Industry critics reassess their strategies while direct sellers innovate and expand
The Spring of 2021 is bringing with it nationwide optimism and progress as direct sellers take advantage of a healing economy. COVID-19 restrictions are easing, in-person meetings are returning and travel is quickly becoming normalized again.
While progress and positivity in the channel continue to abound, I am also reminded of the phrase coined by French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Nothing could describe better the international video conference that took place this month, uniting veteran opponents of the direct selling channel with personalities of the anti-MLM social media movement recently reported on by SSN.
As several members of the FTC participated in this conference, I felt it was important to report not only on the regulator’s statements, but also the testimonies of channel critics whose stated goals are to persuade the Commission and its international counterparts that network marketing should be outlawed.
Whether or not the new generation of direct selling critics will have a lasting influence on public opinion or, more importantly, the opinions of regulators around the world, remains to be seen.
However, the level of hostility displayed by those involved with the anti-MLM movement is an indicator that they have zero desire for dialogue with direct selling companies; industry supporters in legal, association, or academic circles; or even with satisfied consumers and field associates—none of whom were invited to participate in this conference.
Are the motives behind this anti-direct selling movement altruistic or financial? Is the movement itself starting to show cult-like characteristics? Will the extreme dialogue prevent regulators from embracing their message?
These are the questions that have accompanied the rise of the anti-MLM social media movement, and only time will tell if their alliance with the channel’s long-time detractors will further their cause.
Despite the background noise from channel detractors, direct selling executives and their millions of field consultants continue to generate optimism and success.
Indeed, what a pleasure it is to bring to you each month the accounts of this progress, all the while keeping you informed on the challenging legal and political stories affecting this channel.
I thank you for reading, and, as always, welcome your feedback.