Market America

Market America
Type Private
Industry Internet Marketing
Founded 1992
Founder(s) JR Ridinger
Loren Ridinger
Headquarters Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people JR Ridinger (President and CEO)
Loren Ridinger (Senior VP)
(COO)
Marty Weissman (EVP)
Dennis Franks (EVP
Joe Bolyard (EVP)
Kevin Buckman (VP)
Michael Brady (CTO)
Revenue USD 284.4 million (2009)[1]
Total assets USD 146.1 million (2010)[2]
Employees 650[3]
Website marketamerica.com

Market America is an Internet marketing and product brokerage company that utilizes direct sales in order to sell a variety of products across numerous markets. The company was founded in 1992 by JR and Loren Ridinger. Market America now serves more than 6 million customers and over 180,000 Shop Consultants worldwide. Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., the company employs roughly 650 people worldwide in the United States, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. Market America sells household supplies, jewelry, personal care products, auto care, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, custom websites, water purifiers and more. It conducts business through several affiliated companies and was ranked 61st in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 List.[4]

Contents

History

In 1992, Market America was founded by JR Ridinger (real name, James Howard Ridinger), his wife Loren, and her brother Marc Ashley, now Chief Operating Officer. The company is headquartered in Greensboro, NC and employs around 650 people. It has around three million registered customers (called “Preferred Customers").[5]

Over the years, Market America has sold items such as auto care, electronics, apparel, water filtration systems, flowers, coffee, through affiliations with outside companies that advertise and offer these items on Market America’s site.

In 1999, Market America and its CEO resolved, without admitting or denying any allegations, certain charges by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission concerning the manner in which the Company was taken public in 1994. The charges related to alleged violations of the federal securities laws in connection with the distribution of unregistered Market America stock. The company’s CEO agreed to refrain from future violations of the federal securities laws. The SEC matter related solely to Market America’s initial stock distribution in 1994 and was unrelated to the company’s day-to-day business or its direct selling business model.[6]

The international expansion of the company began with the opening of Market Australia in 2002, Market Taiwan in August 2005, and Market Hong Kong in September 2007.

At the August 2008 Market America International Convention, COO Marc Ashley announced the partnering of Market America and iMirus.[5] This partnership resulted in MA Newsstand which would offer Market America customers both digital and print versions of magazines, books, and catalogs.

Later that year, the announcement for integration of Silver Creek Systems [7] into Market America’s website to increase the data quality and consistency in online search performance was released. In spring of 2010, Market America started operations in the Philippines.[8]

Products, services, and brands

Market America sells millions of products from both national retailers and smaller outfits on its website. The majority of these products emphasize health and nutrition. Market America also develops products for household cleaning, automotive upkeep, cosmetics and beauty care, and lawn and garden enhancement, among others.

Isotonix

Market America’s Isotonix line of nutritional supplements was introduced in 1993 and today contains more than 20 products that focus on a number of areas, including cardiovascular system health, antioxidant protection, blood sugar maintenance and immune system support. The Isotonix uses a proprietary isotonic delivery system meaning that when the solution is combined with water it carries the same osmolaity as plasma.[9].

The brand has grown in recent years with the inclusion of Might-a-Mins Spectrum[10], a line of children’s supplements designed for children in need of digestive, metabolic or neurological support; Isotonix Custom Cocktail, a supplement blend that can be customized for the specific needs and wants of the consumer; and Mochatonix.

Motives by Loren Ridinger

Introduced in 1997 by Market America and re-introduced in 2009, Motives by Loren Ridinger is a cosmetics line. Among the products are custom mineral powders, silk lipsticks, anti-aging lip liners, and custom eyeshadow palettes.

Prime

Market America’s Prime anti-aging line consists of 12 formulated[11] supplements geared toward individuals concerned about aging. These include but are not limited to HGH production, visual system maintenance, sexual function and healthy metabolic rate.

Transitions lifestyle system

Introduced in 2004, Transitions Lifestyle System is a weight management program. It does not use calorie restriction; rather, it utilizes a food’s ranking on the Glycemic Index. In addition to a low-glycemic index diet, it also emphasizes regular exercise and behavior modification, as well as the use of Transitions Lifestyle System-branded supplements that support weight management efforts.

In 2010, Market America launched the TLS Shape Up program. Using similar concepts as Transitions Lifestyle System, TLS Shape Up is geared to children ages 10–17.[12]

Business operations

Business model

Being a product brokerage company, Market America does not manufacture any product. Individuals and business entities alike can register as distributors, referred to as UnFranchise Business Owners (UFO's). Products are marketed through word-of-mouth and may be purchased through a standardized online shopping portal that is registered to the UFO. Customers can also access websites of many online retailers and manufacturers (called "Partner Stores"[13]) via the portal. In summer 2011, Market America introduced barcode scanning[14] for iPhone and Android as well as ShopBox for use on Facebook[15] . The company implements an incentive program for customers (the "Cashback" program [16]) where a specified percentage of the product price may be paid back to the customer. The Cashback program also applies to most of the Partner Stores. If the customer refers another customer, the first customer may also get "cashback" on future purchases that the referred customer makes. UFO commissions are calculated and paid through a compensation system that resembles a binary plan. The company calls this system the "Management Performance Compensation Plan"[17]

Acquisition

In December 2010,[3] Market America began acquisition of Shop.com, a shopping comparison site on the Internet. Marketamerica.com and shop.com, will continue to operate separately through a transition period.[18] The acquisition combined shop.com’s database technology with Market America’s Cashback program and network of independent distributors. Market America will remain in Greensboro, N.C. and the previous shop.com staff will remain in Monterey, California as well as in London, UK.

Reception

Lawsuits

On March 3, 2006, Steve Sawyer sued Market America in Guilford County, North Carolina claiming breach of contract and violation of the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act with respect to certain Internet consulting services he was providing to the company. Sawyer alleged that Market America failed to pay him for $8,333.34 in monthly services and a $25,000 bonus.

In 2007, the court granted Market America’s Summary Judgment motion with respect to Sawyer’s claim that Market America had violated the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act. Sawyer appealed the decision to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, which affirmed the trial court’s decision in favor of Market America in June 2008.[19] Sawyer appealed to the North Carolina Supreme Court, which denied review on December 11, 2008.[20] On December 26, 2008, Sawyer filed a lawsuit against Market America in Multnomah County, Oregon, based on the same facts as the North Carolina lawsuit. In 2009, Market America sought to bring the North Carolina lawsuit to trial. Sawyer filed a motion to stay the North Carolina lawsuit, which was granted.

Later in 2009, Market America filed a motion to stay the Oregon lawsuit which was granted. Sawyer appealed the decision to stay the Oregon lawsuit to the Oregon Supreme Court, which denied review in January 2010.[21]

Philanthropy

Market America was the title sponsor of the 10th annual Fashion Art Ball to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in early April 2008.[22]

References

  1. ^ "The Inc 5000 Market America profile". 2010. http://www.inc.com/inc5000/2009/company-profile.html?id=200944220. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  2. ^ "Market America Worldwide, Inc. and Affiliates Consolidated Balance Sheet" (PDF). 31 December 2010. http://images.marketamerica.com/lib/downloads/USA/corporate/201106015423269.pdf. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Robin Wauters (15 December 2010). "Market America Acquires Bill Gates-Backed Shopping Site Shop.com". http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/15/market-america-acquires-bill-gates-backed-shopping-site-shop-com/. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  4. ^ "Internet Retailer - Top 500 - Market America profile". 2010. http://www.internetretailer.com/top500/profiles/market-america/. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Market America and iMirus Partner to Create World’s Largest Online Newsstand for Magazines, Catalogs, and Books" (Press release). 16 September 2008. http://www.emailwire.com/release/16095-Market-America-and-iMirus-Partner-to-Create-Worlds-Largest-Online-Newsstand-for-Magazines-Catalogs-and-Books.html. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "Litigation Release No. 16131A / May 4, 1999". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 4 May 1999. http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr16131a.htm. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Market America Selects Silver Creek Systems". 22 December 2008. http://www.b-eye-network.com/view/9380. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  8. ^ "Market America plans to expand into Philippines" (Press release). 10 August 2009. http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/stories/2009/08/10/newscolumn13.html. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Isotonix Delivery System". http://isotonix.marketamerica.com/Corporate/USA/Learn/Delivery. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  10. ^ "Children's Isotonix". http://isotonix.marketamerica.com/Corporate/USA/Childrens. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  11. ^ "Prime Anti Aging Nutraceuticals". http://www.marketamerica.com/brands-213/prime.htm#. Retrieved 29 September 2011. 
  12. ^ "Market America 2010 International Convention: Looks to Social Media, Celebrity Partnerships & Technology Enhancements, Scottie Pippen & Kim Kardashian Partner with Market America" (Press release). 11 August 2010. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/08/prweb4377234.htm. Retrieved 1 August 2011. 
  13. ^ "Partner Stores". http://www.marketamerica.com/index.cfm?action=shopping.wpAddStoresSS. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  14. ^ "Barcode Scanning". http://www.internetretailer.com/2011/06/07/market-america-adds-bar-code-scanning-and-deal-locator-app. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  15. ^ "ShopBox". http://www.maic2011.com/shopbox-now-available-for-your-personal-facebook-profile. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  16. ^ "Cashback Program". http://www.marketamerica.com/index.cfm?action=services.custLanding&landingID=csmcp_maCash. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  17. ^ "UnFranchise Business". https://www.unfranchise.com/index.cfm?action=services.ubBusinessOverview. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "Market America to buy Shop.com". 15 December 2010. http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/news/2010/12/15/market-america-to-buy-shopcom.html. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  19. ^ Steve Sawyer v. Market America, Inc., COA07-1257 (North Carolina Court of Appeals 3 June 2008).
  20. ^ "Supreme Court of North Carolina Petitions 11 December 2008". 11 December 2008. http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/sc/pc081212.htm. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  21. ^ Steve Sawyer v. Market America, Inc., 7 (Oregan Supreme Court 21 January 2010). Text
  22. ^ "Loren and James Ridinger Announce marketamerica.com will Sponsor 10th Annual Fashion Art Ball to Benefit Cystic Fibrosis" (Press release). 1 April 2008. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/04/prweb816914.htm. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 

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