A pyramid may look somewhat like a multi-level marketing (MLM) business, but it's really very different. A pyramid focuses on selling memberships while a true multi-level marketing business focuses on selling products and increasing sales and income by increasing (though not selling) memberships. Amway is an example of a multi-level marketing business and not a pyramid.
In the early days multi-level marketing was sometimes referred to as a pyramid.
However, in those days unethical entrepreneurs became involved who chose to operate illegally and the MLM industry gained a bad name through association.
Today, there are still unethical entrepreneurs taking advantage of their association with legitimate businesses. The FTC regards them as pyramids and not legitimate MLMs. Amway is the most highly respected MLM in business. Its Rules of Conduct and Code of Ethics, which help guard against unscrupulous people, are a standard for the industry. Amway and the IBOAI work diligently to educate and protect IBOs and their downline from unethical schemes.
After lengthy study, the FTC regards Amway as an MLM business, not a pyramid.
On the contrary, an MLM is a business model that multiplies the earning potential of individual entrepreneurs by encouraging them to sponsor additional individuals under them, all who sell products to consumers and by no means is a pyramid scheme.