PHP Agency Scam: Pyramid Scheme or MLM? [Review]

Chances are, you’ve been approached by a friend or family member about PHP Agency. In today’s world, many people are looking for ways to earn extra cash, and the opportunity to work from home through MLMs like PHP Agency can be appealing.

As an online entrepreneur, I have reviewed many similar online opportunities over the years. So I can tell you what you need to know. And just to be clear, I’m not affiliated with PHP Agency, so you can trust that this review is unbiased and honest.

In this review, I’ll share everything I know about PHP Agency and give you my honest opinion on whether it’s worth your time and money. But I won’t leave you hanging – I’ll also share the best alternative to PHP Agency that has allowed me to earn a full-time passive income online.

So, whether you’re considering joining PHP Agency or just curious about what it’s all about, read on to get the full story.

What is PHP Agency?

PHP Agency is a company that sells insurance and financial products through multi-level marketing. Basically, you can become an agent for them and sell their products to others.

The company was founded by Patrick Bet-David back in 2009, and their headquarters are in sunny California. Fun fact: before starting PHP Agency, Patrick worked for another company called WFG, which some people consider a pyramid scheme. Yikes!

But don’t worry, Patrick used his experience from WFG to create something new and different with PHP Agency. It’s kind of like WFG, but with a fresh spin.

Now, PHP Agency has over 12,000 agents who sell insurance all over the United States. That’s a lot of people! And according to them, they’ve helped over 200,000 families with their products.

One interesting thing about PHP Agency is that they collaborate with various insurance companies. So when you buy insurance through them, they act as the middleman between you and the insurance provider.

Overall, PHP Agency seems like a pretty unique way to get into the insurance business. 

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What is MLM?

PHP Agency’s business model is based on multilevel marketing, but before we can discuss how it works, let’s first define MLM and how it differs from traditional business models.

Multilevel marketing companies are also known as direct sales or network marketing companies. Unlike traditional businesses that pay employees a salary, MLM companies pay their members by recruiting others to join their business and earning a commission on the sales and recruits they bring in.

Imagine a triangle where the person at the top recruits ten people, and each of these ten recruits ten more, and so on. In an MLM, the people beneath you are known as your ‘downline,’ and you are their ‘upline.’ You can earn $1100 by recruiting 10 people, and the ultimate goal is to have as many people in your ‘downline’ as possible to earn large amounts of passive income.

While MLM companies may offer a range of products, most people prefer to recruit others because they can earn a lifetime passive income from them. However, those at the top make the most money, while those at the bottom make the least.

You may also want to read our article on the top MLM companies.

Is PHP Agency a pyramid scheme?

PHP Agency is not a pyramid scheme. In fact, members of the company can make money by selling their products. They don’t have to rely solely on recruitment to earn money.

Pyramid schemes are different. They lure people in by promising them money or services in exchange for enrolling others. Unfortunately, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and usually a scam. Members lose money as the number of recruits increases. 

To join, you usually have to pay a fee to an organization that runs the scheme. This organization rewards members with a portion of the funds raised from each additional member they recruit.

The people at the top of the pyramid (usually the directors) receive a bigger share of these payments, regardless of whether they do any work. To keep the scheme going, it’s in the membership’s best interest to recruit more people and funnel money to the top.

The thing is, pyramid schemes almost never sell valuable goods or services. Their only source of revenue is from recruiting new members and soliciting more money from current members.

This means that they don’t produce any goods or services that are actually useful. Unlike pyramid schemes, PHP Agency sells valuable products that people need and want.

In a pyramid scheme, the size of the pyramid grows dramatically with each level. A pyramid scheme would have to grow indefinitely to make money for everyone who joins, which is impossible because the planet has a finite population. The scam will fail without new recruits and other income sources. 

You may read our article on the difference between MLM and pyramid schemes here.

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Is PHP Agency a scam?

While PHP Agency is not technically a scam, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before you sign up.

Basically, PHP Agency promises you the world, but in reality, it’s just a scheme to take your money. Many people have labeled it a scam, including some of its own employees. That’s because it can be incredibly difficult to get people to sign up for your business, and even if you do, there’s no guarantee that you’ll make any money.

What’s more, PHP Agency and its agents have been accused of being a pyramid scheme, and they were even fined $1 million in 2016 for insurance-related violations. So, if you’re thinking about joining an MLM program, you might want to look for one that’s more transparent and legitimate.

There are plenty of MLM programs out there that offer great compensation for those who affiliate with them, so it’s important to choose the right one. Avoid programs that promote only a handful of products and commissions as the only method of financial gain. These types of opportunities are designed to trick you into making the company money, not to help you achieve your goals.

In summary, while PHP Agency is not a scam, it’s not a program that’s likely to help you make money either. There are better options out there, so do your research before you invest your time and money into any MLM program.

Who is Patrick Bet-David?

Patrick Bet-David is the founder and CEO of the PHP Academy, which offers a wide range of courses for students.

Patrick Bet-David

But that’s not all. Patrick is a successful internet entrepreneur, with an estimated net worth of $200 million. He founded his own digital marketing company back in 1999 and has since grown it into a 7-figure stream of revenue per year.

Now, Patrick wants to help other business owners replicate his success. He teaches them how to achieve their goals by sharing his experience and expertise from within his own organization.

Patrick’s family history is also tied to the insurance industry. His great-great grandfather started selling life insurance in 1830, and Patrick himself grew up poor and understands the importance of having coverage.

With PHP Agency, Patrick has created an opportunity for others to work from home, set their own hours, and determine their own income. However, it’s worth noting that this opportunity is an MLM scheme, which means you’ll need to recruit new members to earn money.

Aside from the PHP Academy and the agency, Patrick also runs the Valuetainment YouTube channel, a podcast-style channel similar to Joe Rogan’s.

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What products does PHP Agency offer?

PHP sells a variety of third-party options from reputable providers such as Foresters Financial, AIG, National Life Group, Nationwide, National Western, American National, and Allianz. Here are some of the products they offer:

  • Term life insurance
  • Return of Premium term insurance policy
  • Indexed universal life insurance
  • No-medical exam life insurance
  • Fixed indexed annuity

To sell these products, you’ll need to obtain a license and pay some fees. 

Most MLMs today only sell to the wealthy, but PHP is focusing on markets in the middle, average, and below-average ranges.

The company recommends agents sell products such as Medicare Advantage and Final Expense to lower middle-class families.

How can you make money with PHP Agency?

As PHP Agency is a multi-level marketing company, there are two ways to profit from it…

  1. Sell insurance and make commissions on it
  2. Recruit people and build a downline which is what they focus on

The first method is what they call retail MLM and it’s like the usual “B to C” business model. You get paid based on the products you sell.

The second way is by recruiting people to join the company and building a downline. This is where the focus of PHP Agencies lies. If you’re not familiar with it, MLM businesses operate by having a network of people who sell products or recruit others to join. As for PHP Agency, you earn a commission or recurring income by bringing in new members.

When we say “recurring income,” it simply means that you do the work once and continue to earn money from it as long as the person you referred keeps paying the company. 

So, if you manage to recruit someone into the PHP Agency, you’ll earn a commission as long as that person stays active with the company.

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How much do PHP agents really make?

According to their website and some online reviews we’ve come across, the average national income of a PHP agent in the US is around $65,000. Sounds pretty good, right? 

However, like any other MLM company, PHP Agency tends to make exaggerated income claims. So, the reality is that very few people make a good living by promoting PHP Agency.

Let’s face it – you can’t expect to make a lot of money working from home without any kind of skill or experience in the field. In fact, most people don’t make a penny until after a few months or so. And statistics confirm this as well. According to a case study on the FTC’s website, 99% of people who join an MLM break even or lose money.

People who join these MLM-type businesses often feel under pressure to succeed, and that’s one of the main reasons they leave. 

So, if you’re thinking of joining PHP Agency, be aware that success doesn’t happen overnight and that it takes hard work and dedication to make it work.

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PHP Agency Compensation Plan

PHP’s compensation plan, like most MLM compensation plans, is difficult to understand if you are unfamiliar with MLM terms and jargon.

To make sure you understand everything, I’ll summarize the main points.

Affiliate Ranks

In PHP, there are 11 ranks that you achieve by reaching sales and hiring goals. The further you climb, the more benefits you get (especially higher commissions for sales).

In PHP, you can advance to the following levels:

  • Trainee
  • Associate
  • Field Associate
  • Director
  • Marketing Director
  • Senior Marketing Director
  • Executive Marketing Director
  • Senior Vice President
  • Executive Vice President
  • President’s Council
  • Chairman’s Council

To reach the final rank, you need to recruit 600 affiliates, of which at least 12 must be marketing managers, and generate 1,200,000 GV (group sales) per month.

Retail Commissions

How much revenue you make from retail sales depends on the rank of your affiliates.

Here are the commission rates for each rank:

  • Trainees get 30% commissions
  • Associates get 40% commissions
  • Field Associates get 50% commissions
  • Directors get 60% commissions
  • Marketing Directors get 75% commissions
  • Senior Marketing Directors get 77% commissions
  • Executive Marketing Directors get 78% commissions
  • Senior Vice Presidents get 79% commissions
  • Executive Vice Presidents get 80% commissions
  • President’s Council get 81% commissions
  • Chairman’s Council get 82% commissions
  • Direct Commission Bonus

You can earn this bonus if you recruit a certain number of people and sell enough GV. Your total earnings can be boosted by 5% to 40% by these bonuses.

Generation Bonus

Your Generation Bonus is the money you earn from your downline, and the way you get paid is referred to as a “unilevel compensation structure.”

Here is the amount you can earn from the levels below you:

  • 10% on Level 1 (personal recruits) 
  • 5% on level 2
  • 4% on level 3
  • 3% on level 4
  • 1% on levels 4 to 7

If you recruit 5 affiliates and earn 25,000 GV per month, you will receive a 5% bonus on level 1 recruits.

How much does it cost to join PHP Agency?

On their website or anywhere else, PHP Agency doesn’t state how much joining costs.

Based on the reviews I’ve read on the Better Business Bureau, PHP Agency charges $199 to join its multilevel marketing program. 

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PHP Agency Complaints

PHP Agency has received some complaints on Glassdoor.

According to this member, he was misled into believing he didn’t need to make money off his friends and family, which is not true.

PHP Agency review on Glassdoor

This member called PHP Agency an MLM scam that targets college students and low-income families.

PHP Agency review on Glassdoor

Besides, PHP Agency has also received some negative reviews on Better Business Bureau.

For example, this member said PHP Agency didn’t teach her how to get a license after taking her money. 

PHP Agency review on Better Business Bureau

This member has difficulty getting a refund from PHP. 

PHP Agency review on Better Business Bureau

This customer said she read the script and it was for convincing friends and family into their scheme. 

PHP Agency review on Better Business Bureau


1. Wide product line

PHP Agency offers a diverse range of life insurance products that can meet the needs of many different customers. Whether you’re looking for a term life policy, a whole life policy, or something in between, PHP Agency has you covered. Additionally, their experienced agents can guide you through the selection process to ensure that you’re choosing the best policy for your individual needs.

2. Well-known partners

PHP Agency partners with some of the most trusted names in the life insurance industry, including AIG, Mutual of Omaha, Foresters Financial, and National Western Life Insurance Company. This means that customers can access a wider range of options and rest assured that they are getting quality coverage from reputable providers.


1. Difficult to achieve success

One of the biggest cons of MLMs like PHP Agency is that success can be difficult to achieve. According to statistics, anywhere from 72.5 to 99.9 percent of MLM members lose money. This is because MLMs require their members to continually sell products to remain active and eligible for commissions. If members don’t meet their sales quota, they won’t be paid, which can result in significant financial losses. In some cases, members may even lose money before recruiting anyone into the company.

2. Lack of transparency

Another con of PHP Agency is its lack of transparency. The company doesn’t provide any information about its products, services, costs, or locations. This lack of transparency has led many people to question whether the company is a scam. Without this crucial information, it’s difficult to make an informed decision about whether to join the company or not.

3. Misleading advertising

Finally, PHP Agency’s advertising has been criticized as misleading. Some people have complained that the income they received from the company was much less than what they expected. Additionally, several of PHP’s recruits have reported being ripped off by the company’s agents. 

Most of the company’s money is spent on marketing, leaving very little cash for those at the bottom of the pyramid. This can result in disappointment and frustration for those who were expecting more financial rewards from their involvement in the company.

4. Products vary by provider

One of the drawbacks of working with PHP Agency is that the products they offer vary depending on the provider. This means that not all life insurance providers will offer the same terms, commissions, and cost options. As a result, it can be challenging to find the right provider and product that will meet the needs of your clients.

5. You’ll need a license to sell insurance

If you’re interested in selling life insurance as part of PHP Agency, you’ll need to obtain a license. This can be a time-consuming and expensive process that requires you to complete a training program and pass a licensing exam. Before you can start selling insurance, you’ll need to invest a lot of time and money upfront, which may not be feasible for everyone.

6. Recruiting is encouraged

Another downside of PHP Agency is that the MLM model encourages you to recruit people in order to make money. While you can earn money by selling their products, if you want to make a living, you will need to hire others. 

The problem is that not everyone is cut out for recruiting, and it can be challenging to find people who are interested in joining your team. Additionally, the pressure to recruit can cause some members to feel like they’re being pushed into something they’re not comfortable with.

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Is there a better way to make money online?

If you’re beginning your online business journey, you deserve a program much better than PHP Agency.

My #1 recommended platform is called Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate is an all-in-one platform for building your affiliate marketing business from scratch.

You may read our article about the difference between MLM and affiliate marketing.

When you join Wealthy Affiliate, you can get access to the first-class web hosting service, keyword research tools, community support, comprehensive training, writing tools, and other software to help you build an online business step-by-step.

You can register a free account with Wealthy Affiliate, which enables you to get started with affiliate marketing right away without paying a penny.

If you like the platform, you can then upgrade to the premium membership to get access to everything on the platform. There are no upsells afterwards.

But How Much Can You Earn with Wealthy Affiliate?

A 21-year-old student from Wealthy Affiliate was able to earn $7,395 in just 1 week, which means he made more than $1k a day…all while applying what is taught inside Wealthy Affiliate.

Wealthy Affiliate testimonial

Compared with Authority Hacker, Wealthy Affiliate has a much longer history, which has been established for 15 years and there are many success stories in the past decade. Actually, Wealthy Affiliate has more than a million members so far, so you can see how popular this platform is.

You can read our full review of Wealthy Affiliate here.

Where to Join Wealthy Affiliate?

Wealthy Affiliate has a very simple pricing scheme. It has a free and premium membership. The premium membership only costs $49/month or $395/year.

If you want to feel about Wealthy Affiliate, you can sign up for the free starter membership here (no credit card required). You can select to be a free member with no time limit.

And as a starter member, you can get instant access to the community, live chat, over 500 training modules, 2 classrooms, networking, commenting, 1 free website, and access to the keyword tool.

You can enjoy all these values without paying a penny.

So I strongly recommend you register a free account and see it yourself.

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