Zilis is an direct sales company that markets personal health and wellness products through an Amazon-like online retail website. Affiliates market these products, via the site, to customers for a commission; affiliates can also recruit others for commission bonuses as well.
What Is Zilis?
Zilis was founded in 2015 by Steven and Angie Thompson, a husband-and-wife team that have been active in the MLM community for several years.
The Thompsons have a particular history with MLMs that have sold personal wellness products. Steven was involved as an affiliate with Cyberwize from 2001 to 2009, and with LiveSmart 360, Cyberwize's re-brand, from 2010 to 2015. From 2012, Steven served as VP of Sales.
The Thompsons left LiveSmart 360 after it shut down in 2015, taking the company's Medical Advisory Board Chairman Derrick Desilva with them. Desilva now serves as Zilis' Chief Wellness Officer.
Zilis has an expansive product line of around 100 products, all of which are personal wellness products such as multivitamins, supplements, essential oils, skin care products, and so on, from a myriad of different partner companies.
The list is far too voluminous to present here even in excerpt, but Zilis does offer a downloadable catalog in PDF form on its website for customers to peruse.
Pricing for these products varies. Typically, affiliates with Zilis (which the company calls “Ambassadors”) pay around 20% less for items in the catalog than customers. “Preferred” customers, who enroll in autoship, receive about 10% off.
There are two ways Zilis Ambassadors can earn money through the company. The first is through direct sales, and Ambassadors earn the difference between the product's retail price and wholesale price as a commission, a simple and straightforward manner.
However, the second method for earning money through Zilis is for Ambassadors to recruit, and to recruit heavily.
Ambassadors earn direct commissions for recruiting and then residual commissions based on the activities of their recruits in turn, which are kept track of using a binary matrix.
Zilis Ambassadors can earn ranks in the organization, all of which come with additional perks. There are a total of eight ranks from Ambassador to Presidential Ambassador.
Ranking up requires meeting several different requirements, including a set amount of Personal Volume (PV) either by generating sales or by having a sufficiently large personal autoship order. Other requirements include having ever-larger monthly downline PV from recruits.
Higher-ranked Ambassadors are eligible for larger residual commission caps from sales volume in their binary matrix, from $250 at the lowest to $10,000 at the highest.
There are a couple of issues we have with Zilis, and none of them have anything to do with the products the company sells.
Frankly, a direct sales company that manages its overhead by maintaining an online marketplace, and one that doesn't rely upon stocking massive inventories of products but instead enters into agreements with other companies to provide product for them, is rather ingenious.
It controls costs well and provides better commission margins.
No, the issues we have are in the importance Zilis places on recruitment instead of direct sales. Many other independent reviewers have expressed fears of the nature of the membership structure.
Becoming an Ambassador in the first place is $99. However, there are three “Starter Packs,” listed as Bronze, Silver, and Gold, which cost $199, $599, and $1299 respectively.
Buying one of these Starter Packs is strongly encouraged not just because it comes with bundled Zilis products, but it unlocks additional earnings potential that a regular Ambassador cannot otherwise access.
In fact in some cases the compensation scheme does not operate efficiently unless an Ambassador comes in under one of these packages, or if they don't market these packages to new prospective affiliates.
This kind of setup takes the focus off direct sales commissions and instead drives recruitment as the primary activity as a Zilis Ambassador. In the end, this arrangement makes us feel that Zilis is less direct sales and more MLM; it feels a bit like “pay to play” to us.