Some networking companies are built around gaining customers, some around recruiting people into the plan. These people in turn recruit others who recruit others who recruit others etc. To some this sounds like a typical pyramid scheme and the boundaries of what is and isn't a pyramid can often be confusing. Essentially, the money coming into the distrubtors pocket should mostly come from outside the scheme itself.
The way I see it is that if you're not getting paid for recruiting people into your company and the money comes from these people purchasing products and services, then it's okay. I'll further qualify this by saying that these products and services should be things that these people actually want and would buy at that price even if they weren't to be compensated for being with that MLM.
Should you focus on building a base of recruiters who recruit? Personally, I think that an organisation of recruiters is a flakey one and one that flirts with the law. I'd much rather focus on what makes these companies exist in the first place. The products and services they offer. Build a solid base of customers - who have no idea about MLM, network marketing or otherwise - and I'd say you're in a very solid company indeed. You're also on more solid ground when it comes to recruiting other people to do the same and in a better position to make your downline more profitable. A profitable downline means a downline that is going to stick around and be less dependant on you, and in turn they'll be in a position to repeat the process.
Some companies won't actually pay you until you qualify for commission by virtue of your own sales. This is a good thing and I wish more would do this. It would scare a lot of people away that would otherwise get involved, if they don't want to be in the sales game then you shouldn't be dangling carrots of financial freedom and riches in front of them.
Chris Andrews has a keen interest MLM and network marketing, but not in the way most people are. He writes about his experiences on the site http://www.wanttoknowmore.com/ and the blog http://christopherandrews.blogspot.com/