Using Vimeo for your MLM or Direct Sales Business? Think Again

It recently came to my attention that a lot of MLM companies and their distributors are using Vimeo to distribute videos. The main reason is because a lot of Network Marketing detractors like to go on YouTube and provide what pops up as “related videos” saying that the company is a scam. This tactic, of course, is terrible because a lot of ethical companies are damaged by it. However, the defection to Vimeo isn’t going to work for you.

I was recently researching Vimeo for a client, and came across this clause in the terms of service:

You may not upload videos pertaining to multi-level marketing (MLM), get-rich-quick schemes, cash gifting, work-from-home businesses, or any other dubious money-making ventures.

Don’t you just love how the ignorant lump MLM with “dubious” activities? Even though it is a perfectly legitimate way to do business? (And by the way, if you’re in party plan, don’t think you’re off the hook. This applies to you too.)

Undeterred, I reached out to Vimeo to get clarification on the issue. I told them how I completely understood them not wanting to have “dubious” companies and reps sharing their content, however I had a question about legitimate companies. Companies who were members of the DSA, comply with the DSA Code of Ethics, and the way they do business is completely legal. Surely these were OK? Here’s the response I received:

Hi Jen,
For more information about what we allow and do not allow on Vimeo, please read our Community and PRO guidelines.
Community Guidelines:
Specifically in our PRO guidelines we state that you may not upload videos that promote fraudulent schemes, multi level marketing (MLM) schemes, get rich quick schemes, online gaming and gambling, cash gifting, work from home businesses, or any other dubious money-making ventures. Thanks,
Alex D
Community Consultant, Canada

My response:

Thanks for getting back to me. I read these guidelines. My question is about MLMs that aren’t “schemes” but instead legitimate business opportunities. Thanks so much for your help.

Their response:

Hi Jen, To clarify, we do not allow any MLM content on Vimeo.
Alex D
Community Consultant, Canada

Now there’s a part of me that sympathizes with Vimeo. It’s hard enough for direct sales companies to make sure everyone in their own salesforce is in compliance with what they are and are not allowed to say online. If Vimeo allowed MLMs, they would essentially be a compliance department for the entire industry. And they would have to hire at least a million people just to police our industry. Until we collectively behave better, we’re going to see bans like this across the board, and it stinks.

So if you’re a direct sales company or distributor with content on Vimeo, here’s a heads up. You are not allowed to use Vimeo. If you have content there, you risk having it removed (and losing it!) because you are in violation of their guidelines.

What do you think of these rules? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

11 Responses to Using Vimeo for your MLM or Direct Sales Business? Think Again
  1. Adriano
    December 3, 2014 | 9:59 pm

    Hi , Jeniffer

    Thanks a lot . I got this same message from Vimeo and it really ridiculous .

    Do you have any suggestion where I can safety upload afiliate / MLM videos ??

    They even don’t allow affiliate market , that is basically related to any normal internet business ( even big companies like Aweber , hostgator or other have affiliate market programs)

    So this is realy a ridiculous policies.

    I will I have seen your article before I put my videos there.

  2. Pat Zahn
    August 10, 2012 | 1:59 pm

    I also ran up against this when looking into email marketing/autoresponders – a number of them have the same lumped together lists – Oh how I love being lumped together with pornography and gambling businesses… In the email marketing companies I kind of understand their stance because so many MLM, direct sellers, in their naivete don’t follow CAN-SPAM laws and thus the ISP’s block them, so that somewhat makes sense. But why a company hosting your videos? I also discovered a few months back when investigating that Squareup has the same policy – huh, really scratching my head on that one. As you say, though, I’d rather understand and follow the rules rather than lose my work.
    Pat Zahn recently posted..Scrapbooking and Sweating the Small Stuff

  3. Kevin Griffin
    July 25, 2012 | 11:46 am

    Jen, I agree Vimeo is pretty clear on what they will and will not accept on this front. Although there are services that will allow companies to host their videos, I’m not aware of a solution that is quite as comprehensive as The Media Center ( Companies really can protect their brand and put content in distributors hands!
    Kevin Griffin recently posted..“Geez, I don’t know…it’s just not the way things are done around here.”

  4. Malkah Geller
    July 25, 2012 | 11:30 am

    I totally agree with all the above comments and thank you, Jen, for reaching out to get more information from them. Of course, it stinks and is sad that they don’t want to be educated and just repeat policy. Very interesting article!

  5. Leigh
    July 25, 2012 | 10:53 am

    The “responses” infuriate me. The “agent” didn’t even read what you said. You obviously read the guidelines, which is why you had the question. I won’t use Vimeo just because of that.

  6. Karen Clark
    July 24, 2012 | 5:26 pm

    There is much confusion out there in the non-direct sales world about what exactly is “MLM” so I’d probably ask them for *their* definition. Since they attach the word “schemes” and “dubious” to all of these, I’d say any legitimate business doesn’t count. I’d be curious to hear what an attorney would say regarding the language.
    Karen Clark recently posted..How to Sort, Tag or Categorize Your LinkedIn Contacts

    • Jennifer Fong
      July 25, 2012 | 8:24 am

      I think they’re pretty clear on the “type” of business, even if they don’t think it’s legitimate. Sadly, often people aren’t interested in being educated out of their misconceptions about direct selling. You can see that they were very clear about no MLMs when I brought up the legitimate business point. And as a private entity, Vimeo can exclude anyone they want.

  7. Sarah Andrus
    July 24, 2012 | 3:48 pm

    It’s important to abide by any site’s guidelines, but doesn’t the site also have responsibility to create guidelines that they can enforce? I’ll stay away from vimeo personally because I wouldn’t want to support an organization that merely repeats “policy” and doesn’t have time to learn about my industry.

    Still, I’ve got to wonder how in the world they are policing this even now? Or expecting the direct selling companies to do so?

    There are always going to be independent reps who believe they can create great tools for their team. And, they may post them anywhere. Vimeo is just one option. As Kevin noted, this is definitely a brand control issue.

    In my view, the best way to address this from a corporate perspective is to make sure the company is protecting both brand and business strategies by hosting excellent, responsive and timely tools for the field on a corporate site.

    • Jennifer Fong
      July 24, 2012 | 5:14 pm

      Completely agreed Sarah. More and more I think that companies need to provide videos (and video platforms like Visilink/JITR) to support their reps, so they don’t go out and use sites that are not allowed. And no, Vimeo doesn’t seem to be policing it right now, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Personally I prefer to abide by the terms, rather than risk losing everything I’ve worked to build.

      Companies absolutely need to be ensuring that their salesforce members remain within policy, and comply with any regulations they put forth (including abiding by the terms of service of any social network they choose to use.)

      Thanks for commenting!

  8. Kevin Griffin
    July 24, 2012 | 3:23 pm

    Incredibly interesting article! Companies should be concerned about how not only their videos, but all of their marketing materials are distributed to the marketplace. This just goes to show that you have to work to protect your brand, not just assume others will take care of it for you. Thanks for posting!

    • Jennifer Fong
      July 24, 2012 | 3:29 pm

      You’re absolutely right, Kevin. Thanks for commenting!

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