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Affiliate Marketing VS Multi Level Marketing

If you’ve been looking into ways to make money on the side or even make money online – you’ve probably come across two options: affiliate marketing VS multi level marketing.

But which option is better and what are the differences between these two? If all of this is new to you – don’t worry. I’ve been there, and even though I had no idea about marketing, it’s not really hard to learn more about these terms.

If I was able to learn this – I believe that you can learn it too. You’re in the right place as well, since, in this post, I’ll explain both marketing types, the difference, pros & cons, and even how to make a choice according to your needs.

What is Affiliate Marketing?


Affiliate marketing is a way of promoting products from a seller or a store and earn a commission each time you refer a customer.

I wrote a full post that explains how affiliate marketing works and what it includes – so I recommend checking it out!

In short, as an affiliate marketer, you can join any of hundreds of thousands of affiliate programs available on the internet for free. And as a part of an affiliate program, you get to learn more about affiliate marketing, promote their products with your unique referral link, and even utilize tools provided to you by the program.

I think of affiliate marketing as a win-win situation. It helps the store owners get more traffic and make sales he otherwise might not have made. And on the other hand, the affiliate marketer gets a commission for each purchase that happened through his link.

Sounds simple, right? It’s not very difficult to understand! Even some of the largest online stores such as Amazon have their own affiliate program.

I should also mention that affiliate marketing has been around for 2 or 3 decades now, and it has been a thing even before the internet.

And if you’ve been reading my blog – you would notice that I think affiliate marketing is the best choice if you’d like to create a sustainable online business.

What is Multi Level Marketing (MLM)?


Multi Level Marketing is also known as an MLM, network marketing, or even as a pyramid scheme. It’s very similar to affiliate marketing as you also get to promote products in return for a commission.

However, with multi level marketing, you are helping an MLM company that doesn’t have a salaried workforce to handle the marketing and sales process of their products.

Therefore, when you become an MLM partner for a company, the primary way of making money is by selling products. However, most MLM programs also require their partners to recruit people or even distribute the products for them.

But the truth to be told, multi level marketing has been bashed in the media especially because of the recruiting part.

Some MLM companies require their partners to recruit more salespeople into the “pyramid scheme” rather than focusing on the sale of their products.

As a result, their own products also tend to suffer from quality as it’s not prioritized. Of course, MLM marketers can make money as long as the MLM program is solid.

However, most of them are not and most of these programs favorite the MLM company more than their “free” salesforce.

Affiliate Marketing VS Multi Level Marketing


Even though these two marketing types can seem very similar at first sight – they’re actually very different.

All you have to do is look deeper into them.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing doesn’t involve recruitment and they don’t have a pyramid scheme that consists of affiliate marketers. Their process is far more simpler and they only focus on rewarding affiliate marketers with a commission for sales they refer.

Also, one of the important things is that you don’t have to sell products directly. And most importantly, all affiliate programs are free to join.

Having complete control of what you can promote and sell is also important in the long run.

Multi Level Marketing

On the other hand, multi level marketing requires you to directly sell products to earn a commission and it is all about redirecting people to buy wanted products.

Most MLM programs require you to pay to be their partner and you can only sell the products available at the company you’re partnered with.

Also, not only you will have to make sales to the limited type of products, but you’ll also have to recruit people so you can earn money from their sales as well.

Therefore, you have to be a very good salesman and recruiter in order to make good money out of MLM, but you also have to find a quality MLM so you’re off to a good start.

So even though it didn’t seem like there’s a big difference in affiliate marketing VS MLM – there is still a huge difference that changes the way people approach both marketing types.

Why Do I Think That Affiliate Marketing is Better?


Affiliate marketing is a lot simpler and you get a much larger choice of products you get to promote. It’s also easy to be a member of various affiliate programs and promote all of them at the same time.

You get to focus on your marketing channels and you can always promote products you truly believe in. For example, if you were an MLM member of a company that sells beauty products, you would be able to only recommend their beauty products.

But as an affiliate marketer, you get to do your research, test various brands, and promote one or more brands that you truly believe are the best.

With affiliate marketing, you won’t have to recruit others and you won’t have to sell hard or sell directly.

Most importantly – you will never have to pay a penny to join any affiliate program!

So if you decide to create a website (or a blog), create your personal brand, and help people out in a specific industry – you could take the advantage of affiliate marketing to guide people to use the best products available and earn a commission in return.

But with MLM, you would have to sell directly to anyone and everyone and even recruit everyone you can find to increase your sales. The product choice will be limited so your conversion rate might not be as high as it would be if you were an affiliate marketer.

So with affiliate marketing, you get to promote products and help people out in any way you know to earn a commission on each sale. This also relieves the pressure of hard-selling to people rather than helping them out.

What do you think is better? Affiliate marketing VS multi level marketing?


As you can see, MLM marketing isn’t ideal for everyone, and it’s easy to understand why it has been bashed on by media.

However, affiliate marketing programs are free to join, you can be a part of as many programs as you wish, you can promote the products in any way you wish, and you wouldn’t have to worry about recruiting people.

If you had to choose one, what would it be: affiliate marketing VS MLM?

Feel free to leave a comment down below, ask any questions, or share this post on social media! I’d be very grateful!

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2 thoughts on “Affiliate Marketing VS Multi Level Marketing

    1. For sure, MLM is really tough and it’s not really regulated. Affiliate marketing isn’t regulated either, but it’s a lot fairer to both sides (the company and the affiliate marketer) and it gives marketers a lot more benefits.

      I highly recommend checking out Wealthy Affiliate. It’s an educational platform that teaches everything there is about affiliate marketing with step-by-step video lessons and it provides tools that help you apply everything you’ve learned to create your own online business.

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