Company Name: ACN
What Is It
A network marketing company that promotes a range of services, including internet, television and energy.
ACN uses a MLM and network marketing model to promote its services, including television, wireless and internet services. While the services themselves may be okay and even competitive in the market in some cases, the potential to make money through the MLM is low. There are simply too many complexities and conditions to make it a realistic approach.
*Before you correct me, YES, some people get rich in MLM. But most people waste time and money in this business.
ACN is a service based-company offering services that include internet, phone, wireless, television and home security, as well as services for businesses.
Because of the type of services the company offers, it’s difficult to say how competitive they are as a whole. Ultimately this will come down to what a person needs and what’s available in their area.
However, their pricing for high speed internet does offer some indication:
With Time Warner, the lowest package costs 34.99 per month, and offers 15Mbps (a bit more than ACN’s $53.95 plan. Likewise, the highest package with time warner is 50Mbps, and costs $64.99.
So, in many situations ACN's services may end up being a bit more expensive than their counterparts, especially for people getting the lower tier plans. But, there may be some people that the service works well for.
As for most MLMs, the majority of reviews online focus on the opportunity itself, so it’s hard to know just how reliable the services are. Personally, I’d be cautious with the services, because the company has a lot of different focuses and this suggests that they might not be able to offer the same quality that the more commonplace companies can.
Certainly, there isn’t anything unique about the services that the company offers.
The opportunity side of the business is what makes it different than most other companies selling internet or phone plans. Through the opportunity, people have the chance (in theory) to earn money by promoting the company to other people.
The site actually doesn’t offer a lot of information on the opportunity, which is always a bit concerning. There is the standard hype and success stories, but then the next main part is to sign up for the opportunity.
In theory, people are probably supposed to learn about the opportunity from a distributor, but being able to go on the site and find out what is actually involved is an important thing. After all, distributors get things wrong fairly often.
So, that’s a big strike against the opportunity for me.
I did find a compensation plan for the site through a Google search and this offers some information into how to make money through the opportunity. Even then though, the plan is far from clear. For example, these are the diagrams for the first four earned positions in the company (which excludes the starting position).
The diagrams explain different criteria you have to meet to progress through the company and get more bonuses.
As you go up in ranks, you have to get a certain number of people under you up to various ranks. This means that they also have to recruit other people. In practice, you would end up spending a decent amount of time supporting and pushing along the people you recruit so you could progress.
An interesting thing about the compensation plan is that it starts out with that discussion about positions and qualifications. This strongly suggests that the focus of the company is on recruitment, not on selling services. If you are planning on going door to door to promote this company, how can you do that effectively without knowing anything about the products you're selling?
Members can earn money from services and the amount that people can earn is based on how many customer points they have. That term is just a measure of how much the person has sold and most services give one point.
So, getting anywhere above the 1% commission is likely to take quite a while.
There are also other bonuses across the commission plan. Some are based on getting a certain number of qualified recruitments within a specific time period, including both weekly and monthly challenges.
Overall, there are multiple different ways to earn money, but the bonuses are complicated and there are lots of steps involved in actually meeting this. Most people joining the MLM would probably find themselves staying within the first rank or two, which dramatically limits the potential to make money.
ACN has faced criticism in the past because the amount of return from making sales is relatively low, while the bonuses from recruitment are much higher. This makes it unrealistic for members to earn money through sales – this is a common practice among MLMs.
Indeed, this is an approach that the FTC warns people about, as this type of structure makes it more difficult to earn money.
A site called Pissed Consumer hosts 336 complaints about the company, along with an average rating of just 2.5 stars (out of 5). The complaints have focused on a large number of different things, including the company being manipulative and having hidden charges.
Likewise, the company has also been criticized for using crowd psychology to make their opportunity seem popular. That claim has merit, when you see how the training events are marketed:
One previous member of the company claims that it uses a culture of deception and guilt, where members are trained to avoid some questions and to heavily over-hype the company. The review also noted that the training events cost $150 for a ticket.
While the events do contain some training, this type of event also tends to contain a large amount of hype and rally-like enthusiasm.
Honestly, if you’re going to try and make money through any company, training is certainly in order. But going to a packed arena and trying to learn from a speaker isn’t likely to be effective. After all, everyone has their own questions and areas that they struggle with. None of these questions could be answered in this type of event.
BTW, ever heard of “job shaming”? It's a common tactic of network marketing companies to make you feel guilty for having a job and not working from home.
The key to being successful in companies like ACN is to recruit others. This is never easy, because you have to find people who are willing to invest both time and money into something that might pay off later on. The amount of work involved in being successful in a MLM means that it would be hard to recruit people who work full time (as they don’t have the time). Yet, people that don’t work full time probably don’t have the money.
As you can imagine, those factors alone limit who you can try and get involved with the company.
The cost itself is another off-putting aspect. ACN is on the expensive side for MLMs, costing $499 to sign up. That’s a huge amount of money to try and convince anyone to spend.
At the same time, recruitment and sales is easier when the product or service you are promoting is appealing. In the case of ACN, it’s difficult to know. There are a lot of companies out there that offer the services that ACN does, although companies often tend to specialize on a few of them (like internet, phone and television).
While the company might be okay in terms of price compared to its competitors, there are still a lot of big named companies out there with a history of providing reliable internet and phone service. ACN doesn’t really have that history, and that would make it hard for you to convince people to sign up.
Finally, this is a field where people tend to be loyal. Often, someone will choose to stay with an internet or cellphone provider if it has consistently provided good service, even if it is more expensive than other options. After all, people rely on their technology so much, sometimes taking a risk with a new company isn’t worth it to save a little money.
Oh, and contracts? I have a 2 year contract with AT&T for my internet…even if I wanted to switch, I can't til the contract is over!
It’s not impossible to make money through ACN and I’m sure that some people do. My problem is that making money is much more difficult than the company implies. You end up sinking a lot of time and money into the process long before you have any idea about whether it is going to be successful.
MLM VS Affiliate Marketing
No matter what company I look at, MLMs always seem to be a highly complex way of earning money. There are so many different rules and restrictions, and you have to do things are very specific way to stand a chance at making money.
They even go as far as calling the whole thing an “opportunity”, even though you are spending time and money working for them.
There are better ways of earning money without all of those restrictions, and your potential earnings also end up higher. One specific way is affiliate marketing, which is the approach I take personally. You can learn how to start your own affiliate marketing business selling stuff on the internet without all they hype, deception, and hoop-jumping of network marketing.
Whatever type of product you decide to promote, it's important to own your own website to grow your business.
Parties only work if you have a network of friends with money in their pockets. Network marketing only works if your friends are interested in joining business opportunities.
With a website you can reach the entire world, and only promote great products to people interested in what you have to say. Plus, you open up doors to multiple streams of revenue like affiliate sales, ad click revenue, paid advertising, and even selling your own digital products.