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While doing the research for this review, I came across a post about a guy who was practically tricked by a family member into attending a presentation of the ACN business opportunity.
The presentation he said, started with Donald Trump talking about how great ACN and it’s products were and ended with Donald Trump saying something like “what are you waiting for?”
We all know who Donald Trump is.
Other than him being one of the current United States presidential candidates, he is also a household name known for his business savvy, his television show The Apprentice, being an obnoxious and controversial person or for his appearance in the blockbuster comedy Home Alone 2, depending on who you ask.
From 2006 until he started running for president, Donald Trump became the celebrity face of ACN, saying great things about their products, speaking at their conferences and even featuring them on his show The Apprentice.
With publicity like that, you could see how people would want to jump all over something like ACN. The opportunity to make money with their own home based business and the approval of a celebrity multi-millionaire. What could possible go wrong?
Well in this article, we’re going to take a look at the network marketing company that is ACN and I’m going to tell you why you should look past the endorsements of Donald Trump.
What Is ACN and Their Business Opportunity?
ACN is a network marketing firm that offers people a home-based business opportunity where they can sell the companies products.
These products include residential phone service, high speed internet, VoIP, satellite television, cell phone service, home security and even energy through their affiliate Xoom Energy.
Signing up to become an Independent Business Owner or rep for ACN costs USD$499 as well as a USD$149 annual renewal fee.
You can earn money by selling the services offered and by recruiting other salespersons as part of your down-line. Just like any other MLM opportunity, building a down-line is usually what is most emphasized as this can mean more income from bonuses than just selling the services.
ACN Compensation Plan
I swear that when I see most network marketing compensation plans, I usually need an Advil for the headache that follows.
ACN’s compensation plan was not much different but after studying it a bit, I understood just enough to know how IBO’s got credited for their sales.
Every IBO starts out as a Team Trainer (TT). They have to acquire customers or have 7 customer points and 4 services to move up to the next level, a Qualified Team Trainer (QTT).
Each service carried a specific number of customer points so the more services you sell and the more customers you acquire, the higher you move up in position.
To really explain how you get compensated within ACN with all the services and positions involved, it would take all day to explain in this blog post so you can check out the North American Compensation Plan for yourself right here.
Why You Might Not Want to Try ACN
ACN has been criticized a number of times for the usual reasons that you would expect an MLM company would.
They’ve been taken to court in 2010 in Montana for allegedly running a pyramid scheme. The company claimed that it was just a case of some IBOs were not operating in accordance with ACN’s rules and they would provide better training.
Even the products and services that are offered by ACN have been subject to bad press.
ACN’s video phone for example was once praised by Donald Trump himself but the product didn’t sell very well because the phone could only connect with other video phones offered by ACN. Who wants that?
It seems as though the products didn’t pay well either. In this article on Wall Street Journal, there’s a report of this guy Jamie Gardner who was an ACN rep for 3 years.
Here’s an excerpt from that article that might give you second thoughts about joining.
Jamie Gardner, 42, of San Diego, served as an ACN representative from 2010 to 2013. He said the Trump endorsement was “a major selling point” he used to entice new people into ACN.
“I ended up spending about $3,500 I didn’t have,” Mr. Gardner said. “I was spending maybe $150 a month just to get $10 in return.”
Mr. Gardner sold gas and electric services to some customers. He said he made $1 a month from each of eight restaurants in a chain. He concluded that the only way to make any real money was to recruit others. “I just couldn’t get anybody under me,” he said.
I didn’t spend $3500 with Quixtar when I was a member but this certainly sounds like what a lot of IBO’s do go through.
However I wanted to point out the part where “he said he made $1/month from each of eight restaurants in a chain”. A total of $8 bucks from 8 customers? From selling energy services?
Of course, he could bump that up by recruiting others but this just doesn’t sound like the kind of business model that I would want to be involved in where your income is dependent on other people in your team. No thanks!
But Donald Trump said that this was good, right?
Let’s get back to Donald Trump and his endorsements of ACN.
Donald Trump Didn’t Make Money Directly Selling MLM Products
Network marketing people use this tactic all the time where they would talk about Donald Trump supporting MLM and they use the ACN examples as evidence.
What they never tell you is that Donald Trump never made any money directly selling MLM products or building a team of his own.
But Donald Trump did make money with ACN.
Every time Trump made a speech for ACN or endorsed the company and it’s products he was being paid. He got paid up to $2.5 million for a single speech according to the article on Wall Street Journal.
And ACN’s appearance on Celebrity Apprentice? That was like one big commercial where the company paid Trump to appear on the show and have their product and opportunity featured.
The problem with these things comes down to one word – disclosure.
Less people would have jumped at the opportunity if they knew he was being paid to say nice things about ACN.
Trump, after he started running as a presidential candidate, was later quoted saying:
“I do not know the company. I know nothing about the company other than the people who run the company. I’m not familiar with what they do or how they go about doing that, and I make that clear in my speeches.”
This sounds like a very different tune than what he was singing back when he praised their video phone and would be confusing to anyone who believed that Trump was involved in network marketing.
After his latest remarks, ACN removed any references to Trump from their website.
Alternatives to ACN and Multi-Level Marketing Business Model
This blog is called Affiliate Marketing vs MLM and there’s a big reason for that.
I used to do MLM and now I do affiliate marketing and they’re two very different business models that I love to compare.
I don’t really recommend anyone get into MLM but I enjoy getting people to check out affiliate marketing because I think that it is perfect.
With affiliate marketing:
- you don’t depend on anyone (team) for your income
- you’re not tied to any one company
- there’s no complicated compensation plans to figure out how you’re getting paid
- you focus on sales, not team building in addition to making sales
- you don’t need to invest a lot to get started
- the world is your audience, not just the people you can directly talk to
Affiliating with companies such as Amazon, Target, Walmart and these other big companies that people know and trust doesn’t cost anything and sales are easy (once you know how to promote) because people already shop at these websites everyday.
Some alternatives of ACN’s products that you can promote using affiliate marketing will probably pay you better than ACN can. Here are 3 examples.
(1) Dish (Satellite TV)
As an alternative to selling satellite TV through ACN, you can affiliate directly with Dish and make even more money.
The company’s affiliate program pays you $150 for every subscriber activation whether the person makes a phone order or applies on the internet.
ACN also offers Dish as one of their satellite TV offerings but I highly doubt that you can make $150 per sale.
(2) DIRECTV (Satellite TV)
DirecTV is another satellite tv offering that you can sell through ACN but you can also affiliate with this company directly and earn even more.
The affiliate program pays $110 for each subscription that is activated. Just imagine getting a couple of those every day.
Just like Dish, the DIRECTV affiliate program is run through CJ Affiliate so you’d have to sign up there and then connect with Directv through that platform. Affiliate with both DIRECTV and Dish and you’ll get one check when CJ pays out.
(3) Verizon Wireless (Cell Phone Service)
An alternative to selling phone service through ACN would be to affiliate with any wireless phone service provider like Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, T-Mobile etc.
There are plenty of these affiliate programs available on CJ Affiliate and other affiliate networks. Verizon Wireless is one of them and they offer different commissions on different products up to $75 per activation of a new service contract.
Judging from the compensation plan, it doesn’t look as if anyone is getting paid these kinds of commissions in ACN. However, they get paid for the lifetime of the customer or as long as the IBO remains an ACN rep.
How to Get Started
In order to effectively promote these product and maximize your income, you need to first understand how affiliate marketing works and learn the strategies ordinary people use to make full time incomes every day with this business model.
Finding effective training can be tough if you don’t know where to look.
Fortunately, I’ve used this one program since January of 2007 that teaches affiliate marketing and I even credit their training with helping me to quit my day job in 2009 to become a full time affiliate marketer.
This program is known as Wealthy Affiliate and you can read my review about it here.
The program is free to sign up and check out the introductory course (10 lessons) and there is also a premium membership if you seriously would like to pursue affiliate marketing.
If you need guidance, I’m available any time and you can check out my profile here.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments. What do you think about Trump and his endorsements of ACN? Do you have any experience with ACN? Please share your thoughts.