ACN Review: By ExpertMLMReview
ACN is a 15+ year old MLM company based out of Farmington Hills, Michigan. They started out in 1993 as a competitor to Excel selling long distance. Today they operate in 20 countries with a variety of products including cell phone service, home security, satellite TV, internet and of course long distance. All this sounds good but let’s take a look to see if ACN INC. is really a legit network marketing opportunity. Is there an ACN scam…our full review will decide.
We start every review with the product because that is the easiest place to spot a scam.
All of the services that ACN markets are in industries that are very competitive (almost commodity like) and in some cases cut throat. This is good news from a legality standpoint because it is pretty much impossible for ACN to markup their products beyond a true market value, if they did so nobody would buy. No matter how close you are to your family, they are not going to increase their DSL, cell phone or satellite TV bills just to give you their business. So yes ACN INC. is selling products of true value at competitive prices which means that they have passed the most important legality test.
Let’s take a closer look at the specific products/services that ACN offers…
Digital phone services – This is an area where ACN is trying to be an innovator with their VoIP products that include video phones. Of course they also offer traditional VoIP phones product as well, but competition is pretty tight in this area when you look at how much Vonage and other companies spends on mass advertising.
Traditional Long distance – this is where ACN started over 15 years ago but with the traditional telecom industry toward the latter end of a slow death this is simply an area where they are continuing to offer service more out of obligation than true profit potential. There is very little markup in traditional telecom but as it is not completely gone they must continue to offer service.
High speed internet – ACN is able to offer DSL services through the Verizon, Qwest and Covad networks. Like all DSL providers, this means that service is not available in all areas so this is more of bonus for distributors that do fall in the right locations.
Cell phone services – ACN is a reseller of cellular service from all the major carriers is the US. Nothing special here, plenty of other companies are also resellers but as a product add on it is good to be able to offer cellular service.
Satellite TV – Once again ACN is simply a reseller, in this case working with both major satellite companies, Dish Network and Direct TV.
Home Security – another situation where ACN is a reseller, in this case for ADT, which is probably the leading company in the home security industry.
Some background on ACN Inc.
Started in 1992 by Greg Provenzano and Tony and Mike Cupisz (twin brothers), ACN INC. grew to the 22nd fastest growing companies as listed by INC. Magazine in 1998. The company is based out of Farmington Hills, is a member of the DSA (http://www.dsa.org/forms/CompanyFormPublicMembers/view?id=7F3000009FD) and has been featured in numerous publications including Success from Home and USA Today.
A source of much publicity for ACN is their endorsement deal with Donald Trump, who is prominently featured and referenced in its marketing materials. This is certainly a positive for ACN reps to have this type of credibility and recognition to pull from.
Like most companies, ACN has not grown without a few bumps in the road…
In 2002, Canada’s Competition Bureau (which has never been friendly to MLM) charged them with violations of deceptive marketing and operating as an illegal pyramid, but the charges did not survive the preliminary hearing.
In 2005, Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) brought charges and ruled that ACN INC. was operating as an illegal pyramid, but the ruling was quickly overturned 5 months later and the high court of Australia refused to hear the ACCC’s appeal. So in both Canada and Australia ACN has withstood some serious heat and came out the other side vindicated, but not without some bad publicity bruises.
ACN Compensation Plan:
The reality of ACN’s product line is that there is not much markup which means that more volume is required to build significant residual income, this is a large reason why they offers such a wide range of products in an effort to maximize the volume on a per customer basis. There is a big difference between 1000 customers using one product versus 1000 customers using 3 products, and because ACN’s products are essentially commodities that everyone uses they stand to do well by offering complimentary communications products.
For example: Juice company XYZ selling a case of juice at $100 a month is going to have much more profit (I’d guess around 40%) to play with on a per dollar basis in a compensation plan than ACN INC. does with their variety of services which may only have a few percent up to maybe 8% or so on a high end to work with, but if an ACN customer is actually using 3-4 products every month they will be getting that lower profit on a higher per customer volume. Please understand that these percentages might be off because they are an off the cuff guess but the concept of what I’m saying is very true.
As far as the details of the ACN compensation plan goes it is a fairly simple deal. Distributors must be qualified by maintaining a certain number of customers per their rank and in doing so can qualify to earn residuals on consumer usage through their organization as well as customer acquisition bonuses on the growth of their team. I’m not here to say that ACN as a good or bad comp plan, this could be debated till the cows come home but it is most certainly legal and fair and has held up in court on multiple occasions.
In our experience most legal compensation plans pay out about the same about of money on a per dollar basis, it’s just disguised a little differently in each plan. The ACN comp plan will work for you if you work it.
Industry & Competition
The nice upside of the lower profit on higher volume model that ACN INC. uses is that their products are not really considered to be luxuries or “extras”, most people are going to pay some type of internet, phone and TV bill every month for the rest of their life so the “stick-ability” or residual nature of an established ACN business should be very good compared to nutritional products that are often seen as non-essentials when times get tough. The demand for communications technologies is only getting greater so ACN has plenty of growth potential.
While ACN INC. started off in the telecom industry which has essentially been squeezed out by VoIP technology, they have done a good job changing with the times by offering newer communication services. It is hard to make a name for yourself by being a follower though which is why ACN is going for innovation with their video phone technology.
There is some MLM competition with 5linx (http://www.5linx.com) and Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (http://www.fhtm.ne) being the main foes as I see it now, but with an industry this big there is plenty of room for more than one company so competition would not be much of a concern for us.
So is there an ACN scam? NO. The verdict is very simple: ACN INC. is most certainly a legal network marketing company and by all accounts we can see, it looks to be solid. Not very many companies make it 15 + years and the fact that they are operating in 20 countries and have stood up to lawsuits by Canada and Australia mean they are no fly by night operation.
Only you can determine if ACN is a good fit? Our only recommendation is to go in with your eyes wide open. Don’t make a snap emotional decision because you got excited at an opportunity meeting. Be sure your sponsor will be as committed as you are or don’t sign up. Give it a year of commitment or don’t give it a day. If you are just getting in ACN to “see what happens”, I can promise you not much will!
Yours in Success,