Are you here to find out what is Market America about? Another big MLM scam out there to get your money or legit business opportunity? I can certainly help you answer these questions.
I have seen so many MLM companies in different sizes and forms, and the majority of them are scams. So it pays to be careful.
It does not matter if they have excellent products or a grand compensation plan that promises financial security. Somehow, one way or another, certain companies end up victimizing people whose money and time are already scarce in the first place.
I am glad you do not plan to be one of them.
If you want someone to tell you outright if Market America is a legit MLM opportunity or a scam, then I am here for you. Of course, I will not base my judgment based on hearsay. I am also nowhere affiliated with this company.
Want to know what this company is all about? Then read my comprehensive review before you decide to say yes to the friend who, I am sure, is trying to recruit you.
Market America Review
Product Name: Market America | SHOP.COM
Founders: JR Ridinger and Loren Ridinger
Price: $149 to $399 annually, $21-$129 monthly
What is Market America about?
So what is Market America, apart from being a known MLM? Is it a scam or a pyramid scheme? Is it legit but impossible to earn money from? Hold your horses, and I'll answer everything.
First, it is a company part of the multi-level marketing industry. Founded in 1992 by JR Ridinger and Loren Ridinger, it managed to exist up until the present. While headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., said company operates in different parts of the world.
It has a wide assortment of products that members are tasked to sell to earn. Market America is conducting businesses through various affiliated companies.
If you haven't heard of Market America, chances are you know about SHOP.COM. The company uses this as its web domain to sell its products starting in 2010.
Before 2010, the company sells its products on its website MarketAmerica.com, which they changed in 2010 after they bought the shopping comparison firm Shop.com from Bill Gates himself.
From this association with Gates alone, I feel compelled to say this is not a scam. But of course, that is too premature!
At present, MarketAmerica.com is still the official website, but no selling takes place here. Shop.com is where most transactions take place.
Market America Products
What does Market America sell? A range of products! This is what I am personally amazed by, in truth.
Unlike other MLM companies that have a niche - beauty products, healthcare products, consumer products, and many more others, Market America seems to sell EVERYTHING. It sells appliances, clothing and accessories, food and beverages, home care, leisure, and educational items. It also has personal care and wellness products. Can you imagine it also sells internet services, financial services, and entertainment products!
The company is said to have at least 40 million products and services.
If I am going to join this company, the natural tendency is to think that I can earn well, with so many products to sell. Or if I am an ordinary customer, I will be tempted to look at SHOP.com and buy my essentials there, given that I can earn through Cashback.
If Amazon is seen as a one-stop-shop, Market America calls itself a product brokerage company, which is essentially the same thing. However, unlike Amazon customers, Market America's customers can convert their everyday spending into earnings.
Unlike other MLM companies, Market America sells well-known brands such as Target, Nike, Apple, and many more others. But because the company offers Cashback, it essentially means getting these branded items at a discount all the time.
Market America also has its exclusive items for sale.
Costs to Join Market America?
The startup fee of Market America is REALLY steep. So steep that I even worry for people who join this without thinking twice, thrice.
There are two options to choose from - with commission option or no commission option.
WITH COMMISSION BANKS OPEN
If you want to join Market America and earn, you first have to fork out $399.
Not only that, you need to make a monthly payment of $129/month. That is not a small sum for everyone, especially for people looking to earn extra, not spend more.
The hefty price is for a subscription that comes with:
- Getting Started Guide
- Audio Training Series
- Training & Seminar System
- Coaching & Mentoring
Mostly, these are the things you need to set up your business.
Honestly speaking, I cannot get on board with these startup fees. I know the company sells a LOT of products, and some of them are even branded, but $399 + $129/month is just crazy!
Also, I found out that distributors, which you will become if you join, are also required to occasionally spend $130 to $300 on Market America's products. If your goal is to earn, I personally would not recommend the company given these fees. Unless of course, your financial situation says these are reasonable fees. Then, by all means, I cannot stop you.
Note that you also have to every now and then, join paid seminars and training events, ranging from $20 to $200.
Maybe these fees are justifiable if you earn back everything and more? Let us see if that is possible!
Note though that the $399 fee is an annual subscription fee and it lets you start your Market America journey with your commission banks open already.
WITH COMMISSION BANKS CLOSED
If you can’t afford to register your business, then you can choose the Starter Kit for $149.95. STILL QUITE HIGH IN MY OPINION, but it could be more palatable.
With this option, you can earn retail profits. The problem is that your commission banks won’t open until you make or get orders amounting to 200 BV of products.
WARNING though: if you choose this option, you’ll also be charged $21.95 every month for an online back-office fee. You also need to pay $99.95 per year for your annual subscription renewal.
SO MANY FEES!
How to Earn from Market America?
Now that your head spun with all that talks of fees, this is the part you are waiting for!
How to earn from Market America? Can you really make a decent living with this MLM company?
As an MLM company, you can expect to earn here by not just selling the products of Market America, but also recruiting people into the business.
Like all MLMs, you earn if you have a stable base of downlines. The more downlines you have, and the more downlines your recruits have, the more significant the chance of earning big. There is nothing new here - all MLMs operate that way.
What sets MLMs apart from each other is their compensation plan. Some are more lucrative than others. In Market America, you can individually earn in three ways:
The first way you can earn from Market America is through Cashback. This is just the company's term for the earnings you make on your own online purchases or the customers' online purchases. These customers must be the ones you refer though.
Cashback is not the same as retail profits, although I can see some making the mistake of thinking they are the same. Earning retail profits will be discussed in the next section.
Instead, Cashback is one of the features that sets this Market America or SHOP.COM from the rest of MLMs out there. Cashback is a rewards program of sort for its customers. It is about making feel members blessed that they are an integral part of Market America's business.
With Cashback, the company gives you a percentage of the purchases that you make and a percentage of the purchases that your downlines make. You get 35 percent cash back for any shopping made in SHOP.COM. You can also get 0.5 percent cash back from sales/purchases that your recruits make!
Even though Market America is not the only company with such a program, it offers better rates and an easier way of using the money they rightfully earned.
Mark Myers, the Director of Partner Programs at SHOP.COM. Mark recently one described to Retail IT Insights about SHOP.COM’s Cashback program this way:
“While there are many sites that offer cashback, they also apply many stipulations and limitations on how and when customers can use their cashback. With SHOP.COM’s Cashback program, customers have better options. Shoppers can leave the money earned in their Cashback account, using these funds only when they want or need to – sort of like a rainy day or holiday savings account. Another option is to have the earnings electronically deposited to their own bank account once they earn $10.00.”
2. Retail Profits
Once you become a distributor, you can earn retail profit off your personal sales. The exact profits you earn depends on the product you sold.
There are two ways to earn this retail profits.
First, you can carry inventory purchased at wholesale prices and sell them at retail prices. Earning can be computed straightforwardly this way.
Second, you can build up a network of preferred customers. They are the ones who continually order from you online monthly. Maybe because they also have teir own customers. You will enroll them on a monthly auto-ship program and your earnings can go as high as 50% here.
3. Residual Income through Team Earnings
Since this is a MLM, having a team is where you can truly earn.
Distributors earn based on Market America's compensation plan, called "The UnFranchise Business".
Despite its cool name, it is essentially similar to all the basically a binary compensation plan being followed by most MLMs out there. Under this set up, you need to recruit people and place them on the right and the left so that you can earn residual commissions.
If your team is composed of members equally distributed between right and left legs, you can qualify for team commissions. Team commissions are paid out weekly.
The maximum of team commissions is set at $3,600/week.
The company paid already $2 billion in commissions and retail profits since its founding year at 1992. GOOD SIGN HERE!
Market America Reviews - SCAM EXPOSED?
Despite all these ways to earn, the most important question is "are people really earning?" Can you earn? What are the members' experiences? Has the company been sued ever?
Unfrotunately, yes there are A LOT of complaints. Market America has been also been sued more than once. Does this mean the company is a scam? I will have to say no. It's still standing right now so I guess that's a good sign of its resilience and legitimacy.
I might not be recommending it though because of all these lawsuits and complaints.
Even Market America is not a scam, it might not be the lucrative business opportunity that you are expecting it to be. If you want to earn well, you might have to work harder than you ever anticipated working.
Mostly, complainants claim they just cannot earn from Market America. Instead, they just keep losing money as they stay on.
Market America Lawsuits
Market America, through its years of existence, has been sued several times.
Because of it being a MLM and at the same time, a large online shopping site, Market America can be described as having a complicated and controversial business model. This makes it vulnerable to various lawsuits over the years - by disgruntled customers, by disappointed distributors, and many more.
I'm not going to list out all the lawsuits they had gone through here because that's going to take too long. They are also online anyway.
The most notable cases however are those that brand Market America as a pyramid scheme. Quite expected given that even though the company has a lot of products, distributors' main income will come from recruiting.
Back in 2017, the company was hit by one of such pyramid scheme lawsuit.
The plaintiffs in this lawsuit alleged the company had tricked them into thinking they can earn much just by selling nutritional supplements ad health products. They claimed that they were convinced by the defendants - the company’s top three executives - that they can earn as high as a six-figure salary.
They were promised that can earn THAT MUCH just by selling and recruiting other distributors. The plaintiffs however, claimed that the only way to earn is to have a lot of downlines, whose hefty startup fees and monthly contributors will benefit everyone above. For them, this is a sure sign of the company being a classic pyramid scheme.
“MarketAmerica has very little costs, nor production requirements because it does not directly manufacture its own products,” the complaint reads. “Instead, MarketAmerica offers products from third party manufacturers, but requires distributors of MarketAmerica to pay monthly fees just for the opportunity to sell these third-party products, the touchstone of a pyramid scheme.”
The case is still ongoing and was recently transferred to North Carolina for arbitration proceedings.
The PROS of Market America/SHOP.COM:
The CONS of Market America/SHOP.COM:
What Is Market America About? SCAM or NOT? Final Verdict
I personally think nothing will come of this 2017 case, because almost all MLMs have been hit with such one way or another. However, you should still consider this as a warning of the kind of journey you will be having with Market America.
What is Market America about then? Is it a scam? No. I do not think so even with all these.
Instead, I think it is a typical MLM company that has good products for you to sell, but impossible to earn money from.
Because the company sets out for you to recruit right from the get-go, not sell. It promises you great earnings, if you recruit more people. The products are nice and all, but the company hardly focuses on that. WIth so many recruits, chances are you are going to compete with a lot of sellers. The market is quickly saturated.
The heavy costs of joining also quickly puts you at a disadvantage, even before you start.
ALTERNATIVE EARNING METHOD
While I will not say it is a scam if you ask me "What Market America is about?" I will certainly not say it is a good earning opportunity.
I even read some investing 20K or 30K into the company but only have since then, earned barely 10% of their investment. THAT'S A CRIME, IN MY BOOK.
Trust me, if you have to buy the products you should be selling yourself just to inflate your sales numbers, then it is NOT THAT WORTH IT. Sooner or later, you'll end up with huge losses.
But, do not fall into despair. There are a lot of other earning methods out there. If you are fed up with MLMs that turn out to be disappointing, then you could try affiliate marketing. It is a not a get-rich-quick scheme at all and you end up earning precisely what you sow.
With affiliate marketing, you do not recruit. Your earnings are not going to be based on convincing people to join you in already unstable endeavor. That's just TOO HARD TO DO. If you are wondering what affiliate marketing program you can join, I can genuinely say Wealthy Affiliate. Of all the companies I reviewed, this is one that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND.