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College football remains America’s biggest multi-level marketing scheme

College football is a competition whose framework does its best to deny outsiders like Cincinnati the opportunity to win, even if they finish the season undefeated

About 30 minutes into episode two of the Amazon Original series LuLaRichthe latest addition to a growing catalog of popular documentaries and exposes exploring the compellingly kooky, if ethically dubious, world of multi-level marketing – viewers are finally clued into the unsettling logic at the center of this most American of business models. In the world of MLMs, success has very little to do with selling products (in this case colorful leggings produced by a California-based company called LuLaRoe), and everything to do with selling a promise. One that, by design, must go mostly unkept.

“There was always a huge push to recruit, recruit, recruit,” relates Courtney Harwood, one of a handful of affable former LuLaRoe retailers who provide the narrative heart of the series, referring to multi-level marketing’s characteristic focus on enlisting new members over simply selling product to a third party. “Buy, buy, buy. Recruit, recruit, recruit,” she adds “you will get there.”

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