ACN is another one of those direct selling companies that is centered around selling a saturated membership that supposedly makes you money by selling other people’s expensive product kits.
It is promoted by it distributor in the hopes that they can recruit and make money off your sales. They want you to join so you can help make them more money.
In this ACN review, we provide you with thoroughly researched information and testimonials that are available online to anyone in the public. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
Before I start…
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The ACN Review
What Is ACN?
In 1993, in Concord, North Carolina, ACN (American Communications Network) was started by a group of young entrepreneurs who had multiple combined years of experience in direct sales. It was started by Tony Cupisz, Mike Cupisz, Greg Provenzano, and Robert Stevanovski.
They decided to start their own MLM (Multi-level Marketing Company) company due to their own training dissatisfaction (mainly trial and error) with other companies. ACN is now an international company with Independent Business Owners promoting telecom services using network marketing. As of now, ACN is the largest distributor of telecommunication services world-wide. The 2nd largest was a company called Excel Communications but is defunct.
It provides telecommunications, energy, merchant services and other services, depending on the country, through a network of independent sellers who also can recruit other sellers. ACN operated as a gas and electricity retailer, through the subsidiaries ACN Energy and ACN Utility Services, prior to its energy assets being acquired by Commerce Energy Group in 2006.[
In 2008, ACN moved its headquarters from Farmington Hills, Michigan to Concord, North Carolina. In 2014, ACN expanded operations to Latin America, beginning first with Mexico. In 2016, ACN expanded operations in Japan. By 2019, ACN was operating in 26 countries and five continents.
From 2006 until he announced his presidential candidacy in 2015, ACN had a business relationship with former The Apprentice executive producer Donald Trump. Trump spoke at ACN events, featured their products on an episode of The Apprentice, and took part in ACN promotional videos.
Following the official beginning of his 2016 presidential candidacy, all references to Donald Trump were removed from the ACN website, and Trump distanced himself from the company in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I know nothing about the company other than the people who run the company,” Trump told them. “I’m not familiar with what they do or how they go about doing it, and I make that clear in my speeches.”
As I write this, Trump and two of his sons are to be deposed in a lawsuit against ACN due to alleged ties with the company.
ACN offers landline telephone service (local and long distance), Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), high-speed Internet, satellite television, cellular phone through the company’s own mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Flash Wireless, and home security services, primarily to consumers, and secondarily to small businesses.
Beginning in 2011, ACN also began offering an ACN-branded international calling smartphone app available for iPhone, Android and Symbian, reselling WiMAX wireless Internet, and technical support service for personal and business computers, as well as getting back into the energy reselling market through partner XOOM Energy.
With variations depending upon the country of operation, provision of ACN’s services follows three models:
- The reselling of ACN-branded services originating in an incumbent provider. This is exemplified by local and long-distance telephone, where ACN buys local telephone service from an incumbent provider such as Qwest or AT&T, and bills customers in its own name. This model was made possible by telephone industry deregulation beginning in 1996; prior to this, ACN was involved solely in reselling long-distance telephone service. It was the expansion of deregulation internationally that made it possible for ACN to begin to operate outside the United States.
- Acting as a sales agent for the service provider, where an ACN representative sells the service, but order fulfillment, billing, and servicing is performed by the branded provider. In the US, ACN resells Internet service through AT&T. ACN offers wireless services through its own MVNO called Flash Wireless on Sprint and Verizon’s networks. Television services are provided through DIRECTV and Dish Network. Home security and automation is offered through Vivint. ACN now also resells energy (electricity and natural gas) through Planet Energy and Xoom Energy.
- The selling of ACN-branded and provided services. These are Voice over Internet Protocol which ACN owns and maintains its own network of servers. Starting in January 2011, ACN has also added an ACN-branded computer technical support service to its service offerings.
What ACN offers is pretty simple, it’s residential and business services. This is how these services are broken down:
Home phone services
For $24.99 per month you can use your high-speed internet connections to make unlimited calls from your home to over 80 mobile and landline destinations.
ACN offers nationwide high-speed internet services with :
Based upon the service provider you decide upon, the pricing will range anywhere from $20 – $100/month.
You can utilize this phone plan program on either a contract or no contract basis with 3 different pricing plans (purple, green and yellow) based on the feature you use. In addition, you have to ability to sign up others on a “friends and family” plan.
Purple pricing plan range: $23-$64 per month
Green pricing plan range: $23-$79 per month
Yellow pricing plan range: $23-$69 per month.
Xoom energy is a natural gas service by ACN that provides two plans:
Sure Lock – The price of your service is guaranteed to never fluctuate
Simple Flex – With this plan your monthly rate will go up or down depending on your usage, but you can cancel or switch whenever you need to
ACN is also a provider of satellite television through DirecTv and Dish. Their packages start at $39.99.
Home security and automation
ACN also offers home security and automation through Vivint, a leader in the industry. With this service you get notifications for control over your smart home and 24/7 security surveillance with video monitoring.
You can get these services for a down payment of $50 and no activation costs.
With the business services package, you get everything in the Residential Services package along with the following:
Anovia payment and processing:
ACN offers payment and credit card processing through Anovia offering the following:
- Gift Card
You have three options:
- No upfront cost for mobile card reader – $25 / month
- No contract plan – $20 / month
- Purchase a Swipe terminal with low-cost transaction rates – $15 / month
How Does The ACN Compensation Plan Work?
There are 3 ways ACN independent business owners generate income.
Monthly Residual Commissions
Eventually, when an IBO starts building a team or recruits and they increase their billings, the commissions that an ACN IBO generates from that team will be their primary residual income source. Basically, you start making money from the efforts of the people you recruited in your team. And as your teams start growing, the system that you earn residual income from will continue to grow.
These are pretty hard to come by though, and you’ll have to work your ASS off for them.
The personal commissions that you receive is a percentage of the total income that you’ve generated based on the customers that you’ve personally signed up to the ACN service plans.
The percentage that you receive from ACN will be 2-8% of the total monthly bill of your customer.
So, let’s say you have a personal base of 39 customers that uses about $1,000 per month of ACN Services; you will get paid 2% of that total. This is a residual income of $20 / month from those customers. Consequently, the more customers you have signed up, the more money you make. I actually like this about ACN as they make it a point to incentivize their reps in the area of retail sales. This is something that more MLMs should do.
With that said, I doubt that most people would even bother trying to sign up 39 customers just to earn 1-3% of their total bill. Personal commissions are a little bit easier to get but you still have to work very hard. Odds are you’ll likely work harder at this than that 9-5 you decided to quit.
Team Residual Commissions
Team residuals is the money you make from the people that you sign up and their customers, and the people they sign up and their customers.
This the worst payment method of all. In my opinion it’s sellout money. You have to sell people on the dream you were sold into just so you can have a chance at more money. I’m sure by now you realize how (not so clean) MLM money like this can be, and you’re probably put off by it.
If you’re ready to start your own business you should probably do further research but if you want to keep chasing after shrimpy commissions and selling people left and right check out the ACN payment plan below
Although this diagram doesn’t offer much information, it does show that you earn 23% commissions going as deep as 7 levels.
Now this may seem like a killer compensation plan, this is only 23% of the profits from ACN.
So, no matter what service you sign up customers to use, about 1/4 of your ACN billings will be going to people above you.
As a result, ACN really has a hard to with offering services to your customers at competitive prices.
Of course, they still want to make some money on their end, so they’ll need to pay out these commissions over and above their overhead.
So how much money are you able to make on each level?
In order to answer that question, we had to look at the ACN compensation plan from 2019. This will show you everything that ACN IBOs do to earn their commissions.
ACN provided the diagram below to help us better understand
It’s pretty clear from this diagram that if you want to make it big with ACN, you have to build a strong downline. The more money your downline spends with ACN, the more money you make.
And, of course, the best way to grow your downline is for your members to recruit other ACN IBOs and so on and so on. This is the MLM way.
Customer Acquisition Bonuses
The bonuses you receive for customer acquisition are up-front and one-time only for recruiting new ACN customers. Next, when one of your personal recruits become team trainers, you’ll get paid anywhere from $90-275 base on your rank.
And to become a team trainer, your recruit has to sign up for the $499 initiation package and then turn around and sign up 6-8 customers within a certain amount of time. I know what you’re thinking… “this is getting paid for signing customers up”, but it’s not. These bonuses will be paid out only when the people you recruit ‘level up’ within 30 days.
This is what most MLMs call their ‘quick start bonus’. It’s simply an incentive to get people up and running ASAP.
In ACN, this tactic is called ‘tap-rooting’.
The goal here is to get ACN IBOs to recruit as much as they can while they’re brand new to the program and still excited. We’ve discovered that an IBO that has to sign up at least one member into their downline, the chances are they will stay with the MLM.
An explanation of the points system for all the services is laid out in the full compensation plan, but that’s only relevant to your specific area.
How To Join ACN As An Independent Business Owner?
So, if you want to be an ACN IBO, the first thing you’ll need to do is complete an ACN business owner agreement.
You’ll need to pay a $499 ‘application fee’ which must be submitted with the letter of intent and is basically just a business startup fee.
After becoming IBO you’ll be able to start selling ACN’s services to your customers through your own website.
Just keep in mind that you are an independent business owner of ACN and not an employee.
Which is great because you can set your own hours and run your business the way you want. You’re actually paying to be in business for yourself and not paying to be an employee.
Is It Hard To Make Money With ACN?
The Multi Level Marketing company business model has inherent problems, so making money is pretty hard across the board, not just with ACN. In 2014, Jon Taylor mentioned in his book, Multi-level Marketing Unmasked, that 99.7% of the people who sign up with MLM companies typically lose money.
So, the chances that you will make money are virtually zero, no matter what you are told by a company. If you’re a good salesperson, then you might be in the .03% of people that can sell products. And MLM companies rely on this so that they don’t have to spend a lot of money on advertising.
What they do instead is create a huge network of loyal people to buy their products who wouldn’t buy them otherwise unless there was a promise of financial freedom attached. As I mentioned earlier, the compensation plan looks great, but you’re also paying for commissions. Remember that 23% of your ACN service bill will be paid out in commissions to the people above you.
From what we’ve seen in ACN customer reviews, they feel that the services offered are too expensive and very low quality. On top of that, many other customers don’t like the fact that they couldn’t cancel services leading them to believe ACN to be a scam.
Is ACN A Pyramid Scheme?
When the issue of this business model being a pyramid scheme comes up, it’s usually because people question whether it’s legal or not to make money by signing people up to the business.
Legally, this is not the case since the business also makes money from the selling of actual services that people want or need. Only when you make money by recruiting people would it be considered a pyramid scheme.
In 1979, the FTC brought a case against Amway claiming it to be an illegal pyramid scheme even though they sold actual products.
The court case went on for nearly 4 years after which it was decided that Amway was not a pyramid scam, but that they offered a business opportunity. This may sound like semantics, but in their contracts, members are told that they need to make sales.
This ruling opened the flood gates for other MLMs (such as the ACN opportunity) to join the fray provided that their goal is customer acquisition and not just ‘sign up bonuses’.
But, even though something is technically legal, doesn’t mean it’s ethical. As a matter of fact, in 2005 ACN was accused of being a pyramid scheme in Australia. Today, ACN still operates in Australia, so I’m guessing they either changed some things up or they won their case.
Is The ACN Legit?
Since ACN has stood the test of time (24 yrs), the company appears to be legit.
Of course, every company will run into their fair share of customer complaints whether or not they offer people true products or services. This isn’t localized to MLMs or other such companies.
In general, their customer service has been the biggest area of complaints that we’ve seen. The problems that come up with customer services are that these ACN reps (aka, business owners) spend so much time putting out fires from customers while at the same time trying to recruit new people.
Another issue is that as a rep, you spend so much time keeping up with the services and wrapping your head around the rate structure just to have ACN pull the rug out from under you ‘for the good of your business.’
What they fail to disclose to you is that the services that you have after the change are no longer under your original contract with ACN and you end up paying more money for the same services before you realize the change occurred.
Of course, this wouldn’t really be a big deal if the vast majority of ACN IBOs made decent money, but the fact is that less than 1% of ACN reps actually do make money from the ACN opportunity.
As it is, ACN is somewhat of a clunker in the MLM world.
They manage to offer new services here and there so that the next ACN opportunity seeker will consider them as an option, but they haven’t nailed down a way to make those dreams come true overall.
So, if you’re dead set on working with an MLM, you can do much better than ACN.
But, when it comes to building a lasting online business, you have plenty of other options. Keep in mind, I don’t get paid to promote any of the programs I review. I personally think Network Marketing is a dead business model, where you end up losing way too much money.
Are There Alternatives To ACN?
At the end of the day, it’s possible to make money with ACN so long as you’re ok with being a salesperson and can persuade other people to sign up with ACN services.
But don’t forget that in order to earn residual income, you’ll need to recruit people into your downline. This is where the real money is. So, given that, this may not be right for everyone, and there are other MLM options out there for you.
There are even many different alternatives to Multi Level Marketing, such as:
- Affiliate Marketing
- Amazon FBA
All of which you can make a decent amount of money to a great deal of money. However, these business models are often too reliant on outside influences, so you frequently find yourself willing to work without a safety net.
Pros of ACN
- Long history – ACN was founded in 1993 so this is enough of a reason by itself to see that ACN is not a scam and shouldn’t just disappear tomorrow. The company has been in operation for close to 30 years
- People need these services -People will always need gas and electricity in their homes and business. The internet is also not going away any time soon.
- Corporate Social Responsibility – ACN also gives back to the wider community through various charitable activities
Cons of ACN
- Low commission – Well in ACN’s compensation plan they even tell you can expect to earn around $40 a month if you have 20 customers!
- Better deals available going direct – If you look on the ACN website for an internet package you can find the AT&T pro internet package for $29.95 a month. However, if you went direct to the AT&T website you can get the exact same deal with a $50 reward card.
- Quite difficult to make money
- Its on a downward trend – There are less and less people searching for ACN on Google every month. Most MLM companies go through an “early momentum phase”. It’s possible for distributors to jump on the bandwagon before this and benefit from the increasing interest in the company, however as you can see from newer MLMs, such as Farmasi, ACN is going the wrong way to benefit from this now.
ACN is an MLM company that provides genuine services that people need. However, I do think that the opportunity to earn residual income from ACN is pretty steep and not feasible. With the low commissions from services that you sell and the downward trend for the company it is very unlikely that you can really make money from ACN.
MLMs are not scams or illegal. However, I’m not a fan of them because of the restrictions to the expensive products you have to promote. Moreover there are tons of other ways to make money online which you could consider and pick the most favorable one for you.
Earnings as an ACN IBO are based solely upon the successful sale of products to customers and their usage of those products. Individuals will incur expenses in operating their ACN business, such as the sign-up fee and renewal fee, as well as other possible operating expenses. As with any business, earnings and success at ACN are not guaranteed but depend primarily on the individual’s commitment, persistence, and effort. Individuals may not earn income and may lose money as an IBO.”
ACN does come with some very helpful information to make money online and land some massive commission checks. However, it’s training and business model are outdated. At the end, I’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding ACN and network marketing in general.
Before you leave
If you’re tired of scams and want a real solution for making money online check out my no.1 recommendation.
It’s helped me earn over $300,000 in the last 12 months alone:
(This is a 100% free training)
David Fortune has been the editor NoBSIMReviews.com since 2019. He is an expert at writing content on stock advisory services, side hustles, reviewing online business opportunities and many more topics. You can learn more about David on our about us page.