American Communications Networks (ACN) is based on telecommunications products that are marketed through multi-level marketing (MLM). The company was recently highlighted by Donald Trump. Some say it is a great home business opportunity that’s changed their lives Others call it an illegal pyramid scheme. Which is it?
I recently attended an overview meeting of the ACN home business opportunity in Wilmington, Delaware. An impressive video was shown and the live presentation was competently done as well. Donald Trump's endorsement was highlighted throughout the conference, although from my investigation it appears he is a figurehead for the company, having no direct membership. There were several glowing testimonials by successful agents. All comments were positive from those present about the company, compensation and MLM configuration. The video phone was presented as “unique” in the marketplace, which I have since found not to be the case.
The company markets a range of telecommunications services. ACN is creating "buzz," with a new video phone and service, which uses voice over internet protocol (VOIP) digital technology.
Robert Stevanovski, Greg Provenzano and Tony and Mike Cupisz (twin brothers) founded ACN in 1992. They opened for business in January 1993 using a direct sales, or network marketing approach. They started by reselling long distance from LCI Communications. They were with this company for five years, until Qwest Communications purchased LCI.
In 1998, ACN was listed in Inc. Magazine as the 22nd in line of the 500 fastest growing privately held companies, with making revenue of a little more than $98 million. They have also been highlighted in Success from Home and USA Today. This year's annual sales volume is reportedly near $500 million.
In 2004, Vonage’s Visiphone was cancelled, leaving Packet8 as the only company with a videophone. That is until ACN’s current product offering in videophones. ACN’s IRIS 3000 Videophone is well designed including a large 7-inch digital screen, a light-adjusting camera sensor, digital photo frame for displaying photos, downloadable ringtones, and built-in videomail. It also supports Uniden cordless phones and provides Internet interface for news, weather, sports, and other online content. regrettably, the ACN and Packet8 videophones do not work together.
In an investigative report Phil Shuman, MyFox 11 Los Angeles, reported on local “controversy surrounding ACN.” He couldn’t get several independent ACN representatives to answer his question about the reason for the company's $499 membership fee. Also, several former representatives claimed that ACN hadn’t met their expectations and that ACN “preys on the weak and desparate, especially in these financial times.” In addition, Robert Fitzpatrick, creator of “False Profits,” stated that ACN may be a “classic pyramid scheme,” based on the "endless chain concept," which induces people to invest or purchase product based on the hope of making money.
Bob Stephens, ACN’s legal counsel, disagreed with Mr. Fitzpatrick’s opinion, offering that ACN follows all law and is a legitimate multi-level marketing company.
For anyone looking for a viable business opportunity, ACN may be a candidate and should certainly be closely examined, especially taking into account Donald Trump's recent endorsement. They appear to have a good product and opportunity, although the product is not unique in its market. As with any business idea or company, this may not be for everyone, and a little research is always wise.
As in any business, an advertising budget and marketing system is crucial for success. Success or failure by any particular individual is not a measure of the validity of ACN or any business opportunity or model. Those choosing to start off their own business, whether it be MLM, franchise, or “niche” startup, should recognize as early as possible what to expect and the have the tools necessary to ensure success.
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Jim Green is an expert online business analyst and assists clients with setting up an effectiveMLM marketing system.
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