My Rant About Internet Marketing Guru Tactics


If you’ve been online as long as I have, you get a lot of emails from the Internet Marketing folks. They do give away some interesting, and occasionally useful information, but to get to it you usually need to give them your email address. You can always unsubscribe, but I’m usually too lazy (and I use Mailwasher, which makes it easy to segregate the wheat from the chaff before it gets downloaded to my computer).

I can’t complain about the emails, since I signed up for them. And there are a few marketers who actually send you information you can use, for free.

But here’s what really bugs me – you get an email from a well-known “guru” touting the latest, greatest product that will make you $43,982.72 in the next six months. You ignore the email because it sounds too bogus. Then you start getting similar emails touting the same product from practically every marketer who has your email address on file. Something must be going on, says yourself, so you go check out the site. I did that myself this morning:

Newest, Greatest Money-Making Scheme Online

Newest, Greatest Money-Making Scheme Online

I checked out the page, I listened to the video, and I can’t tell you if this product is worth the amount they’re charging for it. In fact, I can’t tell you anything about the product at all, because they don’t talk about the product – they talk about the lifestyle you’ll live if you just pay them the $37. I’m not knocking this product – I’m just mentioning that I have no idea what the product is, because the sales page doesn’t say.

The page is standard Internet Marketing copy. It shows you the car some guy drives, the house he and his spouse are supposed to be living in, the story about how he used to live on the street, or is only 14 1/2 years old, or a mom on food stamps. Then they discovered this amazing program that allows them to make money without a website, without learning SEO or buying any ads, and without spending more than 20 minutes a day on their business. You see screen shots of ClickBank or PayPal accounts that show money coming in gobs practically overnight. And all because some nice guy decided to release 250 or 327 or 464 copies of his secret formula, for just $37, or $97, or $2,000.

If the product costs less than $200, the information is probably already freely available somewhere else online, and you may even have it stored somewhere on your computer. Or it may be a “system” that worked at one time, but is now outdated, or a rehash of a product they sold last year for a higher price tag. After you give them the money, you’ll be bombarded with “one time offers” that cost double or triple the amount charged for the original product.

If the product is in the $1,000 to $2,000 range, the sales page will have a very fancy video, obviously put together by professionals. They’ll sell you the lifestyle, as usual, but they’ll go one step further – they’ll give away some valuable information, a bit at a time, to keep you coming back to their site and to get you all worked up about the product launch. There may be a personality involved – someone who is able to create entertaining videos that make you feel like you’ve just found a new buddy who wants only to make you successful.

After the free stuff comes the “launch.” When that time comes, you’ll get emails from every marketer you’ve ever signed up with, telling you to hurry, go go go – because this program is limited to just 286 people. (The affiliate commission is very high on these products, so the incentive to sell the product, whether it’s good or not, is also very high. Besides, they’re selling to strangers, so why not?)

Will the programs really work, and are they worth $2000? Maybe. Sometimes, they’re still just a collection of information that you could get for free somewhere else. Or they claim to be blackhat social networking schemes that work by spamming Twitter or Facebook (spamming never works for long). Or they say the software will  build thousands of quality backlinks within a few minutes, and the money will start pouring in from free search engine traffic (Mr. Google isn’t that stupid). Or they have a new idea for buying Facebook ads that Facebook doesn’t really want to sell you, because they know how to get around the rules (so do you get your money back when somebody at Facebook reads their eBook and closes the loophole?)…

Think about it. If you designed a system that made you $273 for 20 minutes of work, why would you sell the system at all? Wouldn’t you just hire a bunch of people from the Philippines to poke those buttons, all day long, and turn yourself into a billionaire? But if you did decide that it would be profitable to sell the idea and share it with the world for some altruistic reason, why would you only sell it to 329 people?

Selling a lifestyle works, but only for the people who cash the checks. Are they using their own programs to make money? No – they’re selling their product through affiliate marketers who send you those emails. Owning a product and getting affiliates to sell it for you is a time-tested method that really does work. I have products of my own (not related to marketing) and they’re sold through affiliates at ClickBank. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I highly recommend it.

But there is something wrong with selling products that haven’t been tested, that probably don’t work, and that aren’t actually being used by the person selling the dream. That’s just snake oil – and buyer beware.

You also need to be aware of the fact that someone can say they’re making $43,972.73 a month, when they’re really just typing away on their computer down in their mom’s basement, (because they can’t afford a place of their own). Photoshop isn’t that hard to learn, folks. Some of the most famous and well-loved marketing gurus now online got their start by faking their own incomes and selling the “system” that produced their non-existent wealth.

If you aren’t easily offended by a slightly edgy writing style, don’t buy anything from an Internet Marketer without running his name through SaltyDroid’s search form. He doesn’t catch all the crooks, but reading about their tactics is an eye opener. If you know the tactics, it might save you from spending your last dime on a product you don’t need, and that probably doesn’t work anyway.

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{ 8 comments }

shanneeq September 17, 2010 at 3:30 pm

yeah….hopeless people. they spread like a virus too.

Jonni September 17, 2010 at 4:04 pm

Jason Fladien had a similar rant on his blog today. It’s become almost mandatory for people who sell Internet Marketing products to try to distance themselves from the less desirable elements in the business. As always, buyer beware.

Rick September 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

Once again you have come through with more information to help people understand and succeed, using the new technology available to everyone.
Thanks.

Kelly-Product Reviewer May 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Hi! Jonni,

You have any experience with commenting tribes?
I’ve been reading about them the last of couple of days.

Peace.

Jonni May 18, 2011 at 6:51 am

No, that’s a totally new term for me. How do they work?

Kelly-Product Reviewer May 18, 2011 at 7:47 am

Well, from what I’ve read, its supposed to work like a support group where each blogger comments on others’ blogs daily, offer suggestions, give constructive critique and with consistence. The result should build more traffic, create backlinks, attract more visitors and in turn help each other succeed in their niche.

Jonni May 18, 2011 at 8:47 am

I did a really fast search, since you got me interested, and I could only find references to Facebook tribes. The idea seems sound, but are there any groups for blogs?

Kelly-Product Reviewer May 18, 2011 at 8:55 am

I know what you mean.
I’m currently checking out a site by Monna Ellithorpe, seems more down to earth and I just sent her comment. So I’ll wait and see.

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