9 MLM Affiliate Software to Accelerate Your Growth

Read on to learn more about MLMs and why they’re not scams. Discover how a hybrid setup and the use of MLM affiliate software can help you grow your business and affiliate program.


9 MLM Affiliate Software to Accelerate Your Growth

When you hear the words “multi-level marketing” or MLM, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

MLM or network marketing is commonly associated with scams, but it’s actually not. There are legitimate MLM programs, and then there are pyramid schemes and other related scams.  One of the key distinctions between a legitimate MLM program and a pyramid scheme is that the company will pay you based on your performance, aka the sales you’ve generated, without necessarily taking on new distributors or contractors. The main profit source is the products you and your distributors are selling.

In a pyramid scheme, the scenario may be something like this:

  • You’ll be required to purchase a certain amount of the product
  • The pyramid scheme recruiters will make grand promises about how much you will potentially earn from the venture
  • Your income will ultimately depend on how many people you recruit, not on how many products you sell. It will be a cycle–you will keep on recruiting people; the more people you get on board, the more money (through your recruits’ “investments”) you’ll earn.

How does MLM fit into affiliate marketing?

Some people may end up confusing the two. In the MLM vs affiliate marketing debacle, but they’re complementary–like two sides of the same coin. The thing is, there’s a hybrid set-up that brings the best of both worlds together. Brands can leverage their affiliates to further expand their affiliate network.

But how?

This guide covers some of the best MLM affiliate software you can use to harness the strengths of MLM to grow your program and your business.

The Best MLM Affiliate Software for Brand Growth

Over the years, multi-level marketing has earned a bad rap due to the striking similarity of its structure with pyramid schemes (which are most definitely a scam) because both follow, well, a pyramid-like structure. However, with legitimate MLM programs, a business’s main source of profit is the products it sells to non-distributors. Pyramid schemes, on the other hand, tend to rely on requiring recruits to purchase a certain amount of product at regular intervals.

Within the context of affiliate marketing, MLM still depends largely on the performance of your affiliates. Recruiting other affiliates is just one way for them to boost their earnings or commissions. This means that aside from earning income from their personal sales, your affiliate stands to earn additional commissions from their sub-affiliates. Integrating the best affiliate network software into your MLM strategy will simplify the management of these relationships.

MLM affiliate software lets you tap into the capabilities of affiliate marketing by utilising an MLM model. This means that your affiliates can use an MLM affiliate software, like the ones we’re sharing below, to choose an affiliate marketing plan that works best for them, manage their growing network of sub-affiliates, optimise their campaigns, and calculate multi-level commission.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/multi-level-marketing-mlm/

1.    Trackdesk

Source: https://help.trackdesk.com/en/articles/8544438-multi-level-marketing

Pricing: Free to use, with options for higher tier plans that let you add unlimited affiliates

trackdesk is a robust affiliate tracking software that’s designed to help you effectively start, launch, and manage your affiliate program. Trackdesk lets you scale your affiliate program by adding unlimited affiliate partners, creating customised offers, and more.

Trackdesk also lets you drive your revenue further by incentivising your affiliates to recruit sub-affiliates through its MLM feature, which is available for users with the Business plan and other higher-tier plans. With this feature, your affiliates can recruit their own affiliates or sub-affiliates directly on Trackdesk using their own invite link.

How does this work?

When a sub-affiliate generates a conversion, the direct affiliate gets a set commission from this conversion. The great thing about this MLM affiliate software is that it gives you three ways to track MLM commissions and sub-affiliates:

  • Via the Affiliate list section
  • Via the Reports section
  • Via the Billing section

Source: https://help.trackdesk.com/en/articles/8544438-multi-level-marketing


2.    Tapfiliate

Pricing: Essential plan starts at $74 per month, when billed annually

Tapfiliate is an affiliate tracking software that also offers an MLM feature. With Tapfiliate, you can create unlimited MLM levels and distribute rewards across these levels. Tapfiliate’s MLM feature also gives you three ways to create parent-child relationships among your affiliates:

  • Via a unique recruitment link
  • Through manually setting a sub-affiliate’s parent via the Tapfiliate interface
  • Using the REST API to set parent affiliate

The great thing about this feature is that Tapfiliate doesn’t support brands or parent affiliates that charge sub-affiliates for joining their MLM program. Furthermore, when you use Tapfiliate to build your affiliate program, affiliate rewards are only issued based on conversions and purchases, not on how many sub-affiliates a parent affiliate can recruit.

3.    Freedom

Pricing: Price available on request

ByDesign Technologies’ Freedom MLM software is a complete MLM solution for direct selling, social commerce, referral marketing, affiliate marketing, and, of course, MLM. It provides users with everything they need to set up their program and grow their business, such as:

  • Content publishing
  • Multiple channel eCommerce
  • Salesforce productivity
  • All-in-one dashboard
  • Omni-channel compatibility
  • Promotions engine

Use it to provide a personalised onboarding and recruiting experience to new affiliates and sub-affiliates, generate targeted communications for affiliate retention and engagement, and monitor their performance with the help of 600+ KPIs so you can compensate them properly. It also has a replication functionality, which allows users and their representatives to create their own personalised marketing websites, which helps strengthen branding and build brand awareness.

4.    Epixel MLM Software

Pricing: Prices will depend on factors, such as user capacity and selected features. Epixel does offer flexible pricing plans tailored to suit your unique needs.

Epixel leverages intelligent automation to streamline and grow your MLM affiliate program. It offers customisable compensation plans, commission management features for accuracy and transparency, social selling capabilities, as well as other noteworthy features designed to keep sub-affiliates informed and engaged, such as:

  • Distributor onboarding
  • Distributor training
  • Distributor engagement
  • Team building
  • Sales prospecting
  • Genealogy tree dashboard
  • Automated commission processing
  • Marketing automation

Aside from these features, it also comes with intelligent insights, as well as a secure system to give business owners peace of mind. With this secure MLM system, you can identify and address suspicious activities, monitor financial data, and spot and correct any mistakes.

As an MLM affiliate software, Epixel provides users with the tools they need to streamline their affiliate marketing programs and promotions. Use it to seamlessly integrate your affiliate management with your preferred web platform, monitor your affiliate network, and provide an exceptional shopping experience for customers using your affiliates’ eCommerce websites. Best of all, Epixel is scalable, so you can easily manage affiliate payouts even as your talent pool grows.

5.    Post Affiliate Pro

Pricing: Pro plan starts at $129/month, when billed annually

Post Affiliate Pro is primarily an affiliate software, but it does offer MLM-focused features, particularly when it comes to commission options and identifying top affiliates. Post Affiliate Pro offers multi-tier commissions that let you set up to 100 tier commissions. This way, you can pay parent or direct affiliates based on their sub-affiliates' performance. This multi-level commission structure benefits brands and affiliates in several ways:

  • Encourages parent affiliates to onboard sub-affiliates
  • Drive them to further expand their reach to generate more conversions
  • With more conversions, affiliates from all levels can potentially earn more

6.    DirectScale

Pricing: Starter plan starts at $2,500 (minimum monthly licensing fee)

DirectScale offers cloud-based and customisable MLM solutions for businesses. It offers complete control over your MLM-affiliate program by allowing you to create personalised Web Office experiences for parent affiliates and sub-affiliates. Through this feature, you can create custom announcements, develop custom assets, such as landing pages and login pages, that reflect your branding, and communicate with affiliates on all levels. You can also configure the available modules so that you can provide affiliates with the resources they need to succeed.

7.    Infinite MLM

Pricing: Basic MLM software starts at $999 (flat rate)

Infinite MLM is an MLM software that enables users to grow their direct selling business through features like robust security, easy-to-use dashboard, multi-user/role management, and commission management. It can integrate with eCommerce platforms so users can effectively manage their offerings while allowing affiliates to bolster online promotion. Infinite MLM also provides you with the tools you need to scale your MLM-affiliate program. These include:

  • Data-driven reports
  • User-friendly genealogy tree
  • Comprehensive ticket system
  • Internal shopping carts
  • Advanced settings that let you upgrade this software, so your program remains relevant and competitive

8.    MarketPowerPRO MLM Software

Pricing: Starts at $499/month

If you want better control over your MLM affiliate program, then this MLM affiliate software is definitely worth considering. MarketPowerPRO is a scalable solution that makes it easier for users to recruit and retain their sub-affiliates. The company behind MarketPowerPRO has been around for three decades, and they’ve put their years of experience in direct selling, MLM, and network marketing to create a powerful MLM software that’s capable of:

  • Providing replicated distributor/sub-affiliate sales
  • Supporting different types of MLM compensation plans
  • Offering affiliates and sub-affiliates with the resources they need to maximise their individual potential
  • Robust compensation processing, which is done natively via the MarketPowerPRO platform

With MarketPowerPro, you also get the following tools:

  • Website management tools, which allow you to build your own website
  • Real-time genealogy so you know who the parent affiliates and sub-affiliates are
  • Comprehensive user management system that lets you manage all users from a central cloud-based system
  • Commission histories for all affiliates and sub-affiliates

9.    Scaleo MLM Software

Pricing: For brands and operators, plans start at $1,400 per month (monthly billing), while for affiliate networks, monthly plans start at $500

Scaleo is a powerful and easy-to-use partner marketing software that allows users to analyse their affiliates’ performance and make better data-driven decisions. As an MLM affiliate software, Scaleo offers a fully managed solution that’s designed to help brands optimise their affiliate program and campaigns in real time. It harnesses the capabilities of AI technology to help users:

  • Find the optimal time to convert campaigns
  • Optimise traffic sources
  • Manage and track parent affiliate and sub-affiliate performance
  • Access automatic billing to streamline commissions

Plus, you can integrate it with third-party solutions so you can further expand your program’s capabilities. Lastly, it’s a scalable solution that grows as your business grows. It’s also easy to set up and doesn’t require transaction costs from its users. Instead, Scaleo offers different pricing plans based on factors like the number of affiliates, clicks, and conversions.

MLM vs. Affiliate Marketing

MLM alone isn’t really a viable, long-term business model.

When encountering MLM programs that sound too good to be true, it’s best to exercise caution. Building a healthy business and affiliate program requires some effort before you can see the results. Incorporating MLM into your affiliate program can accelerate the onboarding process, as well as boost  affiliate motivation and engagement.

Let’s take a closer look at what sets MLM and affiliate marketing apart and how you can leverage a hybrid set-up (multi-tier affiliate marketing) to take your business to new heights. 

Differences Between MLM and Affiliate Marketing

1.    Structure

MLMs follow a pyramid-like structure, wherein affiliates recruit sub-affiliates to earn bigger commissions. Their sub-affiliates can also recruit their own sub-affiliates, and when the latter drives conversions and sales, the former, along with their direct affiliates, can earn a commission. Meanwhile, affiliate marketing relies on direct sales, with affiliates promoting a product or service for them to earn a commission with each sale.

2.    Focus

Affiliate marketing’s focus is to promote a brand’s product or service to drive conversions and sales, which translates to commissions for affiliates. Meanwhile, unhealthy or scam-like MLM tends to focus on growing the affiliate’s sub-affiliate pool to increase their chances of earning a decent commission.

3.    Compensation Structures

Affiliate marketing compensation structures are pretty straightforward, with structures and rates ranging anywhere between 5% and 30%. Depending on your business model, you can follow any of these commission models: performance-based, flat fee, or tiered.

MLMs typically have an almost similar reward structure, except that it involves multiple levels. When a sub-affiliate makes a sale, the parent affiliate will get a portion of the proceeds. The same thing happens when a sub-affiliate recruits other sub-affiliates. The direct sub-affiliates get a slice of the pie, giving rise to multi-level commission structures.

4.    Risk Levels

For affiliate partners, affiliate marketing has a relatively low barrier to entry and doesn’t come with a lot of risks. Meanwhile, MLMs, because of their complex structure, are more prone to potential risks, such as:

  • Challenges in making a sizeable profit, given that they need to recruit more sub-affiliates to drive even more conversions and sales
  • Difficulty in finding new customers, and this is despite having a larger network brought about by their larger pool of sub-affiliates
  • MLMs have a muddied reputation, which may make it difficult for affiliates in legitimate MLM programs to recruit sub-affiliates

5.    Transparency

Affiliate marketing is pretty straightforward and isn’t as complex as MLMs, which helps promote transparency. With MLMs, again, because of their complex structure, achieving transparency may seem like a challenge. Affiliates may face unexpected costs, and because they’re often associated with get-rich-quick schemes, MLMs have a tendency to attract all sorts of people, even those who aren’t skilled in promoting your brand and your offerings. The good news is that you can promote transparency, even if you’re running a hybrid affiliate-MLM program. With features like direct linking, server-to-server tracking, and real-time analytics, you can monitor sales and recruitment more effectively to promote enhanced transparency.

What MLM Is and Isn’t

Let’s start this off by reiterating the fact that MLMs aren’t a scam. Pyramid schemes are. An MLM program is a great way for brands to uncover new growth opportunities, such as by expanding their affiliate pool and motivating their affiliates to share their business with their respective audiences, offering greater flexibility to their affiliates, and potentially earning a sizeable income. The thing with MLMs is that it can take some time before you see actual results.

How MLM Elevates Affiliate Marketing

If you’re looking to grow your business, then it’s worth considering incorporating MLM into your affiliate program. Through this hybrid setup, you’re allowing your affiliates to earn not just direct commissions from sales but also from the sales made by their sub-affiliates. And this model can go on for an indefinite number of levels.

This hybrid set-up, which is called multi-tier affiliate marketing, offers a huge potential to marketers for several reasons:

  • Your affiliates (and their sub-affiliates) don’t need to stock physical products, and there’s no need for them to pay an initial fee to join your program.
  • Affiliates have the chance to earn decent commissions from their recruits’ sales, provided that both parties put in the effort to promote your brand to their respective audiences.
  • The focus remains on generating sales for affiliates and sub-affiliates to earn performance-based bonuses instead of just recruiting a huge number of people who won’t guarantee good results
  • You can use an MLM affiliate software like Trackdesk to stay on top of the activities and performance of your affiliates and their sub-affiliates, which helps promote transparency.

Red Flags: Signs to Look Out for to Protect Your Business from Unscrupulous MLM Tactics

While there are legitimate programs, there’s sometimes a thin line that separates a legitimate MLM program from a pyramid scheme. Here are some warning signs to look out for so that you can protect your business and affiliates:

  • A legitimate affiliate marketing program that uses some principles of MLM will never ask you to purchase “welcome packages” just so you can join their network. If you’re required to pay an upfront fee, chances are you’re about to walk into a scam.
  • If a business doesn’t have any products to show, or if they do have products but these are of subpar quality, then it’s highly likely that their main focus is on recruitment to grow their profits, which is a major red flag. With legitimate MLM and affiliate programs, you typically have a high-quality product or service to promote or sell.
  • Don’t fall for obnoxious claims. Both legitimate MLM and affiliate programs aren’t get-rich-quick schemes. However, many people are roped into scams, thinking that they’ll earn a significant amount in a snap. Keep in mind that building a relationship with potential customers, creating effective campaigns, and optimising your program—whether it’s an MLM, affiliate program, or a mix of both—takes some time.
  • If a business pressures you to buy its products so that you can have something you can peddle to your sub-affiliates, chances are that it’s a scam. Legitimate entities won’t force you to purchase their products, so you can force your sub-affiliates to purchase them. In some cases, brands will even send you a sample so that you can try their products or services and give your honest take.
  • Poor communication can be a red flag. If you’re asking the right questions and are not getting the answers you need, it may be best to walk away from certain programs.

Leveraging MLM Best Practices to Grow Your Affiliate Program

How can affiliate programs make the most of MLM principles and practices to achieve growth? We’re sharing some actionable tips to help you uncover the best of both worlds:

  • Emphasise moral growth: MLMs are often associated with pyramid schemes because some programs tend to focus on recruitment. To set your hybrid program apart, you must put an emphasis on sales, not recruitment. This way, all affiliates, regardless of the level they’re in, can focus on promoting your brand without any mandatory recruitment to grow sales and conversions.
  • Develop a tiered reward system: A tiered commission structure allows direct affiliates to earn a commission every time their sub-affiliates generate conversions. This encourages both affiliate levels to focus on sales instead of recruitment to drive profit.
  • Focus on the quality of your offerings and campaigns: One of the most important MLM best practices to keep in mind is to not lose focus on creating high-quality offerings and campaigns. By having these assets, your affiliates are in a much better position to promote your products or services instead of focusing on recruiting more people just so they can potentially earn more. Furthermore, these allow you to focus on the quality of your affiliates and not the quantity, which is one of the core principles of affiliate marketing.
  • Use a reliable tracking solution to maintain transparency: A reliable tracking solution allows you to closely monitor affiliate activity while also providing you with the means to protect your brand from bad actors or fraudulent activities, which can harm your reputation. Plus, it can promote transparency, which, in turn, enhances your affiliates’ trust.

Final Thoughts

MLM is often viewed as a scam when it’s actually not. Moreover, when applied to affiliate marketing to create a hybrid model, it can actually elevate your affiliate marketing program. By removing the limitations of MLM and leveraging the strengths of affiliate marketing, you can create a new affiliate program that expands your talent pool, allows affiliates and their sub-affiliates to focus on sales rather than recruitment, and puts your brand in front of more potential customers.

trackdesk is a feature-rich platform that has a capable MLM feature. Through this, you can monitor unlimited affiliates, implement multiple commission models including multi-level commission structures), and create more effective and reliable MLM campaigns through reliable tracking and real-time analytics. See how Trackdesk can supercharge your multi-level affiliate program.

Geri Mileva

I have a passion for storytelling. I believe that a good story delivers value while capturing, influencing, and sustaining its intended audience. This has always been, and always will be, my primary aim as a writer.

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