Is The DSA Still Relevant?

Joseph Mariano, DSA, President


The USA Direct Selling Association (DSA) describes its role as the national trade association for companies that offer entrepreneurial opportunities to independent sellers to market and sell products and services, typically outside of a fixed retail establishment.

Lately several CEO's and distributors are having doubts about the DSA added value while consumer watchdogs such as TINA are plain negative.

We asked The Forensic Networker Ramin Mesgarlou who also is the CEO of Global Wealth Trade for his opinion on DSA:

Ramin Mesgarlou:

One after one DSA companies fall to FTC, Vemma being the latest one. Herballife, Amway, ACN and many more are constantly being challenged or taken down by FTC for being an illegal pyramid so DSA needs to be asked this ONE important questions and that is:

“Is DSA Still Relevant? “

We were part of DSA in 2008 and pulled out because quickly I realize they were more of a sales organization than regulatory body or even support body of MLM. Other large members such as Avon and Tupperware also left the DSA membership recently.

Ramin Mesgarlou - CEO Global Wealth Trade

DSA demands a huge annual fee per year/country and what you are supposed to get back is protection just in case you get challenged by the regulators because after all to be part of DSA you must pass all the regulations of a legal MLM company.

Well where was the protection for Vemma? Vemma was a DSA member so what happened?

The point is this, DSA has created a false impression that if you have a DSA membership, you are safe from regulatory interference no matter how you operate. 

In fact they lobby governments and states in Canada and USA and perhaps globally to legislate MLM companies to be part of DSA in order to even get an MLM license.

This false sense of DSA credibility and protection was challenged by regulators in Australia, USA, India and other countries and now completely shattered by FTC with Vemma.

Kevin Thompson, the MLM Attorney was at the annual DSA meeting and wrapped it up as follows:

The DSA has a tough job of balancing the different interests between the member companies. Some want more aggressive change, others want status quo. The DSA has to navigate the competing interests while keeping a sharp eye on regulatory needs.

Joe Mariano really delivered his best speech ever, in my opinion. It was strong. He challenged companies to do better in several categories.

After walking the halls and chatting with a few people, it's clear that MOST companies are getting their houses in order. They're beginning to take income disclosures more seriously and they're all thinking of ways to boost their customer numbers. And some will actually start disclosing the amount of retail sales they're generating.

Kevin Thompson - The MLM AttorneyIt's going to be tough to get the Anti-Pyramid Bill passed. Congress has bigger fish to fry, like keeping their jobs during this next election cycle.

Cybersecurity is growing in importance. At Thompson Burton, we're investing heavily to improve our cybersecurity capabilities. I actually think I got a client for our cybersecurity attorney.

People don't understand big data (myself included). There was a general session meeting about it. It was pointless.

Companies are going to start using technology to better identify customers vs. distributors.

Compliance administration is growing in importance.

The in-house lawyers are no longer the red-headed step children of these companies. They're growing in importance because owners realize that without functional brakes, the car crashes.

DSA President Joseph Mariano Presents Growth Facts and Figures

Truth In Advertising – the organization which was a driving force behind the FTC attack on Vemma stated in a recent article:

DSA Award Winners Are Ethics Code Violators

The Direct Selling Association (DSA) will honor 22 companies at its Awards Gala tonight. Among those being honored are 4Life Research LLC, Nerium International, and Jusuru International Inc.— both 4Life and Nerium are 2016 DSA award w0inners for marketing/sales campaigns, while Jusuru has won a 2016 Rising Star award.

These accolades come despite the fact that all three are currently violating the DSA Code of Ethics, in addition to state and federal laws. These companies were selected by a DSA panel of “industry leaders and outside experts” that either failed to discover or simply ignored numerous inappropriate health and/or income claims being made by these MLM organizations and their distributors.

“Designed to identify and promote programs that serve as examples of direct selling at its best, DSA’s slate of awards recognizes programs that help define direct selling as a business that helps people live better lives,” the DSA states.

However, a investigation into four award winners revealed hundreds of examples of 4Life, Nerium, and Jusuru distributors marketing their products and business opportunities with unsubstantiated disease-treatment claims. Jusuru and Nerium and their distributors are also making inappropriate income claims. The fourth company that investigated, Princess House, was not found to be making illegal health or income claims.

“If the DSA is to have any credibility with the public, the legislature, or the direct selling industry, it needs to put its house in order and start enforcing its own Code of Ethics,” said Executive Director Bonnie Patten, “and work to eradicate the pyramid schemes that can be found within its organization rather than defending them.

It seems DSA President Joseph Mariano has a lot of work to do.

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