The History of Technology and the MLM Industry


The MLM industry has been immeasurably changed by advances in communication, technology, transportation, and shipping. When the original companies, such as Shaklee and Amway, started marketing through multilevel marketing they consisted of large networks of distributors who inventoried and supplied products to individuals in their localized areas. This, of course, was because the country did not yet have UPS or FEDEX that allowed for next day delivery to the customer or distributor.

Most of the companies in the early days had large, key distributors pay their own downline commissions rather than have the company pay the downline commissions directly because the companies lacked the technology to track distributors. They also relied on communication by the key distributors in their field because the internet did not yet exist. Neither did cell phones. The tremendous ease in communication that we have today simply didn’t exist for the early direct selling companies.

Of course, that all changed in the 1980s with the computer revolution. There were three instances of advancements in communication, including technology, transportation and shipping, which had a profound impact on the success of the MLM industry. In addition, as we saw in the 1990s and beyond, an explosion in direct selling has not only taken place in the United States, but also around the globe.

Prior to advances in technology, it could take decades for a multilevel opportunity or a direct selling opportunity to find its way into other countries, especially developing nations. Today, with satellite television and the internet, individuals in countries throughout the world can become aware of an opportunity and a company’s products instantaneously.

Today, direct selling companies like Avon do business in more than 140 countries and we expect to see that increase dramatically. In fact, studies done by the Direct Selling Association have indicated that over the next ten years we will expect to see approximately 200,000,000 people recruited into a direct selling opportunity around the world. Roughly today, approximately 155,000 people per week are recruited into a direct selling opportunity worldwide. And, the fastest growth is occurring outside the United States, interestingly enough.

Although, direct selling companies, especially the most successful ones have their roots in the United States, the MLM model and foundation was built in America. MLM leaders have always been native to the USA.

For more information, visit our websites at and Or, our blogs at and

This article is also available online at:

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Babener & Associates | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »


Welcome to MLM Legal - a valuable resource to the Multi-Level Marketing and Direct Sales Industry. ... View Profile »

Follow Babener & Associates:

Reporters on Deadline

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.