ACN is Not a Scam | How We Can Help

This guest-post came to us as a response to our first post on ACN. If you would like to put together a whole post instead of just commenting below, please send us your post to [email protected]. We are open to any and all points of view.

I would like to begin this post by first refuting some of the statements made in the first ACN post on this site and some that have been made in the comments. Then I would like to shed more light on some of the reasons why ACN is viewed as a scam and how we might go about fixing this.

I have been with ACN for the past four years and am currently in the position of Team Coordinator. I still have my day job, but the extra income from ACN has provided me and my down-line with greatly expanded lifestyle and a far more secure retirement plan.

If you want to make ACN work for you, you should treat it like a real business, that is really all it comes down to.

Refuting the Comments and Content of the Previous Post

Firstly, a pyramid scheme requires that all the income be generated from people putting money into a pot and having it float to the surface. In ACN there is legitimately a ton of money made from the actual sale of services. Take the video phone for example. This is nothing more than an IP phone with a webcam attached and some basic software that can detect when it is connected to another video phone. If you do a little googling you will find that you can get a Forwarding (or virtual) phone number for about $8 a month. I would assume that ACN can get them even cheaper by buying in bulk. Even if it is primarily the reps who use ACN video phones, there is a phenomenal amount of revenue being generated here that absolutely finds it’s way back into the pockets of the reps who have sold this service.

The recruiting process does not have to be a “strange” as it is made to sound in the last post. In my experience it only becomes this way when people are recruited who really don’t belong in ACN. When I show friends the business I make sure that they honestly want to have a look at a network marketing business. In the beginning I tried to use the method of not telling anyone what the business was until they could hear it from my up-line, but I can honestly say this did not result in a single successful enrollment. If you are going to sign people up under you, you really have to be able to show them the reasons for yourself – If you are not willing or ready to do this, then spend some time getting to this point. If you resort to keeping secrets and having your up-line present a network marketing opportunity that most of your audience was hoping not to hear.. you will often be met with resentment. How can you blame them? If you want to enter into a business partnership with someone you need to start with a basis of honesty and integrity, not secrecy and off-loaded responsibility. Like I said above, if you want to be successful in ACN, then treat it like a real business, nothing else. (Please Note: I am not saying that it is impossible to make money by just sitting back and having your up-line present the opportunity – I’m just saying that it is not the best way, and that it is one of the primary reasons why so many people see this and other network marketing companies as scams.) In the beginning it can be quite difficult to present the opportunity on your own, but I strongly believe that by presenting to your friends on your own, anything you lack in experience you will more than make up for in sincerity. Explain the business yourself and show your reps your personal reasons for doing the business. This means you will probably not be able to start recruiting on your second day in the business. Who Cares? This isn’t a get rich sprint. Put in the time, do it right and you will be rewarded accordingly.

Many of the comments on the previous post state that because reps are unwilling to show their prospects their checks, that we must be lying when we say we make good money. Where I live it is against to law to show prospects your checks. Simple as that! I’m not sure this is the best law… It seems these days that showing others that I truly do make good money could stop a lot of the negative feelings toward ACN. So many people seem to feel that it is impossible to make money in ACN, I assure you this is not the case – it’s just a lot easier to take someone seriously when they say “I hate ACN, I made no money” than when they say “I love ACN, I make lots of money… I just can’t tell or show you exactly how much…” I think we all need to explain this law to reps up front and stop the rumor that because we don’t show off our checks, we must not make any money.

Why ACN Is Seen by so Many as a Scam

There are a few reasons why many people think ACN is a scam. It is my hope that we can start to shift this opinion by adopting a few new philosophies and changing our mindset. To all my fellow reps who include the portion of the pitch on Mindset – please read the below statements and see if you incorporate them into your presentations. I have started to make some changes to my powerpoint and hope to post it here for you within the next few weeks.

Donald Trump: The fact that we have Donald trump endorsing us does feel pretty satisfyinh. But for new recruits it has been my overwhelming experience that they are not sold by this. I will admit that when the first ACN DVD featuring Trump came out I was flying. I tried to sell everyone and anyone using the statement that if a billionaire like Donald Trump was supporting our business, then how could anyone say it wasn’t a great opportunity. My team and I got carried away saying that if people didn’t see the light after trump’s message, then these people weren’t worth recruiting anyway. I have since realized that this is a very immature attitude. I have now recruited many very successful reps who were boarder-line disgusted by the Trump endorsement. At the end of the day, trump was paid to advertise our business – simple as that. The type of people who will be convinced by that are not serious business people. Like I said earlier, it doesn’t mean you can’t make money by recruiting this type of person, but largely speaking they will not do well and they will quickly come to resent the business and spread negative rumors about it. Look at the comments in the previous post – I think it’s safe to say that the number of people who resent this business is becoming a legitimate problem, we should seriously consider changing our recruiting techniques in order to curb this opinion. One way of doing this is by acknowledging Trump is  our paid endorser. We can have fun with our teams and enjoy the exceptional training that Trump has given us, but telling prospects that they should sign up because trump endorses ACN has brought far more hostility to me than it has success.

The over-emotionalizing of the training sessions. In my city we have had Saturday morning sessions for the past 4 years. I have watched them go from about 30 people a week to 300 people a week. In the beginning these sessions really focused on how to succeed at the business. We spent time talking about how to find a good team and how to build a strategy to move up through the ranks. Nowadays they focus almost entirely on appealing to people’s emotions in order to get them to sign up. RVPs in my city tell story after story about how ACN lifted them from abject poverty into a world of riches. For many this is actually the exact truth, and I do not hold it against them that they enjoying telling their personal experiences. From a profitability perspective it is almost impossible to refute this tactic. We have never had so many new people signing up as we do today. I have watched some of my own prospects see these emotional demonstrations and be stirred enough to sign up later that day. The reason I am suggesting we get off the emotional kick for a while is that it is giving us a reputation that is seriously affecting the way non-reps view our business. The emotional sell largely does not convince the type of people who are going to prosper in this business. This isn’t because they aren’t capable of succeeding; it is simply because they signed up without considering the full requirements for being successful in the business. They see the emotional spectacle and are swept away into signing the forms. When they snap out of it and realize what it takes to make money, they feel like they were ripped off and lied to about the business (invariably it is too late for them to get their money back…) Selling ACN on an emotional basis breeds resentment among those who sign up for purely emotion-driven reasons. If we want to stop all the “scam slander” that we are dealing with these days, I think it’s important to be honest about what it takes to be successful. This is a business, it should not be sold by telling stories and promising riches. Let’s get back to the facts – this is a highly profitable opportunity if you are willing to work! Let’s show our prospects what it takes, and teach our recruits how to execute.

That’s it for now – I plan to do a follow up post in the coming weeks. Please leave your feedback in the comments section below and I will try to respond or incorporate your advice into my next post. Let’s put in some effort and get this “Scam” title off of our perfectly legitimate and highly profitable businesses!




As always, makes no guarantee as to the authenticity of the facts, arguments, comments or statements presented in the articles/posts on the site. We have a collection of over 20 writers (plus many guest authors) and keeping track of exactly who writes what is not done. That said, the articles and posts of this website are taken largely from personal experience and are more often then not very trustworthy sources of information – whether you choose to trust them or not is entirely up to your own judgment.

Position Marketing

This is a guest post from our friends over at TheTelecomSecret

Position Marketing is a little understood term that applies to the approach used by 99% of network marketing or MLM companies. The principle is simple – position the company as profound and the top earners as experts. This sounds like a sound and logical plan – but where does that leave you?

As a novice marketer virtually no-one will regard anything you have to say with any relevance unless you are inherently wealthy – something most new recruits are not. The new recruit does not realize that by edifying their up-line sponsors they are actually promoting them and increasing their sponsorship rates instead of their own. Many times someone will ‘hear’ the pitch from a newbie before going online and signing up under the local “big fish” in the hopes of getting special mentoring or instruction. The ‘big fish’ then swoops in with a “buy first, ask questions later” approach filled with mis-direction and false promises. Once the early commissions are earned the ‘big fish’ continues on their way looking for the next prey. The novice recruiter didn’t profit at all from the experience (and likely never even knew their friend registered).

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Why does nearly every ‘system’ out there insist on YOU building a list of 100 people – friends and family is always the routine. You are to submit this list to your up-line for one reason, and one reason only. So that when you’re broke and no longer involved your up-line can now contact these people with a typical tag line like “This is Mr. Big Fish Successful Guy, you know Tim right? He totally WANTED me to show you this! Come check it out, you won’t regret it!”. Most of your friends and family will ignore him – but some won’t – and you’ll be blamed for their lack of success when the ‘system’ doesn’t pan out. In reality – the ‘system’ is not designed to pan out – it’s designed to make a handful of people wealthy.

Anyone with REAL business experience knows the importance of a sales pipe-line and generating leads. Leads are generated through advertising your product or service – not through harassing your relatives and directing them, single-file, to your up-line. YOU instead need to position yourself as the expert. There is nothing the ‘top dogs’ know that you don’t. The only difference is how long they’ve been in the business and how many people they have out there still subscribing to the same, unsuccessful, system.

Duplication – you’ve all heard of it in one form or another. McDonald’s will serve you the same Big Mac anywhere in the world. Yes that’s an example of duplication – but it’s a duplication of a process, not an individual. McDonald’s follows the same steps and recipe to make your burger – and the reason is always the same – you’re hungry. Everyone on the planet is different however, so you can’t apply duplication to people. You can however duplicate processes. Find out what works for YOUR business – not your up-line. Articulate those steps until you can clearly see the process involved. Once that’s clear – you’re ready to TEACH other people your process and profit from it as a result. You’re now the expert and they defer to you because you’re the creator of the process. Edifying yourself and building your own brand are two key principles of success in any business.

The ACN Scam | Understand This!

acn scam

First of all, when we refer to the ACN Scam we are not trying to say that what ACN does is illegal in any way. ACN the corporation is not a scam. When we refer to ‘The ACN Scam’ we are referring to the practices of certain independent representatives. In our opinion (based on limited experience) it seems that many ACN members have been “scammed” into believing that making money in ACN is more realistic than it actually is. 

This article has nothing but good things to say about ACN the corporation. They provide great services at a great price and have utilized a unique means of sales and advertising. The article seeks only to discuss the strategies and activities of some of the reps within ACN (which often times are likely not in accordance with what ACN the corporation encourages or condones.)

The Basics of the ACN Scam

The scam works by convincing people that they have are going to make a lot of money in the telecom industry by selling a few video phones, satellite TV subscriptions, cell phones, landlines, etc and encouraging a few of their friends to do the same. It’s a simple concept and in theory is quite easy. Anyone can sell 3 services and we would argue that anyone could also find a friend to do the same. The issue, in our opinion, comes when you actually try to do it. There is very limited data on the success rates of ACN Independent Representatives. Most people are told from the start that less than one in 100 are successful in the business. Additionally, a recent study (see references) has shown that approximately 0.5%  (less than 1 in 200) even make their initial $500 investment back.  The problem: certain representatives are so good at convincing you, that everyone believes they will be the 1 out of 200 who actually makes money! Why?

The Giveaways that Suggest ACN is a Scam

Here are a few things that should suggest why ACN is not worth your time or your reputation:

  • All the money is in the sign-up fees! We know they claim that the sign-up fee goes to registering your personal business, getting you a license with the FCC/CRTC etc… You can’t blame them for charging some sort of fee – there is obviously some setup work required and if people could join and quit with no penalty, then they would do it constantly and cost the company a fortune. Our guess is that the set-up process for an individual rep probably costs the company around $20 (based on the assumption that all they really have to do is add you to a database and send you a glossy package). So why charge $500? We suspect the obvious, to pay the bonuses! ACN sells it as “the bonuses will start you off, and the residual income will sustain you later in your career.” This seems impossible – we challenge anyone considering the ACN opportunity to ask their recruiter if the bonuses make up the majority of their income. We suspect this is generally the case, but would recommend you check for yourself – the exception to this rule would be when the individual has not yet earned a bonus – in which case their minimal income would be a product of service commissions. It seems to us that the bulk of  the payouts are in the sign-up fees. If this is true, this meets the definition of a pyramid scheme, we know they convince you that their products make the business legitimate, indeed some income must come from phone/TV bills, but is that enough? A scam is a scam and just because the company pays out some money in actual service-bill revenue does not make it legitimate in our opinion.
    From the ACN Integrity Site:
  • “As distinguished from the legitimate multilevel business opportunity advanced by ACN there are some companies who continue to engage in illegal pyramid sales. Simply defined, an illegal pyramid sales program occurs when persons are induced to purchase the right to sell a product by representations that they could regain their purchase price and also earn profits by subsequently selling the same right to sell to others. This certainly does not occur with the ACN Opportunity.”
  • Are they kidding? Maybe a typo? by this definition ACN seems to us to clearly be a Pyramid Scheme
  • The “Recruiting Process” is long, hard and strange. Sure a few people sign up on the spot, but the vast majority are fall under the “Some Wait” category. Once you are in, often times you become so wrapped up in things that you find it hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t sign up – but think about it: If the opportunity were as good as you have convinced yourself it is, then most of your friends would sign up on the spot. This big disconnect between what you think of the opportunity and what the majority of the people you show it to think of it should make you nervous. We recommend everyone understand the concept of position marketing described here: Position Marketing
  • If the statistics showed that most people make a lot of money in ACN, then the above point should not make you nervous – if it really was a good opportunity, then it wouldn’t matter if people took a little convincing before they saw the light. But the limited facts seem to suggest that almost nobody makes money in ACN. The average (mean) income of an ACN representative less than $2 a month (see references). The odds are HEAVILY in favor of you having to admit to all your friends that you were wrong in trying to convince them to join ACN.
  • ACN has an entire website (ACN Integrity) devoted to proving that they are not a fraudulent company. The fact that this website even exists means the vast majority of people will probably assume that ACN is a scam. As I’m sure you’ve realized already, most people do assume it is a scam (at first glance.) This means that nearly everyone you attempt to recruit and almost every customer you seek to acquire is going to (at least initially) think that you are involved in an illegitimate business. This is not something you want to be associated with – not when the odds of you losing money are 100 times greater than the odds of you paying off your initial investment. Sure, maybe you can deal with people thinking you’re part of a scam, because deep down you ‘know’ you are going to get rich and ‘show them’. That seems to be what everyone thinks.. and yet so many are proven wrong.
  • Obviously ACN is not illegal, or they would not exist! The strange part comes when they fall back on this proof of legality as an argument for why it is a good business. Why should the fact that it’s legal mean that it’s a good way for you to make money? Occasionally they seem to use the fact that it’s “almost illegal” as a way to convince you that there must be money in the business. They use quotes like “Direct TV is in on the Scam, Bell Canada is in on the Scam, in fact, you’re the only one who isn’t in on the Scam!” Does the fact that ACN might seem like a scam make it more likely you will get rich?
  • To all those sold on the tax argument. No doubt your upline has told you that once you sign up for ACN everything will become a tax “write-off”. If all you’re in it for is the tax breaks, why don’t you register a business of your own for a tenth of the cost? Just because you’ll get a few tax deductions doesn’t mean you should spend $500. Legally you can only deduct expenses that were incurred as a result of the business. Therefore, the only way you are going to save money is by spending a lot more. The fact that tax deductions become available once you join ACN will only save you money if you plan to file a false tax return and deduct expenses that you already had prior to joining – not a good idea!
  • Look at what you give up! Can anyone name an industry that requires you to be hated by so many people (see comments below) and still has such a low success rate? Success shouldn’t (and usually doesn’t) require you to hurt your personal relationships.

The Perceived Premise of ACN: Push the Favor – Trade your Dignity for Income

Even panhandlers can make a little money by begging on the streets to a bunch of random people who they have never met. If you were to elaborate on this concept and take a group of beggers who were more socially acceptable than bums, then have them beg to people they actually knew – not just for money, but for “a Favor” – you’re sure to see better results than the bums on the street. Even bums have documented success stories in which they have earned over $100,000 per year, yet none of us are running out to join that profession. As it turns out, the average (mean) panhandler makes over 400 times the annual salary of the ACN independent representative. Doesn’t this seem a little strange?

Honestly, ACN is a beautiful idea: It seems to us they have taken the collective ability of 1 million people to beg and pester their friends/family for a favor, and turned it into an enormous business. We admit, the begging power of this many independent representatives is huge – and hugely profitable. The issue is that none of the beggers make enough money – all of the cash floats to the top. It would appear the vast majority of independent reps have traded a portion of their dignity just to make their upline some money.

The Saddest Part of the ACN Scam

There are 2 parts to this: Firstly, the majority of reps don’t make money, and secondly, if you work hard enough at ACN you will indeed make money. This tricky situation allows ACN reps/recruiters to use terribly effective tactics to encourage their reps to keep on recruiting in order to make money. For example – say John tells Bob that all he has to do to be successful  is keep on showing the business to more people and eventually he will be rich – the harder he works the more money he will make. Bob takes this recommendation to heart since he has been told the same thing most of his life – more work (hard or smart) equals more money. Bob shows the business to 300 people over the course of the year, 60 of them sign up, and 2 of them actually make their initial investment back. By this time Bob has earned a decent chunk of cash for himself along with some solid residual income. John was right – hard work actually paid off in ACN! Screw the haters, this is a legitimate business 🙂  … but what about the 58 people who signed up and lost money? Is hard work still a reasonable justification for profits when you have caused 58 people to part with their money by promising them great returns and delivering them nothing? Oh wait – but it’s alright because you gave everyone fair warning that making money in this business means hard work and they new from the get-go what the odds were of making money. Ya.. maybe you did explain this, but 5 minutes after that talk you halled them off to a rah rah pep rally and subjected them to 3 hours of watching people who claim to be rich walk accross stage spouting how great ACN is. Don’t these 2 actions (telling recruits that ACN is nearly impossible, then flashing riches and success stories in front of them..) seem a little contradictory? In any event, it would appear that anyone who actually  “Made it” in ACN (through all that “hard work” promoted by the brain washed reps) only got there by screwing a sizable number of people out of their signup fee. ACN might make you rich if you work hard enough – but based on the data, it’s going to require that you make a lot of other people poor.

Jim Rohn probably said it best: Service to Many Leads to Greatness. We want to achieve greatness at the service to many – ACN seems to seek greatness at the expense of many.

Our Recommendation

If you’re about to spend $500 on ACN, at least think about your other alternatives and keep the statistics in mind. You can say with 99% confidence that you are more likely to make money putting the $500 into a savings account. But ACN, like all business ventures, is a risk – and the only way you make it big is by taking risks. We argue that there are better risks you can take. Think for a moment why you would say yes to ACN – probably not because of the odds, but because you know that you have all these people in your upline who are doing it already and are willing to help you. This is a highly emotional reason for starting a business, and you should probably put a little more emphasis on the facts.

Ask For Proof! Get some proof from your upline (at a level close to you, not proof from the top) that they are actually making money. A lot of independent reps pretend that ACN is making them rich, when really they are just as broke as everyone else. Be careful – find some proof that the people whose footsteps you’re about to follow in are actually doing what they claim to be. Too much of your time, money, and reputation are about to be put on the line for you to just take their word for it. Good Luck!


Leave us some comments below. We are open to and uncritical of what anybody has to say. Do you think what we have said is right? Do you have a contradiction to our arguments that shows ACN really is a good way to make money?


  1. Graser D. Panhandling for change in Canadian law. J Law Soc Policy 2000;15:45-91.
  2. ACN Integrity –
  3. Stackhouse J. Seven days on the street [series]. Globe and Mail [Toronto] 1999 Dec 18,20,21.
  4. ACN Income study –
  5. MLM-TheTruth: Shocking MLM Stats –


As always makes no guarantee as to the authenticity of the facts, arguments, comments or statements presented in the articles/posts on the site. We have a collection of over 20 writers (plus many guest authors) and keeping track of exactly who writes what is not done. That said, the articles and posts of this website are taken largely from personal experience and are more often then not very trustworthy sources of information – whether you choose to trust them or not is entirely up to your own judgment.

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