The Filipino community, much like many immigrant communities, is ripe for the recruitment of participants in MLMs. Filipino immigrants can be particularly easy targets to exploit, as this Filipino-American writer can attest. They are easygoing and friendly. The ones with a college education understand and speak English very well. The community is crawling with network marketers hawking everything from cosmetics to travel packages to insurance products, courtesy of companies that promise the dream of passive income as well as incentives such as car bonuses and vacations.
Multilevel marketing (MLM) is, strictly speaking, not marketing at all but a form of direct sales with special features, of which recruiting is fundamental. A person, recruited by the company to sell a product, earns commissions; if that person recruits others, this second layer is called the person's "downline." The person earns a cut on the sales of people in the downline, called an "override." But those in the second level may also recruit others and create their own "downlines." The first person in the chain gets an "override" from every level, however many there may be, although always less the farther removed the source is. Often recruits are required to purchase an initial "starting inventory" of the product. In many cases the MLM company will not repurchase this inventory or will do so at a very reduced price. These characteristics have caused MLM to be associated with pyramid schemes; and some technically are such schemes. Not surprisingly, reputable direct marketing companies and the associations to which they belong are continuously engaged in policing the field and in advocating legislation aimed at setting clear and unambiguous rules. The term "network marketing" is in part used because "multi-level" marketing has at best an ambiguous reputation.
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