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I would like to address a comparison between affiliate marketing vs multi level marketing(mlm). A lot of people believe its the same thing. I even had some family members tell me that when I told them I was participating in affiliate marketing. It’s not the same at all. Even one person mentioned that affiliate marketing is just a modified mlm. Not so!

Don’twoman thinking believe it. They are two separate ways to be be in business. Let me try to explain. I have written several articles about affiliate marketing and you can read them here and here.



Affiliate marketing is when a marketer or website owner presents a link that will take the customer somewhere to make a purchase. When the customer makes the purchase the marketer makes a commission. It is a one time transaction. A cookie is lets the seller know which marketer has referred the customer to them and can make the proper payment. These cookies have different attributes which will identify the customer as being related to the marketing referrer. Some of them place a lifetime cookie meaning once they are a customer they are a customer for life. Others place a time limit as short as 24 hours. One of the largest affiliate programs out there is Amazon and they have the 24 hour cookie.

MLM is multi-level marketing, network marketing, referral marketing or relationship marketing. The industry has tried to change its identity several times. In an mlm company you must refer other people into the company and create a downline of people. And you make money on the people in your downline. These companies generally require you to buy a package of their products in order to qualify to make any money. Some of the larger mlm’s are Amway, Nuskin and Kannaway. The way the setup is it is hard to make any money unless you are at the top of the tier. If you can build a substantial team under you it can be very profitable!  Statistics show that only 1% or even less of the people make it to those levels and those are the only people making any real money. So if you get in an MLM make sure you believe in the products and use the products yourself!


A pro for affiliate marketing is that you can promote whatever you want. Most affiliate marketers choose a niche and target a small portion of a large market. They can have a website, use email lists, locally market or even person to person. The marketer does not have to purchase anything just present his link to the customer in whatever venue he or she prefers.

A con for mlm is that you are limited to whatever products the company has. And generally you must be purchasing the products yourself. You also must drive the people in your downline to make purchases themselves.

A con for affiliate marketing is that you must drive a lot of traffic to the link you are promoting no matter what form of promotion you are using.

Another con with mlm is that most of the companies want you to market to your friends and family. If you have ever tried that you know hoe hard it is and what kind of relationship problems you can have due to this.

So in conclusion I hope you can see that they are two distinctly different business models. Affiliate marketing dependent only on selling a product to the mass market and mlm being dependent on you referring others to the company. No one has ever heard of a network marketer being successful who has never referred anyone to their company. While their are a slew of affiliate marketers who are extremely successful and they have never had to refer anyone to anything.

I can recommend affiliate marketing as a viable way to personal and financial freedom while mlm can be devastating to say the least. I say this from personal experience having lost money several times after being captivated into network marketing schemes.

I can also say that I found a reputable program that encompasses all the things you need to be successful such as hosting, website building, keyword tools, training, support and a community of like minded people that will be there to help and inspire you on your journey to success. That is Wealthy Affiliate. It is free to join so you can look around. Of course there is an upgrade (but only one) for you to take advantage of the whole program. But you can try all the premium services for free for 7 days and if you would like you can remain as a free member for life and even get two websites for free and hosting them for life for free!

If you have questions or comments click the replies link or just use the contact form at the bottom. Or you can shoot me an email at

Thanks for stopping by, Dennis Darragh

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