Is Market America A Scam or The Real Deal?


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I've reviewed a lot of MLMs in the past. They include Mary Kay, Primerica, Melaleuca, Avon and many more. I will be the first to admit I am not a big fan of their business model or some of the shady reps. I've discovered that it's easier to make money with a business when people come to you. But that's me. There are a lot of you that like the MLM model. If that's you, then you'll appreciate my Market America Review. If you're looking for a love or hate fest, then this isn't for you. But if you want a fairly objective break down of this company, then read on.

What is Market America?

Market America is a business founded in 1992 by JR Ridinger. He is a former star Amway distributor who decided to start his own MLM. The company appears to be doing well. They have a positive rating with the better business bureau (BBB) at the time of this review. But if the idea of an MLM gives you the heebie jeebies, you may want to consider Swagbucks.com & FusionCash.com as alternatives.

In either case, Market America's products have received celebrity endorsements and have been featured in Allure, Vogue, US Weekly and People Magazines, according to their site. It all sounds good but let's dig deeper.

Market America's Products

Market America's sells a variety of products. They include a shopping portal, cosmetics, financial and health related products. Here's a list of their products at the time of this review:

  • Isotonic
  • TLS ? Weight Loss Solution
  • Heart Health ?
  • Ultimate Aloe ?
  • Pet Health™
  • NutriClean ?
  • Cellular Laboratories ?
  • Timeless Prescription ?
  • Fixx™
  • Pentaxyl ?
  • Royal Spa ?
  • Matriskin ?
  • Snap™
  • Prime™ Anti-Aging Nutraceuticals
  • Isotonix ? Custom Cocktail
  • Motives ?
  • MA Web Centers
  • Shop Financial
  • Motives for La La
  • Lumiere de Vie
  • DNA Miracles / DNA Miracles Natural

You can learn more about each of their products by clicking here.

Market America's Distributor Compensation Plan

To make money with Market America, you have to become a distributor and buy a starter pack, costing $399. That's the simple part. However like most MLMs they have a convoluted compensation plan. You can click here and watch the video that goes into more detail with the song and dance. If you're not a fan of the expensive start up cost or compensation plan nonsense, you may want to check out Swagbucks.com & FusionCash.com as a free more straightforward option instead.

However if you're still interested, I'll attempt to simplify their compensation structure as best as I can. There are basically two major ways to earn with Market America.

Unfranchise distributors are provided their own Market America web portal. This portal features the various products offered by Market America and is tied to that specific distributor. The rep can share their web portal url with others and earn a commission when a customers shops on their website.

The next way to earn is recruiting other distributors that will do the same. You'll earn a percentage of their income as well. That's the over simplified version of it. If you need more details watch their confusing ass video and try to decipher it.

What Are The Complaints Against Market America?

Well I'm glad you asked. Because there are quite a few. First let me start off by saying I don't necessarily hold the belief that all MLMs are scams. A lot of them are shady but I don't just assume something is a scam because it is an MLM. I tend to blame MLM Reps for their perception which I cover here. That said there are some real issues with this company that I've laid out below.

Less Than Minimum Wage

The way that Market America talks you would think the average distributor must be rolling in dough, right? But despite the claims from the select few “Million Dollar Members' on Market America's website, if you search online for Market America complaints or Market America scam, there are tons of personal stories saying it is unlikely for the average person to even make part-time minimum wage with Market America. This isn't isolated to Market America, that's usually the case with most MLMs. I will say that running any business isn't easy and most people fail so there is that as well. But your chances of success seem to diminish in an MLM structure.

What the Cult?

Many have complained that Market America has like a cult-like atmosphere. Like most MLMs you're taught to drink the cool aid. That usually means viewing anyone you know as a possible customer. Depending on how you're trained you may end up harassing your family and friends. Needless to say it can lead to some serious alienation of family and friends. One heartbreaking post was written by a woman who essentially lost her son, as all he can do is eat, sleep and breathe Market America.

Too much focus on recruiting..

Based on many of the complaints it appears that the folks way up on the upline make any real money. And apparently a significant portion of that money is made by selling the starter kits to naive newcomers. If you're not feeling the focus on recruiting others and prefer to make money based on your actions, you may want to check out Swagbucks.com & FusionCash.com as alternatives.

Training and Seminar Upsells

There are a lot of phony promises that you will succeed if you buy all the additional expensive training items and travel to seminars. The narrative that is often told is that if you fail, it's on you, for not believing hard enough, or you need to go some more of that expensive training. If they wanted you to succeed, why isn't it included in your starter pack?

Customer Service and Pricing

Apparently customers seem to have their fair share of complaints as well. They have complained about non-delivery of promised products and problems with gift cards. Folks have also noted that many of the products offered by Market America cost much more than you would pay for a comparable brand at your local store. That's not much of a surprise; when you consider the MLM business model and how they need to pay their Unfranchise distributors.

Is Market America Legitimate?

Legally they seem to be abiding by their compensation plan if you can decipher it. But the reality for most distributors is that you won't be able to earn a full or part time income. They obviously have some people that do but it's definitely not the norm.

As a business owner I know how difficult it is to make a business succeed. Most people won't regardless of what business they try. That's why most folks become employees. But for those of you who aspire to be your own boss, you should look for businesses that better your chances of success. In my opinion MLMs like Market America wouldn't be my first choice. I'm not fond of the idea of harassing my family and friends. Nor do I like the idea of the up-sell of over priced training and seminars.

If that rubs you the wrong way as well, then you may want consider an alternative. Check out Swagbucks.com, FusionCash.com and My #1 Free Work At Home Recommendation. With this business you don't have to chase down your family or friends. People come to you. You're also working with companies that people trust and aren't being over charged for. So I would highly recommend looking into My #1 Recommendation Wealthy Affiliate.

46 thoughts on “Is Market America A Scam or The Real Deal?”

  1. I never joined Market America but I was introduced to it and it was called “The Plan”. I thought it was bizarre and very cultish. Two friends of mine separated over this. They were roomates. One of them got involved and joined MA and ended up trying to push everyone into it. The guy previously started up a successful young adults group at a church a while back. But after joining MA, it became a recruiting ground. The pastor frowned on this. Pretty soon, the young adults group diminished. Other young adults groups used to joke and call the event Market America Worship Hour.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your experience. And that’s one of my many issues with MLMs. They train you to peddle their products and recruiting to everyone. When the best business is when you have customers actively looking for what you have to offer. But to each their own.

  2. Dude Iam a regular guy I have 5 children and they all attend the best schools out of pocket. Iam living my best life because of Market America 100% of 100% = 100% I make more than the couple that introduced me to the business. Let all of your readers know that you bash market america because you want people to join you MLM. Becuse you emailed my brother after he made a comment he was thinking of joining M A to try and tell him to join you. You are a fraud and need to be stoped !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • Yes I’m a big fraud that’s been around for over a decade educating people about companies and scams. And yes I make money on my site by recommending companies I’ve personally tried and made money with. My dirty secret is out. You’ve ruined me. SMH

      I love how MLM folks get all hyped up and try to attack me instead of actually addressing the complaints I cover in my reviews. If you guys put more energy into actually addressing the complaints you might do better to convince people to join your MLM despite the complaints listed.

      But keep attacking me. It’s definitely helping your cause.

  3. I must say that Market America/Shop.com is very legit! It is NOT a MLM! My parents after doing MANY mlm’s and failing was introduced to Market America and of course they were skeptical at first but after doing their research they realized this business was like nothing else they have seen. My mom was a nurse and in administration of a hospital for over 20 years and it didn’t take too long to match her income, so she left her job and my dad left his soon after. With this company my mom was able to be at my dad’s bedside when he was dying, If she was still at her job she would NEVER of been able to get enough time off to be with him!! She not only had people in her business be with her either in person or by phone but the corporate office contacted her to make sure she was ok and if there was anything they could do for her. What job or mlm do you know would do that? I don’t know of any!!

    Reply
    • Based on the definition of an MLM here on wikipedia, Market America is an MLM. I know you want to distant the company from the negative connotations of that business model. But the reality is it is one.

      I’m happy your Mom did well with the company and was able to move pass the complaints we listed above. And clearly you’re a big fan of the company so we appreciate you sharing your experience.

  4. I’ve tried over 12 so called MLM companies. Market America is not MLM no matter what Wiki says. There are not levels. That’s what really attracted me to this company. 2 distributorships is another great benefit. Most people don’t sponsor over 2 distributors and it’s difficult to work with more than 4 at a time. I believe most people work 40-50 hours a week for a job. Hopefully you have some type of pension plan or loyalty. Lately companies are letting people go for any reason, even if you have given them your best and most productive years. Many don’t have pension plans and the 401K plans if they exist can vanish in an instant. People need to realize that you can end up broke with a job. Developing your own business is and can be both rewarding and struggling. I figure if I can give a company 40 hours of my life each week, I can also give myself 8-15 hours working for myself to build a residual income. Succeeding in my business takes work. You need to learn how to build a business. As an engineer, I obtained over 60k in student loans going to college and getting certifications to maintain my job and requirements to stay current in the industry. It’s the same with your business. You need to learn what you are doing and how to make it work. Conferences and training happen at work. The same for my business. I need to get away and be around positive like-minded individuals some of whom have actually made and created successful businesses. Sometimes in building your own business there are so many negative people telling you that you should just forget the business and work for someone else. It can be frustrating to listen to that negativity day in and day out, and still believe that you can make a business for yourself. So you attend seminars and training. You invest in yourself. It’s never a waste of time or money if you are learning. It can be a tax write-off because just like spending 60k to be an engineer, I invested in my future. Sometimes you just have to learn how to understand that no business will work unless you open your mouth and talk to people. Since I can’t spend thousands of dollars advertising on TV or radio, I learn how to approach people one to one. Market America has wonderful products. Their health products have greatly helped me. People spend hundreds on drugs with side effects and complain about spending money on supplements and vitamins known to prevent disease. Amazing. Market America/Shop.com has thousands of well known companies aligned with them to allow customers access to their websites with cashback. I’m enjoying my business just as much as I have enjoyed my engineering career. If I don’t go to work on my job, my pay stops. I am building a business for myself and helping many others so that we can build a legacy. Is it work, of course. Do some of my family tease me? Of course. They also ask for help when they are broke. So I continue to work Market America so I can be that blessing to them when their jobs have failed them.

    Reply
    • I totally agree with many of your thoughts about working for others vs working for yourself. There are pros and cons to both. I tend to gravitate towards working for myself because I don’t like the idea of a company dictating how much I can make and when I can spend my free time.

      But I’m willing to put in the work and invest the time and money to make my business successful. It does take a different mindset and work ethic. And you need to pick the right business to focus on. Market America may or may not be that for some people. And that’s fine. There are many options to creating your own business. So folks need to find what’s best for them. So I agree with a lot of your observations about businesses and jobs.

  5. I have been in Market America for 1 1/2 yrs.. I have not made a lot of money at this point.. Yes it is not a perfect company…
    I was in a definite MLM company.. I felt like I was in hell.. I was pushed daily.. My upper leader was rude and extremely pushy.. That company also pushed you to go to expensive events and trainings.. Definitely did not get 100% commissions as I get in Market America..
    No I do not like all of the events they want you to go to.. But as an adult I have free will and able to decide if I can go or not.. Some trainings are just $30… Personally I have an awesome up line.. She provides her own trainings for free on line via Zoom.. She is successful and wants everyone in her downline to be successful and does all she can to help with that process..
    I know 4 people that are making at least $4000-6000/month in our group.. Then 2 others that are making $1000-2000/month.. There are multiples opportunities to make money whether it is in cosmetics, the web design area, nutrition area and etc.. You have to pick your area of expertise.. You can make money alone just getting people to buy from any of the 4000 companies that give cashback from shop.com.
    No I have not recruited anyone.. No one is pressuring me to recruit anyone.. I only have to recruit 2 people.. But those 2 people need to be the right 2 people.. I have met some fabulous people that have helped me grow as a person..
    The health line products have definitely improved my health.. The products are not just anything you can buy off the shelf at the drugstore..
    The required monthly autoship are products I am going to buy anyway….
    Am I making lots of money, no..Will I make lots of money, I do not know.. What I do know is that over all this company is as good as any other company.. In any work at home company it is what you make it.. If you spent thousands of dollars on training events then that if their fault since there are literally hundreds of training materials online free that Market America provides as well as videos on You Tube…

    Reply
  6. If anyone wants to know the “REAL DEAL” with Market America, just type a search for Yang-v-Market America into your favorite search engine. They are currently defendants in a Federal Racketeering case. the online pdf of the lawsuit eloquently breaks down the experience of 90+ % of people involved.

    Reply
  7. I just had a friend I hadn’t heard from in years contact me out of the blue about this. She just said she wanted to talk to me about her new business. She wouldn’t tell me what it was about, I had to ask her the name!!! I like to do research before I spend my time listening to anyone about anything. I saw a lot of complaints online, but your article and the subsequent comments from your readers really laid everything out so I can make an intelligent decision. Really appreciate it!

    Reply
  8. Mr ho is drinking the cool aid. 9 out of 10 people in market America make less than minimum wage. Not saying that is fair or not because they are independent contractors. But the promise of moving up the chain or extending the pyramid scheme under you to make a bigger downlinr is what it really is in addition to buying the products and extra ed.

    Reply
  9. What I can say is most of the reviewer on the wired nowadays end up promoting their own affiliate sites. But that’s ok if the reviewer has done a thorough check about the company they going to review. I am not pointing at you Eddy. Just my own opinion after seeing so many reviews on any company.

    Reply
    • Well, yes most sites on the internet are in the business of making money one way or another. People have bills to pay like the good folks like you who come to this site looking to make money. That said, I’m glad you can recognize that even reviewers who are making money by affiliate marketing can be objective and provide good information as I try to do here. Sometimes people make the assumption that because we want to feed our families too we can’t provide useful information which is obviously false. I’ve been doing it for over a decade and have helped thousands of people. People want options and they want to know the good and bad. And I think some reviewers do a great job of this regardless if they’re affiliates as well. So thanks for acknowledging that.

  10. Market america is NOT MLM. If you had done some real research you would have been aware of that before writing this article. MLMs pay based on levels and recruitment. Market america pays on volume. Market america may not be right for you but to call them MLM should be considered slander. If you don’t know how to look into and evaluate a business plan then its easy to understand your confusion.

    Reply
  11. MLM or not MLM, it doesn’t matter to me. As long as you can see the vision, follow the right step and do the right thing. Then the end result will definitely benefit you and also benefit your family. Although I still haven’t earnt my residual income, I believe in Market America. One team one dream!

    Reply
    • Well, that’s great for you Michelle. But for some people an MLM is a no go because of past experiences with other MLMs. It definitely sounds like you’re drinking the Market America kool-aid and hopefully it does translate into income for you.

    • Looks like it has paid off for Michelle, eddy. Two years later and she’s making well over 100k a year.

    • Well that’s great for her. Some people do succeed with MLMs but most don’t. And honestly most people don’t succeed in starting a business in general. It takes a special person with the right work ethic, patience and most importantly the right type of business to beat the odds. So not everyone is built to do this and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean they’re lazy or it’s purely their fault.

    • Can’t believe I’m reading this comment and seeing Michelle Chong as the newest nsc on the ufo magazine on the same day. Congrats!

  12. I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about market America. This is coming from someone who joined, left and re-joined 5 years later. There were reasons I left and reasons I came back. I left because I felt like I was spending more than I was making and I didn’t like recruiting. So, why did I come back? Well, I saw a lot of MLMs and it started to click what was actually GOOD about the company and model that gets missed. They use affiliate marketing and as a customer or rep I get cashback shopping everything from groceries to my kids clothes at my sites I am already shopping on. As a rep I get commissions on those sales and on my customers shopping the affiliate program and earning money back. I used to spend $120/m on beachbody shakes which I liked, and I don’t mind switching to a $35 market America one because it’s good quality and tastes good to me and it’s cheaper. It’s also cheaper than the $50 shake from target I was drinking that tasted like sand. I buy makeup at Sephora anyway….so instead I just buy high-end makeup from myself. I’m buying it ANYWAY, and I get wholesale cost so I spend less than I used to, like the shake. Most people I think are misled and are recruited by reps only focused on recruiting, but really the company is about converting all that money you are already spending anyway market America or not, into a way that gives you cashback and commissions. When people actually grasp that, the cost of business is pretty low unless you are someone that never spends anything at anytime (and lets be honest, any business has expenses). The other reason I came back was it had a better model than MLM, and that’s why we disagree with you calling it an MLM. MLM have levels, your sponsored, their sponsored, etc and you make small percentages on those level’s work in diminishing amounts. Per the “confusing ass video,” that’s not this structure even a little bit. I don’t get a small percentage of my peoples volume, I get 100% of their volume. I’ve done 3 MLM in between because I thought it would be easier, but most MLM’s compensation stinks and you have to recruit more and more and more people to make money off those breadcrumbs. And lastly in regards to recruiting…I have a lot to offer someone. Do I solicit all my friends? Not even a little. I make custom make up and started my business practicing on my friends for free. They told me they had friends who wanted one too, that led to people telling me about their “makeup artist friend” who wanted to talk about the program. I’ve brought people into the company who are web designers trying to launch their business with obstacles, and just said “hey, you know my company has an affiliate web program for professionals.” I don’t stand around harassing people, I just listen and offer information if they identify a problem that I could have a solution to. You are right that it’s not for everyone. It’s not for people who want to jump in and be instant millionaires, it’s not for people who aren’t coachable, and it’s not for people who don’t listen and build relationships and just want to talk over everyone and spam their contacts. It’s sad to see that happen because people don’t make real, lasting income that way. This has been so positive to my family. We aren’t rich, but my parents have been retired for over 5 years since age 50 thanks to market America, I’m able to stay home with my special needs son and still make what I was taking home working as a nurse after paying daycare. It’s a good system that works, and it’s unfortunate to see people who were fed unreasonable expectations.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your experience and acknowledging some of the complaints we listed. It sounds like you’ve found a great way to approach this business.

  13. To clarify my point..it is affiliate marketing that is being marketed as MLM. Their shop.com site is filled with affiliate links the redirects to Amazon and other affiliates. I aslo see some form of drop-shipping with the company too,again the marketing it as MLM.

    Reply
  14. What market america is doing here is affiliate marketing and market america is the one cashing in on it and not the average franchise owners. You can start your own affiliate marketing and make money for less than $400.

    Reply
  15. As someone who left Market America after 2 years, I would have to say that I wouldn’t recommend it for the average person.

    Market America primarily has two sides to it – recruiting and selling. Without one or the other the business fails.

    I thought the recruiting part was the easier part as you had events and an entire upline to help you. However, nobody sticks long unless they can get sales to compensate for the quotas in place – roughly $150USD a month. The products are high quality – but no-name and expensive to the average person.

    Additionally, you are highly pressured to attend events as well as buy tickets for future prospects. Inevitably, the cost of an event is pushed upon the average person who absorbs the cost of 1 or 2 extra tickets.

    In the 2 years I was there, I would say 70% of people had quit. Around 5% had their investment returned within 2 years. The other 35% were losing money, but still stuck around.

    Those that succeeded had revolved their life around Market America. They lived, breathed and ate those products. They met 10 new people a week, pitching the business to 2. Generally, their family and friends bought into it immediately. Then they continued to work hard, because if they hesitated then their entire artificial ecosystem they created could fall on them.

    I did enjoy working with these people, and the mentorship, friendships and personal development was great. But it did cost me a lot of money. As a business opportunity, I wouldn’t recommend it to all but the most outgoing people. As a learning experience, I would recommend it – but unless you succeed immediately then you should quit before it becomes a learned mistake like it did for me.

    Reply
  16. Curious a lot of the commenters seem to be leaning in the positive direction which kind of makes me suspicious it’s people who are working for the company trying to milk more money out of people, do you tend to get “agents” who act as if they are regular people and end up attacking everything you’ve said?

    Reply
    • I get comments from reps and other types of people. But the reps definitely come out in droves. Some are actually objective and can actually chime in with some good information and experience without resorting to attacking. But then you have the people that are pissed off that you actually point out that their company does have flaws like any company.

  17. A lot of brainwashed people commenting, I personally have a group of 9 friends involved in Market America, out of all 9 most make less than minimum wage or lose money, one barely makes above minimum wage. On top of this they all live with their parents but spend all their money going to places like Miami to try to show others they are living the dream. They are not dumb people and have been in it for years, I personally think they’d have made much more elsewhere.

    Reply
  18. Eddy. Market America is not perfect. But compare to most other models, this is as good as it will ever get. A small investment, great products, technology driven. Provides leverage.
    There’s work no running away from that. This is presented forefront.
    Study in in detail. Don’t dismiss it by hearsay. Or people who failed.
    Do yourself this favor. It’s a most amazing social equaliser.
    The alternatives are not fun. Most do spent your lives enriching others.

    Read :Captains of Consciousness” by Stuart Ewen. The essence is the Captains rich of the Industries capture our minds to remain workers for them to enrich themselves.
    Peter

    Reply
    • Peter, I applaud you for admitting Market America isn’t perfect. No business is and that’s always important to understand. My frustration lies with reps that want to make it seem otherwise. At the end of the day not every business model is good for everyone. It doesn’t mean the person is running away from work or being lazy. The model may just not fit their needs or personality and that’s fine.

      That said, the concerns that some people have laid out shouldn’t just be dismissed as hearsay. For some people reading this, its something that may ring home for them. And they should know beforehand. But I agree sometimes it’s better for people to dive in and find out for themselves because their experience may be different. At the end of the day folks have to make the best decision for themselves and know they have options. If someone decides that Market America is for them then that’s great. Hopefully they succeed. But if they don’t want to give it a shot that’s fine too. I wouldn’t argue that all the alternatives out there aren’t “fun” or viable. It all depends on the person and their situation. And folks should explore them all.

  19. Actually, we’re well aware that affiliate marketing is legit as we do that as well. The people who don’t make money just don’t invest in themselves or don’t follow the steps provided by proven success. The entire compensation plan was developed so that the AVERAGE person COULD succeed. You would know that had you been open minded in your research instead of looking for flaws. Luckily, I and thousands of other people KNOW, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Why would anyone starting a business expect not having to invest in training? I suggest perhaps you start your own Unfranchise so you can see just how wrong you are. Since you’re so smart you’d probably be super successful.

    Reply
    • Gaye,

      I wouldn’t always blame people for their lack of success with this or any business. I’ve seen people really put in the effort with certain businesses and it just wasn’t profitable for them. Or it didn’t fit their needs. And I’ve also seen some people that weren’t willing to invest the time, money, work or patience required to be successful in a business. Either way It’s not fair to generalize everyone together if they don’t succeed in your particular business. I know reps take it personal and feel it’s an attack against their parent company. So they feel the need to resort to blaming the people that didn’t do well. But I don’t think it helps make the case.

      It’s great that you personally KNOW “thousands” of so people that are doing well with this business model that know better than me. I welcome them to come here and share their personal experience without resorting to attacking people that didn’t do well with this company or me for pointing out some flaws. It would be great just to hear their personal experience on that merit alone. I welcome it as it will help people reading about this company get another perspective which is great. Hopefully some of the reps can do that.

      And I’d like to clarify your point about in investing in yourself. I’m the biggest proponent of doing this because I have done it for over a decade with myself. It’s an investment in myself that has made me very successful in my business. I’ve helped thousands of others do this as well. So I know that the proper training can make a huge impact. But not all training is created equal. Some companies do it better than others and at reasonable pricing. It’s a matter of picking the proper companies for your own needs. So I totally agree with you people should invest in themselves especially if you want to run a business. But find the business and company that works for your needs. Market America isn’t for everyone and neither are the companies I may recommend. However it’s good for people to know that they have options and to know what some pitfalls may be for any company they may be researching. I know that doesn’t sit well with certain reps that only want to paint a positive picture.

      But everyone knows all companies have pros and cons. To acknowledge that isn’t a bad thing. It would be great to read comments from reps to hear how they over came some of the pitfalls and made this work for them. I think that would really provide some great insight for everyone reading this article and the comments. So I welcome reps to share their personal experience and success with this business.