Why Bloggers Should Avoid MLM Like the Plague

Last Modified: March 22, 2016 at 3:15 pm by Tianna | Leave a comment

Why Bloggers Should Avoid MLM Like the Plague

So, What’s MLM or Multi-Level Marketing, Anyway?

MLM (multi-level marketing) AKA pyramid schemes are like the cockroaches of business; they never seem to die and always pop up with a new arm or leg that looks like something new, but it’s really still the same thing. If you’re unfamiliar with MLM (or pyramid schemes), let me break it down for you. Multi-level marketing = pyramid schemes, in my opinion, and it’s basically where a company builds it’s entire profit off of the backs of others while offering no substantial way for it’s “employees” or “reps” (anyone not on the top of the pyramid) to make a real profit being part of their team. The people working under the pyramid, often, never see any kind of profit from their work, but they are encouraged by their “sponsor” to buy such and such starter kit, hold parties, promote online, spam their link to everyone they know, indoctrinate their relatives to sell candles or whatever they’re pushing, all while investing money into a company that will never ever pay off for them. That’s keeping it really basic because, of course; it’s a lot more complicated than that, but I’m here to discuss why bloggers should avoid MLM like the plague. If you don’t know much about pyramid schemes or MLM, you can read more about pyramid schemes here.


What Bugs Me About MLM & Why I Think They’re Pyramid Schemes

Okay, so let’s back up to how/when/why I got so annoyed about MLM and pyramid schemes in the first place. This past weekend, I was at home (per usual because I have no life) when a fellow blogger sent me an email about a potential blogger opportunity. So, of course, I got excited about the potential to work with a cool brand (or brands), but that excitement soon evaporated into suspicion. Said blogger remained increasingly vague as the emails went on and talked me into chatting on Skype so they could better “explain” the opportunity. The next thing I know, I’m sitting on a video chat with this blogger who sends me a video link and says “watch this and then I’ll answer your questions.” Impersonal, much? Already irritated that this is most likely a pyramid scheme, I head over to watch a seriously ridiculous video marketing promotion for Dream Trips. UGH.


It may surprise you that this sort of thing seems to happen to me quite frequently. I would get badgered by relatives to sell Nerium, Party Light, Tupperware, or some other nonsense that they were selling to make “extra money” and I would watch them work their tails off, but never seem to make any real income from it. Not only did seeing my friends and relatives being taken advantage of just infuriate the hell out of me, but the ethics (or lack thereof) of it all always left me seething in outrage that people can get away with doing this kind of business.

Since becoming a blogger, I’ve been inundated by random emails, facebook messages, instagram messages, and other annoying solicitations from other bloggers telling me how great I’d be at selling essential oils or whatever. It’s like, no. What amazes me is how people get so offended and upset when I tell them the reasons I don’t want to join. I’m sorry you guys, but I’m just a blunt person. I WILL tell you if I think it’s B.S. I WILL tell you if I think your “mult-level marketing” beauty company is a pyramid scheme. I’m looking at you, Arbonne, Avon and Mary Kay. #SorryNotSorry I realize I’m probably stepping on some toes and ranting a bit, but it really just frustrates me and I think MLM companies are extremely bad for bloggers; here’s why.

why bloggers should avoid multi-level marketing like the plague

Why Bloggers Should Avoid MLM Like the Plague

They’re Unethical. MLM’s, try as they might, have an unethical business model by design. That’s not to say the companies in question are inherently evil, but the model is flawed. The truth of the matter is that MLM might even offer some cool products, but the model they use to promote and sell said products allows only the people at the very top of the pyramid to make a legitimate passive income. Meanwhile, those starting at the bottom (the sales representatives or “health partners” or whatever marketing title they’ve stamped on it) are receiving very little to no ROI (return on investment). In spite of not really making any money, they’re encouraged to purchase starter kits, displays, throw parties, and more in order to push the product or service and lifestyle of this brand. I’ve seen so much money wasted because these companies market to anyone looking to make “easy money” on the side when the truth is that the game is rigged against you and when your readers see you supporting MLM brands like this it, in turn, makes you look unethical.

They Kill Your Credibility. Another reason to avoid MLM companies is that they tend to kill your credibility. Once you begin pushing your sales “agenda,” it tends to turn a lot of people off and for good reason. If you came to a blog and allowed a blogger into your life via email, social follows, or regular visits, wouldn’t you be annoyed if you were suddenly met with a bunch of sales pitch? I would. I love supporting bloggers. I’m cool with affiliate links (they’re better than MLM – here’s why), and I’m okay with sponsored content that is within your blog’s niche and makes sense, but MLM has a way of killing a blogger’s sense of integrity in the worst way and that’s why I’ll never subscribe to any of them and I don’t recommend you do either.

They Won’t Make You Money Anyway. The truth of the matter is that MLM rarely, if ever, turn a profit for sales people. They market their company to people who want to make a quick buck and suggest it will be SO easy, will require very little work, and won’t cost you hardly anything (except a lot of money for the initial “investment”), but to quote Rumpelstiltskin, it’s important to realize that “everything comes with a price, Deary!” That is so true with everything. There’s a give and take to life, a push and pull. You’re better off promoting products you really like that you would probably promote on your blog anyway and discussing things you’re actually passionate about than promoting any MLM companies which won’t make you any legitimate money in the long run.


Overall, it’s up to you what you do with your time and money. If you want to join an MLM company and try your luck, whether you’re a blogger or just a reader looking to make some extra cash, then it’s absolutely your choice. I wish you the best of luck and success, but in my opinion, when it comes to MLM, the cards are stacked against you and will likely kill your integrity, credibility, and trust among readers.

What Do You Think of MLM Marketing?

Do You Think They’re Legit Or Straight Up Pyramid Schemes?

If You’re A Blogger, Do You Do MLM?

Come Chat With Me!

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12 thoughts on “Why Bloggers Should Avoid MLM Like the Plague

  1. March 23, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    I personally am not a salesperson, so an MLM is not for me. I do have some friends that do it, and they love it. As long as they aren’t bugging me all the time, I really don’t mind. I, do, however, get upset when people friend me or follow me on Instagram just to sell me their products. I think that’s pretty sneaky, and I’m not a fan.

    1. March 23, 2016 at 1:26 PM

      Yeah, me either. I really just like talking about what I like, but I get so annoyed when people solicit to me unnecessarily, especially on social media. That’s the worst lol. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Shann ♥

  2. March 23, 2016 at 10:49 AM

    There’s so much anti-MLM pushback in certain blogging niches recently and I think a lot of it is undeserved. I HATE agressive MLM reps as much as anyone, but I don’t think all MLMs are evil. They aren’t pyramid schemes — bottom line: you can definitely earn more than the person above you in a true MLM, which is never possible in a pyramid. I’m peripherally involved in an essential oil MLM, but I only initially signed up because of my mom (who actually DOES earn the equivalent of a full time income this way) and because I use the products anyways and it’s the cheapest way to get them. It’s not something I’ve blogged about very often, but mainly because of FDA and other laws cracking down on what you’re even allowed to say about essential oils these days, haha, not because I think it’s unethical or wrong to do so. I think it’s just as possible to wreck your credibility as a blogger with affiliate links and sponsored posts as with an MLM — it all comes down to HOW you do things. I’m totally open to everyone’s opinion, but it’s unfortunate when bad MLM reps can sour the whole thing! There’s nothing inherently bad about MLMs in my book, just plenty of bad/overly aggressive reps that no one wants to interact with 🙂
    Caitie recently posted…5 Questions With Margot White from The Choosy ChickMy Profile

    1. March 23, 2016 at 1:43 PM

      I definitely agree that MLM get a lot of flack, but I think that’s caused by – like you said – overly aggressive reps who solicit in really unethical ways. I also think that a lot of MLM blur the line between what’s ethical and what’s not. That’s not to say that every single MLM is an unethical business, but that this business model, in my opinion, is not really ethical. I just don’t think they’re made to help others make a decent living. I think if people manage to do that, then it must be a rare occurrence because all of the people I know who have tried MLM biz ventures never make anything from it (or very little) and I see these people hustle in all kinds of ways. I totally agree that it’s just as possible to wreck your credibility as a blogger with affiliate links and sponsored posts. Of course, everything comes down to how you do things. It’s so important to have integrity in what you do and stand behind the projects and ventures you choose to go on. If your intentions are only to make money, then that will reflect in every aspect as a blogger, you know? Maybe you could shed more light on MLM’s to show the other side. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter because I’ve had nothing but bad experiences and I’ve seen my friends and family get taken advantage of in the worst ways by these MLM companies. So, that’s really why my feelings about them are so strong. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this issue, Caitie 🙂

  3. March 23, 2016 at 12:50 PM

    Haha.Amen!! Years sago (before blogging) I tried My hand at Party Lite and Mary Kay and found everything you said to be true. I also don’t like how MK is not forth coming with the ingredients in their products. I have “friends” that act like they care about me but our lunches always turn into sales pitches. I’ve had to be borderline rude to get them to stop bugging me. Sure you can be successful, but you have too sell out your friends (and what feels like your soul) in the process!

    1. March 23, 2016 at 1:46 PM

      Yeah, that’s one thing that seems to be pretty repetitive in MLM companies that sell beauty related stuff. I’ve attended tons of parties including Mary Kay and what irked me was that there was a notion of omitting truths in their presentations. One rep got mad at me for telling the people at the party that she didn’t mention certain ingredients in the products and that they would be paying a lot of $ for product with very little of the actual ingredients they were using to sell their skincare line. It just really rubbed me the wrong way. I think that MLM companies just have a tendency of bringing out the worst in people, especially when they really want to make money doing something like that. I just find it really annoying, offensive, and yeah, unethical.

  4. March 26, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    I have done MLM off and on and never earned any real income. I know it is possible as I have friends that are quite successful. A few of them are to the point that their husbands have quit their full time jobs to help them.

    Right now I am a consultant with 2 companies strictly for the discounts on products I am actively using. I’ve had people order here and there, but the reality is that I hate pushy people and refuse to have all conversations with others be about the awesome products. While I truly LOVE the products, I just am not that kind of person.
    Laura recently posted…Good Tips Tuesday LinkUp Party #116My Profile

    1. March 29, 2016 at 9:32 AM

      Thanks for sharing your input and experience, Laura. I know what you mean about feeling the need to be “pushy” about selling all the time and I think it takes a special kind of person to sell products without coming off an overbearing (I’m not one of them haha). That’s amazing your friends have been so successful at it. I definitely it’s more of a rare occurrence, but who knows? That’s just my experience. I appreciate you chiming in your thoughts!

  5. March 27, 2016 at 10:23 AM

    For serious–I am unfortunately wary of accepting friend requests from bloggers I don’t interact with that much because I’m paranoid that they’re going to try to sell my something, and ain’t nobody got time for that (but I also don’t want to be rude–sigh!).

    1. March 29, 2016 at 9:36 AM

      Yeah, I wasn’t paranoid about that at first ,but now I’m definitely more cautious having experienced the soliciting firsthand from bloggers. It seriously bugs. sheesh.

  6. February 10, 2017 at 4:35 AM

    I’ve just come across this and couldn’t agree more. I am sick to death of being contacted on instagram or Facebook by strangers and then old acquaintances. It’s driving me so nuts that I’ve just written about it as well and will be directing all enquiries to that post!! Thanks for joining the #weekendblogshare

    1. February 10, 2017 at 9:29 AM

      Yeah, I just can’t get behind MLM no matter how people try to rephrase the business model for me. It seems to kill integrity in reps as well which I find really annoying. Glad you’ve written about it as well. It’s definitely an issue in the blog world lol.

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