelry that will make them feel like the matriarch of an MLM family. If “matriarch of a business empire” were a valid angle for selling cosmetics and accessories, then people all across Middle America would be flocking to a section of Wal-Mart called Baubles by Helen Walton and buying aspirational computer cases called Clicks by Melinda Gates. But they aren’t, and they won’t buy Loren Jewels from your UnFranchise business, either.
- The lack of details about the Market America compensation plan on the Market America website rubs me the wrong way. Trust me, binary is bad news.
- Monthly fees, yearly fees, and the costs of buying MLM merchandise from yourself really add up.
- Almost all categories of Market America products can be gotten much more cheaply at Wal-Mart, Meijer, or wherever it is that you normally shop. In the days when almost every household has at least one car, and when an increasing percentage of purchases are made online, there is no reason to buy everyday things like multivitamins and cleaning products from market America or any other MLM company.
You probably are not going to make money from the Market America business opportunity, just like you probably are not going to make money from any other MLM business opportunity. I have said many times here on Notebook Crazy that, in order for an MLM business to have a chance in this already saturated market, it has to offer a really fresh take on the MLM business model. About the only company I have seen that really does that is Healthy Headie, the company that uses an MLM business model to sell things that, less than a decade ago, would have been called drug paraphernalia and would have been confiscated. Boring MLM businesses just won’t do, and Market America is about as boring as they come.
Are the matriarchs of business empires more glamorous than I think they are? Schedule a call with me, so you can set the record straight.