Lets not call it ownership if it isn't ownership. That much, everyone should be able to agree on. A lot of the jargon of this venture is predicated on half truths at best. Founders are supposed to be owners at the outset of a venture. But not here.
Whoever set out to build a business from the ground up, knowing he's only leasing that business? The only comparable thing I can think of is a franchise, but a franchise gives you so much from the outset: the only way they are able to sell frachises is because they have built a remarkably successful business ALREADY, so the person buying into the franchise is in fact just operating an existing, proven business. The differences are fundamental, and stark.
One more thought: I agree on the nomenclature. "Ownership" is a tough pill to swallow if it has no properties/entitlements of ownership. I've always suggested "Manager".
Also, we hire rain-makers on commission. They go out in the world, their own wits as their only resource. Everything is percentage-based. They make a sale, they get paid. Only, usually the values are reversed. We take 80% and they keep 20%, with bonuses for incentives, etc.
The rain-makers don't go out under the guise that they are building up their own business, however. They are working for us. It's the sales game. If they land a huge client, that brings in tons of cash, they get compensated. But, if they leave, and go somewhere else... well, they have to start over. (Contractually there are time limits and all that, non-competes, and the like.) But, they are under no illusion that they are an "owner" of that book of business simply because of their efforts.
I don't know that I'm agreeing, or disagreeing with you. I think maybe I just don't have the hangup on the distribution stuff. Maybe because I (at least for now) don't see how to make Niche ownership a full-time job. I mean... who, besides @David Dreezer is going to read my twice-daily articles on clams?