‘Poaching’ is a perfect name for crossline recruiting.  It’s defined as …

  • trespassing for the purpose of stealing game
  • taking game or fish illegally
  • shooting, trapping, or taking of game or fish from private property or from a place where such practices are specially reserved or forbidden.

We also like the word ‘raiding’ to describe the practice of …

… contacting any [Company] distributors not personally sponsored, for the purpose of recruiting them into another competitive marketing endeavor.

Here are some examples of poaching that look innocent but occur every day in network marketing.  You sponsor your good friend Alice into your business.  Alice sponsors a mutual friend Betty.  Your cousin Carol is also in the business, but not in your upline or downline.  Carol sponsors Dave, a guy you know at work, and Dave sponsors his brother Ed.  Coincidentally, you and Ed play tennis at the same club!  The genealogy looks like this:

You          Carol
Alice        Dave
Betty         Ed

At coffee, you mention to Betty that you are thinking of starting a second business that she might be interested in.  You are poaching.

At the Bridge Club, Alice tells you about a good deal she heard about and that you should get in right away under her.  Alice is poaching.

Carol bumps into Betty at the bistro and tells her about the new automatic business building tool she is using and tells Betty that they can make some extra money while prospecting.  Carol is poaching.

Between sets, Ed announces that he is leaving the company for something better paying and invites you along.  Ed is poaching.

Even though you are all friends, and may have the purest of motives and the best interests of all at heart, you are all poaching!

All MLM companies will have clauses in their policies and procedures that forbid such activity.  The only person you are allowed to contact is Alice.  Alice may only contact Betty.  Carol may contact Dave, and Dave may contact only Ed.  You can all strategize and help each other grow your primary businesses, but you may not invite anyone you have not personally sponsored to any other competing venture.

Let’s take this a few steps further and picture Betty sponsoring Frank, her friend from high school.  Ed sponsors his Army buddy Gary.  You’ve never met either of them.

You          Carol
Alice         Dave
Betty           Ed
Frank        Gary

Let’s say Frank and Gary join your mailing list or a chat group where you are a member.  You send out an email inviting everyone to take a free test ride of a new system where you can all make an additional dime.  You are poaching.

People are not fish or game and genealogies are not national parks, but they are, in a way, private property.  You would never have had a business contact with Betty or Carol or Dave or Ed if it had not been for Alice or Carol or Dave.  If you contact anyone but Betty, you are trespassing!

The President of a well respected network marketing company recently told us

People should avoid crossline recruiting.  It is the cardinal sin of network marketing.  People get hurt by this unethical behavior.

More companies are taking stands against the practice, using stronger language to get the attention of distributors.  They are now calling it ‘poaching’, ‘looting’ and ‘raiding’, and are suing distributors at an alarming rate.  Read our article Lessons From A Lawsuit.

Here is a disturbingly hiliarious excerpt from the court proceedings against two ex Ionways distributors and their new company, Water Alive. Thanks to Rod Cook of MLM Watchdog for finding this and sharing it. We suggest you read this out loud to get the full effect of the nonsense!


Companies are taking this very seriously, and so should you!  Read your policies and procedures.  If you detect poaching, report it immediately.  You could be saving your company, your team, and the financial future of you and your family.

To read more hard hitting facts about the MLM industry, get this Free MLM Report – Big MLM Lies.

Bob and Anna Bassett
Skype bobbassett