Scam is such a harsh word. Yet, there is no shortage of sites and comments that say exactly that about Amway, any search on the Internet will bring up a long list of critics all telling you about how much of a scam Amway is. Largely, this happens for three reasons. The first, is that the net is forever. It tends to accumulate old, outdated remarks. Anyone posting something today is in direct competition with all the posts - forever - on the same subject. Almost no one takes the time to look at when something on the net was actually written. And the when was this posted information is often missing or concealed. So, the scam notices stay up and build up. If Amway started handing out free gold bars tomorrow, the Internet would still be full of posts about how terrible Amway is. The second reason is about numbers. Amway has been rolling along for more than 50 years. Fifty years is a long time and a huge number of people touched by Amway. Out of this sample, there are going to be many who were disappointed. And unfortunately, that's how the numbers work on the Internet. They are skewed because the people most motivated to weigh in, are those who've had the worst experiences. Naturally, the ones with the problems are those who gave Amway a half-hearted effort and failed at it. The last reason, and I think the most important one, is that people join Amway (and other MLM groups) with false expectations. They are led to believe they will reach the highest levels with little or no work on their part. Amway itself is at least partly to blame for this. **Amway, the right and the wrong** The Right: Amway, and other network marketing operations, have a core business model that has made Rich DeVos (the co-founder of Amway) one of the wealthiest men in the world. The business model revolves around using social networking to build businesses. There is nothing wrong with this model, and it still works today. Expansion and duplication are well known in franchises of all types. And the number of Amway-like companies that have successfully followed in their footsteps can't be denied. There is a lot of right in the mix. The Wrong: The first problem came in when distributors found they could recruit a bigger downline if they pushed a little bit of hype. Gradually, the promises grew larger and the information about the real business became less important than inflating dreams. This raised the expectations of new members to ridiculous levels - "Make a quarter million dollars your first year!" It doesn't take long for someone working the biz to catch on. And then the other shoe dropped. Successful networkers found they had their own product to sell; beyond official Amway goods. They found they could market motivational tapes and books. Motivation has always been a part of network marketing. It's the fuel that keeps us going when the inevitable bumps in the road arise. But here was a chance to make money off your own downline - no customers outside of the network needed. And best of all, motivational tapes are cheap to make and duplication is a breeze. Some of the leadership took this opportunity and being the excellent salesmen they were, drove it through the roof. Along with this came the paid seminars. There is nothing wrong with a seminar that motivates and trains members; as long as it can eventually increase sales. But for many new distributors, any profits they made were sucked up by tapes, books and gatherings. The parent company isn't to blame for this. Amway clearly states that tapes and other materials are voluntary. But distributors felt they needed them, leaders were happy to make and sell them, and there seemed to be no end to the supply. **The final call** Amway can and does still make money for people. But there are traps. The top levels are sometimes prone to prey upon those beneath them. If their focus is a cycle of recruit and dump, they are shooting themselves in the foot. To the IBO (the correct term for what used to be a distributor—an Individual Business Owner) who is sold on hyped promises and goes broke buying motivational materials, Amway will seem like a scam. On the other hand, someone who understands the basis for network marketing as a business can still do well. They need to rethink things a bit and quit falling for the crazy emotional side of things, but the opportunity is still there; it's still real. **The facts** In some ways, the opportunity is better than it has ever been. Ethical practices and modern leveraging mean a reawakening of network marketing; away from the scam side of the ledger and over to the respectable side. That is, when you use modern tools and techniques that let IBOs do the things that real businesses do - social networking and automatic lead generation. If you keep it simple and focus on what works, instead of sucking money from your business partners. More Facts: - Amway has survived all the legal challenges mounted against it. - People continue to quit their jobs and make 6-digit incomes in Amway. - The so-called pyramid hasn't crashed - not even after 50 years! - Systems do exist that can help you recruit for explosive growth. It can be done. And whether or not you continue in Amway or network marketing, I wish you all the best!