We share a report from the Dark Ages of Direct Selling, 2004, before online shopping really took off. So why is this report still featured on DSA websites? And why were so few women surveyed? And just generally why?


Read this: International 2004 study on “direct sales”

link on NZ DSA


Nothing makes your industry look more legit than having academics study it.  It’s easy enough to do if your industry is willing to support them.




A couple of things.

The sample is very small, and doesn’t have enough women in it





You might be thinking: so what?  So what if there’s nearly the same number of men as women?   Well, we think it matters because most “direct sellers” are women and arguably so are most buyers.

Interestingly, the World DSA does not do a gender breakdown of sellers.  However, NZ, Australia, UK, and USA show similar breakdowns of women vs men – women are the majority of “direct sellers’, which means they are the majority in MLMs.  Feminist issue, y’all.

link to EU DSA info here


The internet has changed everything.



Take a look at the link and the screenshot below.  It’s from a report from the Direct Sales Association of NZ.

Code reports


We think the 2 complaints are very interesting and telling.   Telling, because they show how the internet has completely changed the game where MLM is concerned.   Read about Bots fighting over territory,  then click this, scroll down, and read about women trying to flog their unsold MLM shite online

We are not convinced there is an actual market for MLM products.  Don’t get us wrong, it’s pretty clear that MLMs rely less on actual sales to real customers than they do to forcing their recruits to buy to stay “active”…etc…but the ‘net makes it even harder for the odd ethical Bot to make a sale.   Why?  Other bots offloading stock at discount prices, and the sheer amount of competition from companies selling online.  Why buy an overpriced MLM lippy when you can buy it cheap on Amazon Prime?  And it’ll be delivered tomorrow?

Whatever sales model the MLM industry had, our guess is the internet has fucked it up big time.

The flipside of that is – the internet makes it really easy to reach potential victims and sell them on the dream of owning their own ‘business’ and ‘working around the kids’ and ‘yeah woman power etc’.   Ironic, no?  Which is why we keep demanding that government require MLM companies to tell the truth about how much $$ women can earn.


Where is the real data about MLMs?



We need real data about MLMs.  Not industry-sponsored, biased studies.  Where is it?




A note on the definition of “direct sales”.  Technically, direct sales includes door-to-door selling, Multi-level marketing schemes, and “party plans”.  In most cases in 2016, MLM companies make up the vast majority of ‘direct sales’ companies.  Maybe they should call it ‘direct recruiting’ instead?



Creating MLM-free spaces – how you can help

Creating MLM-free spaces


Following the eye-opening Daily Mail report about MLMs recruiting in branches of Barclays, we decided that it’s time to do something about creating safe-spaces free from MLMs, and we need your help!


Sadly, Barclays is not alone in being hoodwinked by such schemes.  We hear on a daily basis of stands appearing in hospitals, school fairs, village fetes and other community events. Given everything that we know about how theses schemes recruit, mislead, pressurize, bully, and take financial advantage of participants, we are encouraging you to lobby for their exclusion.


We’ve drafted a template letter for you to adapt and use and would urge you to get complaining.  If you can, encourage sympathetic neighbours & friends to do the same thing  – the more voices, the louder we shout, the more likely we are to be heard.


We want to start keep track of our successes, so tell us who you are writing to and what the response is.  With your help, we can protect more people from MLMs.




Template Letter:


To Whom It May Concern


I would like to make a formal complaint about the inclusion of (insert MLM here) in (Insert event name here) which took place on (insert date here).


(MLM Name) is a type of product-based pyramid scheme which relies on recruiting new participants who have to purchase products to join.  They recruit primarily by falsely suggesting that large incomes and dream lifestyles can be earned for minimal time input. They aggressively target people from all walks of life, but particularly the financially vulnerable and mothers of young children. The statistical reality is that the vast majority of victims who join these schemes invest heavily both in terms of money and time and see very little or no return for their efforts. Many participants lose a great deal of money.


I am strongly of the opinion that (MLM Name) should not be permitted to exhibit and recruit in community spaces/at community events as you have a duty of care to visitors and staff that is being breeched by exposing them to such companies and their practices. Whilst technically legal, such schemes regularly misrepresent the truth and emotionally manipulate people for money.


If you require additional information, please visit http://wordpress.timelessvie.com.  I look forward to your confirmation that we will not see (MLM name) at future events.


Yours sincerely,

Our Demands.

    1. MLMs be made illegal because they are pyramid schemes with products.

    2. If they aren’t made illegal, we demand:


⊕Every MLM be legally required to publish their churn rate i.e. how many people drop out of the MLM per 12 months and how much money they made, LESS expenses,during that time.  Big font, home page of website, something like “90% of participants leave (insert name here) within 12 months having lost (insert amount here)”.  WE KNOW IT GOES ON.



⊕Every MLM be legally required to publish the typical earnings of particpants per annum in the country that they are operating in.    In ginormous, 70-pt font on the Home page of their website so people know what they are actually signing up for.  None of this hiding it in ittle bittle font in a densely written document on page 20.  Right up front.  Nice and clear.



⊕Every MLM be legally required to publish how much money a participant has to spend to stay active with the MLM over that same year, in 70-pt font on the Home page of their website.   We all know there is a certain amount of money that needs to be spent in an MLM to maintain your status.  Let’s see it, front and centre.  Why hide it?



⊕Every MLM be legally required to divulge training, success day, conference, website hire, etc etc expectations and how much each:

  • costs
  • what is covered by the MLM, and what is expected to be covered by the participant in the MLM



⊕Every MLM be legally required to state on their website how many hours per week a participant would have to work to make a high enough income to live on. (Around 100 isn’t it?  be honest now).


⊕Every MLM be legally required to list prices for all their products on their website in actual currency of the country they are operating in.   This website should be accessible to the public.



Every MLM be legally required to state that the real money is made from recruiting people, as per their compensation plans,  not really selling products.    This should be on the home page of their website in BIG ASS FONT.



⊕Every MLM require their participants to state which MLM they are recruiting for when prospecting on social media.  Any failure to do so would lead to prosecution of the MLM. No more coy “I’ll DM you hun”.  Just bloody tell us for the love of nancy.



MLMs to be held legally responsible for any claims made by their ‘business owners’



Governments  regulate MLMs with impartial  statutory organisations.   These organisations would have wide powers to investigate MLMs, and fine and prosecute people within them who break the law.   None of this ‘industry self-regulation’ nonsense.  ‘Direct Sales Associations’ are just rubber stamping bodies for the MLM industry.  MLMs love to throw around the “ooh we be part of the DSA, we be ethical” line but by and large, it’s meaningless.



People who have lost money to an MLM get their money back.  Every. Single. Penny.  No matter what country they are in.  This is a big one for us. 







MLMs and their adherents keep claiming they have nothing to hide and that ‘people don’t understand network marketing’.  Well, then.  Now’s your chance to be super transparent and clear.

We’re waiting.