Update on Exponent Trading. Can Network Marketing Work with eBay?

Shortly after eBay Live this year in June, I told my readers about a network marketing opportunity called Exponent Trading
I don’t know much about network marketing and have never been part of one, but I know the concept has both fans and critics. I have looked at a few network marketing opportunities before, but the concept never really attracted me. Although I have known several people who have done very well with it.
When I looked at Exponent, what first appealed to me were two things: 1) They would help bring new sellers on to eBay and provide them with training and selling tools, and 2) unlike most network marketing schemes this one allowed people to make money actually selling things rather than having to buy things (vitamins, cosmetics, housewares, etc.).  It appeared that you could earn some good money by helping other people make money selling on eBay.
So although I was a bit reticent, I signed up. I wrote a short article in my newsletter, emailed a few fellow eBay trainers and authors and suggested folks take a look at it and decide for themselves.
Well that was in June and it is now late September. If you are a regular reader you may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned it again.
In truth, I didn’t spend that much time with it, but what little I did revealed some concerns that made me back away.
The centerpiece of the their system is their eBay listing and commission tracking tool.  When I tried to use it I found it to be clugy, way to basic and prone to errors that could earn me negative feedback on eBay.  I kept hearing promises to fix and improve it but never saw any action.
The other issue was the training. I participated in a couple of calls and listened to a few more and the focus was clearly on recruiting and not enough focus on making the system work and actually helping people sell on eBay.
If you want more details, James Jones just posted an excellent and more detailed overview of the issues and problems with Exponent on his blog at http://www.whatreallysellsblog.com/.  Whether you joined or not, or were thinking of joining, you should read the post as it is very instructive.
I am sure network marketing will live on and will continue to have both its fans and critics, and Exponent will either wilt or prosper, but in either case they will be doing it without me.  This was a valuable lesson for me and should be a valuable lesson to anyone:  Stick to what you know and do best.  It is OK to experiment with new things, but make sure you don’t lose focus or your real goals  –and oh yes – a little skepticism doesn’t hurt.
I still would like to make money recruiting other people to buy and sell on eBay, but I think I will stick with the eBay Affiliate Program. My monthly checks aren’t that large, but they are steady and promoting it hasn’t threatened my credibility which took a hit when I tried dabbling with something I didn’t really know anything about.

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