Great question. As you probably know, there are a bunch of different compensation plans out there. The problem is that most of them don't pay through a time spectrum. In other words, they tend to back-load their money. If you stay in a long time and get a lot of people under you you make a lot of money - but it often doesn't happen up front. This allows people to get upset & frustrated so they quit.
Of the primary compensation plans out there:
1) Stair-step breakaway - one of the oldest and most difficult. You recruit people and place them directly below you. You get a percentage of what they do. People get placed below them and you make a smaller precentage of that. But when someone reaches your rank, they 'break away' from you and don't count toward your volume/income. Income is focused on the top end producers, not on the early starters.
2) Binary - only 2 legs. You get paid on the weaker of the 2. They typically pay a when both legs match a certain volume. The problem is that you can have 1 leg with a ton of people but you won't get paid from them because it is the balance between the 2 legs.
3) Matrix - legal issues tend to plague this type of plan. There has only been 1 with any long term success! Plus, look at how much money they generate - I don't know too much about this one because I always dismissed it based on the legal problems.
4) Unilevel - you get paid a straight percentage off of people on your front line and a smaller percentage off people below them. For example, you put 5 people on your front line and you earn 10% off each of them. Each of them puts 5 under them (30 total people) - you earn 5% of of each of them. It will often pay 5% all the way down to the 5th level or 10th level.
I would argue that the Unilevel is the fairest & most equitable. It pays based on production without having to match anyone else. There is also no breakaway - that is a huge thing!
Traditional Unilevel does have its weaknesses though because it quits paying after the 5th level (or whatever cutoff they used). Personally, I was involved in a Binary plan in the past - hated it! I had one leg that took off but couldn't ever get the other leg to match it so, even though I had a lot of people in my organization, I didn't have an income to match it!
Find a plan that pays (and pays well) through 3 phases of money:
Immediate - rewards you up front for work you do and enables you to stay in business
Growth - good compensation plan that is fair and equitable
Residual - provides excellent long-term income potential based on a variety of bonuses.
To stay current, companies are having to make hybrids of these traditional plans. This can help bridge some of those gaps. I have an article that will explain more about this on my website...