The terms "network marketing" and direct selling are frequently used and often misinterpreted by many people. The most common misconception is the comparison of network marketing to illegal sales methods such as “pyramid selling”.

Network Marketing

Network marketing (also referred to as multi-level marketing) is a sales model where products and services are marketed to end consumers through a network of independent direct sellers. These independent direct sellers receive compensation from their own sales of products or services to customers, and from the sales to customers generated by their network of other independent direct sellers, but always based on the sale of products and/or services to consumers rather than simply expanding the network of independent direct sellers.

Pyramid Selling

A pyramid selling scheme is any business where the primary form of compensation is derived from the fees that others pay to join the business, rather than from the sale of products or services to end consumers.  These schemes are illegal and alongside “pyramid selling” these schemes have also been described as ‘chain letters’, ‘snow ball schemes’,  ‘chain selling’, ‘money games’ and ‘investment lotteries’.

It is important to remember that legitimate network marketing rewards independent direct sellers for the distribution and sale of products and/or services to customers. No money is earned merely by sponsoring additional independent direct sellers into the distributorship.

Thus, network marketing offers independent direct sellers the opportunity to build independent businesses marketing, promoting and selling products and/or services to customers and to train an organisation, or network, of other independent direct sellers to do the same.

Without intending to be exhaustive about these matters, below are some key questions for you to consider to differentiate a legitimate network marketing company from a pyramid selling scheme.

What is the company’s primary source of income?          

If the revenue of the company is derived primarily from the contributions made by the independent direct sellers, and there is no genuine economic activity, the company is typically considered to be a pyramid selling scheme.  If, on the contrary, the company’s income derives primarily from the sales of products or services, then the company is likely to be regarded as a legitimate network marketing business.

ACN’s business is to provide fixed and mobile telecommunications and Internet services to customers and it is the sale of these services that constitutes ACN’s primary revenue source – well over 90% of revenues on a consolidated European basis.

How are the company's independent direct sellers remunerated?         

If the company’s independent direct sellers are remunerated for the mere fact of sponsoring new people to join the company as sales persons, this is a clear signal that the company is involved in a pyramid selling scheme. Such compensation may not always be obvious and may be described as training fees, etc.  If, however, independent direct sellers are remunerated on the basis of the sales of products and/or services to an end consumer, this typically indicates a legitimate network marketing business.

At ACN, compensation paid to its Independent Representatives is always based on the sale and usage of ACN’s services by customers.

ACN compensates its Independent Representatives in two ways:

  • ACN pays a commission percentage on the usage of ACN’s services calculated based upon combined monthly bills of the Independent Representative’s personal customers and a residual commission on the combined customer billings of all other Independent Representatives in the Independent Representative’s distributorship;
  • ACN offers a bonus when an Independent  Representative sells ACN’s services to a minimum number of personal customers in the first 30 days of joining ACN and also when an Independent Representative assists a newly sponsored Independent Representative to “qualify”, meaning to sell ACN’s services to a minimum number of customers in the first 30 days.         

ACN Independent Representatives do not get paid simply for sponsorship of other Independent Representatives into the distributorship. If no customers are obtained as required by the ACN Compensation Plan, then no remuneration is paid.

To find out more information in relation to the characteristics of a network marketing (or multi-level marketing) business and how it differs from a pyramid selling schemes, please visit the relevant part of the website of the Direct Selling Associations, such as the website located at or more generally at

Please note that the legal tests for the prohibition on pyramid selling (or similarly described schemes) are not yet the same across all European countries and there are still differing specific legal tests in each country. It is hoped that the legal tests for such prohibition would be harmonised and made consistent across the European Union by the adoption of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive which is currently being implemented in the local law and regulation of each EU Member State, but this remains to be seen.  Until that time, the statements made above in relation to the description of pyramid selling schemes as against network marketing are generally stated principles, and there may be specific other factors at an individual country level that would need to be taken into account in looking at these issues in detail.  

Founded in 1993, ACN was the vision of four entrepreneurs - Greg Provenzano, Robert Stevanovski, Tony Cupisz and Mike Cupisz. These Co-Founders had countless years of direct sales experience between them, but were dissatisfied with other companies and job opportunities they had encountered. They realised that the only way to find a company they wanted to be a part of was to create that company.

So with a yellow legal pad in front of them, they formulated a business plan. On one side of the page they wrote down everything that they knew worked well, and on the other side everything that didn't. They ripped the page in half and only kept the side that contained what would become the governing principles behind ACN - integrity, solid business practices, and a commitment to always putting the needs of the masses above the needs of themselves.

From that initial paper, a business idea was born that would focus on offering services people need and use every day… services that wouldn’t require anyone to change their buying habits or purchase products they didn’t need or couldn’t afford.

ACN began as a reseller of long distance services in the U.S., but over time has grown to offer all the essential services customers in over 24 countries use on a daily basis. ACN is the world’s largest direct seller of telecommunications, energy and essential services for home and business, but more importantly, they’ve provided a vehicle for countless individuals to change their lives.

With that single column on a legal pad, the ACN Co-Founders drew a proverbial line that would set the bar for what ACN would become - and remain long into the future. And those are the same principles that drive the company today, over two decades later.




Vibrant Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and is known for its cuisine, art, culture, architecture and much more! This is the perfect opportunity to mix business with pleasure and enjoy the incredible attractions Barcelona has to offer!

For example, take a dip in the beautiful blue Mediterranean Sea. Barcelona has a little over four kilometers of beaches where you can spread out your towel, put on some sun cream and take a swim in the nice warm water. You will find many chiringuitos (beach bars and cafés) where you can get a little break from the sun.

Wander through the city. Barcelona is divided into ten different districts with their own look and attractions. Everywhere you will go you will have a wonderful time strolling and enjoying the sights of the city's most impressive buildings. Example, is one of the largest areas and is famous for its modernist architecture. This is where you can best explore Antoni Gaudí, the most important and popular architect of Barcelona, who designed the famous Sagrada Familia and the two unique buildings Casa Mila and Casa Batlló, also known as La Pedrera. known as La Pedrera. If you want to check out more of Gaudí's work, a visit to Park Güell is an absolute must. A walk in this park will take you through a wonderland with fountains, caves and colorful mosaics.

Almost everywhere in the city you will have a chance to sit and enjoy some delicious tapas with wine or sangria. The area known as El Born or La Ribera is the place to be for its artisan culture and elegance. Enjoy a coffee in one of the medieval palazzos or browse through the designer boutiques, there is something for everyone in Barcelona!

ACN hopes that you will enjoy the city as much as the event!


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