List of Defunct, Shut Down, & Out of Business MLM Companies

This article will provide a list of defunct MLM Companies, shut down MLM Companies, and out of business MLM Companies. Keep in mind, this is not an extensive list. Hundreds, maybe even thousands of network marketing companies have closed their doors during the past 60+ years. I will focus on the ones I know about. If I’m missing a company from this list, feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

Exploring the rise and fall of network marketing companies unveils a spectrum of entrepreneurial ventures that thrived for a time, only to meet their demise. This examination into the top defunct MLM Companies not only highlights the dynamic landscape of direct selling but also underscores the challenges and controversies that led to their closures.

Each of these companies once promised unparalleled opportunities for financial success and personal growth, yet their narratives ultimately reveal the intricacies and vulnerabilities within the MLM industry. From legal battles over alleged pyramid schemes to internal mismanagement and shifts in consumer trends, the stories of these defunct MLM giants offer valuable lessons about the perils of unsustainable business models and the importance of ethical practices in the world of direct selling.

Delving into their rise, reign, and eventual downfall sheds light on the complex interplay of ambition, regulation, and market dynamics that define the MLM landscape.

defunct mlm companies

List of Defunct MLM Companies

In the paragraphs below, I will provide a detailed list of defunct MLM Companies. Included in the list are MLM Companies that were shut down by the government or closed because of mismanagement. I will share whatever information I can find about each company. I’ve listed them in alphabetical order to keep things simple.

# 1: 2Xtreme Performance International

This Dallas based MLM Company sold nutritional supplements, but it seems there was a larger push to gain distributors. New prospects were told that they did not have to purchase products and there were no quotas to attain downline reps. The “fine print” stated something different.

After paying anywhere from $600-$1,300 dollars for a kit, the only way an independent representative could earn any commissions was to purchase at least $100 worth of products monthly and sign up at least two new distributors. The FTC didn’t look at this kindly. 2Extreme was considered a pyramid scheme and was shut down.

# 3: BurnLounge

BurnLounge was an online music retail platform launched in 2005, allowing users to set up their digital music stores and earn money by selling music and recruiting others into the system. The company operated on a multi-level marketing model, where participants could generate income not only through their music sales but also by recruiting additional sellers into the program.

BurnLounge’s business structure raised concerns and legal scrutiny regarding its resemblance to a pyramid scheme, prompting investigations by regulatory authorities. In 2007, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intervened, alleging that BurnLounge primarily profited from recruitment fees rather than actual product sales, deeming it an illegal pyramid scheme.

Consequently, the company faced legal challenges and in 2007, BurnLounge was ordered to shut down its operations by the FTC due to its deceptive practices and violation of pyramid scheme laws. This closure marked the end of BurnLounge’s venture within the digital music retail space.

# 4: Excel Communications

Excel Communications was a telecommunications company founded in 1988, specializing in long-distance phone services and network marketing. Recognized for its innovative approach in offering competitive rates and services in the telecommunications industry, Excel gained a substantial following through its network of independent representatives.

However, the company faced financial challenges and controversies related to its marketing strategies and business practices. Amidst mounting debts and legal issues, Excel Communications filed for bankruptcy in 2004. This marked the end of Excel’s operations in the telecommunications sector, leaving a legacy of both pioneering achievements in its industry and cautionary lessons about the complexities of managing a network marketing enterprise in a competitive market.

# 5: Equinox International

Equinox International was a prominent multi-level marketing (MLM) company established in the 1990s, offering a range of household and personal care products through a network of distributors. The company gained significant traction through its aggressive marketing strategies and motivational seminars, attracting individuals eager to build their businesses through direct selling.

However, Equinox International faced extensive legal scrutiny and allegations of operating as a pyramid scheme, prompting investigations by regulatory bodies. Amidst mounting legal challenges and settlements related to deceptive practices, the company ceased its operations in 2001.

The closure of Equinox International marked the end of its chapter in the MLM industry, underscoring the implications of regulatory compliance and ethical standards in the direct selling arena.

# 6: Five Star Auto Club

The idea was that you could have your “dream car,” and make money in the process. The system worked where you paid a yearly fee and approximately $100 per month. You would get the car and you had to bring other people into the fold to get their cars. The more you had, the more money you made, but when the Federal Trade Commission looked at this, it was shut down as a pyramid scam immediately. The operators are not allowed to play the MLM game for life now. Take a look at the case here.

# 7: Free Life International

Freelife International was a health and wellness-focused multi-level marketing (MLM) company renowned for its dietary supplements and wellness products. Founded in 1995, it gained popularity through its flagship product, Himalayan Goji Juice, derived from goji berries.

The company thrived for several years, expanding its product line and establishing a network of independent distributors. However, amidst changing market trends and increased competition within the health and wellness industry, Freelife International faced challenges in maintaining its market position. From what I could find online, the company either merged with or was bought out by Youngevity.

# 8: Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing

Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM) was a multi-level marketing company that gained prominence in the mid-2000s for its diverse range of products and services, including telecommunications, energy, and wellness offerings. FHTM operated through a network marketing model, allowing independent representatives to sell products and recruit others into the business structure.

While initially successful and expanding rapidly, FHTM faced significant legal challenges and regulatory scrutiny in various states in the United States. Allegations arose that the company operated as a pyramid scheme, primarily profiting from recruiting fees rather than actual product sales.

This led to investigations, lawsuits, and ultimately, in 2013, FHTM was ordered by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to shut down its operations, marking the end of its presence in the MLM industry amidst allegations of deceptive practices.

before you join a mlm company

# 9: Holiday Magic

Way back in 1964, William Penn Patrick was strolling in San Rafael, California and smelled a delicious scent coming from a garage. He examined the odor and discovered it was a cosmetics business that was selling out. Patrick bought it all and started a MLM called Holiday Magic.

Holiday Magic used dirty tactics and was even sued by Avon. They made much of their money charging outlandish fees for training conferences. After much controversy about fraud and Ponzi like formats, Holiday Magic was shut down in 1974 soon after Patrick died in a plane crash.

# 10: Metabolife

Michael Ellis was a former police officer and was also on probation for being involved in manufacturing methamphetamine. One of the primary ingredients in meth has been ephedrine, and Michael found a way to sell ephedrine legally for the time being. Using the weight loss approach, all the Metabolife products were ephedrine based. Because of adverse medical effects and the banning of ephedrine sales in many U.S. States, Metabolife was no more in 2006.

# 11: MonaVie

MonaVie was a notable health and wellness company renowned for its flagship product, a blend of fruit juices featuring the açai berry, marketed for its antioxidant properties and health benefits. Founded in 2005, MonaVie quickly gained traction within the multi-level marketing (MLM) industry, building a substantial network of independent distributors globally.

The company’s success was fueled by its innovative product line and compelling marketing strategies, particularly emphasizing the açai berry’s potential health advantages. However, despite its rapid growth and initial popularity, MonaVie faced challenges, including lawsuits and controversies regarding its business practices and product claims.

In 2015, the company filed for bankruptcy, signifying the end of MonaVie’s era in the MLM landscape and marking a cautionary tale about the complexities and pitfalls of navigating the competitive health supplement market.

# 12: PrimeBuy Network

The owners of PrimeBuy Network were Charles Michel and Charles Culver. They founded this online MLM in 1999. The idea was to create websites for independent representatives to sell wholesale products that PrimeBuy put their name on. All in all, PrimeBuy was making more money having people pay to join than they were selling products. There were complaints filed that this was a pyramid scheme and in 2001, everything was shut down.

# 13: Skinny Body Care

Skinny Body Care was a wellness and network marketing company that offered a range of health and wellness products, coupled with a business opportunity for individuals seeking to earn income through direct selling. The company, founded in 2011, gained attention for its focus on weight management supplements and skincare items, cultivating a community of distributors passionate about health and entrepreneurship.

However, just seven or eight years later, Skinny Body Care made the difficult announcement of its closure, marking the end of its operations. This decision came as a surprise to many within its network, impacting the dedicated members and affiliates who had actively participated in its programs and relied on the company for their entrepreneurial pursuits and health-related products.

# 14: United Sciences of America

In the early and mid 1980’s, United Sciences of America was a growing MLM Company started by Robert Adler II. The company was endorsed by some top names including William Shatner and sport’s stars Chris Evert and Gary Carter. USA manufactured and sold nutritional supplements, but their downfall was claiming these supplements could cure diseases. NBC confronted the MLM and soon lawsuits came. They were bankrupt in 1987.

# 15: WakeUpNow

Wake Up Now was a multi-level marketing company founded in 2009, offering a range of products and services focused on financial wellness, personal development, and discounts on everyday purchases. It gained attention for its software solutions aiding in money management, travel discounts, and a marketplace for various consumer goods.

However, despite initial success and rapid growth, Wake Up Now faced internal challenges and financial difficulties. Reports of internal strife, declining revenue, and increased scrutiny over its business model raised concerns about its sustainability.

In 2015, Wake Up Now announced its closure, which came amidst declining sales, legal issues, and mounting debts. This decision left its network of independent distributors and customers seeking alternative avenues, marking the end of Wake Up Now’s presence in the direct selling industry.

# 16: ViaViente

Viaviente was a health and wellness company that gained attention in the mid-2000s for its flagship product, a nutritional supplement containing various ingredients, including a blend of antioxidants derived from fruits and botanicals. Marketed as a drink aimed at promoting overall health and vitality, Viaviente garnered a following through a network marketing business model, offering individuals an opportunity to distribute and sell its product while earning commissions.

However, Viaviente faced challenges and controversies within the competitive health supplement market and the MLM industry. Despite its initial traction, the company soon went out of business.

# 17: Xango

Xango was a prominent health and wellness company founded in 2002, acclaimed for its flagship product, a nutritional supplement derived from mangosteen fruit. Utilizing a multi-level marketing (MLM) business model, Xango rapidly gained popularity, amassing a dedicated network of independent distributors who promoted its mangosteen-based products for their antioxidant properties and potential health benefits.

The company experienced significant growth, expanding its product line to include various dietary supplements and skincare items. Despite its initial success and global reach, Xango faced challenges in a competitive market, including regulatory scrutiny and shifts in consumer preferences.

mlm company closed down

Additional Insights

As I mentioned earlier in this post, this is not a comprehensive list of defunct MLM Companies. I’d bet more than 1,000 network marketing companies have closed their doors during the past 50+ years. It’s impossible to keep up with them.

Failure with network marketing companies is no different than failure with traditional businesses. Most businesses in every sector eventually fail. Few stand the test of time.

Before joining a network marketing company, you must do your due diligence. Research the company, its owners, product line, funding, etc. Find out the good and bad. Learn everything you can about it. Is money made just on recruiting or is there a legitimate product involved? Does it pass the common sense test?

While there are no guarantees of the future, you can minimize your chances of picking the wrong company by doing your homework first.

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Final Thoughts

Exploring the journey of defunct MLM Companies unveils a tapestry of successes, controversies, and cautionary tales within the direct selling industry. Each company’s rise and fall serve as a testament to the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship, market forces, and regulatory landscapes.

From the allure of promising products to the ethical dilemmas surrounding business models, these companies reflect the complexities and challenges faced by organizations navigating the MLM arena. The story of each defunct MLM company not only underscores the importance of adaptability and compliance but also highlights the enduring lessons crucial for the sustainable growth and ethical practices necessary for any business endeavor in the ever-evolving world of direct selling.

Ultimately, their legacies serve as valuable guideposts, illuminating the pitfalls to avoid and the imperative of integrity and resilience in the pursuit of success within this unique business realm.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:
  1. What to Do When Your MLM Company Shuts Down
  2. Life After MLM
  3. Reasons to do Network Marketing
  4. Mark Yarnell, the MLM Legend
  5. How to Earn Six Figures in MLM
chuck holmes






Sincerely,

Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

P.S. Level up your life today! FREE resources to help you improve your health, finances, business, and relationships. I'll even give you FREE leads and a free business plan template. Learn more.

8 thoughts on “List of Defunct, Shut Down, & Out of Business MLM Companies”

  1. Silpada used to be one of my favorite MLM companies – their jewelry was a little overpriced, but so beautiful. My Silpada sales rep was crushed when the company ‘closed’ (or just terminated their relationship with their independent consultants), but apparently you can still get their stuff online; and not just the old stuff, but new products. Their prices seem to be more reasonable now, probably because they cut out the middle-men, but haven’t bought any of their products because nothing replaces the experience of getting to see things in ‘person’ before you buy. So sad.

  2. My dear grandaugther is deeply involved in a newer MLM company selling energy and weight loss powder that is placed in water to drink. Their are no testimonials. She is in 3rd year of Pharmacy school and works, her time is so precious, yet she continues to pursue success in this business. It is almost as though she is brainwashed. I can’t even envision attempting to convince people to buy this product, especially in this day and age, when people are more concerned than ever about what they eat and drink, not to mention the high cost. Her parents are supporting her 100 per cent. Any thoughts or comments

    1. While we might disagree, I believe the skills we learn in this industry while building our business are very beneficial to success in life. Your granddaughter will learn about sales, marketing, leadership, communication and small business, which will help make her a better pharmacist. She might even do well with the business. The business is definitely not for everyone, but plenty of people in our industry do very, very well. If she has her parents support, that is great.

    2. Hi Dale,

      I’m TC from Penang Malaysia. I has more than 10 years experienced as software engineer and now I’m in network marketing business. I have a friend with 10 years experienced as medical doctor and now he is in network marketing business with me. My upline had 7 branches of pharmacy outlet before venturing into this network marketing business.

      Network marketing business is not for everyone, but anyone can have their success in this business.

  3. My company recently went into dormancy in Asia citing global strategic plan as reason. I am very upset and dissappointed with them. My 20 years of hard work went down the drain. If I will to start all over again, can you recommend some sound companies now in Asia. Is there any in cryto, educational training or investments.

  4. This was really interesting reading Greg. I appreciate your candidness and honesty! I have been offered to join several of the companies you mentioned but they never felt right to me. Thanks for the information!

    1. You are very welcome. I am glad you did not get trapped with any of these companies. I am hoping this post greatly helps people research before jumping into any opportunity. This does not just mean network marketing, it can mean everything. There are scammers in many different things. But, if we do our research, we can protect ourselves, and if you do get caught in one, we cannot say they are all that way.

      Thanks for the comment.

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