Despite the company’s impressive record, there’s been a couple Market America lawsuits and plenty of complaints in recent years.
And while it touts about a "proven plan for your financial success," there's only a few people you can find that made a decent income with Market America.
Interesting enough, there are a relatively more number of people that is calling Market America a pyramid scheme.
Because not only did they not earn money, some even ended up with a pile of debt after getting involved with the company.
In all fairness, Market America isn't a pyramid scheme. It is a respected name in the industry and it offers a wide range of useful products.
But I won't deny the fact that people have valid reasons for calling it a scam.
The company has a very controversial compensation plan that involves heavy emphasis on recruitment, and it is almost impossible to make money selling its products.
So if you're here to find out if Market America is an excellent business opportunity to invest your time and money, I will break down all the details below.
But in case you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick summary so you won't leave empty handed.
Market America's products e.g., Isotonix are nothing special. A closer look at the labels will tell you that. Another thing you'll notice for sure is the hefty price tags. Sadly, the price of the products has nothing to do with quality, but is designed to support the company's compensation plan.
To be fair, the products may work for you but the only way to find out is to try them yourself.
It's tough to make a decent income selling Market America products because they're too expensive for average consumers. Furthermore, the real income doesn't really comes from selling, but from recruiting people. You'll earn commissions from their sales and product purchases. MA also uses a Binary compensation plan which requires you to build two active group of recruits, or else you won't make money.
Cost to Join
You'll have to spend at least $450 to get a proper start as an UnFranchise Business Owner (UFO). While you have the option to join with the cheaper Starter Kit ($149.95 + $21.95/month), its almost pointless because you'll need to generate 200BV in product sales (~$300) to qualify for commissions. You also need to renew your membership annually.
If you have great marketing skills, you can earn up to 50% profits on each product you can sell.
And IF (that a big if) you can build a vast network of UFOs and granted that both your left and right legs generates plenty of commissionable sales volume, you have the potential to earn as much as $1,500/week on each Business Development Center (BDC) you own. You can have as many BDC as you want so your income potential is endless.
Training and Support
As far as I know, the training Market America provides for its members are all paid. The cost of these training, live events and workshops ranges from $5 up to $200, or more depending on the length and duration of the session.
On the plus side, there are plenty of training available. From 1 on 1 sessions about the products, personal development, mind setting, fundamentals of network marketing, sponsoring and even Internet Marketing.
Overall rating : 2 / 5
Market America is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company. It sells an array of products and claims to provide "the key to your financial success."
However, the startup fee is very expensive, some of the products are over-priced and more importantly, only a few UFOs has managed to make a decent income with the company.
These things, including the crucial things that you can expect after joining the company, is discussed below.
What is Market America?
The company was launched in 1992 by James Howard (JR) Ridinger and his wife, Loren.
JR is a former Amway top-earning distributor, and with his leadership, the company is now in its third decade and currently operates in over 200 countries.
It also won 2 Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it maintains an A+ rating.
But you’ve probably met company distributors (and high ranking officials) that claims Market America is all the things above, except being an MLM company.
Is Market America an MLM?
Market America is definitely a multi-level marketing company, in my opinion.
According to the FTC, you’re involved in a multi-level marketing business when,
"Your recruits, the people they recruit, and so on, become your sales network, or “downline.” If the MLM is not a pyramid scheme, it will pay you based on your sales to retail customers, without having to recruit new distributors." (Source)
When you become a distributor for Market America, there will be multiple levels of people above and below you. You'll earn commissions not only from your own sales but also from your recruits.
The people above you (uplines) will also earn commissions from you and the sales of people under you (downlines).
I’m not certain why they’re trying so hard to distance themselves from MLM, but if you have any related information, leave a comment below.
How does Market America | SHOP.COM Work?
Market America is using its eCommerce platform SHOP.COM to sell its wide range of products the same way Amazon does.
Now, you might think that people shop on SHOP.COM because products are sold at lower prices. That isn’t the case.
Market America doesn’t create nor manufacture anything it sells.
Instead, the company strikes deals and buys exclusive rights to get private-label brands like Isotonix or Motives Cosmetics, which they then sell as their own at marked-up prices.
In addition, they also acquire products from known brands such as Apple, Target, and Nike and sell them on their site.
But the prices of these products (Nike or Apple) are the same as it would be when buying them from their original stores.
So, why is SHOP.COM very popular among consumers and business owners alike?
Well, its because Market America is a “product brokerage” company, and this concept provides certain benefits for three parties,
- Local business owners,
- Market America itself.
1. Customer Benefits
SHOP.COM sells all kinds of products that you might want or need.
But unlike Amazon where people shop because they’re almost guaranteed that they will receive good quality products, it appears not to be the case with SHOP.COM.
Many people find their SHOP.COM shopping experience not worthwhile, citing that products (and services) are too expensive for its quality.
Complaints of receiving damaged or expired goods is also a common thing in various Market America reviews.
So why is SHOP.COM still popular among consumers?
Two magic words, cashback program.
Whenever you shop online on SHOP.COM, a tiny percent of the amount you spent will be returned to you.
Market America calls this Shopping Annuity or “converting your spendings into earnings.”
But this concept is not really a new thing. Another controversial MLM company I reviewed that offers the same benefit is Lyoness.
Isn’t it great when you can earn a few dollars back every time you purchase something that you’ll buy anyways?
But as amazing as that sounds, there are people out there who didn’t get the cashback they were promised!
Now, I don’t know about you... But I wouldn't risk shopping someplace that has plenty of negative reviews.
For what? Just so that I can earn a few cents whenever I buy coffee? (I love coffee)
Have you tried shopping in SHOP.COM? Did you get the cashback as promised?
2. Local Business Owners Benefits
If you're a local business owner, you can take advantage of SHOP.COM’s reputation and online presence.
You can partner with the Market America's Merchant Support Team and apply to become a OneCart PARTNER.
In this program, you can connect with the thousands of people that visit SHOP.COM daily and sell your products. It’s like renting a stall in a popular store.
However, its not free.
You’ll need to pay a certain amount to Market America (amount undisclosed) because again, it’s like you are renting space on its online store SHOP.COM.
But in turn, SHOP.COM will handle the promotion and advertising for your products, so you’ll be fine even if you are new to Internet Marketing.
You, as the business owner, will still manage the orders and address any complaints that a customer might have against your products.
You will also not earn profits immediately whenever one of your products get sold because Market America will pay you on bulk weekly.
Does this arrangement sounds fair? Why or why not?
Feel free to speak your mind in the comment section below (it's free).
3. Market America’s Benefits
The concept of a product brokerage company favors Market America the most.
For starters, it makes sure that it will have plenty of products to offer to the consumers, without any manufacturing costs.
And aside from the huge profits from its private label products, the company also earns revenues from the fees of local business owners and commissions from every sale of their affiliated brands.
What a strategy, right? No wonder JR is a top distributor of Amway.
What Exactly does Market America Sell?
The company literally sells almost everything, from day to day groceries to auto care services.
SHOP.COM is truly becoming the one-stop online shopping destination the owners envisioned it to be.
You're probably thinking, tons of people must be enjoying cash backs from all these products, right?
Unfortunately, the cashback program is only offered on a few selected products (boo)!
And most of the cash back eligible products are the company’s private-labeled products sold at incredibly marked-up prices.
- Health and nutrition - Isotonix, Transitions Lifestyle System (TLS), nutraMetrix, Heart Health, PRIME, and Ultimate Aloe
- Personal care - Royal Spa, Fixx, Skintelligence, Lumiere and VITA SHIELD
- CBD - CANNABIQUIN and CANNABICOOL
- Home and garden care - Snap and Global Car
- Automotive care - Autoworks and Friction Free
- Cosmetics - Motives by Loren Ridinger
- Jewelry - Loren Jewels and Yours by Loren Ridinger
- Personal financial management - maCapital Resources
- Internet marketing services - maWebCenters
- Water filter systems - Pure H20
- Electronics - Stealth
- Groceries - Choice
- Pets - Pet Health
Any of the products on the different categories above usually cost much higher than similar products in the same niche.
Could this be because of their superb quality?
Well, let’s take a look at Market America’s most popular product, a line of nutraceuticals promoted by an NBA superstar.
Isotonix - Market America’s Most Popular Product
Based on what I know about MLM companies, they will say all kinds of amazing and magical things just to promote their products.
In the case of Isotonix, Market America advertised it as "the world’s most advanced nutraceuticals" that will keep you healthy from head to toe.
They even paid Scottie Pippen (probably millions) to endorse the product!
There are over 40 individual products of Isotonix, including the Isotonix Digestive Enzymes, Prime Joint Support Formula, MochaTonix, and Complete Greens.
The best-seller, however, is the Isotonix Daily Essentials. It contains the following:
- Isotonix OPC-3 - powerful antioxidant that provides a variety of health benefits associated with general health and well-being.
- Isotonix Multivitamin - contains 100 percent or more of the recommended daily value of essential vitamins and minerals
- Isotonix Activated B-Complex - activated forms of vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid to guarantee that your body is getting the vital nutrients it needs
- Isotonix Calcium Plus - helps maintain strong bones, healthy teeth, and gums
Now, these claims all look good on paper, but the question is…
Does Isotonix Work?
As you would expect from a food supplement, there is a huge discrepancy in the effectiveness of Isotonix among its users.
Some attribute their good health and well-being to Isotonix. One fellow even went the extra mile and testified how it helped him with his chronic and degenerative diseases!
But others claim that Isotonix nutraceuticals are no more than overpriced multi-vitamins. And I was surprised to find out that this is true!
Expensive Products Don’t (always) Mean Superior Quality
I took a look around and found similar products (with the same ingredients) to Isotonix that doesn’t nearly cost as much.
For instance, the Isotonix Daily Essentials sold wholesale at $38.50 and $77 at retail might have been produced at a much lower price.
How much is the production cost you ask? I’m guessing so low that they can afford to give free products to their employees.
The huge difference between production cost and the selling price is how Market America supports its compensation plan to pay the distributors and the product endorsers.
Bottom line, whether the product works for you or not, do not make the assumption that their hefty price tags have nothing to do with their quality.
I got this information from someone who used to work (employee, not a distributor) in SHOP.COM in the partner acquisition team.
Have you tried Isotonix or any of Market America products? How was your experience?
Feel free to leave a comment below.
Market America UnFranchise Business (A pyramid scheme?)
It is called an “UnFranchise” business because Market America claims that it’s “exactly” like a franchising business, minus:
- expensive startup cost,
- franchising fees,
- monthly overhead costs,
- and territorial restrictions.
Okay, here's the deal.
Yes, it's true that the startup cost to become an UnFranchise Business Owner (UFO) isn't out of this world (see what I did there? lol) compared to starting a franchising business.
However, I believe making money with Market America is equally difficult and risky as getting to the moon!
There is a monthly sales that you’ll have to meet, a monthly recurring fee to be eligible for commissions, and a yearly membership fee!
With all this extra fees, how amazing is this "proven plan for your financial success" business opportunity Market America is talking about?
There are three ways to make money with Market America.
Only selected products are eligible for cashbacks whenever you shop at SHOP.COM, and most of them are the Market America private labels.
You can earn 2% up to 50% depending on the products you buy. You’ll also earn 0.5% cashbacks from the purchases of the people that you refer to the platform.
It is tough to make retail profits by selling Market America products, e.g., Isotonix.
In my opinion, the company products aren’t terrible per se, but they aren’t special either.
But the major deal-breaker about selling them is their premium price tags that will discourage most of the average consumers.
Why would people buy your products when there are plenty of options out there that don’t cost as much?
Nonetheless, you can earn 30% up to 50% in profits depending on the MA product that you can sell.
For example, you can buy the Isotonix Daily Essentials for $38.50 (Unfranchiser price) and sell it for $77 (retail price).
You get $38.50 (50%) in profit for just a single product, which is not bad!
Once again, Market America products are so darn expensive because part of the profit are used to pay to you, the other UFOs and the product endorsers.
Of course MA has to keep some of the profits for itself too!
UFOs can make money from products by purchasing them at UnFranchiser price (wholesale) and selling them on retail prices.
And if you want to take advantage of Internet Marketing, you can also build a list of preferred customers who'll subscribe to Market America’s monthly autoship program.
Market America claims that with their proven system, the question is not “IF you will earn with the company, but WHEN.”
Unfortunately, most MA distributors (including the ones that already quit) are still yet to earn a decent income. So, when indeed?
Market America uses something called “Vertical Marketing” to pay its distributors residual income.
However, don’t be intimidated by such term because Vertical Marketing is actually what's called Binary MLM compensation plan.
I personally dislike Binary compensation plan because it is tough to make money, and I believe this is the reason why only a few people have found financial success with this company.
Here’s how it works.
When you join as a Market America UnFranchise Owner (UFO or distributor), you’ll be given a Business Development Center (BDC) and two sales legs directly below it, the left and the right.
All your recruits’ BDC will be placed on either the left or right leg as you build your organization.
The leg with more sales will be the strong leg, and the other one is the weaker leg (duh).
Then it gets interesting from here.
Your income will be based on the sales of the weaker leg per week, so unless you manage to get high sales on each leg, your income will be meager.
I've seen many people that have millions of commissionable points that didn't get much from it because the MLM company they joined, uses a Binary compensation plan.
In Market America, every time you accumulate 1,200 BV or IBV on both your left and right leg, you’ll get paid $300.
BV? IBV? What is that?
They are the points assigned to each Market America products.
BV and IBV are earned from personal product orders, retails sales, orders made by your preferred customers, and from all the product sales of your entire team.
How much can you earn with Market America?
You can earn a maximum of $1,500/week as a Market America UFO granted you accumulate 5,000 BV or IBV!
However, to do this is near impossible.
To generate that much BV and IBV in a week, you must have at least 100 active DBC owners (distributors) below you with 50 BV/IBV each (~$100 worth of products).
What if you only have 10 members under you? Do you think they are willing to spend $2,000 a week?
Even earning 1,200 BV or IBV a week for $300 is a tall order unless you have recruited a lot of active UFOs under you.
Therefore, the moment you have built a large organization of distributors under you, that’s only WHEN you'll start making money with Market America.
If not, then you’ll simply become part of the many who have wasted their time and money in this company. Harsh but true.
As proof, this video further explains how building a large sales team is the key to your success in Market America.
Making a decent income by selling the products alone isn’t possible with Market America.
You’ll have to become a recruiting machine and enroll as many people under your team to be able to do that.
But wait! An MLM company where your primary source of income is through recruitment.
(Pause for effect)
Isn’t that how the FTC defines a pyramid scheme? Is that MA is trying to distance itself from being known as an MLM business?
I know it! What the haters are saying is actually true (says you). Well...
Market America is Not a Pyramid Scheme, but...
Market America is a legitimate business opportunity. Brands like Nike and Apple wouldn’t dare partner with illegal companies.
Besides, MA doesn’t pay you directly for recruiting someone. You’ll only earn commissions based on the number of products your team sells.
That being said, it’s no secret that you must rely on building a vast network of UFO’s under you to accumulate the required BV and IBV and earn commissions.
It is one of the reasons behind the latest lawsuit filed against Market America by its own distributors.
What you need to know about the Market America Lawsuits?
A federal lawsuit was filed against Market America by two of its own distributors.
The plaintiff accused Market America of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act and California state law.
The suit claims that while the company executives and high ranking officials tell distributors that they can earn a decent income, only those at the top did.
It turns out that over 90% of Market America distributors do not make a decent income - others don’t even make a dime at all! (Source)
The case is still ongoing while I’m writing this Market America review.
But the thing is, this kind of bad press can affect you negatively should you join this company for business.
And as far as I know, there are 2 other lawsuits filed against Market America, one involving a certain Steve Sawyer and the other was with the SEC.
Cost to Become Market America UnFranchise Business Owner (UFO)
Market America keeps using the tagline “converting spendings into earnings,” but this isn’t entirely true.
While it’s great that you can earn cashback from your online purchases, you will also be forced to purchase expensive company products (that you don’t really need) to qualify for commissions.
You also need to spend a lot of money to fully enjoy the company’s compensation plan and more dollars to maintain your membership.
It is considerably expensive to become an UnFranchise Business Owner.
- Market America Fast Start Kits ( $429.95 plus Tax)
- Starter Kits($149.95 plus Tax)
You will also need to pay $21.95/month for Unfranchise Management System (UFMS) and $99.95 per year for your Subscription Renewal.
In most cases, you will be urged to start with the Fast Start Kits because it already comes with products and your DBC is commission ready.
Meaning, you’ll immediately get credit for the sales of your downlines and earn commissions upon accumulating the required BV and IBV.
The Starter Kits will only get you initially started. You’ll first need to earn at least 200BV before you can benefit from the sales of your team.
So you’re looking at minimum of $450 to get a proper start with Market America.
Join Market America Without Paying Anything - Here’s how
You can become a company’s Sales Representatives and purchase the company products at the UnFranchise prices, a 30-50% discount.
It won’t cost you anything to join this program. You only need to complete a signup form, provide your personal details, and wait for the approval of your application.
However, Sales Representatives won’t earn residual income from recruits and referrals.
Does Market America Provide Training?
Yes, Market America have specific training designed for UFOs.
However, they are not free!
There are New Distributor Training, Basic Training, Executive Coordinator Certification Training (ECCT) and other other paid workshops that costs between $5 up to $200!
The company also have live events where UFOs are encourage to attend to "boost their sales and unleash their full potential," stuffs like that.
Whether or not the company is kind enough to provide actual FREE training to its members is beyond me. If you have any information regarding this matter, let me know in the comment section below.
Meanwhile, the images below is of the older live events and training sessions of Market America.
Conclusion: Is Market America the Right Business Opportunity for You?
In my opinion, Market America suits people that can afford to throw in a considerable amount of money at the start.
The membership is expensive, there are monthly subscription fees and product sales requirements that you must meet.
Furthermore, Market America operates in an MLM business model which best for individuals who are passionate in the sales industry, comfortable meeting new people, and managing (and motivating) a huge team.
If you feel that these characteristics are not on your tool kit, then you can either step out of your comfort zone and learn how to make Market America work for you, or look for other business alternatives.
And even if this business suits you, please keep in mind that Market America is not for everybody. You must find the right people for this business or else it won’t work.
Its tough to succeed with this business which is probably why most UnFranchise Business Owners failed to make a decent income.
On the bright side, Market America is a legitimate business opportunity, and it is also possible to become financially successful with this company.
And if that is the path you want to take, I’d recommend that you check out this strategy used by top Market America distributors to:
- Find continues leads and prospects online,
- Promote their products more effectively,
- Attract the right people for their Market America business,
- Learn the fundamental skills to succeed in network marketing.
Thank you for reading this Market America review! I hope by this time, you can make an informed decision whether or not this business is for you.
And if by any chance, Market America is not what you are looking for, then you may want to check out this program instead.
It is a program that taught me everything about starting an online business, and it has provided me with the opportunity to earn a full-time income from home.
Here's My Humble Journey to Success if you are interested.
Until here and whichever business opportunity you choose, I wish you all the success in the future.