Is ViSalus A Scam? Flagged As A Pyramid Scheme MLM?!

visalus website

Welcome to My ViSalus Review!

Nowadays, it’s easy to find money-making opportunities online; however, it’s challenging to find a reliable and stable source of income. After all, not all business models are legit or high quality.

ViSalus Review Summary

Name: ViSalus


Founders: Blair Mallen and Nick Sarnicola

Product Type: Multi-Level Marketing

Price: $49 To $999 For Distributor Kits

visalus logo

Quick Summary: ViSalus or Vi is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company that markets various products in the health and wellness niche including nutritious and delicious meals, drinks, snacks, and supplements.

But just like most MLM opportunities, it massively places focus on recruitments. ViSalus had been flagged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a Pyramid Scheme and for that reason alone, I definitely could not recommend this business opportunity to you. 

Overall Rating: 1/10

Recommended: No

Let’s say, multi-level marketing (MLM), for instance. This business model is legal but most of the time, it comes with several drawbacks. But still, there’s a possibility to earn money from it depending on your skills and the program itself.

In this post, we’ll talk about a network marketing company called ViSalus -- an MLM platform under the health and wellness niche.

What is it about? Is ViSalus a scam? What are its pros and cons? Can you make money from this program?

What Is ViSalus About?

ViSalus or Vi is an MLM company in the health and wellness niche. This company promotes nutritious and delicious meals, drinks, snacks, and supplements. It was founded by Blair Mallen and Nick Sarnicola in 1997 which started with the name of The Free Network LLC, a telecommunications-based MLM company in Troy, Michigan. 

In 2005, the company went under but was saved after it was purchased by wireless Internet developer Ryan Blair, due to an investment from a private equity firm-Ropart Asset Management. Though the company was purchased, both founders retained their positions. Sarnicola as Sales Chief and Mallen as CMO.

In 2008, during the recession, the company hit another pitstop when it almost went bankrupt (a $6 million debt) but it had another savior- Blyth, Inc which is another MLM company. It was acquired by the said company.

Blyth, Inc was a company that sold home decors and it was founded by Robert B Georgen and coincidentally, he happens to also own Ropart Asset Management. 

what is visalus about

And from then on, the company went through major changes, including the purchasing of a 43.6% equity for 14 million dollars which is during the first stage of taking over. They returned to profitability within two years after it almost went bankrupt. Visalus was making over $15 million a month.

In 2011, the second stage of the takeover took place and Blyth increased its equity to 57.5% by investing an additional $2.5 million. From there, Visalus has competed against other weight loss MLM companies. With Ryan Blair as the current CEO, Visalus progressed and became one of the fastest-growing MLM companies.

Currently, this company- ViSalus (Vi) has its headquarters in Troy, Michigan and Los Angeles, California. The company markets its products in the United States, Canada, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

ViSalus Product Line

ViSalus or Vi has a variety of health and wellness products. The company markets weight management nutritional products, dietary supplements, and energy drinks. 

But to further place them into groups, their products are categorized into these:

  • Weight loss products - which are as well sold into KITS 
  • Meal replacement products.
  • Health Drinks including neon drinks and organic drinks
  • Snacks like Nutra-bar, Vi bites, Nutra cookies, etc.
  • Supplements 
visalus product line

Do their products work? Well, as a fact, their products are quite more expensive than the other products in the market, but the company, though not BBB (Better Bureau Business) accredited, does have an A+ BBB rating. Yet, Visalus doesn’t have any documentation behind their formulas or ingredients. Their claims are not even backed up by the or Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

Here are some reviews about them, see for yourself. Be the judge. 

visalus review
visalus review

How To Make Money With ViSalus?

You start by signing up into their affiliate program (Vi Promoter) and they will provide you with distributor kits to choose from (which you will purchase) and these are for members to be qualified for their company’s incentive programs and compensation plan.  

ViSalus Compensation Plan

Just like most MLMs, being an affiliate in this company allows you to earn money through retail/direct commissions, residual commissions and bonuses, and incentives.

1. Personal Order Commissions - Members will have up to 25% commissions on all products if they can sell at least $200 worth of products. And to qualify for such bonuses (BONUS VOLUME) and to become an associate, they should reach the target mentioned. In short, commission rates are based on sales and as associates grow in rank, their commission rates will also increase.

2. First Order Bonus - Bonus is paid on the product paid by a new distributor that you have recruited to enroll in their affiliate program or promoter systems (Basic, Exclusive, or Star Kits).

This is where most of your weekly income will come from. Once you’re an active Associate, you earn a $50 fast start bonus, and that increases as you higher in levels.

3. 2nd Generation Fast Start Bonuses - Bonus gets paid out as an override to the override to the 2nd generation Regional Director, National Director, Presidential Director, and Ambassador. 

The total amount paid out is $225.This is considered to be a distributor’s long-term walk-away residual or passive income. Residual team commissions are paid out as a certain percentage throughout several levels on the team’s referral line. 

Again, the higher the rank is the more levels that distributors are remunerated.

5% is paid on each of the different pay levels based on the bonus volume (BV).

  1. Active associates are paid 2 levels of referrals.
  2. Directors are paid through 4 levels of referrals.
  3. Regional Directors are paid 6 levels of referrals.
  4. National Directors are paid 7 levels of referrals.
  5. Presidential Directors and Ambassadors are paid 8 levels of referrals.

See a detailed discussion of their compensation plan in the video below:

Is ViSalus A Scam?

I can’t conclude that Visalus is a scam. I can say that it is a legitimate opportunity. They have been an established company for the past years with top-level management, great products, and a fair compensation plan.

However, being flagged by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as a Pyramid Scheme is an ALARMING situation and being a part of this business now, is a big No-No! It’s only a matter of time before a lawsuit will be sued against them or worst, the FTC themselves will shut off the company for good. 

ViSalus, being founded in 1997 and reestablished in 2005, though gaining an A+ BBB rating, the company itself is still not Better Bureau Business (BBB) accredited. They have as well undergone numerous lawsuits before, so if I were you, definitely not risking my aces in this business opportunity. 


Being a Vi Promoter, you are to purchase from the following distributor kits:

  • Basic Kit- $49 plus purchase of Challenge Kit ($49-$299)
  • Executive Visalus Promoter Kit - $499
  • Star Visalus Promoter Kit - $999

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Bonuses and Incentives

As mentioned above, depending on your rank and if you are good in recruiting and as well as those under your team are productive especially in their sales and also in recruiting, you can gain many bonuses and incentives such as a car bonus- yes, owning your very own BMW. 

Well, this incentive is a little cliche though, since most MLMs reward members with cars too.  


Pyramid Scheme

One major disadvantage of ViSalus or Vi is that they are flagged by the FTC as a Pyramid Scheme. When you say Pyramid Scheme, it is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products.

Being a Pyramid Scheme, it’s only a matter of time before a lawsuit will be sued against ViSalus or worst, the FTC themselves will shut off the company for good. 

Record Of Lawsuits

For the past years, ViSalus has faced numerous lawsuits. The owners and management are always facing one lawsuit after the other.

In 2013, founders Mallen and Sarnicola were charged in the United States Federal Court for committing violations concerning RICO -Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

In 2017, after Vi’s Equity Incentive Plan, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Blair, Mallen, and Sarnicola due to security violations specifically about offering shares to its distributors. With legality at stake, it would really be a risk joining this business opportunity. 

Expensive Distributor Kits And Products

Signing up as a distributor will even cost you up to $999 purchasing their kits. With a lot of competition in the market with companies selling also health and wellness products, it would be hard selling ViSalus products since they are pretty expensive.

And also with the fact that there are available products from other companies which are cheaper.

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Who Is It For?

It is a business opportunity intended for those who have skills in sales and are experts in the MLM world. It is also for those who are health and wellness enthusiasts especially weight-loss and fitness advocates.

It is also for those who are hardworking and competitive since gaining incentives requires a lot of hard work and competence to gain more sales and to recruit more people to join. 

Training Tools/Support

Signing up as a distributor and promoter for Visalus and purchasing a certain distributor kit is already inclusive of business tools and materials needed to go on with your business. They have as well training to help members boost their skills and strategies in sales. 

Final Opinion/Verdict

Overall, I would not recommend joining this MLM business venture. Yes, ViSalus has been a legitimate company but because the FTC flagged them as Pyramid Scheme- is already one good reason not to buy into this business opportunity.

Not to mention as well that it had records of lawsuits. With legality at stake, it would really be a risk to join this company at this time. Other reasons why I would not recommend you to this company is because it is too expensive, products are pricey, kits are pricey and being a member is pricey! T

here’s also nothing unique about their products, it’s just like other mainstream products in the health and wellness niche. With a lot of competition in the market, it may be difficult to sell and market their products. 

And lastly, just like other MLM opportunities, this company also puts more focus on recruitment to earn big and be eligible for special bonuses. So, it will really require your hard work, great recruitment skills and the guts to progress and succeed in this kind of business.

MLM is really a challenging world to venture into starting a business. The guarantee of success is even uncertain.

What’s Next?

Making money online doesn't have to be risky; you don’t even need to recruit people to join your platform.

As long as you’re willing to dedicate your time and effort, you can make my top-recommended program work. If you’re a newbie, don’t worry, you have all the tools and support you need, such as:

  • FREE Access To A Live Community
  • FREE Training Resources
  • FREE Coaching And Webinar
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • And Many More!

Thank you for reading my ViSalus review and if you have questions or you want to share your personal experience with this company, just write it down below.

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Caroline So

I'm a stay-at-home mom always on the lookout for ways on how to make LEGITIMATE money online. I also love to write; when not working as a content writer, I create blogs about skincare, makeup, motherhood, and digital marketing. I joined Vasiliy as a writer for Best Lifetime Income blog.

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