You probably know someone who invested time and money into a multi-level marketing company. They tried to get you, your friends, or your family to buy mass quantities of a product that you didn’t need. They also promised you great riches and rewards if you sell said product with them.
If this sounds all too familiar, it’s because multi-level marketing opportunities often go by a more popular and less prestigious name: pyramid schemes.
Yes, pyramid schemes still exist, even when accurate information about people getting ripped off is available in a single Google search. Yet people still fall for them all the time because of the promise of quick money and a few stray examples of successful salespeople in the field. Unfortunately, the likelihood of actually making a buck — or even breaking even — in a pyramid scheme is slim to know. You’re actually more likely to lose money.
Thankfully, John Oliver (of Last Week Tonight fame) recently dug deep into the grimy world of multi-level marketing and revealed a whole bunch of scary business practices. If you were unconvinced that multi-level marketing was kind of a sham before, you might just change your mind after this.
Multi-level marketing companies like Herbalife ($HLF) and Primerica ($PRI) openly trade on the stock market, which should give you an idea of just how big some of these companies are. Some investors think that, based on their business model, these companies might be a good investment regardless of how the public perceives them. Others feel that their future isn’t solid, and multi-level marketing companies will eventually be regulated/closed down by the government. This all remains to be seen, but if you don’t feel comfortable with a company’s business model, you might want to steer clear from their stock.
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