What About Upline?

I read an article in another industry publication that reported on the bankruptcy of Upline and Networking Times. The article said that “the owners and managers received millions of dollars in salaries and expenses,” implicitly at everyone else’s expense; and while it didn’t come right out and say so, it strongly hinted that you were to blame (it called you “MLM Times”). What’s the story?

— anon. reader

We read the story, too and were disappointed in the newsletter that printed it. At Networking Times, our mission is to bring the industry together—not attack each other. The piece you read, alas, bears no resemblance to the truth.

Chris Gross, Chairman and CEO of Gabriel Media Group, Inc., was an officer and director of CPG, the company that published NML and Upline®; Chris left the company in September of 2000. John Milton Fogg was co-founder of Upline® and NML; John left the company in June 2000 to start TheGreatestNetworker. community. John David Mann was co-founder of Upline® and Editor in Chief of NML; he left the company in August of 2001. Frank Keefer, who served Networking Times as its founding Publisher, was also founder of NML and CEO of Network Marketing Publications (a division of CPG); Frank left in September 2000.

All four left the former publishing company under circumstances of profound frustration at the direction the enterprise was taking; none had any control over the purse strings or business decisions at CPG. Collectively, in fact, they lost millions.

So, how did the article get the facts so wrong? There are two possibilities. One is that the author of the piece intentionally twisted the facts in an effort to smear our reputations. The other is that it was more simply a matter of well-intentioned reporting, but shoddy research. We prefer to take the high road, and go with the latter conclusion.

What’s Your Agenda?

It sounds like you have quite a lineup of info for the new magazine. It looks very similar to Network Marketing Lifestyles; most of the people involved are the same. How will the magazine be different?

Have you done any research or studies on what limited the growth of Network Marketing Lifestyles magazine? Why did that magazine not succeed? Do you know why many networkers did not subscribe or recommend NML despite the excellent content of the articles?

Who is your target market—network marketing prospects, new networkers, mid-level part-timers, seasoned pros, or everyone in these categories?

Will you give subscribers who have unfulfilled subscriptions from NML the remainder of their subscription in your new magazine?

What is going to be your unique niche and how specifically will you be different from NML and Upline? How and why will you succeed where they failed?

Best of success in your new endeavor!

— Jeff Breakey

Networking Times aims to raise the bar in the network marketing publications business. Our field research indicated that the network marketing field leadership valued the inspiration, motivation, education, personal growth, nuts and bolts offering of Upline® and yet requested that we scrub the stories clean of company affiliation. The same field studies also revealed that field leaders loved the independent, third-party support from recognized experts outside of the network marketing community sometimes present in Network Marketing Lifestyles but without the distributor ads.

At Networking Times, we listened—and delivered. No company names, no distributor advertising!

Networking Times has no connection to the defunct publications, Upline® and Network Marketing Lifestyles. Nonetheless, we recognize the implicit lineage, and have elected to honor existing lifetime memberships to Upline®. We have posted an offer to all folks with unserved subscriptions from those magazines on our web site, and have offered to extend new subscribers to Networking Times by two issues if they mail in their mailing label from either publication showing an expiration date after December 2001.

By placing superior customer service at the center of our business universe, we will succeed where they failed.

Thumbs Up—and Down

It appears we are about to be treated to another John Milton Fogg/John David Mann collaboration! We cut our teeth on Upline®—the first really serious network marketing publication that offered substantive articles (and a catalog of materials) to educate distributors. We were inspired by our fling with the glossy pages of Network Marketing Lifestyles. Now we are coming of age with Networking Times.

Substance. Wit and wisdom from industry giants. Candor and measured optimism from the editors who have seen it all come and go—and come back again.

This is a resilient industry. What will the future hold for us? That’s up to us—the entrepreneurs of network marketing. The editors of Networking Times promise to print the story. Thanks for holding the vision!

— Hannah Ineson

I have been a proud professional network marketer since 1997. I have been a faithful subscriber to Upline® and Network Marketing Lifestyles and was truly saddened to hear that they would no longer be. Then an acquaintance told me about Networking Times. com. Yesterday I had a chance to visit the site. I am so excited to know that vision, mission, and passion are moving forward and that our industry will once again have a trade publication that will represent the best of who we are. Thank you!

— Hina Wu

Even though I totally enjoyed Network Marketing Lifestyles, to be straight with you, I would not subscribe to Networking Times, even though I am a total advocate of all your work. Other than the Yahoo guy interview [Tim Sanders, Love is the Killer App, issue #1], the material is cliched and redundant with other work already in circulation. My “hurl-o-meter” is pegging.

I am writing to make a difference, even though my words may sting a bit. I appreciate you all for attempting the publishing effort again. I truly apologize for the bluntness, but I really didn’t have the words to be subtle about it. I hope you understand, because I know how one rotten email can ruin everyone's day. Regardless of how I feel, I truly wish you all the best of success in your new endeavor.

— Rick Duris