Network Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing (Differences, Benefits, Advantages & Disadvantages)

Network marketing vs. affiliate marketing – both offer entrepreneurs ways to make money online, but what are the Differences, Benefits, Advantages, Disadvantages & which one is right for you?

Without any bias or sentiment; Let’s Roll!


What is Network Marketing?

In network marketing, you will be tying yourself to a product or a company. You’ll have the opportunity to earn differing levels of commission and can create a solid residual income.

 You get to recruit additional marketers who work beneath you in a “pyramid”-type structure. You get to earn percentages of what they earn, and what their earners earn, and so on down the line.

Essentially, you will be joining a team (and creating a sub-team) of your own to promote and support a service or product. Everyone in this network is attempting to promote the same thing, and in most cases, you’ll be registered by someone who is already part of the network marketing structure.

As long as a service or product is legitimate, it is a legal pyramid.

It is when no product or service is provided (or when the product is false or prohibited) that it becomes illegal. {Just like in the case of “Jamalife”}

The problem is that many products that are promoted by network marketing companies are not exactly the “cleanest.” Many are really expensive & have over-exaggerated benefits or features of the product, which means network marketers have to work hard to keep making sales.

The other problem with an MLM program is that MLM participants generally don’t make any kind of “Big” money until they’ve gotten pretty deep into the network recruitment process. It’s not necessarily product sales that earn you money when you’re part of an MLM or network marketing program – instead, it’s lead generation and building your own team.

Some examples of MLM Companies are:

1. Longrich

2. Superlife

3. Norland 


What is Affiliate Marketing?
Many people mistake affiliate marketing with network marketing or MLM companies or MLM programs, but they are not one and the same.

Affiliate marketing is the act of pursuing commissions from products that you “affiliate” yourself with. It generally consists of single-level commissions, meaning you will make a certain amount of a product’s sales that your customer buys.

Unlike network marketing, you won’t be working for a parent company to build a network, but instead, you will be promoting products in a more mutually beneficial way.

You will have complete control when it comes to selling products, choosing which products to promote, and which individual affiliates you want to work with. Affiliate marketing and network marketing are distinct in that with affiliate marketing; you will get paid based on your overall sales. There’s nobody working beneath you or other members that you have to report to.

You simply choose the goods you want to endorse, and you’ll get a commission for any sales you produce. Depending on the business and compensation plan that is in place, you can make money for driving sales, selling, or referring. There’s no need for recruiting people since you’ll be making money simply by recommending someone else’s product.

Now, The problem I have is, It is common & rampant for people in affiliate marketing to promote products with which they have no experience – they simply sign up for the affiliate program and start trying to sell based on the product’s website description alone.

While you can go about affiliate marketing in this way, you’re only ever going to make real money if you are familiar with the products you are trying to sell. As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to sell products and services you don’t have any firsthand experience with!

If you want to become an affiliate marketer, you’ll have to join affiliate programs that interest you.

Some examples of affiliate networks:

  1. JVzoo
  2. ClickBank
  3. Expertnaire

Key Differences, Benefits, Advantages, Disadvantages Between MLM & Affiliate Marketing.

Starting with the Differences & Benefits,

Affiliate Marketing is digital, Network Marketing is Personal.

What I mean by that is this; as an affiliate marketer, you’re mostly going to be doing everything online.

from creating banners, getting your product links, running ads, most of your business activity is digital. 

Network Marketing is Personal
Network Marketing is a relationship-based business. You’re going to be “calling” your friends, posting on your social media, selling to your family, to old friends you went to school with or went to university with. And you’re going to try to get them involved in the business because it’s a relationship-based business.

For the sake of simplicity & easy understanding, I will not be talking about the digital aspect in MLM.

An MLM has levels.

MLMs payout multiple levels.

So if you bring in someone to the MLM and they pay ₦30,000. You probably only get something like ₦10,000, because they have to pay ₦10,000 to the 7 layers (other uplines) above you as well.

So the end result is you get paid much less for YOUR work and someone else gets paid.

With an MLM you typically have to join and pay a “registration fee” to promote the products.

Thousands of affiliate programs let you promote without having to pay for the product.

1. You earn commissions on the Work of Others (downlines).
2. Makes you a good traditional communicator and speaker.
3. Doesn’t require high investment to get started.
4. You have the freedom to work at your own time & also make big money too.

1. Pyramid schemes and bad reputation: (Some companies use marketing practices that are damaging to the reputation of the company and even the MLM industry eg. Advertising misleading employment opportunity)

2. Requires team effort to succeed or win big: Multilevel marketing is not an invest-and-sit business it requires a good amount of time and personal involvement from you and all your downlines.

1. It does not require a huge investment to become an affiliate. 

1. Solely depends on your work input, unlike MLM you can’t earn from any level or downline,

Which is Better, MLM or Affiliate Marketing?

In network marketing, you focus on building your downline through people that are personally recruited by you. With affiliate marketing, there is no need to recruit anyone but yourself as an individual business owner because commission rates are based solely on sales made from products or services sold via web pages created by affiliates themselves.

If someone has a personal connection with who they want to recruit in their downline, then network marketing may be the best choice for them; otherwise, if they don’t have connections and prefer not having any responsibility other than running their own business online, then affiliate marketing would probably work better.

Of course, deciding to become a network marketer or an affiliate marketer can be a tough decision – so take your time!

Weigh the pros and cons and consider our tips above.

MLM has a terrible reputation and is crawling with scams.

Affiliate Marketing is just a commission ran system.

Sometimes, the product to be promoted in your affiliate marketing may be overhyped or not live up to the features.

It’s similar to having employees paid off of commission without the headache of actually employing people.

On the other hand;

MLM is a Billion dollar industry,

It’s easier to make “sharp sharp” money with affiliate marketing, but with Network marketing you build wealth.

The future of both MLM and the affiliate market is very bright.

It is up to you & what you have interest in.

If you have any contribution, opinion, or question you’d like to ask, just comment below and you will be responded to.

3 thoughts on “Network Marketing vs Affiliate Marketing (Differences, Benefits, Advantages & Disadvantages)”

  1. Hey, nice article about”Affiliate and Network marketing”. I will definitely follow these for my company to give the best possible services to my customers. Keep on adding this type of valuable content again and again. Hope to read more from you. Thank you!

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