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Big Lies of Multi-level Marketing

Imagine a market where there is no hierarchy of distributors, carrying and forwarding (C&F) agents, wholesalers, and retailers. Instead, the company directly supplies products to independent distributors who develop a network of independent distributors under them called downlines. The independent distributors who make up the upline receive rewards for the sales made by the distributors under them, as well as for the products they personally consume. This type of direct marketing is called multilevel or network marketing. In this article, we will understand the concept of multilevel marketing.

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In most countries, this kind of multilevel or network marketing is popularized among the unemployed, employed, retired, and business people to earn extra income without much effort. The uplines earn income from each new business developed in the downline. In a conventional job or business, one continues to work hard to remain where there are or grow in the career ladder. Still, with network marketing, after the initial effort in developing the downlines, all it requires is to motivate the downlines to work and thereby earn passive income. Passive income refers to any income that results from an initial effort or investment, with no additional effort required after a certain period. Rental income is an example of passive income.

However, despite the alleged benefits, most people who join the scheme end up with poor results, and only a few actually make a significant profit. One needs to be cautious about pyramid schemes that pay older distributors based on payments made by recruits and not based on product sales. In most countries, pyramid or Ponzi schemes are illegal and liable for punishment with fines and imprisonment.

Is it Multilevel Marketing (MLM)

Here are ten reasons (or lies) for network or multilevel marketing everyone needs to be cautious about:

1. Multilevel marketing is a profitable business compared to conventional ones

Network marketing companies take great pains to establish that multilevel marketing brings more money than conventional businesses or jobs. In most cases, a few individuals at the top of the scheme joined in the beginning and developed the downlines that ultimately became wealthy. In contrast, the majority who don’t have downlines or are unable to create one end up losing money or not profiting from the business. Mathematically, the argument by the companies of the models based on the point value system is incapable of enabling huge returns for distributors. Developing a downline requires a thousand people to each create another thousand, and millions of people need to enroll to make the strategy viable.

Some experts have stated that the vast amounts of money made by top performers come from continuous enrolment enabled by downlines, as there are no limits on the number of distributors in an area and no surveys conducted regarding the marketing potential of the region.

2. Independent distributors are business owners

People often say that independent distributors own their businesses. It may be partly true as they are not bound to report to anyone and can fix targets to work on. They indeed earn income based on the sales generated by them and their downlines, but they don’t have a claim on a company’s shares, dividends, and profits. Most distributors would be lucky if they earn extra income as more recruits and sales have to happen in their network to get reasonably good income. The idea of owning a business can be an illusion, as distributors may not have true independence and could be prohibited from selling competing chúng tôi Multilevel Marketing, there is no entrepreneurship but only a marketing arrangement under some stipulated conditions. Distributors must sell products at home or in specially convened meetings to develop new sales and distributors; they cannot be sold in shops.

3. Anybody can succeed in multilevel marketing

Those who persuade new people to join a multilevel marketing point out that anyone can succeed in the multilevel marketing business with a few days of training. Marketing is a specialized skill set in any organization, and to be a good marketer, a lot of hard work is required to develop interpersonal skills, presentation skills, selling skills, leadership skills, and above all, motivational skills to lead a team. Just as each individual possesses innate talents and skills, there may be certain activities that a particular group of people may be unable to pursue. Hence the assurance that you can excel in multilevel marketing has to be assessed individually based on aptitude, whether the individual likes to go out and meet people, develop strategies to sell, and devote more hours to understanding the company, product, and marketing plans.

4. Soon as many products and services are sold through MLM

Every day you witness the rapid growth of organized retailing in emerging nations and, to an extent, in developed markets too. You can find new malls, commercial establishments, and exclusive brand outlets of companies edging out small mom-and-pop stores in some regions.

Amidst the rapid growth in organized retail and malls, Multilevel Marketing companies make people believe that retailing is witnessing a downtrend and more companies are moving into network marketing. However, even in developed markets, only one percent of retail sales happen through Multilevel Marketing.

5. Network marketing is the best way to reach out to consumers

Multilevel Marketing companies point out that their strategy is the best and most cost-effective way to reach consumers, as there is no hierarchy of wholesalers and retailers. However, with a limited number of products and services offered in Multilevel Marketing, consumers have little choice of often expensive products and get lesser rewards if the downline sales or new recruitments to be business diminish.

The destructive element in the business is the pressure on friends and relatives to join the network or buy products. According to marketing experts, using personal relationships to build a business can destroy one’s social foundation.

6. Point system and rewards are attractive

Network marketing companies prepare a model of rewards and points values (PV) earned through sales and bringing new people into the fold. They sometimes present a hypothetical or sometimes exaggerated picture of the revenue flow from the business, and it is often difficult for new distributors to explain this to new downlines they create. And they often showcase a few people who have succeeded in the business through this formula but rarely talk about the majority who either quit the company or didn’t make much money.

7. Multilevel Marketing fosters better relationships

Many people claim that Multilevel Marketing fosters strong relationships within communities, as most events revolve around families and promote cooperation and unity. It may be true that distributors keen on developing the business will have a common goal and may meet often. However, putting too much pressure on individuals to join the network or buy products can also damage relationships. The community or support feeling that recruits get entirely based on their purchases. Such relationships may not last if targets are not achieved or purchases and enrolments decline; the communion also falls apart.

8. Multilevel Marketing business is legal

In many countries, Multilevel Marketing business is legal. Still, in some provinces, the local authorities may not have permitted such companies to conduct business as they have to comply with tax regulations, registration, and other regulations. It is, therefore, in the interests of new distributors joining the network to see whether the company has appropriately registered its business and activity as per statutory rules and regulations in force at the state and federal levels.

9. Multilevel Marketing business is a spiritual movement

Multilevel Marketing companies sometimes try to promote the movement as a spiritual movement, claiming it fulfills some Christian principles or scriptural prophecies. And creation or worship of wealth is the ultimate in life. They often lose sight of genuine spirituality as taught by religions. Misuse of such principles should signal that the investment opportunity is deceptive. Buyers should beware if a company tries to provide a spiritual dimension to a business.

10. Multilevel Marketing products are superior products

Multilevel Marketing companies often market their products as superior products, patented and specially made with ingredients or materials produced by them which may have health benefits or have unique features that warrant charging a premium from customers. There is no way to test such claims, so it is better to exercise caution when joining the such business. Wearing a jacket or vest can cure your health ailments, or some nutrition powder can help build stamina; all could be exaggerated claims.


Multilevel marketing may have created a parallel path in marketing and doing business. Indeed some companies may have succeeded in developing new products and creating some independent distributors who made good profits. However, this business is not for everyone, just as marketing is not everyone’s forte.

Recent amendments to the code of ethics have expanded upon the previous requirement that all earnings representations be based upon documented facts by setting forth the specific types of required substantiation and clarifying exactly what constitutes an earnings representation. The DSA Code of Ethics underwent modifications to ensure it meets or exceeds constantly changing stakeholder expectations for consumer and salesforce protections since its formulation in 1970.

If the income to a distributor is based on recruiting new people into the business and not on product sales to the public, it is more or less a Ponzi scheme or pyramid scheme. It is better to keep such schemes. Despite the claims of the superiority and uniqueness of Multilevel Marketing products, consumers and potential distributors should evaluate their competitiveness in comparison to other offerings in the market. It is better to evaluate products that promise miracle cures and guaranteed results before making a decision.

Before joining the business, one should analyze the business plan on a few parameters to ensure its feasibility. It includes the compensation structure, potential expenses, evidence to support claims made by the company regarding the income flow and profits, and the name and contact information of the company. Unless the company convinces the new distributor about the business proposal, they cannot effectively communicate it to potential recruits.

A lawyer or certified accountant may be consulted regarding the compensation plans, claims made by the company, and how legally binding it is.

If a distributor invests money in Multilevel Marketing, they should expect to receive returns. The distributor must be able to utilize the company’s refund policy if the product quality is poor or the business potential is less than expected.

It is better to get the company’s refund policy in writing, and it should include information about returning unused products, including restrictions and penalties. Training and materials costs constitute a significant chunk of expenses in this business. It is better to ask how much time other distributors have spent on such programs and the benefits they derive.

More importantly, someone marketing a product needs to answer a lot of questions, such as the annual sales figures, the amount sold to distributors, the expenses incurred for training and purchasing new products, the income earned, the bonuses disbursed, and the amount of time required to devote to the business. It is essential to get a comprehensive picture of how distributors make money, how big a downline is required to make profits, and how long it will take to break even in the business.

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What Are The Channels Of Digital Marketing?

With digital marketing becoming crucial for entrepreneurs and companies across all industries, there is never a better time than now for businesses to learn how it works and start rolling out their own programs!

Importance of Channels in Digital Media

In today’s digital world, traditional methods of marketing are becoming outdated and a larger focus is put on the use of modern digital platforms. Digital channels offer improved analytics compared to their offline counterparts, giving marketers the ability to track and measure results in real time. This data can help identify trends in consumer behavior and help target campaigns more effectively.

Digital channels also offer unique value not found with other types of marketing strategies – including SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies that drive higher organic traffic, Social Media engagement which increases brand awareness across multiple platforms as well as email campaigns that further engage customers who have already opted into a company’s mailing list.

Efficient Digital Marketing Channels Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms offer businesses the chance to connect with customers in new and innovative ways, allowing users to interact directly with companies, create user reviews and participate in surveys that enable companies to understand their customers’ needs better.

Through content sharing, SEO optimization, and running strategies based on data gathered from analytics tools provided by these networks, marketers can also identify which strategies are working best for them as well as learn about emerging trends among target markets so they can stay ahead of the competition.

All in all, when considering both direct response goals such as conversion rate or return on investment (ROI) along with long-term reputation-building techniques for brand awareness it is easy to see why organizations have increased their budget allotted for either individual or combined campaigns centered around social media marketing activities over other options relying solely upon traditional means of communication.


Additionally, staying active and engaging on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter could further enhance organic visibility as millions of users access every day looking for relevant information related to products/services they might need. SEO goes hand in hand with digital marketing since optimizing each channel takes expertise – that’s where companies often turn to ask for help from professional agencies like ours specializing in this field.

Email Marketing

Implementing automated emails is also simple, allowing customers to receive content when it’s relevant devouring businesses’ time and resources by sending out mass emails one by one. Reporting capabilities allow marketers to see what’s working and where they can improve their campaigns so they know the most successful strategies for their business in order to maximize their efforts while keeping time frames on point!

PPC Advertising Affiliate Marketing

With effective optimization of your campaigns and ongoing tweaking of targeting options in order for them to reach a large audience interested in what you’re offering. Affiliate marketing gives companies the opportunity for their products or services by providing remuneration for those who refer interested consumers – rewarding those who put in effort without having any financial risk themselves only furthers its success!


Choosing the right digital marketing channel for your needs can be a daunting process. With so many options available – from paid search to website optimization, and beyond – it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different tactics out there.

The key is to identify which channel will give you the best return on investment (ROI) while also keeping true to your overall marketing goals. The first step in making an informed decision about which channels are best suited for you is research – gathering as much information as possible on all of them before making any commitments or spending any money.

Maximizing The Real Value Of Big Data Through Insights

Big data is creating unprecedented opportunities for organizations to achieve faster, better insights that strengthen decision-making. However, the traditional methods and tools for the analysis of data is not sufficient to capture the potential value that big data represents. Capitalizing on the true value of big data requires a completely different approach. Analytics Insight captures an exclusive interaction with Rion Graham, Data Scientist at , who highlights how harnessing effective big data analytics platforms can help organizations successfully drive real business impact.   Analytics Insight: Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization and the services that your company offers. Rion: GoodData is an integrated set of data management, analytics, and insight application deployment and management tools and is a leader in the Platform as a Service category. GoodData combines an organization’s internal and/or external data (both structured and unstructured) to deliver business critical insights to users. GoodData goes beyond traditional business intelligence and analytics delivering insights at the moment of action to drive better business outcomes. The company primarily serves insurance, retail, financial services, and ISV customers, but works with various other industries as well.   Analytics Insight: Tell us how your company is contributing in the Big Data Analytics industry and how the company is benefiting the clients.   Analytics Insight: Kindly share your point of view on the current scenario of the Big Data Analytics and its future. Rion: The analytics product market remains focused on visualizations as a key differentiator. There’s good reason for this, as they help to turn a series of numbers into a story with real-world business context. However, visualizations alone are often insufficient to describe the sheer volume and variety of metrics that are distributed and unstructured big-data is generated. Artificial intelligence (AI) is ideally suited to bridge this gap and is already being used to automate the process of insight discovery. As the role of AI within analytics expands, a new dialect of insights will emerge to complement existing visualizations.   Analytics Insight: How are disruptive technologies like big data analytics/AI/Machine Learning impacting today’s innovation? Rion: Machine learning (ML) and AI are impacting innovation in part by extending the domain of analytics beyond traditional tabular business data to include images, video, unstructured text, and more. One interesting example is the use of AI and natural language processing (NLP) to identify and remove malicious bots and other bad actors on social media platforms by identifying patterns of interaction and conversation. Rather than listing static lists of blacklisted words, new AI algorithms can look at new individual users and how their language evolves over time — and how that relates to the platform as a whole. Not only semantic tagging, but also audio/visual tagging.   Analytics Insight: How is your company helping customers deliver relevant business outcomes through adoption of the company’s technology innovations? Rion: We work closely with our clients to understand their underlying critical business needs and thereby design with specific end-users in mind, delivering only the data they need, in a manner they expect. By integrating ML-driven insights at the point of work, whether they be classifications, predictions, or suggested actions, we close the insight-to-action loop and drive ROI. For example, we used ML to help one of our clients (a billion-dollar per year company) redesign its quarterly renewals forecasting process — replacing a series of manual, Excel-based business processes and turning them into a streamlined program for greater data accuracy and a broader spectrum of insights. It’s now obvious to users what actions they should take based on the data presented so they are able make a real impact on their business.   Analytics Insight: What is the edge your company has over other players in the industry? Rion: GoodData has been built from the ground up to distribute analytics at the point of work. While competitors struggle to connect insights with their audience, especially at scale, GoodData can deploy analytics and ML models to multiple personas and many thousands of users with ease. Additionally, GoodData’s platform provides continuous retraining of ML models, which means they don’t live in a vacuum. Rather, models and their end-users work in coordination to define and improve real-world business practices.   Analytics Insight: How does your company’s strategy facilitate the transformation of an enterprise? Rion: Currently, most companies don’t view analytics as “mission critical”. GoodData’s customers rely on our platform largely when the abundance of their data mandates a shift in analytics from being a “cost center” to a mission-critical activity. Our approach of distributing embedded analytics at the point of work highlights actionable insights to the end users, transforming transactional reports into strategic decisions.   Analytics Insight: Which industry verticals are you currently focusing on? And what is your go-to-market strategy for the same?

What Is The Societal Concept Of Marketing Management?

Companies must survive and thrive in the “red ocean” market. The red ocean signifies the cutthroat marketing environment that we are in. For companies to thrive, they must ensure that they are marketing their products to consumers and society as a whole. Marketing, in simple terms, means selling products that satisfy consumers. The five different concepts in marketing are

Production Concept

Product Concept

Selling Concept

The holistic concept or the societal concept

Marketing concept

These concepts help us a lot in understanding how the firm operates and what they are targeting.

Societal Concept of Marketing Management

Firms primarily operate to earn revenue. This single-minded approach was not enough for their success, so they diluted their focus on both profits and customer satisfaction. Soon enough, they realized that even this approach was not enough for them to beat their competitors and ensure a loyal customer base. It was the time when they came across the societal concept of marketing management. The societal concept is also known as the human concept or the intelligent consumption concept. This concept focuses on

Revenue for the firm.

Customer satisfaction through the company’s products.

Sustainability for the ecology and the environment.

Birth of a Societal Concept

In the 1960s and 1970s, a lot of firms were found to be abusing ecology and the environment for their success. We saw a lot of companies −

Dumping hazardous waste materials in the nearby lakes and rivers without thinking about the pollution and the effect that it might cause on the community residing beside the riverbed. There were enormous deaths and illnesses because of the unavailability of clean drinking water.

Releasing toxins and harmful gasses in the air without worrying about air pollution, climate change, and the melting of glaciers. This release of toxins led to respiratory diseases in the community living in the nearest proximity and deaths. There were breathing and visual problems around the clock.

Companies also abused their workers to ensure maximum profits. Poor working conditions, underpayment of wages, unpaid overtime, and mental and emotional abuse were common among the factories.

Land dumps by the companies without giving any consideration to the ill effects it might cause to the farming community, the people residing on the land, and others.

These abuses were now no more tolerated by the community. Consumers were members of the community, and it became difficult for them to consume the products or services produced by the company without feeling guilty. Hence the boycott of the company and its products started. This boycott led to the birth of the societal concept of marketing for companies.

A company can easily implement the societal concept of marketing management by producing goods that satisfy the wants of the consumer, are sustainable for the environment, and ensure certain revenue for the company. The company just has to ensure that −

For all the toxins and harmful substances, it is releasing into the environment, there are positive actions taken by the company for the environment. for example, planting and maintaining trees. This will ensure sustainability.

It is helping the community grow through its products and actions. For example, many companies have their own free teaching and skill development programs for youth and children.

It is ensuring that they are limiting the usage of plastic and other harmful materials in the making of the product and others.

Benefits of the Societal Concept of Marketing

It enhances the public image of the company.

It helps the company develop a loyal customer base.

It helps the employees of the company fulfill their social responsibility and helps the company increase employee engagement. This also ensures employee satisfaction.

It gives the company an edge over its competitors and its products.

It increases the community’s preference for the company’s product.

It helps the company in creating products that will solve the issues faced by the people, in short, more relevant and sought-after products.

It impacts both the bottom line and the top line of the company. Communities will prefer companies that are ecologically responsible.

It helps the company survive in the short term by ensuring regular sales.

It helps the company with its future or long-term diversification and expansion plans.

It improves the standard of living in the community.

Trending Examples of Societal Marketing

Toms − Working for the underprivileged. Realization about the fact that not everyone can afford to buy shoes was disturbing for the owner of Tom. He started the societal marketing strategy by saying that the company would give a pair of shoes to the underprivileged for every pair of shoes bought by its customers. The “buy one, give one” marketing strategy was a total hit. Here, the company understood that not everyone has the time to help the underprivileged, irrespective of their willingness to do the same, and targeted them accordingly.

Woodchuck USA, Tentree, Wewood, Enties, Good Seeds apparel, Wave Tribe, Trinity Oaks, Pacific shaving company, prestige decanters, and Baron Fig −all these companies have incorporated sustainability into their selling proposition. These companies plant a tree for every purchase that a customer makes from their shop. This is an amazing proposition for sustainability and helps the company’s marketing as well as its public image.

Sustainability, or the societal concept of marketing, is no longer a luxury that a brand can avoid. It is a way of living. Companies have to think about their survival and long-term success. The societal concept of marketing management is going to ensure the same for them. The societal concept of marketing helps firms earn profit and also helps in societal development and human welfare.

What Are The 4 A’S Of Marketing Management?

Customers are no longer just a part of the business; they are the king. The business revolves around satisfying the consumers, and hence it is very important for firms to look at the 4As of marketing instead of the 4Ps of marketing. The 4 Ps of marketing help the firm and producer understand what goods they should produce to get the maximum profits. The 4 P’s of marketing are what firms are focused on−

Product – producing high-quality goods that are supposed to be better than the competitors’

Price – determining the price of the goods to maximize profits for the firm while keeping it lower than competitors’ prices

Place – This is to ensure that the high-quality goods produced by the producers are more readily available to the consumers. Firms aim to make their distribution channels stronger than their competitors.

The four A’s of marketing revolve entirely around the business and the producer; in order to satisfy the consumer, businesses must ensure the four P’s of marketing.

The Concept of the “4 A’s” of Marketing

The 4 A’s of marketing are a consumer-oriented approach that helps producers and firms understand the parameters of production from the customers’ perspective. At the end of the day, customers are the ones who use the product, and they only make the purchase, selection, promotion, and distribution decisions.

The 4 A’s of Marketing are −





Acceptability of the Product

A product can always be categorized into three types −

The product is below the expectations of the consumer − This results in dissatisfied consumers. The consumer will never purchase the product, may write bad reviews, lodge complaints, and lead to negative publicity for the product.

The product is just meeting the expectations of the consumer − This results in satisfied consumers. The customer may purchase the product again and will definitely switch in the case of other options. will not speak positively and confidently about the product.

The product exceeds the expectations of the consumer − This results in a delightful customer experience. The consumer is hoping to purchase the product again and is even going to spread positive word of mouth.

Product or service acceptability can be divided into two parts −

Functional acceptability of the product − This factor deals with the features of the product, the benefits of the product, and the product facts. Here, changes are made to the core product to make it more acceptable and desirable for the consumer. For example, when a customer books a hotel room, he is looking for a clean room, a proper hotel bed, and hygienic bathroom facilities. Anything extra than these is considered the additional functional benefits offered by the hotels, and it could be wifi facilities, paid spa facilities, complimentary breakfast, and others. These functional benefits give the company an edge over its competitors. 

Psychological acceptability of the product − This deals with the hedonistic benefits of the product. A product may be excellent in terms of features but provide no hedonic or emotional satisfaction. This generally comes in handy in the case of luxurious brands. For example, in the case of vehicles, an ordinary Tata motor will provide the same benefit to the consumers, but they may choose it over a Rolls-Royce or BMW because of the social status of the brand. Brands here charge consumers for their emotions.

Affordability of the Product or Service

This factor of the marketing mix deals with both the consumer’s ability to pay for the product and their willingness to do so. It can be again divided into two types.

Economical affordability − A consumer may want to purchase everything under the sun, but are they financially sound enough to do so? When targeting or selecting a target market segment, businesses must consider their customers’ economic situation.

Psychological affordability − A consumer will be willing to pay 3–5 times the price of the product if they feel that the product is going to add to their social status or if it is a matter of pride for them. This factor deals with the willingness of the consumer, irrespective of their ability to pay for the product. Again, it is applicable mostly for comfort and luxurious goods.

Accessibility for Consumers

This factor deals with the distribution channel of the company. All the firm’s efforts may go in vain if the products are not accessible to the consumer. Accessibility can be further divided into two parameters−

Customer Convenience − Is the product easily available to the consumer when they are making the purchase decision? This simply means that the product is available where the consumer might look for it, such as the nearest retail store, e-commerce websites, or large supermarkets. A consumer may go through the effort of finding the store for the product only if it is extremely valuable in terms of price or emotional need. Otherwise, they switch without even thinking twice.

Product or Service Availability − This refers to the inventory or stock of the product. Again, consumers would not go through the waiting period unless it was extremely expensive in terms of money or emotions. Otherwise, the customer would grab the most similar product from a different brand.

Awareness about the Product and the Brand

Current customer of the product.

Potential customer of the product.

Awareness Might be Created in Terms of

The features of the product

The benefits derived from the product or service both in terms of objective traits and subjective traits like emotions.

The comparison between the company’s product and the competitor’s product

knowledge about the brand.

Benefits of the 4 A’s of Marketing

Provides the company with a broader approach to marketing.

It helps the company with better resource allocation as they now perfectly understand the consumer and their various purchase factors.

Gives the company a higher return on investment (ROI), as the company is now producing what the market wants and is not just confused with its product love affair or production ego.

It makes the consumer more loyal to the brand as they are fully satisfied and feel valued by the company and its efforts.

It helps the company gain an edge over its competitors as now it is able to deliver more acceptable, affordable, aware, and accessible products to the consumer.

The 4 A’s of marketing are the new marketing approach being followed by the company to sustain itself in the cutthroat marketing environment. This method helps the consumer turn their “red ocean” into a “blue ocean.” After all, the only growth that really matters is growth with others.

Update: The Strange Moves And Big Mistakes Of Oneplus’ Debut

Still, the employees at OnePlus are probably fairly busy right now, putting out virtual fires or whatever it is manufacturers do when things go wrong.

So what did OnePlus do wrong? How did they go from the darlings of Chinese tech world to arguably its most controversial in about a week, before its first product even launched? How have they managed to burn through so much goodwill so quickly?

First, lets talk about how they got to a point where them messing up their launch is a major story. You could say that, to a certain extent OnePlus has been a victim of their own success.

Hype, Leaks and an Unfortunate Familiarity

Unfortunately, hype is a double edged sword. When leaks of the OnePlus One started coming out and the device looked quite a bit like Oppo’s Find 7, the tower of hype they had built fell back on them.

Worse still, the “leaks” appear to be coming from the Chinese division of the company themselves. Showing a possible skism developing within the two branches of the young company.

The Appearance of Arrogance and Free Stuff Gone Wrong

Then there is, of course, the invite debacle.  While the OnePlus is undoubtedly popular for what it is, the fact is, it still is a brand new company launching its first phone. In this case, the road to hell seems to be paved with good intentions. OnePlus seemed to be realizing that its manufacturing capabilities are not yet prepared to meet the expected demand. An invite system could seem like a reasonable way to prevent a situation where people who ordered their phones are waiting months to get one.

What it ended up appearing to be was an arrogant move where a company has to deem you worthy of it taking your money. Such a strategy might work for a company like Google, but it left a sour taste in the mouth of fans of OnePlus. OnePlus would have probably been better off having a limited number of presale units, and letting it sell out quickly. That isn’t the end of OnePlus’ missteps, however.

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With OnePlus Ones already in short supply compared to its expected demand, OnePlus came up with an idea that probably seemed fantastic in a meeting room somewhere: Host a contest that rewards its most loyal fans, the ones that make up its community message board. Sight unseen, it seemed refreshing. Rather than opening it up to any Twitter or Facebook user that wants to win a “weird” new cell phone, the message board contest rewarded those that have been following OnePlus since the beginning.

While the Chinese language forum had QR codes to give forum members access to the contest without broadcasting all over Weibo, the English version of the forum  relied on a number of posts being hit in a particular thread on the forum. Winners at the 5,001 post, 10,000th post and 50,000 post would win a OnePlus One (plus minor prizes for other posts).

What happened next is open to some debate.

[Update: A previous version of this post stated that OnePlus deleted a complaint thread, they instead merged the posts onto another 

: A previous version of this post stated that OnePlus deleted a complaint thread, they instead merged the posts onto another topic . The post has been updated with the necessary corrections]

According to OnePlus’ version of the events, Multiple posts started showing up as the winning posts as the backend of OnePlus’ board couldn’t handle the high volume of posts.

OnePlus recalculated the posts, adding posts that were deleted before OnePlus disabled deleting within the thread and completely screwing up the count. Suddenly people who had thought they had won for days found out that they had not won anything afterall.

This understandably led to hurt feelings and accusations of cheating. It is hard to figure out exactly what happened here. One user got in contact with us with screens of his winning post that was moved 72 posts down the line, the same is said to have happened to the poster of the 10,000th poster as well. The current winner of the 10,000th post doesn’t even seem to be aware that he or she has won.

Unless it is the most sophisticated piece of vaporware in history, it seems unlikely that OnePlus would purposefully ruin its promotion to scam the internet out of three of the phones they themselves are creating, but that hardly matters. Their refusal to reward the previous winners as well has built up an extremely large amount of bad will among the community.

But the blunders didn’t stop there. OnePlus moved the posts into an older topic, breaking links to the complaints and creating an perception of censorship, even if that wasn’t the desired action.

I’ve never seen a company screw up giving away a product so badly.

I have reached out to OnePlus asking for a statement on the giveaway, but have yet to hear back.

The winners of the contest will be “officially” announced after the phone’s reveal. So OnePlus still has a chance to make this right, but by shuffling their feet they are only hurting themselves.

Where Does OnePlus Go From Here?

The OnePlus One is still in a fairly favorable position, all things considered.  Sure, there has been significant backlash to these very serious missteps. It might even be enough to negatively impact sales, but OnePlus still has our attention. In business, infamy is better than anonymity. If the OnePlus One launches on the 23rd with some killer, yet unannounced feature, then many of the mistakes of the past few weeks will be forgiven.

On the other hand, if the leaks have shown everything OnePlus has in its hands, or worse yet, OnePlus under delivers, then OnePlus still sits as a cheaper alternative/clone of one of the more popular Chinese flagship phones.

Being a Oppo knock-off manufacturer probably doesn’t match the ambitions of the OnePlus brass, but they will be starting with a huge amount of press and larger companies have started with humbler beginnings.

This Wednesday should be an interesting one for fans of Chinese tech.

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