Market America Opinion

Update 2017: Market America has been sued for being a pyramid scheme.

In many of the largest MLM business opportunities you will find that they take on the personality of an evangelistic church. Large “life changing” meetings are the focus of each year for the leadership of these companies.  My subscribers have requested that I take a look into Market America.  Here is what I have found.

Market America Claims

A proven plan for your financial success.

A business opportunity unlike any other seen in history before.

By following a two to three year blueprint for success through the UnFranchise Business Development System, you can formulate, grow and shape your own plan for financial success. If you follow the system — just as you would in a franchise — the chances for success dramatically increase. The only way to fail is to quit!

Here is how this business opportunity is presented:

Market America Reality

In 1992, Market America was founded by former top Amway distributor JR Ridinger, his wife Loren, and her brother Marc Ashley.

Market America does not incur costs such as research and development, inventory, or distributing advertising.  Other people make the products they sell.  Representatives pay to join the business opportunity and distribute the vast majority of the advertising. A subscription fee is required to participate as a Distributor in the compensation program. This sounds like a very good deal for the owners of Market America.

Here is what JR Ridinger says about who he is and what he offers:

“I’m a secular economic evangelist that provides economic salvation through the UnFranchise. But salvation requires belief.” – Source

Here is my take on what is required to succeed in building an UnFranchise business:

  • Building two sales and distribution organizations that generate in excess of 5,000 Group Business Volume weekly, resulting in earning $2,100 per week in ongoing income. (Recruiting People).
  • Recruiting Preferred Customers.
  • Sell the business or expose the UnFranchise System (Recruiting People).
  • Sell tickets to meetings and events.

– Source Unfranchise Career Manual

In my opinion, the Market America business opportunity is a recruiting opportunity and the majority of people will not be able to make a significant income. To reach the levels of success they are offering in their program you have to recruit at least two people into the business opportunity.    

Market America reps claim to not be part of MLM.  I do not believe them.  They clearly are recruiting you into their downline when they share the business with you. Market America pays to an infinite level deep commissions on the people you recruit and the people your recruits recruit.

“Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of the other salespeople that they recruit. This recruited sales force is referred to as the participant’s downline, and can provide multiple levels of compensation.” 

Market America is the latest and most sophisticated incarnation of multilevel marketing, that controversial business model that exploits the get-rich-quick dreams of every red-blooded American. The basic idea is that members of Market America who want to become “Independent Distributors” pay a fee for the right to sell exclusive products, including vitamins, makeup, potent herbal tonics and kitchenware, and the right to recruit other Independent Distributors. – Source

Here is what one past representative had to say about their experience with Market America:

I was in it for about a month and a half. I’ll list off some of the bullshit I experienced:

  • Starting from the beginning, you have to pay $5 to even attend the business presentation, even though the entire business is centered around recruiting as many people, as fast as possible, like all pyramid schemes. Obviously, though, this creates the illusion of scarcity and exclusivity, and makes it more appealing.
  • After joining, you still have to pay $5 to attend the business presentations that you bring your guests to, and so do your guests.
  • If your experience is like mine, you’ll be urged to attend monthly meetings with guest speakers a couple hours away that you’ll have to pay $25 for. You’ll also be urged to buy tickets for guests that you will somehow find. And somehow they’ll be willing to buy these tickets from you. The much more likely scenario is that you won’t find anyone and you’ll eat the cost, or you’ll find someone, but you won’t be able to bring yourself to make them pay to listen to a sales pitch, so you’ll eat the cost in that situation as well. You’ll encounter similar scenarios for $70 regional meetings and $200 national meetings.
  • There are a few different ways to sign up, spending different amounts of money, but of course they push you to spend more on your “investment” to help you “get to know the products you’re selling”. I spent around 800 something with some pressure from the guy who hired me. I just followed his advice and spent the big bucks because I didn’t think he was a sociopath at the time.
  • If your recruiter is anything like mine, you won’t find out that you are required to buy a specific amount of “BV” worth of products totaling over $100 every month until right at signup. This is worded as “transfer buying”, as if you’re just buying the things you already buy everyday, but “from yourself” instead. After all, if you owned a McDonald’s, you wouldn’t eat at Burger King, now would you? Shitty comparison, because those companies both provide a value at a competitive price. However, they’ll continue to emphasize that it’s an “investment”, not the mindless parting of you with your money to buy total crap products.
  • On top of the $100+ worth of products per month, you also have to pay $20 for a monthly “maintenance fee” or whatever they called it.
  • Scumbag sales techniques. They’ll use them and they’ll want you to use them too. A bunch of shitty pseudo-scientific demonstrations of how their health products supposedly work. For example: Our calcium powder is better because it can cause this light bulb to turn on, our fish oil is better because it can make this styrofoam cup melt, this pill is good for your liver because it can clean this dirty spaghetti, etc. Look any of this stuff up and you’ll lose confidence in using it as “proof”.
  • There is an extreme emphasis on belief and tying in everything you care about to MA, so that MA becomes the solution to all of your problems. MA will make you healthy. MA will make you wealthy. MA will make you confident. MA is the shortcut to your dreams. MA will help your friends. MA will help the world. MA will eliminate poverty. I shit you not, “eliminating poverty” was mentioned as something MA could do by a higher-up of mine. Yeah. I winced at that even when I was in cult mode. Another thing that was sad was seeing this (newly, I think) Christian girl talk about how she had trouble reconciling her selfish MA goals with her religious duty to help other people. After lots of thinking, she concluded that her MA work really was helping other people. It’s like she was unloading her guilt on everyone and was looking for some confirmation from the group that she didn’t really need to feel guilty. It kind of sucks to think about.
  • Major, major shilling online. Pretty much everyone who talks about MA online is in MA, trying to make MA look good. So there’s not much you can trust. It’s kind of scary how positive their internet presence is.
  • All in all, it’s really culty and depressing and ought to be avoided. It will make you hate yourself by the time you’ve finally decided that you care too much about other people to continue being a sociopathic salesman robot and just quit.

– Source Reddit

Would you be willing to put your financial future in the hands of Market America? That is what they are asking you to do.


Subscription Fee:$129.95

Annual Re-newel Fee: $99.95

Unfranchise Management System: $20 Monthly

Fast Start Kit: $399+tax

Business Support Materials Kit: $200

Business Presentations Meeting: $5

B5 Training: $15

NUOT Training: $15

ECCT Traning: $50

Local Seminars: $30 Each

Regional Events: $70 Each

Major Events: $200 Each

In my opinion, this company makes it difficult for you to make a profit by having you pay for training, events, and meetings.  Representatives say that these training, events, and meetings are required.


  • Clothes
  • Beauty
  • Home
  • Electronics
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Baby & Kids
  • Stores
  • Travel
  • Groceries

– Source

Market America doesn’t manufacture any one product or specialize in a single service.  They are just a marketing company.

Compensation Plan

Click Here for the Market America Unfranchise Compensation plan.

Here is how the business opportunity works:

  • Buy a starter kit for $399+tax.
  • Sell $200 worth of stuff to your friends and family.
  • Buy 50-150 BV 10-30 IBV ($130-$325) of products from Market America each month.
  • Recruit two of your friends and family to do the same.

To make a qualified BDC eligible to earn commission payouts at the applicable GBV levels you must personally sponsor and maintain at least one qualified Distributor on the left of your qualified BDC, and personally sponsor and maintain at least one qualified Distributor on the right of your qualified BDC.

To reach the levels of success they are offering in their program you have to recruit at least two people into the business opportunity.  

Income Disclosure

No income disclosure with Distributor average income is provided on their website before you join in the United States.  They do not offer proof that you can make a significant amount of money in the United States by participating in the Market America business opportunity.  There is no proof provided that the majority of people that give 2-3 years to Market America make a significant amount of money.

The percentage of participants that made between CAN $0 and CAN $2,844 as of July 2010 was 69.84%. 76% of participants are making less than part-time minimum wage. Participants in their first year of membership are not included in the calculation of earnings.

– Source Unfranchise Career Manual

Return Policy

The company will repurchase any products that are currently marketable and in resalable condition, minus a 10 percent handling fee, if the purchasing Distributor contacts Market America within 30 days of the products being shipped.

Distributors must notify Market America in writing that they are electing to cancel their distributorship. If Independent Distributors are canceling their distributorship and have purchased products for inventory purposes or sales aids while the Independent Distributor Application and Agreement was in effect, all unencumbered products in a currently marketable and resalable condition then in possession of the Independent Distributor, which have been purchased directly from Market America within one year of cancellation, shall be repurchased, minus a 10 percent handling fee. Shipping charges are nonrefundable. Any commissions paid on returned merchandise will be deducted from the upline’s future commissions.

The way they are able to keep from providing refunds to people that were not able to sell products over a long period of time is with something called the 70% rule.  Here is an example of what they get you to agree to: 

I am taking responsibility to make sure 70% of product purchased is moved to end users in my organization and will collect and submit documentation if requested.

I understand that if I am found not to be in compliance I can be required to buy back product from my organization, will not be entitled to a refund, am liable for commission charge backs, and I may be held responsible under law for non compliance or enforcement of the 70% rule.

Market America Conclusion

In my opinion,  Market America is another opportunity that will require recruiting others and selling products for 2-3  years!.  They pay commissions to an infinite level deep in a distributors downline. To reach the levels of success they are offering in their program you have to recruit at least two people into the business opportunity. Market America doesn’t manufacture any one product or specialize in a single service. They are just a marketing company. 76% of participants are making less than part-time minimum wage. This company makes it difficult for you to make a profit by having you pay for training, events, and meetings. Why are you paying them to sell products for them?  I would avoid the Market America business opportunity.