Encouraging networkers to play by FTC rules is as simple as teaching them to observe those created by the FDA. Nobody needs to break them in order to prosper in network marketing.
The FTC’s primary requirement of us is that those who earn extremely large checks cannot use those commissions out of context for the purpose of seducing others into their company. The FTC has always allowed us to share our earnings—so long as we put them in context by disclosing the average incomes of all others in our company’s various pin and achievement levels.
Those who are angered by the FTC’s regulatory stance on financial claims don’t understand how minor that position truly is, relative to the requirements in other capitalistic sectors. If you want to see a real nightmare, check out what the SEC requires of franchise owners and stockbrokers! You literally will not believe the morass of legal guidelines and stipulations. Yet all the FTC asks of us networkers is to put the earnings potential in a reasonable context.
After dedicating close to three decades of my life to this marvelous profession, I am frankly fed up with the “snakes in suits” who induce those with little potential for success into network marketing by dangling huge checks in front of them that are unrealistic earnings for the average part-time business owner. To make matters worse, many of these faux leaders display above-average checks that they have not even earned in the first place. Every time I turn around, some company or big hitter tries to pay me a “signing bonus” and/or place me on the top of a huge organization, so long as I am willing to fly around the world like some mascot on their behalf, touting my huge (and unearned) monthly checks.
It’s easy to build a team culture that complies with FTC standards: simply teach all your business partners to tell the truth. We enjoy the greatest opportunities in capitalism at a time when so many are being deceived by sociopaths who would outsource their own mother if it contributed to their company’s profitability. We certainly don’t need to misrepresent earnings or pretend that everyone who joins our company will automatically earn what the full-timers do.
The FTC needs if anything to speed up enforcement of their policies in order to deal with flim-flams more quickly when they surface. A dear friend of mine recently lost $10,000 in a Ponzi scheme that should have been shut down during their first month in business, but was allowed to operate for years.
The DSA does a great job of promoting our industry, but it doesn’t protect and police it; that’s up to the FTC. And it’s up to leaders to train their people to exercise ethical behavior and the right core values.
I applaud the FTC for challenging those companies and distributors who are unethical and don’t belong in network marketing. The only distributors who fear the FTC usually have a good reason to do so.
MARK YARNELL is a network marketing veteran, the bestselling author of Your First Year in Network Marketing, and co-author of
How to Become Filthy, Stinking Rich through Network Marketing.