In an October 15, 2010 article, it was stated that documents of a MLM called Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing reveal that 30 percent of its representatives make no money and that 54 percent of the remaining 70 percent only make $93 a month, before costs. Fortune was under investigation by the Attorneys General of Texas, Kentucky, North Dakota, and North Carolina with Missouri, South Carolina, Illinois, and Florida following up complaints against the company.[40] The FTC eventually stated that Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing was a pyramid scheme and that checks totaling more than $3.7 million were being mailed to the victims.[41]
Independent non-salaried participants, referred to as distributors (variously called "associates", "independent business owners", "independent agents", etc.), are authorized to distribute the company's products or services. They are awarded their own immediate retail profit from customers plus commission from the company, not downlines, through a multi-level marketing compensation plan, which is based upon the volume of products sold through their own sales efforts as well as that of their downline organization.
Beim klassischen Direktvertrieb werden in der Regel firmeneigene, spezialisierte Außendienst-Mitarbeiter eingesetzt (Eigenpersonal). Diese verkaufen direkt an den Kunden unter Ausschaltung von Zwischenhändlern. Die Mitarbeiter im Netzwerk-Marketing sind ein wachsendes Netz aus selbständig und selbstverantwortlich handelnden Laien (Fremdpersonal), die haupt- oder nebenerwerblich als Wiederverkäufer bzw. Vermittler arbeiten. Im Vergleich dazu ist die Zahl der Außendienst-Mitarbeiter im Direktvertrieb gering, weshalb beim Direktvertrieb der Kostenanteil des Vertriebs niedriger ausfallen kann.[2]
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