Random Bits & MLM Schemes

I am finally coming around to uncoupling affiliate sales and multi-level marketing in my head. For some reason I had the two concepts linked and refused to even investigate affiliate sales.  Now that I have finally educated myself and understand the concept it makes a lot more sense and has lost the skeeve factor.

For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, multi-level marketing plans are often linked to pyramid schemes. Of course no MLMer will ever say that, they’ll skirt the issue and explain how it’s nothing like a pyramid scheme, but here’s what it comes down to. With MLM (remember Amway?) a person not only works to sell products but to recruit other sales people and in return gets a percentage of that new sales person’s cut.

A ridiculously over simplified example. Joe invents Company X and sells products 30% over their cost. Joe keeps all 30% either as profit or to reinvest in Company X. Joe meets Bob who agrees to sell the product at the same price as Joe. Bob gets 20% of each sale either as profit or to reinvest in his version of Company X; Joe gets that missing 10%. Bob of course wants to be like Joe and have people under him, so he recruits people who each get 15% and Bob gets 5 and Joe of course gets 10.  In the real world it’s much more dynamic than this and people move up and down according to how many people are under them and where on the feeding chain they currently swim. Yes, it’s nothing like a pyramid scheme, I get it, you said that already.

I am uncomfortable with this concept and feel it falls into a morally grey zone, especially when naive, new sales people are goaded into  pressuring friends and family to buy products they may have zero interest in through guilt  or a desire to help them succeed. It doesn’t matter if the products are superior or not, if I’m emotionally blackmailed into a purchase, I do not gain a favorable impression of the company.

So, that’s MLM what are affiliate sales? With affiliate sales or at least what I’ve seen so far (and anything outside of this will probably make me drop the whole idea) is I place advertising for a product on my site or newsletter. If a reader clicks through and makes a purchase, I as the referrer, get a cut of the sale. The cost of the product is the same whether they came through my ad or not. I’m ok with this, it doesn’t feel as manipulative. Now, there is always emotional manipulation in marketing, but this doesn’t seem to put anyone in an exploitive position. I could be wrong, but my highly attuned guilt radar is not sounding.

Over on Home Ec, I’m slowly adding some affiliate ads to the site. Most of these will go to old posts that receive a lot of search engine traffic that doesn’t necessarily stick around. The ads will be for products related to the search, appliances under appliance repair, fabric under crafts, kitchen gear I love, etc.

Other random things:

I’ve really gotten into listening to podcasts lately, whether playing chauffeur, doing the dishes, or folding laundry, they keep my mind occupied.

Here are a few I thoroughly enjoy:

Spycast – Run by the International Spy Museum, this podcast is endlessly fascinating focusing on espionage intelligence. I also happen to just enjoy Peter Earnest’s voice.

Stuff You Missed in History Class – I picked this one up on a recommendation by James. I never would have called myself a history buff, but these short shows pack a lot of information that would be useful the next time I play Trivial Pursuit. I’ll still fail the pop culture category.

BlogCastFM – The Up and Coming Blogger Series. I have a narcissistic interest in this one. If you’re not interested in professional blogging, skip it; it will have zero relevance to your life. As blogger / website developer it’s a good reminder of where I need to be placing my focus and sometimes the enthusiasm can help keep me plugging away. The blogging world is so weird with no real definition of what constitutes success. On one hand, I’m “living the dream” with the book deal, but on the other I still feel like a complete nobody.*

*Hush. I get to decide when I don’t feel like a nobody / noob.*

What podcasts do you listen to? Any?

1 comment so far ↓

#1 ThatBobbieGirl on 03.20.10 at 6:41 pm

MLM — you mean, like, the whole Social Security ponzi scheme? ‘Cept you don’t have to recruit anyone…

Affiliate sales are great –I’m glad you’re doing them. I’m one of your cheerleaders – GO HEATHER! Be picky, though. And there’s some way you can do this with Amazon, I think, if you put a link to a particular item and someone clicks thru and buys it. I started to look into it once buy I got distracted by…hey, what’s that over there?

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