Direct Selling Association

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The Direct Selling Association (DSA) is the name of several similar trade associations in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand that represent direct selling companies, primarily those that use multi-level marketing compensation plans. On behalf of its members companies, the DSA engages in public relations and lobbying efforts against regulation of the multi-level marketing industry, and it funds political candidates through a political action committee.[1][2][3][4]

DSA (US) Logo

History of the U.S.A. DSA[edit]

The American DSA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the national trade association of a group of firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers typically through multi-level marketing.

Founded in Binghamton, New York in 1910 as a trade group for door-to-door salesmen, the association was originally called the Agents Credit Association. It was renamed the National Association of Agency Companies (NAAC) in 1914, and briefly renamed the National Association of Agency and Mail Order Companies in 1917, before returning to the NAAC in 1920. It became the Direct Selling Association in 1968.[5] As of 1970, less than 5% of the DSA's members were multi-level marketing companies. By 2009-2011, the DSA's membership had grown to include nearly 200 companies, more than 90% of which were multi-level marketing companies.[4][6]

The DSA belongs to the National Retail Federation and its member companies pledge to abide by the DSA code of ethics. [7]

DSA in other countries[edit]

As of 2011, the DSA has sister organizations in the UK (with over 40 member companies),[8] Australia (nearly 70 member companies),[9] and Israel (7 member companies),[10]

Political lobbying[edit]

The DSA serves as a public relations and lobbying group acting on behalf of its member companies.[1][4] The DSA played a role in petitioning the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to exempt multi-level marketing companies from consumer protection regulations outlined in the FTC's 2006 proposed Business Opportunity Rule.[3] The DSA also funds political candidates through its political action committee.[2]


Several members of the DSA have come under heavy regulatory scrutiny. The FTC has shut down multiple DSA members for operating illegal pyramid schemes. [11] and Trek Alliance are two DSA members shut down as pyramid schemes. Herbalife, a DSA member, is currently the subject of SEC, FTC and DOJ investigations into whether it is a pyramid scheme.

In 1996 the DSA wrote an amicus brief in support of Omnitrition. A court later found that company was a pyramid scheme.


  1. ^ a b Barrett, Stephen. "Consumer Health Digest #11-39". National Council Against Health Fraud. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Direct Selling Association Political Action Committee PAC - Qualified 2012 Committee". The Blaze. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Klein, Karen E. (April 16, 2012). "The Multibillion-Dollar Direct-Selling Industry Dodges the FTC". Bloomberg News. Retrieved June 16, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c Taylor, Jon M. "Direct Selling Association (DSA) vs. Consumers". Consumers Awareness Institute. Retrieved 2012-06-17. 
  5. ^ "History - Direct Selling Association (US)". Direct Selling Association (US). Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Direct Selling Organization (US) Membership Directory Search Results". Direct Selling Association (US). Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "DSA Code of Ethics". Direct Selling Association (UK). Retrieved June 17, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Direct Selling Organization (UK) Member Companies". Direct Selling Association (UK). Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  9. ^ "Direct Selling Association of Australia - List of Members". Direct Selling Association of Australia. Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  10. ^ "Direct Selling Association (Israel) - Members" (in Hebrew). Direct Selling Association (Israel). Retrieved 12 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Equinox International

External links[edit]