Amway Review: Is it a Way of Life or a Pyramid Scheme?

If you've dabbled in the world of multi-level or direct marketing in any capacity, you will have heard a lot of stories about Amway. Founded in 1959, Amway is the....
Amway Review: Is it a Way of Life or a Pyramid Scheme?
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If you’ve dabbled in the world of multi-level or direct marketing in any capacity, you will have heard a lot of stories about Amway. Founded in 1959, Amway is the original direct marketing company and a behemoth in the MLM scene. In 2018 alone, Amway sold $8.8 billion worth of products, both to distributors and customers.

Some people argue that Amway is more than just a job, it’s a way of life, and the salaries of some of the high-ups proves that. Others insist that it is a useless pyramid scheme and borders on cult status. Who should you believe?

Wading through Amway reviews and controversy can leave you feeling more confused than before. Let us break down Amway for you, and let you decide whether it’s an opportunity you want to take.

What Is Amway?

Amway is short for American Way. It is a multi-level marketing company, which means that its sales force is responsible for not only for selling products but for recruiting more sellers. Anyone can join Amway—for a price.

Amway boasts that they sell over 400 products ranging from skincare and makeup to blenders and rugs. If you want, you could outfit most of your home with Amway products. They’re a consistent competitor to brands like Younique and iconic makeup brand Avon.

Like many other MLM and direct marketing companies, you have to buy into Amway. There is a monthly “minimum spend” that you must meet in order to stay active. You buy the product you will end up selling, and also buy access to seminars, training manuals, and sales guides.

That is where Amway makes the bulk of their money: seminars and training materials.

The Seminars

Unlike many other MLMs, Amway distributors make money not from products, but from training. This is what leads many people to be suspicious of Amway or call them a pyramid scheme. Since the emphasis of sales is not on their products, the MLM vs. pyramid scheme waters are muddied.

This is why you’ll likely never see an Amway store: they emphasize that their sales are done person-to-person. Amway says that they are not selling products, but selling a dream. Dreams can’t be contained in brick and mortar.

The higher-ups in Amway insist that the seminars and training materials are the secrets to success when becoming an “Amway Business Owner”. The idea is that you must arm yourself not just with stock to sell, but the knowledge to sell them. However, how much money should you sink into endless seminars?

How Amway Pays You

Amway corporate is vague about how you get paid. They do make clear that you make money by bringing in new distributors via “bonuses”, and earn money from selling products at a mark-up. However, they do not give specific numbers or percentages.

It is clear that the Amway distributors making great money are surviving off of their down line. Amway promises significant bonuses to those who can recruit large teams in addition to a percentage of each recruit’s monthly minimum spend.

If you manage to create a thriving down line, you will receive some of the money that they spend and earn every month. For this reason, many Amway seminars are focused on bringing people into “the dream” rather than selling products.


The Pros of Amway
* Lots of training material: due to the emphasis on seminars and workshops, very few of your questions will go unanswered

* Low startup cost: there’s no mandatory $5,000 buy-in and although you do need to meet a monthly spending quota, the limit is fairly low

* Enthusiastic leaders: Amway Business Owners really believe in Amway so if you want to get involved in an active and positive community, Amway can offer that

The Drawbacks of Amway

* 90% of Amway business is done outside of the USA: Amway has been around for a long time which has led to poor sales inside the USA

* Name recognition: In many circles, Amway is a punchline, not a legitimate business opportunity

* Business Owner fees: Each month, you must pay vague fees to remain an ABO and most of this money will go to your recruiter or upline

* Lack of transparency: Amway functions best when its distributors don’t know too much about what happens at the top.

Succeeding With Amway

At this point, it may be difficult to succeed with Amway if you are inside the USA. The smear campaign against Amway has been successful. There’s a reason they encourage recruiters to never say the name “Amway” in their process.

However, if you are outside the USA or fully confident that your neighbors would love Amway, there are plenty of websites to help you sell. You can find MLM training and essential resources to succeeding in MLM businesses with just a few clicks.

Is Amway A Pyramid Scheme?

Technically, no. Since Amway does sell products, they are classified as an MLM and not a pyramid scheme. However, the focus on recruiting over sales and the creation of an Amway culture has made people suspicious.

Their suspicion isn’t unfounded; Amway has had a litany of lawsuits against them, the most recent one having been settled in January 2020. However, they’ve generally settled out of court and been able to continue business as usual.

If a company has to dedicate an entire page of its website to addressing pyramid scheme accusations, it may be a red flag for you. There are plenty of less controversial direct marketing businesses you can jump into instead.

Decide Whether Or Not It’s Right For You

Many people have loved their time at Amway. Many others have not. Only you know if Amway is the right fit for you.

However, if Amway doesn’t seem up your alley but you still want to try your hand at MLM business, check out business opportunities here. We offer in-depth looks at multiple MLM and direct marketing companies and help guide you to success. If you want to start changing your life, look into direct marketing (and maybe stay away from Amway).

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