Back in the days of dial up internet, there was a multilevel marketing company called Free4Life. This company was basically a reseller of internet access that rewarded its members for referrals. After so many sign ups, you’d get free internet, then after that is when the income began.

Multilevel marketing often gets a bad rap. A lot of people equate all MLM with pyramid schemes which isn’t true of most companies. Then there’s the people who tout the business opportunity over the product itself which can be misleading. I think if you believe in the product, and the payout structure is fair, it’s worth checking out. That’s been my problem with most MLM companies. There was seldom products I was enthused about selling.

Free4Life was different because internet access was something most people had or wanted, and it was a service I would personally use regardless of whether or not I was involved in a program or not. I thought this was a cool idea so I signed up to give it a try. I even recruited a couple of people before I saw the writing on the wall.

Broadband internet was coming down in price and more people were making the switch. Since Free4Life wasn’t forthcoming with communications about wholesale broadband agreements (or maybe such agreements didn’t exist yet back then), I figured it would become much more difficult in the near future to acquire new dial up customers. I like to refer to this type of scenario as shoveling shit against the tide. For every new dial up subscriber you signed up, another one would likely drop for faster broadband.

For once I was right. As far as I can tell, Free4Life hung on until sometime in 2007 when the Wayback Machine stopped getting good snapshots of the site, though it looks like they did try to continue on with the same business model for awhile with a DSL offering too.

Free4Life would state that they were not multilevel marketing because you received your entire commission, but this is a bit of a stretch. While they did say (I think) $10 of each month would go to your upline director, there were bonuses at certain, ahem, levels, so call it what you will. Maybe I misunderstood, maybe not, whatever.

As enthusiastic as I was about this program for the short time I participated, it’s funny to go back and check out the hype and exaggerated claims on the old website. The graphics and website design were oh-so-early-2000’s too.

At this point in my life, I knew enough to ignore the money fanning gifs and pictures of a yacht in crystal clear water. I still wish it was something I could have stuck with, but this one wasn’t my fault. It had a shelf life stamped right on it. I just chose to stop drinking the Kool-Aid before the actual expiration date.

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