Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam?

Is Advocare an MLM Scam? – AdvoCare Review

Hey there, and welcome to my Advocare review! If you are here, I bet you are hungry to learn: Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam?

Advocare has been in business for quite a while and managed to get into some serious troubles with FTC as well as its own distributors.

So, is it actually worths the effort? In this review, I will do deep into every detail about the Advocare company, so by the end of this article, you will be well-versed if it’s a good bargain or not. 

Without further ado, let’s get right into the facts right now!

AdvoCare OverviewIs AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - The Logo

Full Name: Advocare International

Type: MLM Business Opportunity


Founder: Charles E. Ragus

Year of Establishment: 1993

Price to Join: $79

Recommended? No

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What is AdvoCare International?Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - The Logo 2

Based in Plano, Texas, USA, Advocare International is a former multi-level marketing company, often referred to as network marketing, referral marketing, or direct selling company.

What this actually means is that you can’t find their products in your local store but can buy only from an Advocare distributor.

As a result of FTC’s accusation in 2019 that Advocare was operating an illegal pyramid scheme, the company has nothing to do rather than to switch from MLM to single-level direct selling.

Advocare signifies “advocates who care” and has a wide range of products like vitamin supplements, protein shakes, energy, weight management, wellness, and sports performance products.

If you’re a sports fan, the name AdvoCare likely isn’t a foreign one to you. Throughout the years, AdvoCare was sponsoring a lot of professional sports events, and a lot of sportsmen out there have been Advocare’s face.

Ultimately, Advocare targets not only people seriously involved in sports but also regular folks who just want to feel better, have more energy, and make a lot of money.

Troubles with FTC

In October 2019, AdvoCare was accused by FTC (Federal Trade Commission) of operating illegally.

What exactly came into FTC’s attention is that AdvoCare distributors had to make large products purchases, and recruit others to do the same, to earn the most lucrative rewards.

Thus, FTC said that AdvoCare was operating an illegal pyramid scheme, focused on recruiting people to buy and sell products rather than focused on retail sales.

The distributors complained that they would earn unlimited income, attain financial freedom, and quit their regular jobs.

As a result, Advocare agreed to switch from MLM to a single level marketing plan and pay $150 million to consumers who lost money.

You can watch the video below, to see what it was all about:


Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - The FounderWho is the Founder?

Charles E. Ragus started the company in 1993, already having a good understanding of the multi-level marketing business model.

Prior to that, he has been a Herbalife distributor and also founded Omnitrition International.

Also, he was a regional vice president for Fidelity Union Insurance.

Charlie passed away in 2001 from a heart attack.

What is AdvoCare’s Financial Situation?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the most latest information that would reflect what’s current Advocare’s financial situation.

What I have managed to find are some reports published by DirectSelling, which show that the company’s revenue was constantly decreasing between 2015-2017.

Thus, in 2015 it has registered $719 million in net sales, then – $586 in 2016, and $487 in 2017.

What Are AdvoCare Products and Do They Worth The Price?

As I have already mentioned, AdvoCare has an extensive catalog of products that include personal care, sports performance supplements, powders, energy drinks, and weight loss management products.



Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - The Products

AdvoCare products are aimed at athletes as well as normal people striving for a healthy and active lifestyle.

AdvoCare sells products under the brand names Trim, Active, Well, Performance Elite, Fit, and 24 Day Challenge.

I will not list them all here as they are really too many and if I do that, I’ll end up talking about the products too much which is not the purpose of this post.

I will only mention that one of its flagship products is called Spark.


Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - Spark Product


It’s a powder designed to be added to a glass of water and suppose to enrich your drink with a “unique blend of 20 vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that work synergistically to provide a healthy and balanced source of energy.”

Because it contains caffeine, the product promises to increase your mental focus and alertness, among other things.

What it’s important to note is that Spark contains 120 mg of caffeine per 8-ounce pouch which is little too much if to compare with a cup of normal coffee containing only 95 mg of caffeine.

That’s why there are a lot of customers reporting that after drinking Spark, they had side effects such as headaches and increased heartbeats.

Here is a screenshot I’ve taken from Amazon reviews:


Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - Spark Side Effects


Speaking of the price, as you may have noticed in the Spark image above is $30 for 14 stick packs.

You could definitely find some other energy drinks for half of the price.

How Much Does it Cost to Join Advocare?

In order to become an AdvoCare distributor, you’ll need to pay a $79 registration fee that comes together with a Distributor Kit.


Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - Enrollment Price


This kit includes online AdvoStore, training, tools, and resources. Also, you’ll get three boxes of AdvoCare Spark to get you started.

Every year, you’ll need to renew your membership by paying a $50 renewal fee.

Besides that, you’ll also need to buy third party insurance to cover your business activities as a Distributor.

How to Make Money With Advocare?

So, after AdvoCare has switched the business model from MLM to single-level direct selling, there is no other way to make money with the Advocare business rather than from the sales you would make to your direct customers.

The commissions you could make like that range between 20%-40%.

So, there are no more commissions for sales volumes a downline team is generating, as well as overrides or leadership bonuses.

Essentially, there were removed 4 out of the 5 streams of income.

What is that actually means is when you bring new people into the Advocare business, you’ll sign them all up in your first line. The more you bring in, the more legs you will accumulate.

For example, 5 referrals equal to 5 legs. Respectively, you will only make money from your direct referrals’ sales.

Do They Allow You to Use the Internet to Build Your Business?

Advocare, like most of the network marketing companies, gives you your own replicated website upon joining.

While this is still a great thing and better than nothing, just think about how are you going to stand out from all the Advocare distributors who signed up before you? 

If you don’t know how to market your Advocare business (or any other type of business out there), you are going to have a tough time getting it going and produce income for you.

Is Advocare Legitimate?

Even with all the talks around those troubles with FTC, Advocare got themselves into in 2019, it still remains to operate as a legitimate business.

It’s a member of the U.S. Direct Selling Association (DSA), although it received not so good rating with BBB due to all those customers’ complaints it’s getting. More about this later on in this review.

Can You Make Money With Advocare?

Well, the answer to this question lies more in your personality.

Remember that this is a selling business, and you really have to have that salesperson manner and sales skills developed to make things happen for you. 

Of course, if you don’t have those skills, you can work on developing them but if you are an introvert like me, a sales position like that could make you feel miserable.

I think that people who succeed at sales are those with an outgoing personality, aka extroverts. Could you change from being an introvert, into an extrovert?

Honestly, I don’t think so. Even if that’s possible, it means that you are going to go against your nature, for the sake of making money. 

But let’s address those of you who are extroverts, knowing what stuff are you getting into. I am sure you’d like to see what other people involved in selling AdvoCare, are earning on average? 

To find out that, we need to take a look at Advocare’s Annual Income Disclosure Statement, which is a document any MLM company needs to release to let people know what is the earnings potential. 

Unfortunately, I was able to find only the data for 2016 which is a bit outdated.

The fact that a company is not providing this type of information regularly, is normally considered as a red flag, so be cautious!


Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - 2016 Income Disclosure Statement


Anyway, even the numbers provided for 2016 are not encouraging at all.

Just think about that: 72, 29% earned NOTHING.

Only the top 3 positions are earning a sustainable income with Advocare business, and these people you can count on fingers. 

The Good and The Bad


#1. Affordable Start-up Cost

Is $79 seems like a lot to you to start your own business? If yes, you may wish to take a look at the start-up costs at Matilda Jane MLM.

#2. Certified by Informed-Choice 

Advocare products are third-party certified by Informed-Choice, which is s a quality assurance program for sports nutrition products, suppliers to the sports nutrition industry, and supplement manufacturing facilities.

#3. A Variety of Products to Sell

There are lots of AdvoCare products that are designed to help with sports performance and weight loss – topics that a lot of people out there are concerned about nowadays.

Theoretically, this could help with making more sales, although there are no published studies on the effectiveness of AdvoCare in spurring weight loss or improving athletic performance.

On top of that, there have been scientific reviews showing AdvoCare ingredients to be either ineffective or to have potentially adverse effects.


#1. Troubles with FTC 

To avoid being shut down by FTC, AdvoCare had to agree to drastically change its business model from MLM to a single level direct selling.

That meant cutting 4 out of the 5 income streams for distributors, and as a result, a lot of people lost their downline teams and money, respectively.

#2. A Plethora of Lawsuits Around AdvoCare

There were a lot of instances when Advocare got to be sued in a court.

For example, back in July 2008, an Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy was tested positive for a banned substance Clenbuterol.

At the time, she had been taking the supplement Arginine Extreme, which she had received for free from AdvoCare in exchange for making product testimonials.

Hardy was claiming that she never heard of the banned substance and that the company’s product was tainted.

It all ended by a scientific expert testified that the AdvoCare product was tainted and Jessica’s suspension was reduced.

In another case, two of active and profitable AdvoCare distributors, Bruce and Teresa Badgett of Arlington, Texas, claimed that AdvoCare unfairly terminated their distributorship agreement.

#3. BBB Alert

BBB (Better Business Bureau) has received a number of complaints from consumers that allege unauthorized charges by AdvoCare.

As a result, the AdvoCare business receives A- BBB rating and there is actually a BBB alert on this business.


Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam? - BBB Alert


#4. Unsafe Product for Kids

AdvoCare used to market Kickstart Spark, which was a product designed for kids aged between 4-11 years. The drink contained vitamins, minerals, and caffeine.

What came into scientists’ attention was that the product contained 60 mg of caffeine that was considered by pediatricians as too much as for kids, which led to further AdvoCare ceased offering KickStart Spark.

My Final Opinion About AdvoCare + A Better Alternative

FTC didn’t shut down the Advocare business since AdvoCare has agreed to greatly change its business model to avoid further FTC slaps. This change affected a lot of Advocare distributors and their income levels.

Now, let me ask you this: is it worth it to get into a business like this, which you don’t even know will be tomorrow for you?

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t jump into it.

If you would ask me, what to do instead, I suggest looking into blogging and affiliate marketing since it’s a more stable business model.

You don’t have to worry if you know nothing about it since there are a lot of affiliate marketing training courses available nowadays.

But as a person who’s been online since 2016, let me tell you that the majority of these courses cost you an arm and a leg, while you don’t even know if it will work for you. 

Luckily, there is one outstanding affiliate marketing training program that is FREE to start

Inside, you’ll find everything you need to succeed: a step-by-step course, 24/7 support, website builder, keyword research tool, and even website hosting.

Literally, you don’t need to go elsewhere, you have everything you need in one place.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, and now you have an answer to your question: Is AdvoCare an MLM Scam?

Please leave your questions in the comments sections down below, if you have any.

As always, I wish you stay safe and well during these times, and I can’t wait to talk to you within my next post!


AdvoCare International






Business Opportunity



  • Affordable Start-up Cost
  • Informed-Choice Certified
  • A Variety of Products to Sell


  • Troubles with FTC
  • BBB Alert
  • A Plethora of Lawsuits Around AdvoCare

3 thoughts on “Is Advocare an MLM Scam? – AdvoCare Review”

  1. Having tried various MLM programs, I can confidently say that you will not earn much if you are at the bottom of the food chain.

    The good part of this MLM is the affordable joining amount but the cons overcompensate for the pros.

    I’ll pass. Thank you for this detailed review.

  2. Hi Natalie,

    For any dietary products that would cause side effects, I think it’s not an excellent business opportunity to join since it might end up harming your customers’ health, right?

    Especially when I read that there are people claiming headaches and increased heartbeats after drinking Spark.

    That aside, there are also lawsuits against Advocare, which may cause enormous troubles for our business if the company needs to settle at a massive amount of money.

    Therefore, I won’t go further to check Advocare. On the other hand, I think your alternative in the last paragraphs is indeed a better approach to online success.

    Thanks for sharing,

    • Hi, Matt,

      I feel exactly the same as you do, not comfortable with selling products that people intake, for all the side effects these may cause. You never know what reaction you could get with your customers.

      You have to be 100% confident with the product and that you can stand for it.

      Thank you for dropping by.



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