It is generally accepted that MLM or Multi-Level Marketing is just another term for Network Marketing. But it is less known that Affiliate Marketing is merely a modern offshoot of this tried and tested concept. The huge growth in the Affiliate marketing industry is due in large part to the application of MLM techniques where members are paid commissions on sales and a percentage of the sales earned by members recruited into their downline.
Often MLM companies have gotten bad press. In the past, and even today, there are many instances of Ponzi Schemes, Get Rich Quick scams and other techniques to get honest people to part with their hard-earned cash. The problem is that these scams have tarnished the Network Marketing Industry. Affiliate Marketing must be careful to remain reputable, in particular due to the volatile nature of the Internet.
However not all MLM/Network companies are bad. In fact, I would even tend to say the majority of them are quite the opposite. But the difficulty for the Layman is identifying a company that they would be willing to sacrifice time and in many cases money for.
Many "Network" Marketing Companies are now calling themselves "Net" Marketing companies, which further blurs the traditional business models that have come to be regarded as the norm on the internet.
How can we define the distinction between Network Marketing and Affiliate Marketing? Is there any difference anymore? Strangely enough, it appears that many of the people becoming involved with Affiliate programs are those who would have nothing to do with MLM programs. Even less with any kind of Matrix or Ponzi scheme.
There are several key points to look for when considering whether you will be dealing with a bona-fide organization. The first and most important is this: Will you be paid for selling products/services, or is the commission received only for recruiting new members into the organization?
It is fine to receive commissions on sales, but consider the ethics of promising a huge income to someone only for recruiting them into a shallow dream of constant downline building for profit. If you have to pay to join the organization, make sure that you are getting something in return. Don't be fooled by promises of "Ground Floor Opportunities". Never pay for a position, only products or services.
Look for a company that can provide you with what you need to get started quickly and with no cost to join. Make sure they offer plenty of ready made materials that are free for members. Also ensure they give good and ethical advice about how to develop the business.
Next, what is the potential size of the market of the products or services you will be promoting? Is the market still growing? There are literally millions of products out there needed promoted. On the other hand, many of the markets are flooded. Identify growth areas. Find a niche. And stick with it. Use the tried and tested techniques provided by your upline, whether involved in Affiliate Marketing or MLM.
Promote the products that you use yourself. It is much easier to be enthusiastic about something you use as opposed to something you are merely pushing for profit. Sales will come to you much easier.
Steve Tomassen is a passionate Affiliate marketer with 8 years experience. He runs his own home business website at Affiliatastic.com