Confesstimonial :: Lawyers in Scamworld

The first confesstimonial was a big hit :: and in a more interesting than usual comment stream … it spawned the second confesstimonial. Once your blog posts start producing progeny :: you can retire to the beach to live the tanned twinkie lifestyle … fact.

The video is The Vergecast from the morning the Scamworld article printed. It’s pretty funny to listen to real Internet experts laughing about fake Internet experts :: and then Danny Sullivan calls in to ruin my laughter … but I’ve let go of that anger now because I am mature.

Anywayz :: at about 7:30 they start talking about how it’s not fair to call people who get sucked into these scams idiots … or the like. According to The Verge editors :: Verge readers are more “critical :: savvy :: and street smart” than average folk {something not on evidence in the Scamworld2 comments} … but lots of people are still naive in the ways of the web and can’t be blamed for falling prey to these terrible liars.

That sentiment is appreciated by me :: victim’s advocate … and hater of victim blamers. But it’s not strictly accurate. Critical :: savvy :: street smart Internet people get sucked into these Internet Marketing scams all the time. Regular readers of The Verge get sucked into these Internet Marketing scams all the time. Doctors :: lawyers :: teachers :: cops :: programers :: journalists … all susceptible.

It’s not about who you are … it’s about how you are.

Flatley started the Scamworld article like this …

On a warm summer day in 2002, in Charlevoix, Michigan, Richard Joseph’s bad luck began. The lawyer, husband, and father of two was walking across the driveway with a bag of garbage when his bare foot slipped in a puddle of water that had collected beneath his car’s air conditioner… He’d never walk again.

… it was a great way to start … because so many of these sad scam stories begin with another sad story. People are put off their game by the struggles and calamities of life … and that’s when the bastards pounce. When you’ve lost a spouse :: or a job :: or a parent :: or a religion :: or a self identity :: something transformational that’s left you confused and drifting … that’s when you’re vulnerable. It doesn’t matter who you are :: or what you’ve accomplished … because in that moment of flux :: or fear :: you’re not you.

With that introduction :: here’s @What the what’s beautiful comment about her brush with the dark side … Confesstimonial 2.

_____

A few years ago I was a trial attorney. I hated it. I absolutely hated everything about it. It was the wrong career for me. I had decided at 19 that I wanted to be a lawyer and I worked my ass off to get into law school. I worked with a single minded focus to get excellent grades. I didn’t go out that much. I didn’t have hobbies. I had only a couple of friends. I had two things in my life, my job and school. I got into law school on a scholarship. After the first year I knew I hated it but I did well (again, working at school with a single minded focus) and was in the top 15% of my class. Halfway through my second year, I called my mom and asked her what she thought about me leaving law school. I was so hoping she would say, that if I hated it I should just leave. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. Everyone in my family (parents, aunts, uncles, grandma) was so frakking proud of the future lawyer. Long story short, I stayed, and was absolutely miserable. Then I got my first job as a trial attorney, I worked 60 hour weeks and hated every second of it. After a few years I couldn’t do it anymore. I was broken and burnt out. I drove to my parents house in tears and begged them to not be disappointed in me if I wasn’t a lawyer anymore. I begged them to approve of my decision to leave my job, my career. I needed them to approve of it because I felt like a complete failure. I was twenty eight years old. For almost ten years my entire life was devoted to becoming, and then being, a lawyer. It was who I was. It was the sole source of my pride in myself as it was actually the only thing in my life.

They gave their approval because they saw how devastatingly unhappy I was. So I quit my job. I had some savings and moved back home to take some time and figure out what I would do next. I was as broken and vulnerable as I have ever been. I didn’t even know who I was anymore now that I wasn’t a lawyer and I had no idea what I was going to do with the rest of my life. It had never even occurred to me that I would do anything other than practice law. That person is exactly the type of person the IMers are looking for. And that’s where I was in my life when I first got introduced to IM. I stuck a toe in just to see what it was all about. A free seminar here, a free e-book there. I started planning some sites and writing some draft articles about things that I “had passion” for. I had absolutely no expertise in these areas and I had no business giving anyone any advice about them. But Ed Dale said I just needed “passion” and I just had to create “quality content”. So I did.

Luckily for me, I was having drinks with a dear dear friend of mine. He asked me what I was up to and I told him all about my adventures in IM (at this point I was just starting. I had bought a few domains and had written a few articles. I hadn’t decided on a product yet to sell. But I was SEOing like a mad woman. There was always something in the back of my mind that there was something not quite right about what I was doing but I kept going anyway). He looked me in the eyes and said “I love you, and I know things are really hard right now. But what you’re doing isn’t a real thing.” All told I had spent maybe a couple of hundred dollars. And shortly thereafter I found Salty Droid. I think I read every article and every comment on this site in the course of one weekend. That Monday morning I got up and pulled the plug on everything. I just walked the fuck away. (Thankfully I didn’t have a list and hadn’t actually recommended any products. Hell, I don’t think I even had any page views. So I was able to just shut it down without taking any further steps).

I am so grateful that my friend had the guts to be honest with me and that I found this site before I did any serious damage. It kills me because at one point, while talking to my mom about what I was doing with IM, I had encouraged her to get started in it. Every time I come to this site I think about the fact that I had almost fed not just myself, but my own frakking MOTHER to these people. (She told me once, “I don’t know what this stuff is all about. But you are really smart. And you are really good at research. So if you say it’s genuine, I believe you.” ) And I read the stories about people who lost everything and think…”My God. That could have been us.” I listen to this and I think that could’ve been my mom.

So this shit that Koenigs, Kern, Pagan, et al say about not working hard? They’re full of shit. I was someone with an incredible work ethic. I spent tons of time on my seminars, writing articles, researching. And no one cared what I had to say. No one saw my sites. I didn’t “fail at IM” because I was a slacker. I didn’t “fail at IM” because I didn’t take “Massive Action”. I wasn’t successful because IM is bullshit. I wasn’t successful because I hadn’t started feeding victims into the sick machine. I wasn’t successful at IM because I ESCAPED IM. You know who is successful? The people that sacrifice others to the “sick machine” for the affiliate pay outs.

And I didn’t get suckered because I’m stupid. I studied economics on a scholarship. I went to law school on a scholarship. I was trying cases on my own after only a year in practice and winning. Those things don’t mean I’m super smart. But it does mean I’m not a total idiot. The important thing is that I was vulnerable and scared and hurting and broken. That’s all it takes.

So, @Amanda (and anyone lurking around who might be in the same situation), if you are for real? Good luck. I hope you get all the way out. I hope you find something that’s real and that will make you happy and that isn’t IM or biz-op. And if you are genuine then you will excuse what I say next because you will have read my story and understand where I am coming from.

If you are just a troll here, like @Frances Flynn Thorson or @Charles Frey, then fuck right the fuck off. You don’t get my name because these fuckers have my name and they have more of my personal information than just my name from signing up for the scams. And these fuckers have no morals. They don’t care who they harass or who they destroy. I found my way. I am going into a new career I absolutely LOVE. A career that is an actual real thing. I’m moving forward. And these fuckers don’t get to be the cause of any more damage in my life.

_____

@What the what got the hell out … and you can too!

>> bleep bloop

161 thoughts on “Confesstimonial :: Lawyers in Scamworld”

  1. That`s no joke. Once you are in that fucking list you might as well have been sucked into a black-hole because they never let you go. They want you, and your family and your friend and the kool aid is sweet enough to drink and hide the cyanide.

    Though my experience was not with IM, but rather the Law of Attraction leeches that prey on you just as well as these guys on the fact that you are a maid and it`s your fault because you were born in a country that doesn`t speak English and its mayor import is Rum. Oh and you are brown so that`s your fault too.

    It`s illegal to kill, and be illegal. Is it illegal to be a scammer in the name of ‘bettering’ peoples lives? I think their proclivities have the tendency to leave you broke and not ‘bettering’ anything.

    Peace out playas-Satan wants me to clean him room naked.
    I need more lemon pledge.

  2. I am going to ask a questions that many sound rhetorical, but it isn’t. It is a real question. Why do so many of these scammers get by with high profile scamming when most of them are in violation of state laws or FTC regs? Is it because the amount of money they rake in is not enough to trigger an investigation?

    Now that I’ve been introduced to Patrick Petty, I see that local and national authorities ARE going after the biggest of the big MLMers and Ponzi schemers. But so many more are still out there…

    My guess is that scammers hide behind the argument that the victim didn’t work the system (which is true in some cases.) What can we do? I want to press the authorities in my state to take action…

    1. @Bran Parlett,

      So many reasons …

      1. Victims don’t know they’ve been scammed.

      2. Victims don’t want to admit they’ve been scammed.

      3. Victims don’t know who to contact about being scammed.

      4. The scam is too complicated for (a) victims to explain, (b) law enforcement to understand, and/or (c) prosecutors to explain to a judge and jury.

      5. From a simplistic Laissez-faire and caveat emptor view of economics (ignoring modern behavioral economics, aka economic psychology, and psychopathic behavior), buyers had the opportunity to compare various bizopps, coaching providers, past-life regression services, etc. and made rational choices.

      6. The smarter providers (not Mr. Pierce and his vaporware websites) do provide a “box of shit,” fulfilling, in the simplest sense, their legal obligation in each transaction. I got your money, you got a box of shit that I claim is a training program.

      7. The scope of the collusion is difficult to fathom until you dig into it. Legit service providers often provide reciprocal referrals to one another. From the outside, it looks like that. From the outside, it’s difficult to not get caught up in the fake social proof and the nonenforcement catch-22. If everyone recommends Frank Kern, it must be because Frank Kern is great at what he does, right? ‘Cause if everyone was in on a gigantic scam, surely the FTC would stop it, right?

      8. The FTC only has 675 people working on Consumer Protection. For the whole country. (my estimate based on their staff and budget allocation to CP)

      9. Without getting too bogged down discussing laziness, corruption and the wasteful “war on drugs,” local law enforcement has simpler and more violent crimes to investigate and prosecute.

      1. @Lanna, Sad, but well said. I can see all that is true but especially #8 and #9. However, you never know what is going on under the surface in a law enforcement office. At least they know. In my case, half of the staff took the extraordinary step of preparing signed affidavits with personal eye witness accounts of what they saw and the scammers messages of intent to scam, so we have that…

        I am seriously hoping that this Internet Income bubble will pop and the mucky contents drip all over the perpetrators. At least the public will be advised.

  3. Danny Sullivan’s shock and surprise that it’s called Internet Marketing is naive at best. Con men have never used illegitimate terms to describe themselves, at least not publicly. “Hi, my name is Joe. I’m a scam artist.” Rather, “Hi, my name is Joe. I’m a roofing contractor (or whatever other field they seek to exploit).”

    The IM’er in Scamworld are making an ancient play. In the old days, we called it “biz opp” (business opportunity). The target audience is enormous – people who want to make money.

    Mr. Sullivan talks about online marketing. The semantical confusion is intentional. It serves the scammers. No need to blast Joe Flatley for calling it what it is, but in reality it’s a how-to-make-money-online scam.

      1. @Anonymous, I keep seein you around the internets… You must be perty busy to be doin all that stuff. What with the hackin and YouTubes and twitters and and all.

        You musta taken one of Evan Pagan’s courses.

        He’s a pretty fart smeller, that there he is!

        Whelp, I gusta be movin on… Law an Order SVU’s on back to back!

  4. @What the what,

    Wow. I love how you express yourself. Lucidity and grammatical accuracy are so rare today, but you express them in spades. Best wishes for your new career.

    1. @ Anonymous,

      Thank you for the compliment and the well wishes. They are very much appreciated.

  5. I’ve been lurking here for a while, and the reason I’m speaking up now is that because I’m also a lapsed lawyer having a personal crisis. (In my case, running away from an abusive marriage.)

    The reason I’m confused is that for the last 2-3 years I’ve been making a small, but consistent income selling my self-published fiction. (I get short stories published in magazines and anthologies too, but that doesn’t pay anything like as well at my level as just sticking it on the Kindle store.)

    I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time on ProBlogger etc, and a fair amount of money as well. I have no way of telling whether what I’ve picked up there has helped me get any better at promoting my writing, but that’s not the point. The point is that, having had an archive binge of this fake robot blog, I’m having trouble reconciling my self-image (i.e. non-scammer) with somebody who would have used the ridiculous linking pyramid techniques, and all that search-engine-spamming nonsense, to get people to come to my site.

    Also, I’d been feeling quite clever for all of my successes, and now I really, really don’t.

    Er, I guess there is no point to this comment after all. I’m just quite upset.

    1. @Conflicted Pandas, It sounds like you’re discovering that some of the sources of information you relied on might be seriously suspect. I don’t think you have a lot to worry about if you sell fiction and DELIVER what you sell. Most marketing techniques ripped apart here, if they don’t involve outright fraud, work well to promote real businesses and real products. It’s the fact that they are *all* used (including the fraudulent fake social proof, fake reviews, etc.), to sell FRAUDULENT PRODUCTS that is at the heart of the matter.

      For example — a lot of scammers are now telling people to publish books that are nothing but padded sales letters jammed with links and put them on Kindle. They show you how to scam Amazon to promote your business. Wrong!

      That doesn’t make Kindle bad. Or publishing on Kindle bad. It makes FRAUD on Kindle bad…as all fraud is and has always been.

      Write and sell your fiction. Even if it’s shitty — if someone buys it and likes it great. If they buy it and hate it — 90% of all art is crap. Tell people you GUARANTEE they like it or they get their money back, then don’t ever give their money back or make it so difficult to ask it’s impossible…that, too, would be fraud.

      1. @Head Honcho,

        Most marketing techniques ripped apart here, if they don’t involve outright fraud, work well to promote real businesses and real products.

        Give that fan a contract

    2. @Conflicted Pandas, creating and selling fiction as fiction is cool, creative, and takes talent. If IM only covered this activity, then this site would not exist. It is creating and selling fiction as fact – which is what most IM scammers do: so you should exclude yourself from this group. Good luck with the writing, and the selling, and the marketing, and with picking up any online marketing tips you can from anywhere.

      1. @Random stuff,

        Creating and selling fiction as fiction is cool. Creating and selling fiction as fact is fraud.
        This is what scammers do.

    3. @Conflicted Pandas,

      Based on what you have described, I don’t see anything scummy about what you are doing. You are writing fiction, sending it out in attempts to get it published and when it does, being paid for the work you did (i.e., the piece of fiction you wrote). That sounds entirely legitimate and pretty much what you expect from someone trying to earn a living off of being a writer. As far as trying SEO or other techniques to get traffic to your site. I don’t find that scummy, per se, either. All sorts of business employ different techniques to drive traffic to your site. At worst I think there might be some disagreement as to the effectiveness of these tactics, but not whether the tactics are themselves a scam (discounting spamming, etc).

      Here is what the scam world version of your scenario would look like:

      You have sold a few pieces that you have written and (as you stated) are making a small income from that. So, following the advice of the typical scammers you write an e-book, “I BECAME A PROFESSION AUTHOR FROM HOME IN MY SPARE TIME MAKING MORE MONEY THEN I EVER IMAGINED AND YOU CAN TOO!”. You put up a website and claim that you are a well-repsected and well-known author/person in the industry. You claim that you have made millionz of moniez writing from home and you HAD NEVER TAKEN A COURSE IN WRITING EVER!!! ANYONE CAN DO IT!!!!. You tell people that if they download your free e-book they’ll learn everything they need to know about becoming a freelance writer, making tons of money, getting all the ladiez (because not only is this industry scummy it is also misogynist, and it never occurs to them that there are women in the world who are anything other than a prop to prove how cool they are, or a “perk” at their smarmy parties**), and living the life of their dreams – all from home in their spare time.

      So they download your e-book and in return they give you their email address. KNOW the fun begins. You send them an email 1, 2, 3 times a week and they say things such as. I hope everything is going well with your exciting new career as a freelance writer, but sometimes it can be hard to get the attention of publishers. (Of course you know that they haven’t been doing this very long and the average person isn’t talented enough to come right out of the gate getting published, so you are completely confident they haven’t been successful yet at all). Then you tell them that you are going to offer them an incredible opportunity. You are holding a seminar online with some of the most successful internet publishers and writer in the industry. Of course, the people at the “seminar” aren’t what you claim to be and you still aren’t what you claimed to be. Because you are so supportive of people who are going after their dream you are going to give them a great deal 80% of this incredible opportunity to network and really get their name out there. Originally you sold tickets to your seminar for $1500.00 (totally made up idea of “value”) but you will let them buy a spot for just $97!!!! OMG guyz you must be craaaaazy! But they better act fast because you can only offer this INCREDIBLEZ opportunity for the next 12 hours!!! Then you won’t be able to sell anymore tickets.

      As I said, you send these emails a few times a week. Then you realize you aren’t making money with your free e-book and people aren’t signing up for your seminar so you latch onto the affiliate programs of the make-money “gurus”. You start sending emails to your list promoting Kern, the third tribe, [insert name of scammer here] and tell your list that if they aren’t making MIND BLOWING IMPOSSIBLE AMOUNTS OF MONIEZ it’s because they aren’t marketing themselves right and OMG are they so lucky because you have discovered the most incredible secret evah!!! Then you schill the product of [insert name of scammer here] which is being sold for a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars and you will get to keep a cut. But you don’t explicitly tell your list that. (I mean, it’s what’s done in the industry right? That should just be understood right? I don’t have to actually TELL people that the product I am swearing is the best thing ever is actually going to get me a sweet little %).

      Now you are on the D-team, or C-team. Maaaaaybe the B-team. (but only if you’ve been incredible at kissing ass and fawning over the A-team). You aren’t making millions. You aren’t even an author because you spend all your time sending emails to your list about A-teamer products (and the A-team feeds those names into the boiler rooms) and you yourself buy A-teamer products and go to seminars (because you need to keep them happy so they will LET YOU sell their stuff and let you in the “inner circle” even though they actually won’t) and you pretend you are an expert at getting people published and making millions being a writer in LESS THAN 3 MONTHS!!!

      If people call you on your bullshit then you tell them that they just aren’t working the system properly or they are too lazy to work hard (even though you sold the system as earning millions in their spare time) and they aren’t successful because they suck at being people, or something.

      I’m sure I missed a few steps along the way but @ Conflicted Pandas, if you aren’t doing what I described above (or something pretty close to it) you are probably not a scammer.

      TL;DR: to be a scammer you have to participate in a scam &/or commit fraud.

      1. @What the what, …and you don’t have to do *all* those things in that order to qualify as “one of the bad guys.” Almost any of the techniques stand alone.

        I like that you pointed out SEO is not necessarily scammy. It’s not. Hell — it happens *naturally* if you publish stuff on the Web and just pay attention to keywords. And the more natural it is, the less likely you are to have some new algorithm change (which is only required, again, to try and lock out people trying to “game” the system) have any effect whatsoever on your rankings.

        This is one of the most disgusting aspects of what I’ve seen the “IM industry” (whatever the fuck that implies) doing lately. Constantly trying to “game” the system. The search engines. The spam filters. Kindle. “Best Seller” status. You name it.

        If you have to game the system it’s not going to last.

        So — these folks are all in a position, because they said “YOU CAN, TOO,” where they have to tell you how to game the system because, dammit, actually building REAL SEO is hard. So they teach you methods that won’t work as soon as everyone learning them uses them.

        Real SEO happens naturally. It’s real. Real products are not the problem. Fake products and fake marketing to sell those products, not to mention fake marketing telling you you can make money selling those products, too, because anyone can…is fraud.

        1. @Head Honcho, Real SEO happens naturally? As in without actually doing any SEO work on your site structure or on performing linking campaigns? Tell that to Aaron Wall – I’ll be interested to hear what he has to say one he stops laughing.

          1. @Melkor,

            @Head Honcho also said “REAL SEO is hard,” so I think HH just means “naturally” as opposed to exploiting loopholes that search engines will discover and close.

            1. @Lanna, by way of @Melcor…

              Yup yup. Real SEO is anything you can do to get attention from the search engines and providing useful, real content and information people (i.e. humans…and SOME robots) would be happy to see listed as a result of the search term they enter.

              It’s a tug-of-war and sometimes the engines tighten the screws too much, catching dolphins in their tuna nets as the “gamers” get better at the tricks.

              Except for those exceptional cases, however, your Website or blog won’t be affected by a Panda or whatever new algorithm comes along if your SEO is natural. The peeps that scream about their sites disappearing from the listings USUALLY were part of the problem.

      2. @What the what,

        Here is what the scam world version of your scenario would look like:

        You have sold a few pieces that you have written and (as you stated) are making a small income from that.

        Except that 99.734% (plus or negative minus .265%) of the time, the scammer (or interpreneur) didn’t even make a small income, nor wrote a thing (except maybe a shopping list).

        It’s the fake it until you fake make it, then fake it some more schemeario.

    4. @Conflicted Pandas,

      I kind of got carried away with my little story of “As the Scammer Turns” and there were a couple of things I wished I would have pointed out that I didn’t.

      First of all, please please please be proud of writing and getting published. Little successes or no, that’s wonderful! What you have done so far, leaving a damaging and harmful relationship, leaving your career and pursuing a new one, these are all things that required a huge amount of courage. You don’t know me from Eve so I don’t presume that my opinion really makes a difference but I want to let you know that I am so impressed by what you have been able to do.

      1. @What the what, Your opinion makes a difference, because you’ve proved yourself to be a person to talks sense on an ultra-sensitive topic. So thank you!

        1. @Conflicted Pandas,

          I wanted to add my 2-cents and agree with everyone else for such an honest and heart-filled post. I now have two new “heroes,” you and what the what.

          I commend both of you for your honesty, integrity, and willingness to share. Your stories carry far more weight than anything I could write or say on the subject, no matter how accurate it might be. You both bring the “humnan element” to the table, and that reaches people quicker and deeper than any expert could to a topic.

          I applaud you for doing something that most people cannot do and that is get out of an abusive relationship.

          Thanks for sharing.

    5. @Conflicted Pandas,

      If you’re writing fiction, showcase it and people then buy it, there’s no scam. Particularly if your work is priced competitively, and your goal is to write to entertain.

      To be as bad as them, you’d have to be deliberately colluding with other authors in the same gere to write wonderful reviews of each others work, and then be heavily promoting it to your readers. Even if you did this, you still wouldn’t plumb the depths of these scammers. You’d have to conspire to keep prices stratospherically high, with all of you claiming “you get the literature you pay for”…and make people believe they *need* to buy your books to even be abel to read in the first place.And even then you’d have to sell their contact details to a boiler room which harasses susceptible people into parting with all of their available credit for a poorly-photocopied set of “See Spot Run” books.

      (sorry, got a but carried away crafting that metaphor…I just wanted to help illustrate the difference between what you’re doing and what the scammers do. It took me a heck of a long time to get my head round it myself, so my intention isn’t to denigrate your concerns!)

    6. @Conflicted Pandas,

      I can only echo what’s already been said; it takes a lot of courage to leave an abusive marriage, leave a “safe” job, share your creative endeavors with the public and actually earn some money from them. You should feel great about yourself.

      It’s been said before, in other comments threads, but it’s relevant here: the good advice the scammers give you is stolen from somewhere else. For marketing, they’re copying from the classic books by Caples, Hopkins and Ogilvy plus whatever’s going on at AdAge.com and AdWeek.com. Skip the middlemen and go straight to the sources.

      If you think you might be doing something bad, check out Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, especially the “Don’t” list at the bottom, and make corrections. If you don’t feel good about something, don’t do it.

    7. Dear everyone who took time to respond to me,

      Thanks for your explanations! I was really upset yesterday, because I couldn’t reconcile the “I sell an actual *thing* through an internet-based shop, and my site follows SEO best-practice” part, with the “I’ve spent a cumulative total of months of my life gulping down everything CopyProThirdTraffic excretes” part. In the clear light of Saturday, I see that reading a ton of IM advice, and buying a load of courses and ebooks doesn’t make me a scammer, so much as a [mumble] victim of scammers[/mumble]. (Who also sells some books on teh interwebs.) I can live with that.

      @What the what Now that I’m not wrapped up in the comfy clock of self-loathing, can I just say: Well done you! Being able to walk away from a damaging thing, be it a career in law or a potential new “business”, takes a hell of a strength of mind. Your piece of rage against the sick machine was an awesome piece of writing. (Also, I’m doing a law => IT thing in my early thirties too, high five :))

      I’m going to stick around, if nobody minds.

      1. @Conflicted Pandas,

        Thank you sooo much for the support, encouragement and compliments!!! Please do stick around. And high-fives for the “somewhat older but not really that old former lawyers tech ladies club”!!! I wonder how many of us there are?

      2. @Conflicted Pandas,

        Other folks already responded to you and said the important stuff. Stuff I’m pretty sure I agree with. (But it’s been a little while since I read it.)

        I just wanted to add:

        Great handle!


        Furry cows moo and decompress.

    8. @Conflicted Pandas, One of the things I find most disturbing about this whole nest of wasps is the number of people with real skills and real products who get sucked in. Virtually ALL of the scammers have as part of their schtick the claim that you need something real, something of value to sell- and they love to showcase real (and usually very likeable) business people who take their courses and manage at least a mild success. Jeff Walker, for instance, in his ‘case studies’ had the story of John Gallagher with the learningherbs.com who sold his ecological board game using Walker’s Product Launch program. And I bought a course from writer Holly Lisle on how to revise a novel. (She’s sold dozens of SF and fantasy novels and in fact, I thought the course was very good.) She also took Walker’s course and, following his methods, offered a 50% commission on sales by her students. With these kind of students singing his praises (and hoping for their own 50% commissions on his next product launch) it’s easy for almost anyone to get sucked in. People look at the products sold and the people selling them and say, “what’s the problem?” The price-fixing, round-robin promotions, the pyramid selling, artificial scarcity and fake social proof all fly under their radar. And the best of the scammers are very unobtrusive with their wealth claims. They like to focus on people who ‘just need a few hundred extra dollars a month to help with the bills’, or on small businesses struggling in the Recession and looking to add to their sales. Once in the net, as we’ve seen so many times, it’s hard to escape. After a year or two you probably have dozens of real friends who are part of the ‘network’ and may have introduced some of your own friends and relations to it.

      I’d love to say I was one of the ones who didn’t get sucked in, but I’m not. It took my businessman brother-in-law’s sensitive ethics to make me a little uneasy about the tactics and this website to complete the wake-up process. Fortunately, though I tried a few of the pro-blogging, article-writing, link-spamming type courses I was never willing to follow some of the scummier tactics and when my occasional efforts to sell legitimate products honestly brought me not a dime I gave up. This, of course, made me the perfect target for the “of course you can’t expect it to work if you’re lazy and/or won’t follow the program” knock-out punch of the scammers. (Since the ‘get rich quick in your sleep’ claims are usually implicit, or qualified by ‘after you work hard for a few weeks’ this doesn’t create the kind of backlash it should. And after all, it fits so neatly with what most of us were taught and believe.) I don’t think I completely stopped feeling guilty about my ‘laziness’ until I started reading this site. Now I just feel profoundly grateful that all it cost me was some money which I could afford.

      I’m really glad you wrote, ConflictedPandas. It’s good to know you’re making at least a small income with your writing. This time next year I hope to be doing the same with my first historical novel. And welcome to the red pill world!

  6. “I wasn’t successful because I hadn’t started feeding victims into the sick machine”. I got out at a similar point. I spent quite alot of money – mostly on Google adWords – and wrote a Click*ank eBook, which got me three sales for a thousand visits before I took a good look at the appalling products on Click*ank, had a reality check, and decided I wanted nothing more to do with the IM industry or with Click*ank, and took down my sales letter site, deleted my Click*ank account etc. Up to that point I had wasted a good four months of my time however I had learnt some interesting stuff about building websites, SEO, etc. (learnt it from was available for free, rather than by buying eBooks). The next day I was anyway scheduled to go to an IM conference – I went anyway – and there was a Click*ank stand. I related to a Click*ank executive my moment of truth, and asked how Click*ank can have such rubbish being sold on their ‘marketplace’. His response: “Well, people buy that stuff.” – e.g. Get Rich Quick eBooks, How to make your {male organ} bigger, How to make a ‘free energy’ machine… He asked if I wanted some assistance – I said too late – effectively the offer was to introduce me to ‘Click*ank successes’ to get them to market my product – i.e. I was invited to join a form of syndicate, to then be sucked in, never to re-surface, but simply, as you say, to “feed further victims into the sick machine”. The horror of horrors is the size of the IM industry. That evil site, Warrior F*rum, is low hundreds in Alexa ranking – this gives it credibility it absolutely should not have. Other sites, which look so professional – such as Affil*rama are in the low thousands – that company has lackeys working night and day to pull people in – Google “Does Affili*rama really work” to get an example of this. Thank God I got out in time. I only found SD later – only problem with this site is that it is truly compulsive. Well done @What the what’s with your career change, and good luck with your future – you have integrity – and that is the greatest quality.

    1. @Random stuff,

      Thank you so much for your well wishes. You cannot know how much I appreciate it. I’m glad you were able to get out of the IM world too. And before you got into some pretty terrible debt (or into the clutches of the boiler room). And yes, I agree. This site is addictive. (I say while I am writing here instead of putting the final touches on my homework assignment do in less than 1 hour).

  7. @ What the what,

    “I think I read every article and every comment on this site in the course of one weekend.”

    Yep, SD is THE clearing house.

  8. Great confesstimonial, @WTW (if I didn’t already say that)! I can sympathize too with how difficult it to let go of ones learned career. (Don’t worry, this isn’t going to turn into my own confesstimonial — I didn’t get into IM or MLM, but spent more than a few years bumming around at the beach instead!)

    I’m always impressed with people who speak out like that. I know it’s a risk, but it can achieve so much.

    1. @Yakaru, Hey…you at least got more value out of hanging out at the beach than you would have spending all that time, energy and money hanging out at marketing seminars and playing C-teamer.

    2. @Yakaru,

      Thank you very much. I appreciate the compliment and support.

      @Head Honcho – agreed. He waaaaay more value for at the beach.

  9. The “just do what you have passion for” line is so seductive…and just nonsense. But you want it to be true, and there are so many people saying the same thing, even those from different “tribes” to yours…they can’t all be wrong, can they? It *must* be true…this is The Best Thing Ever! It’s *so* wonderful…

    …and reality kicks in. If you’re lucky (like me, @What the What, and the others who spend was “only” measured in hundreds), it kicks in sooner rather than later…because if you’re in too long, the drip drip of the constant “cut yourself off from negativity to succeed” becomes “ignore ALL dissenting voices”…even your loved ones. And you slip ever deeper into The Abyss”

    I hadn’t even *thought* about how close I came to recommending this to others close to me; people struggling to ends meet, or looking for a little more security until I read @What the What’s original comment. But as soon as I realised, my blood ran cold. I’m one of life’s enthusiasts, the type of person who’ll tell everyone who’ll listen about what’s getting me all of a dither this week. And I *know* I can carry people with me when I’m like this. So I’m horrified by how close I came to blithely feeding people close to me into The Sick Machine™.

    Thank you @What the what and all of those who have been brave enough to tell their stories (shout out to @SlowlyWaking, whose story started to wake me, too). And thank you, @SD, you sweary little robot genius, for providing a place these stories can be told…and heard.

    1. @Dr Geek, It’s not even passion that’s bad. Of course … if you can find something you are passionate about that also pays your own way through life…you are indeed blessed. But it does happen. It is possible and those who can do so are lucky, lucky, rare individuals.

      It’s saying “you can too” in addition to the “follow your passion” that screws the pooch for the whole message.

      Not everyone can be an attorney, a doctor, a best-selling author. Few, in fact make it. If you’re passionate about it, it helps get through the shit to get there, shit that few people are willing to endure to make it happen.

      It’s “you can too” that kills the message. The ultimate red flag/red herring.

      You might be passionate about something, but there is no legitimate way that something will make you money. You could be passionate and terrible at whatever it is…but you love doing it anyway. Few will pay you for that.

      I suppose it’s tough to build those email lists to turn over to the boiler rooms saying things like “if you are one of the few rare people who share this passion…you MAY, if you are extremely hard-working and even more lucky than almost anyone else, be able to turn that passion into some dollars. Probably not, and most likely not much even if you do accomplish this almost-impossible goal…but maybe.”

      Not jazzy enough. No sizzle. Real…but no sizzle.

      I’m sure you’ve heard you sell the sizzle…not the steak. The IM bizoppers sell the sizzle…and it turns out to be someone crackling celophane over the microphone when you buy it.

      1. @Head Honcho,

        Agreed…What I should’ve said was it’s the “ALL you have to do is follow your passion” message I object to. And while I agree it’s not that easy to become a doctor or a lawyer, it’s a darn site easier to do this than to succeed at anything creative…all you have to do is pass exams & your career will proceed. If you reach the threshold level of intelligence (which isn’t as high as you might think) you can work hard & pass. While passion definitely helps, it’s not a prerequisite…and it’s certainly not “all” you need.

        Once you’re through university & working, you’re absolutely right – passion is what gets you through the tough times…and it’s a perquisite to greatness.

        But it’s definitely not “all” you need

        1. @, A hearty yes yes to “all you need is…” — I feel passionately that it’s more than just passion.

          Heh.

  10. Very empowering story WTW.

    I don’t have much business writing on this site since the IM and MLM worlds are quite foreign to me, but I read SD from time to time because he’s hilarious.

    However, in reading your successful journey from leaving the IM world to finding a job you love, what career did you end up in? (or can you not say) Regardless, I’m happy for you that you’ve found something you love.

    1. @KG,

      For what it’s worth I like that this place is a bit of a mix. I don’t think it’s bad at all for people who haven’t been sucked into IM to be here and comment here. You still have a perspective and opinion that’s as worthwhile as anyone else’s. And as far as I’m concerned the more people who know what’s going on this “industry” the better. I know it’s just my personal opinion, but there you have it.

      Also I don’t mind at all that you’re asking about where I’ve landed but I appreciate you acknowledging my want for anonymity/privacy. I went back to school for software engineering. However, I was feeling pretty drawn to UI design. So I switched over to a concentration that deals more with that. Unfortunately I haven’t taken any classes in it yet. But every time some of my friends in the program and I try to get a project of our own going, when it comes time for coming up with ideas I keep hearing, “That’s too UI intensive..We like the back end stuff. Stop trying to draw us into your UI obsession.” Of course they are being playful in their teasing. Soooo, long story short, I am trying to learn some UI design and data visualization on my own (until I can take those upper level classes) while still keeping up with the classes I am in.

      It’s fun and very challenging because I’m pretty well out of my comfort zone. Before being back in school I was never very strong in math and on top of that I hadn’t taken a math class in over a decade. Now I’m heading into calc three and I have differential equations in the line-up for my spring semester. (Yikes!) (Irony of ironies, I’m going to have a math minor by the time I graduate, which would send my high school math teacher into a fit of laughter if she knew.)

      It’s really cool to be studying this field surrounded by young people who have literally grown up with computers since they were very young children. They have such a different perspective and intuitive understanding. I’m not that old by any stretch and they are in awe of the idea that I learned to type in high school on an electric type writer and was able to drive before I was using the internet.

      Ok, I’m sure you didn’t want a whole novella, so I’ll stop now. WARNING to all, don’t get me started on this. I’m already one to write crazy long posts and when it comes to my studies I will just go on forever and derail the whole thread to my own interests! {evil laughter while rubbing hands together}

      1. @What the what,

        Hi. I have a B.S. in comp sci and I have had a database admin job for approx four years now. (Although there was a gap of roughly five years from the time that I got the degree to the time that I found work that actually used that degree.)

        I say this not to try to “guru” you, but simply to let you know where my words come from.

        I think UI design is very important. I’m not actually in software engineering but when I was in college I kept thinking that I would be.

        I’m not terribly great at designing things in a way that looks either elegant or pretty. Still I think UI design is one the most important parts of a successful piece of software.

        Finding examples of really bad UI design and/or just really bad software design in general was one of my favorite hobbies before the Salty Droid.

        A great place for when you have too much free time:
        thedailywtf.com


        Furry cows moo and decompress.

        1. @Wyrd,

          Oh I don’t feel like you’re “guru”ing me at all. I appreciate the advice and the perspective from someone in the industry.

          I think I’m coming into it at the right time. Everyone is familiar with the aesthetic of Mac so a lot of people, even those who aren’t tech or gadget geeks expect their software/apps to be very ‘slick’ and ‘cool’. And now that so many people of different skill levels are all using tech you have to be able to design everything to be easy to use and intuitive for consumers with a wide range of skill. Plus there seems to be a very “modernist”/less is more aesthetic in the visual aspects of design these days (which happens to fall in line with my preference anyway).

          My concentration is a bit broader than just UI design but UI is a big part of it. It’s really exciting because it’s so new as a concentration at universities. I’m only the third person at my school to sign up for it (rumor has it we are up to five people now). But I like that we take in so many different disciplines. We have to take art classes (3D modeling), psych, psych research, physics 1 and 2, etc.

          It just seems like no one trains in school for this field but I’ve read that there is huge demand for people who specialize in this.

          Thanks so much for the link. I took a peek at it and added it to my bookmarks. It’s pretty cool. I’m hoping to develop your good natured approach toward bad software. Once I started school I hated bad software even more because it used to make me feel so stupid (because it was so hard to use or wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do) and now I know it was probably just out of laziness or poor project planning. [ack! I’m going on and on again. Ok, I’m done now].

          1. @What the what,

            First off, congrats for escaping from IM with minimal damage.

            Secondly, I think that it’s great that your move into user interface design is a second career. I can say unreservedly that the skills that made you a successful lawyer (a dedicated work ethic and ability to research thoroughly) will serve you well when you’ve got a tough design deadline or need to do comprehensive competitive research.

            UID is a broad field. Here’s some other flavors of it that you might find interesting: information architecture, usability, interaction design, accessibility. Study as much as you can about user-centered design (UCD).

            Don Norman is a great author in the field (he’s the author of Design of Every Things mentioned above). Emotional Design is my favorite book by him. Other notables in the field are Alan Cooper, Steve Krug, Jared Spool and Jakob Nielsen.

            If you’re not familiar with the site I’m about to mention, I recommend you check out boxesandarrows.com.

            – – – – –

            This is my first comment on SD.info so apologies to the community for dancing off topic. I just work in the industry whathewhat is studying and wanted to suggest some sources for inspiration.

            1. @Smoothie,

              Thanks you so much for the advice and resources. It’s such a huge deal to get that kind of information from someone in the industry. As I said, the universities are just starting to get into this as a specific field of focus. I’ve been kind of floundering around begging any prof that crosses my path for more info and sources on my field but we are such a small group on my campus that there aren’t a huge ton of resources (especially for a wee n00b like me)

              I can see my library is going to be increasing greatly this summer!

              Again, thank you so much for the encouragement and the fantastic information and resources. I so, so appreciate it.

      2. @What the what,

        “(Yikes!) (Irony of ironies, I’m going to have a math minor by the time I graduate, which would send my high school math teacher into a fit of laughter if she knew.)”

        I think you could enjoy Paul Halmos’ Automathography, “I want to be a mathematician”.

        1. @Jack,

          Awesome thanks! I checked it out and every single review had nothing but praise for the book. I’m going to have a few weeks of summer break coming up, good to know I now have plans.

    2. @KG,

      Man, I got onto my whole CS kick and totally forgot the most important part….thank you very much for the support!

    1. @Lanna,

      Thank you so much! I am totally down with the uprising (incidentally, I didn’t originally join b/c I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out if I had been out of it for a full year. [As it turns out, I had been] . Without having school terms as a reference it seems damn near impossible to place dates for everything.) Fortunately, I CAN now guarantee that I have not been involved in any way in over a year.

      So, do I email droid?

      1. @What the what,

        Yeah, email the droid, and he’ll give you directions to the super-secret bat cave.

        1. @Lanna,

          Done and done. I am excitedly awaiting directions to the bat cave and in the meantime am putting the final touches on my superhero costume…er, uh, there will be costumes right?

          1. @What the what,

            There should always be costumes involved. As long as you don’t pick Catwoman, we’re fine. I’m just about done stitching the claws on, and that took forever, so I’m not starting over. ;)

            1. @Alison,

              Ha ha! Close call, luckily though, I’ve always been a bit more partial to Storm and the idea of being able to control ALL THE WEATHER!!! (such a weird super power). So we are good.

            2. @Alison,

              I’m slightly concerned “Dr Geek” would be a bumbling supervillan…and you *really* don’t want to see me in Spandex.

              Perhaps Adam West’s Batman costume from the TV series? Plenty of “room” in that…
              ;-)

            3. @Dr Geek,

              Ha! But it sounds like super-villian Dr. Geek could have a story arc where he joins up with the Avengers or something and puts his villainous ways behind him (unfortunately, though, you didn’t start out as a villain so we’ll have to take artistic license). Plus, I’d imagine a character like Dr. Geek would have the best James-Bond style gadgets and toys.

  11. After responding to @KG about my classes it got me thinking about another “shaming tactic” that these “IM gurus” use that really chaps my hide. I am so disgusted by the way they claim “don’t listen to the haters, if necessary cut them out of your life” [translation: don’t associate with your friends and family anymore because they are telling you the truth and I won’t be able to get anymore of your $$$].

    That same guy who told me IM isn’t real has been so supportive of my being back in school. And let me tell you, being an adult woman, unmarried, and without any kids, I catch some flack for having walked away from a lucrative career to live at home with my (amazing, wonderful, awesomely supportive) parents to go back to school full time. There is no way I could be doing what I’m doing without his support and the support of my family. They keep me going when I feel like I’m too dumb or too old or too [fill in the blank] to be making this change. They talk me down when I feel pathetic for living at home and going to school at my age.

    He has offered to stay at a friend’s place so I could use his house to study for finals for a few days without any distractions when I had a particularly challenging course load. He has put me in contact with people he knows who are in my field so I could learn from them and start networking. He has even offered to take care of my pets for a while because I was spending so much time studying that I felt bad I wasn’t able to give them all enough attention. He also encouraged me to use my schools Mental Health Services to meet with a counselor to help me deal with my stress from making such a huge life change and with the feelings of failure from walking out on my legal career. (Which I did and it was one of the most beneficial things I have ever done for myself — which is also why “life coaches” piss me off — because talking to a counselor was one of the most important aspects of turning my life around). He sounds like a real “hater” doesn’t he?

    If it wasn’t for the “haters” I wouldn’t be the happy, fulfilled, eager, and ambitious person WITH A FUTURE that I am today.

    1. @What the what, So good to hear. I can only imagine what you’ve gone through making those changes.

      And all the great support you have.

      You’re going to be fine. It is never too late for a life change when you’ve made up your mind to it.

    2. @What the what,

      As long as we’re just keeping it real, I’m pretty sure that this guy is very much interested in seeing you naked.

      1. @Mad Max,

        I’m not sure exactly what you are saying but I think you are saying that my friend is just trying sleep with me and isn’t 100% just being supportive. If I’m wrong just ignore the rest of this comment.

        If that is what you mean, I am pretty sure you don’t mean any offense by that whatsoever. I know guys say that kind of thing a lot about men that are close friends with women. But I think that devalues both him and me. It insinuates that his friendship and kind acts are all some sort of long con in order to have sex. Or that the only value he is receiving from my friendship to him is the possibility sex. I don’t deny that some men do pretend to be friends with women just in the hopes of having sex with them. I assure that that is not the basis of this friendship. He and I have a long history and no one that knows us would accuse him of that.

      2. @Mad Max, Just realized…were you talking about me? I’m not sure why you would assume I’m male — women can be “head honchos” too. But, I assure you I am all male and while, as a male, I’m certainly almost always interested in seeing women naked…that’s not what specifically motivates me to help or befriend or otherwise be interested in all the other great stuff women have to offer, like, fer instance, cool, interesting brains, a totally different view of the world and life…shit like that.

  12. Being an affiliate marketer, I used to worry about these ‘gurus’ teaching people how to do affiliate marketing because I thought that would mean those new affiliates would saturate the market and mean that I had too much competition to deal with.

    But what actually happened was that the internet got ‘saturated’ with false gurus who aren’t ‘real’ affiliate marketers, giving a lot of mis-information, and while some of their teaching is correct, there are so many holes that everyone winds up following their courses then giving up before they figure out how to do things properly.

    So in effect, the internet has been flooded with lots of crappy affiliate sites that are no competition at all for me. Truth is, if you want to build a solid affiliate site, you need something like this site here (and I know salty droid is NOT an affiliate site, but it easily could have been) what you have here is a true authority site. One that has a lot of interesting posts built for the readers, one that has been SEO optimized well (yes Salty does use some SEO so that he ranks for different guru names + scam, etc), and it is NOT ‘easy’ it is like any other business. The first year is hard work, but then later once you build your authority, an affiliate site becomes much easier and becomes its own beast that gathers momentum over time.

    The positive side is there is no income ‘ceiling’ you can keep raising your income to huge levels, but most people can’t get through that first year and get presented with so much misinformation and bad teaching that there is no hope.

    I’d say 95% of the so called ‘gurus’ actually make more than 90% of their income by selling courses on ‘how to make money’, whereas you really need to be learning from people who make 90% (or at least 50%) of their money by DOING what they teach.

    Unfortunately most REAL affiliate marketers, ones who have massive authority sites and run them like a real business with a passion… these affiliates don’t have time to take on students (or if they do, they just teach a few family and friends), so you are left learning from IM scumbags who think they know affiliate marketing, but really they don’t.

    The best way to become a great affiliate is to uncover and reverse engineer what top affiliate sites do (uncover through spying on them using keywordspy or some other keyword spy tool and looking at affiliates that have big SEO and/or Pay Per Click presence). Unfortunately for most people that is far too difficult, it’s NOT easy to do if you don’t have experience (chicken and egg scenario here) and gee you need a bit of luck because if you aren’t making money relatively quickly, how can you afford to spend so much time on this as just a hobby?

    1. @Missile,

      “I’d say 95% of the so called ‘gurus’ actually make more than 90% of their income by selling courses on ‘how to make money'”

      I’d say 100% of the so called ‘gurus’ actually make 100% of their income by selling courses on ‘how to make money’.

      1. @Anonymous,

        You said:
        “I’d say 95% of the so called ‘gurus’ actually make more than 90% of their income by selling courses on ‘how to make money’”

        You’re probably right lol.

        You said:
        “I’d say 100% of the so called ‘gurus’ actually make 100% of their income by selling courses on ‘how to make money’.”

        Well I wouldn’t go that far. For instance Eben Pagan makes some of his money from his doubleyourdating website. He claims that to be in the millions per year, which may be accurate, hard to say. That’s not saying he’s a marketer that you should follow, I’ve read Salty’s stuff on him and people should stay away. Just saying that in itself already proves that you’d be wrong in that assumption that 100% of gurus make 100% of their income selling courses on how to make money.

        Also, I don’t have a problem with successful people teaching the secrets to their success. I’ve learned a lot from reading biographies of top visionaries and marketers that has helped me a lot. However I’m talking about real deal people like Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, etc. Not people who make 90-100% of their income from selling products that teach people how to make money. I’m sure there may be some guys out there who make more money from doing what they teach than selling marketing products, but it is very very hard to decipher who they are (if there are any). I only think that there probably are some out there because I meet so many successful affiliates at affiliate summit each year, though none of those guys actually teach internet marketing, they are actually in the trenches doing proper building of authority sites, and most of them drive paid traffic.

        1. “Eben Pagan makes some of his money from his doubleyourdating website.”

          So, in the time he has left over from fleecing people who lack a job, he fleeces people who lack affection. Prince of a man, clearly.

            1. @What the what, Well, some of the advice isn’t bad – take a shower before going on a date, women aren’t teh Borg so treat everyone you meet as individuals, you can’t force love so don’t be a “nice guy” and do unasked favors thinking she’ll reciprocate by falling in love, don’t creep your date out by bringing along an engagement ring on the first date, everyone responds well to good-natured humor but don’t be a club comedian and if you want to make people interested in you, be an interesting person.

              ‘Course, I liked it better when Dan Savage wrote it.

            2. @Melkor,

              I agree that all of the things you stated are probably a good idea when it comes to dating. And damn! He charges money and is a “dating expert for men” just by saying: shower, treat people like individuals, don’t think she owes you sex and/or love because of stuff you do (whether she asks you to or not)…he really shouldn’t be charging anyone for the advice of : “treat people like human beings and practice good hygiene.”

              However, I am suspicious of anyone who sells dating/attraction/seduction “methods” or “techniques” and the selling point is only ever “attract the hottest girls” “attract the most beautiful women” “attract any woman no matter how hot/beautiful”….apparently, according to De’Angelo/Pagan, those are the only women out there worth attracting…the hottest, most beautiful women….no mention about smart, funny, loving, caring, loyal, or any other trait that would make women seem three-dimensional. (So much for women aren’t the Borg). From what I’ve seen, women are discussed as if they were a widget, the only distinguishing characteristic being the level of “hotness” and if two widgets/women are both a 8/10 they are pretty much interchangeable.

            3. @What the what, Yeah, my brother was really into that shit but I noticed that when he stopped reading plagiarized dating advice from David Deangelo (that was a lot better when Dan Savage* wrote it originally) and started actually dating he turned into a real boy and wound up in a real relationship with an actual equal partner who is a human being and not just a checklist of physical characteristics. Funny that, huh?

              * http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=14208958

              (Caveat – if anyone thinks the above two entries were recommendations for Pagan/Deangelo, you really, really gotta calibrate your sarcasm filters better.)

          1. @Conflicted Pandas, I wasn’t actually talking about whether or not Eben was giving good advice. I just used as an example to show that Anonymous’s statement that 100% of gurus make 100% of their money by teaching people how to make money, can’t be right. maybe 95%, but can’t be 100% as many have got little sites that make at least ‘some’ money.

            Anyway I wasn’t even trying to defend any gurus here, we’re talking about me saying 90-95% and Anonymous saying 100%. Sheez.

            @WhatTheWhat, good points you raise, but not sure there would be the market demand or not. It’d be an interesting concept – Instead of ‘Date Hotter Women’ the benefit marketed could be ‘Date Smarter, More Fun and Sophisticated Women’ probably a wide open market there as every dating guru seems to be marketing in one dimension as you say. I bet there are a lot of men who just want to meet someone who is on their level and truly ‘gets’ them, and who they have fun with. Not just the ‘hottest’ girl. Looks only go so far.

    2. @Missile,

      The first year is hard work, but then later once you build your authority, an affiliate site becomes much easier and becomes its own beast that gathers momentum over time.

      Ok. But you might want to mention to all these good readers here that there is no guarantee. A person could do all that totally correctly and still have a site that nobody every goes to ever. You can do everything right and still totally, totally lose.

      That’s just one of the unhappy truths of living in an inherently uncertain physical Universe.

      The positive side is there is no income ‘ceiling’ [in affiliate marketing] you can keep raising your income to huge levels,

      Yes, but that’s because affiliate marketing is a type of sales. Sales has very often been like that since forevers. If you’re being paid on commission (and Cost Per Click or Per Action or whatever is basically a variation on classic commission sales) then, yeah sure there’s no income ceiling.

      But really there is. There is a hard limit on how many hours there are in a day / week / month / year. There really are physical constraints on how much you can sell.

      You say “there’s no income `ceiling’.” Ok. Well by that logic then there’s also no `floor’. You can go less than zero if you’re not careful. You can lose money (or valuable time) at it. Especially if you factor in the opportunity cost i.e. how much time did you spend on building up that authority site that you could have spent doing something else? Would that other activity been more profitable? (For any of the senses of “profitable” that you personally wish to apply.)

      Sometimes you won’t succeed.
      Spider Book Club Dr. Seuss:

      Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best.
      Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
      Except when you don’t.
      Because, sometimes, you won’t.

      You wrote:

      and gee you need a bit of luck

      Ah, ok. I see you did mention the luck factor there at the end.

      I agree with you on that point except that I think it might take kind of a bit of a lot more luck than that. But then I suppose that also depends on what your expectations actually are.

      You can’t bottle success. If you could, then no one would ever fail. Ever.

      And I once again have The Princess Bride in my head

      Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone that says different is selling something.


      Furry cows moo and decompress.

      1. @Wyrd, Sorry, you’re right there is a ceiling. That was the wrong word that I used. What I meant was the thing that I like about it is that I can earn more than I ever could from a regular job. But the down side for most people is that it’s hard work and there is no guarantee that your hard work will pay off. And you’re right, you need a good deal of luck. That goes for anyone wanting to start any kind of business too, whether you are starting a restaurant, a gym, a coffee shop or building affiliate sites. There is no guarantee that your hard work will = success, you need to work hard, smart, and have a good deal of luck.

  13. @What the what:

    Good in your new career whatever it may be.

    It is great when you know exactly what you want to do with you. It is oppressively depressing when at some point in your life you realize that you still do not know your calling is and you feel lost.

    So, good luck in your future endeavors and congratulations on getting out of IM with minimal losses.

    1. @Glad I Was Broke,

      Holy cow! I feel bad I’ve been littering this page with comments and I somehow missed yours. Thank you so much for your well wishes!

    2. @Glad I Was Broke, I think the idea of a ‘calling’ is a bit of a problem for a lot of us. I know personally I made myself miserable for many years by buying into the idea that everyone has something they’re ‘meant’ to do. A tiny, tiny number of people have some consuming passion from childhood that gives them great focus and can lead them to wealth and fame- or obscurity and poverty. Most of us have a much wider range of interests or interests that change frequently. A fair number of us manage to find something that they like reasonably well and are good enough at that they can earn a decent living. Most of us don’t (we either end up doing something we hate that pays well or struggling along on low wages with something we like.) This is one of the big, unacknowledged truths that fuels so much of the scamming. I think most of us would be a lot better at recognizing and resisting the scams if we hadn’t already bought into this myth of the ‘life’s calling’. Humans are flexible. We’re meant to be generalists. Since I’ve given up on the idea of a single passion and started embracing my many (often quite brief) ‘enthusiasms’ I’ve never been happier!

      1. @Wanderlost,

        The other truth about pursuing your “calling” is that it’s still a job. Whether you’re working for yourself or someone else, you still have to go to work even when you don’t want to, deal with jerks sometimes, and do what you love over and over again until (sometimes) it feels like a chore.

        The fastest way to turn a hobby you love into something you hate is to get a job in it.

        1. @Lanna @Wanderlost,

          While I can see what you both mean, particularly @Wanderlost, I think there are some professions which could be seen as a calling for some – I certainly feel the medical field could qualify in some cases. I don’t feel like I was “called” to the profession in a religious sense, but it’s become who I am rather than just what I do.

          Does that mean it’s the same for everyone? Of course not – there are plenty of medics who dread coming to work, or who are just “phoning it in”.

          Does it mean that those of us who see it as a “calling” never have a bad day or never have to work with someone we don’t like? If only ;-)

          And I don’t think it’s limited to the “caring” professions. I think most people who love their jobs and are motivated to strive for exellence independent of financial reward could be said to have the same…or it may be that I (as the offspring of a teacher and social worker) have an unusual view of professionalism.

          While I agree with the broad thrust of your posts, I’d like to respectfully disagree with the idea that no such thing as a “calling” exists. It’s certainly not universal, and it’s not a prerequisite for or no guarantee of happiness (maintaining balance takes a considerable amount of effort, and not all of us get it right; I suspect people who see themselves as having a calling might be over-represented in divorce courts and at marriage guidance counselling). But it *does* exist.

        2. @Lanna, Amen to all you said! Heartily. There is nothing more capable of dampening your passion for something than turning it into a job. Usually, something else becomes the passion you’re chasing by doing what WAS your passion before it became your occupation.

          The key is to find something you enjoy that pays you well enough to maintain the lifestyle you are comfortable with. I know artists who love to paint and could never imagine any other way for them to make a living (however you might describe that) who are totally passionate about flying kites, or skiiing or something else.

          The cool thing is your passion can drive you to be more productive in your work so you have more time and freedom to enjoy it…when you’re off the clock. It doesn’t have to be what makes you the money. It can just as easily be the thing that drives you to succeed in other areas of your life.

      2. @Lanna- for reals! My occasional attempts to turn my temporary passions into paying work always ended with my feeling guilty and embarassed when the passion fizzled and I had people waiting for work.

        @Dr Geek – of course you’re right- didn’t really mean to be saying NO one has a calling- just that it’s not the right model for a lot- probably most- of us.

        @Head Honcho- about the only ‘self-help’ author I ever recommend is Barbara Sher, who advises people to get a ‘good enough’ job and treat it as a ‘subsidy to the arts’. She also hates positive thinking. My favorite quote from her is “How many of you have ever held a job, finished school, or raised a child? Did you do it with a positive attitude? Did you do it with a negative attitude? [i]Or did you do it with whatever damn attitude you happened to wake up with that morning?[/i]”

  14. You’re starting to look a little like the guys you’re going after here Salty ;-)

    One “success” (the Verge thing) and that’s all you talk about from then on. Kind of like the guys selling all the crap.

    When do we get to see the next big hit?

    1. @Curious,

      You’re starting to look like all the other commenters who leave that comment… Unless they’re all you, in which case you’re forgiven.

    2. @Curious, BREAKING NEWS: 21 Injured During Tony Robbins Firewalk. You’re curious? Just watch…the “big hits” are just starting to happen, I think.

    3. @Curious,

      Actually, since the Verge piece came out there were 16 separate posts written by the droid. Of those 16, the word “verge” does not appear anywhere at all in 9 of them. Thats about 56.2% of posts that don’t even mention the article.

      Of the remaining 7, 4 of those were posts about the reactions and comments of people who were featured in the article (or who associated/sold “products” of people featured in it). I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept that a story can unfold over time. It would only be fair for the droid to tell the fully story, don’t you agree?

      Ok. So that leaves…lets see, 9 + 4 = 13. 16 – 13 = 3….so three posts. Now, I for one see the connection between the verge piece and the remaining three posts. So rather than ‘splain it all l’ll just be extremely generous and GIVE you those. We’ll just assume those three inexplicably mention the Verge piece… 3/16 = 0.1875 * 100 = 18.75% Wow. Less than 20% huh?

      That doesn’t make it seem like “the Verge thing” is “all [the droid] talk[s] about”. Maybe you meant to say “I’m pissed off that you were such a prominent part of the Verge thing because you mock my heroes and I always thought you were lame and Kern & Co said you were just a hater and a loser who was supposed to fade away years ago but here you are, still here, and gaining ground, so I’m going to inflate the amount that you talk about the Verge thing and also I will pretend that you only talk about it to brag rather than discuss important additional elements and ideas that were addressed in the piece but still need to be looked into.”

      It’s okay @Curious. I’ll let you copy off my paper just this once. You can use that quote. It’s much more honest.

      1. @What the what, “Maybe you meant to say “I’m pissed off that you were such a prominent part of the Verge thing because you mock my heroes and I always thought you were lame and Kern & Co said you were just a hater and a loser who was supposed to fade away years ago but here you are, still here, and gaining ground, so I’m going to inflate the amount that you talk about the Verge thing and also I will pretend that you only talk about it to brag rather than discuss important additional elements and ideas that were addressed in the piece but still need to be looked into.”

        Let me think about that… Nope, that wasn’t what I meant to say.

        They’re not my heroes. I don’t give a single droplet of shit that Salty was a prominent part of the Verge thing. And I still think Salty thinks he’s something special since the Verge thing regurgitated his blog for him to a wider audience.

        Sorry, keep trying.

    4. @Curious ::

      Remember when you already tried this “you think you’re too cool now” schtick …

      http://saltydroid.info/chris-brogan-in-scamworld/comment-page-1/#comment-83556

      … and it worked out just about as well as it did here?

      That time you added …

      “I’m betting most people come here for the entertainment value, however. The fact that they can feel better about not being successful in the process is just icing on the cake…

      Yes, they scam people. But Jesus, people need to take some responsibility for thinking there’s some magical way to make money on the internet”

      … but I guess that propaganda mainstay would make you sound even super dumber on this particular post … and so that saved us from you just str8 recycling your previous wizdumb turds … word for fucking word.

      1. @SD, I remember saying what I thought, just like I did now. I don’t know what you consider “working out well” but I don’t really care. I’m just stating my opinion.

        But I sometimes forget that dissenting opinions aren’t taken very well here. Unless you’re a bitter, shit-slinging asshole nobody wants to hear it.

        Again, awfully similar to the guys that you are constantly hounding.

        These guys aren’t my “heroes” and I wouldn’t buy any of their crap. But you’re no better – you’re just on the other side of the fence, that’s all. Pushing your own agenda, your own propaganda and telling the people who disagree that they’re a bunch of sheep.

        1. @Curious, “I remember saying what I thought, just like I did now.”

          Ah, that explains it then. Kind of figures that you have the same thoughts over and over again, always in the same words- and always completely irrelevant to the actual post.

          1. @Wanderlost, You’re obviously too blind or too stupid to understand, so there’s no point in saying anything else.

        2. @Curious,

          @SD, I remember saying what I thought, just like I did now. I don’t know what you consider “working out well” but I don’t really care. I’m just stating my opinion.

          Opinions are like assholes. Everyone’s got one. My opinion of your commenting is that it’s a waste of everyone’s time.

          If you don’t like the way things are around here, then go away. You can even start your own site. See how much traffic you can get, etc.


          Furry cows moo and decompress.

          1. @Wyrd, “If you don’t like the way things are around here, then go away.”

            Good advice. Just like everyone who doesn’t like the way things are with these syndicate clowns should go away from them. But they don’t – they come here to bitch and moan about them.

            So which is it? Go away? Or bitch and moan?

            Because the answer seems to depend on whether you’re an SD sheep or not.

            1. @Curious,

              Really? @Wyrd is an SD sheep? When his name is on a number of posts which clearly show his mental processes are very much his own, and which, at times, disagree with the droid on key points?

              When your comments show a quarter of the same degree of independent thought, I’ll listen. Until then, please pipe down.

            2. @Lanna- Thanks for reminding me. I tried to leave a polite comment and found that, unlike the Droid no dissenting opinions, however politely phrased, are allowed over there, despite making you enter a ‘valid e-mail address’.

              Here’s my comment:

              “As George says, bullies are people picking on the weak and helpless- not the guys standing up for them against smooth and likeable conmen -even if their weapon of choice is saying ‘mean’ (and funny) things about their victimizers. Jason’s purpose is to make his site perfectly safe for those who have been conned (often out of enormous sums, with devastating consequences to their personal lives) and manipulated into believing that their subsequent failure is all their own fault. He’s determined to make it very UNsafe for any of those victimizers to use his site as a platform to further harass and intimidate any of the already devastated people who come there looking for support – or to send any of their minions to do it for them- even if those minions are themselves innocent victims. 

              If you look at some of the cases he has taken on and read about the enormous amount of time and money that has gone into trying to silence him you will understand why this should be so: four people are dead, 100s over the years have had their feet severely burned, at least one man we know of has abandoned his family (and the person most directly responsible for that thought to deflect criticism by accusing Jason-or one of his commenters- of making death threats against her) and we’ve lately had some very sobering testimony from a doctor and a lawyer, for only two examples, about their own experiences of being conned. You should also realize that Jason has a lot of connection to the grieving and devastated families of the victims. We, his regular readers, get only glimpses of these people in occasional comments, but even that is enough to make most of us blazing mad- especially when a comment from one of them is immediately followed- as it usually is- by a bullying comment attempting to silence them or blame either the victim or family for what happened to them. 

              Yes, the responses are often harsh. Yes, sometimes they will hit an innocent target. (Most of us at some point or other have tried to defend one of the people we think are the latter. I’ve done so repeatedly and was one of the ones who initially stood up for Tim Brownson and life-coaching.) But the experience of finding, time and again, that we are wrong about the people we defend teaches most of us that it’s never wise to assume that Jason is the one who is mistaken.

              As for censorship, I take your point about the possibility of creating an environment where people are afraid to comment or disagree. I’ve seen it happen many times on the internet. But the problem with censorship by moderators is that the reader has no way of knowing whether the voices moderated out are really the bullies- or whether they are merely dissenting voices- or in the case of IM con artists- whether they are brave victims risking reprisal in orther to warn others. In the case of the Salty Droid, all these very real possibilities for censorship and reprisal against whistle-blowers are avoided. In your case, on the other hand, I’ve had to create a new hotmail account just in order to ensure my security in case it turns out you are not just an ordinary person offended by what he read on a blog, but one of the sharks. And I have no assurance that you will allow the comment to appear anyway.”

              Which, of course, he didn’t. On the plus side he doesn’t appear to have sold my hotmail address to the spammers, so I can reuse it if I want to waste some more time commenting on heavily censored blogs in the future. ;-)

          1. @Jack, That’s a good question, and I don’t really have a good answer. I suppose I’m just doing the same thing that most people here do – complain about something that bugs me.

            @Lanna, Thanks for that link – I’ve never seen that before. That site has a pretty good take on the way this place runs. I particularly liked this:

            “I find it hard to believe that someone encouraging this stuff on his own blog is genuine. He’s either fake (Jason, not “the droid”) or blind.”

            I think that’s what bugs me – I find it hard to believe that SD is genuine, and not just some bitter prick that has a personal axe to grind with these guys. Because I don’t think the way this place runs is going to get any real traction with people that matter – it’s not like the Verge can actually do something about the scammers.

            If SD really gave a shit about getting these guys shut down, I don’t think this site would look like it does, and have the same level of commentary from all the knuckle-draggers.

            1. @Curious,

              Good to see someone has better ideas about how to take down scammers than what’s going on here. Don’t forget to leave a link once your site or your project is up and running.

            2. @Curious, The comments you make are such the big funny ones on so many levels that probably you can never find yourself understanding, especially with the people like Lynndel from http://www.eagleresearchassociates.org now the regular at SD and others about the site doing things you know nothing about.

              Once again, please leave the link to your big, successful project to take down the scammers.

        3. @Curious,

          “I sometimes forget that dissenting opinions aren’t taken very well here”

          RememberTheMilk.com can work for you, maybe?


  15. That sentiment is appreciated by me :: victim’s advocate … and hater of victim blamers. But it’s not strictly accurate. Critical :: savvy :: street smart Internet people get sucked into these Internet Marketing scams all the time.

    This is very true. In fact I even knew this in principle–that being savvy/”street smart” does not grant immunity to scams–long before I’d heard of Internet Marketing and still I half-way fell for Internet Business Mastery’s lame non-claim claims that you can too

    What saved me from a cash-ectomy wasn’t savvy-ness so much as it was that I didn’t have that major life event.

    I’d seen Itty Biz a few times before too and I took Naomi at her word.

    Again–if any major life events had happened, I could’ve wandered down that treacherous path.

    Luckily Naomi linked here of all places while constructing her own version of the Dave debacle.

    Initially I was droid hostile, but within a few articles it became clear that the Droid offered Truth whilst all Naomi could offer was distortions of the truth–and not even much of that.
    ———
    Blaming the victim is not only pointlessly mean; at a basic level it’s missing the point. If you walk around thinking only suckers get scammed then you’re living in a bubble of false security. If you heard of some scammy thing and you’re like “oh how could anyone fall for that?” then that just means you’re not in the target audience for that scam.

    Some kind of scam will get hold of you sometime when you’re vulnerable… kinda like an opportunistic infection.

        1. @Lanna,

          I think the column numbers are listed as a % rather than the number of people that gave that response. And the percentages are just rounded to the next whole %. I had one column add up to about 101% and another that would have been somewhere b/w 99% – 100% (taking into account that two responses were < 0.5%).

          1. @What the what,

            Thanks for explaining that!

            I feel kinda dumb now. Why didn’t you see the “%” sign, Lanna? Geez.

            I think using percentages where N=42 is dumb, too, though. The “2%” that responded “Don’t know” for education are actually one person. The “5%” for high school are just two people.

            I guess they used percentages so we could compare across scam types. If you have a post graduate or professional degree, you’ll most likely fall for an investment fraud scam. If you have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, you’ll fall for a bizopp scam. Some college, lottery fraud. High school, identity theft.

            Whatever you think you’re smart enough to understand, that’s where they’ll hit you.

            1. @Lanna, It looks like my great Uncle Puddy was right when he told me about not so long ago now, “Look at all of the confusion you’ve caused by not pointing people to the page 8 Overview of the AARP document first”.

  16. Note to Danny.

    Internet marketing started with Corey Rudle of the Internet Marketing Center. IMC appeared on page 1 for Internet marketing for over 10 years.

    The model was the secrets to starting a business online and sold over 500,000 home studies programs. Buyers were fed into the call center and sold 10k coaching.

    All of the scammers bought this program and modeled their scam on these principles.

    IMC also owned the URL intent marketing.com. Pretty easy for SEO.

    The company was sold off to a VC who then dumped it on a few staff. Still going but as a shadow of itself.

    Hope this helps explain why Internet marketing is defined as biz op and is a noun.

    The verb can definitely be legit… And the model of the scammers use under the term is painfully obvious once you are aware. IMC’s salesletter for their course has been copiied and varied thousands of times, and in direct marketing terms, is the control.

    1. @Internet marketing, Or — another way to put it might be “Internet Marketing is now bizop” but “marketing on the Internet” is a discipline that not everyone can do and must be learned and tried and tested and never ever works the same for everybody in every situation.

      I market on the Internet…I’m not an Internet marketer.

      @SD’s been quiet…probably busy on the phones and writing (don’t relent…keep ploughing, dude…you’ve literally got ball bearings of steel and we need ’em), but I’m going to guess he refers to “Internet marketing” as marketing Internet marketing on the Internet…and you can, too!

      Minor distinctions that might take us humans longer to “get” but that are obviously painfully to a robot with a computer brain from the beginning.

    2. @Internet marketing,

      Internet marketing started with Corey Rudle of the Internet Marketing Center. IMC appeared on page 1 for Internet marketing for over 10 years.

      I am interested in attempting to confirm this because I’m fascinated by word and phrase etymologies and because I think the origin of the term “Internet Marketing” is a non-trivial part of the story of online scam. (Even if Danny’s claim that the term got hijacked and was originally legit is correct.)

      So far I’ve got a Wikipedia page:
      Corey Rudl (note the different spelling of the last name though)

      And that site mentioned in the wiki page is still alive and kicking:
      http://www.marketingtips.com/

      And the wayback machine has a hit for that URL from 1998:
      http://web.archive.org/web/19980615003505/http://www.marketingtips.com/

      And from the bottom of that archived page: “Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998 by The Internet Marketing Center. All rights reserved.”

      And their current website also claims they started in 1996.

      ———–

      Danny Sullivan thinks the scammers took over the term “Internet Marketing” circa 2008:
      The Verges Scamworld Profiles Internet Marketing That You Should Avoid
      Danny wrote:

      I’m not sure when the type of programs that Scamworld describes began positioning themselves as “Internet Marketing.” It seems to date from 2008 onward. There’s no doubt that many of these programs do use that term. But that they do was news to me, something I learned from the Scamworld article.

      So then the question becomes: did the Internet Marketing Center start up as a full-on scam? If so, is it still a scam now? Or the opposite–did it start legit then become a scam later?

      Answering that question with certainty is hard for me right now. It’s very late. I’m very tired.

      The parent commenter wrote of the original Internet Marketing Center that

      The model was the secrets to starting a business online and sold over 500,000 home studies programs. Buyers were fed into the call center and sold 10k coaching.

      And Corey’s Wikipedia page sounds scammy to me. But then, I’m fairly jaded, so I’m not the best judge here.

      ———-

      I’m remembering also that Danny’s aforementioned pro-Verge article and Danny’s comment responses on the article don’t match. I.e.: in the article Danny takes a strong stance against online scam. Go, Danny!

      But then, in the comments on the article Danny is like Mr. Equivocation. I mean he sounds like a politician trying to keep the lid on a scandal or something.

      ———-

      So my personal Theory of the Moment is that Internet Marketing, verb or noun, even right from the 1996 (or before) beginning, has only ever been semi-legitimate at best. There’s an article that @Jack linked to somewhere where Aaron Wall said that you shouldn’t believe it when SEO gurus tell you they’re “whitehat” only. IIRC, Aaron said the reality is that all the SEO types are probably operating somewhere in the gray.

      My Theory (for now) is that this has always been the case not just for SEO but for all Internet Marketing. But that, over time the “you can too!” “make money!” hype-y, full-on cult scam has grown, as Flatley said, “into an online monster”.

      It’s still kind of amazing that Danny could be blind to all of that.

      Self-deception much!? Oh well. It is pretty hard to be neutral or impartial when your very financial livelihood is directly connected to something.

      “Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.” right, Danny?


      Furry cows moo and decompress.

      1. @Wyrd, Interesting analysis. I think you might be over-complicating things. What’s happening online was happening by direct mail before there was an online. Even then…there were “FREE REPORTS” declaring that “AND YOU CAN TOO!” that then got you on their mailing lists. One you were, your (physical) mailbox would fill up with similar offers from all over because they would sell your name to other mail order “gurus.” You’d be offered $5000 seminars and — yes — there were phone rooms even then.

        What’s happening today is the Internet has removed almost all the expense for anyone to be a scammer. There is no printing or postage. Little risk our initial outlay. Just start blasting and build a list, sell it and pocket the profits.

        Note I say “just” very very lightly…

        It’s so cheap and easy that, truly, today, anyone can jump online and join the scam parade. In that sense, “you can too!” is true. Most certainly more true than it was in the days when you had to have some bucks to RISK on your shenanigans. But it’s only true today if you also choose to scam people.

        Selling real stuff online is real. But that’s the hard stuff to do.

        And the Internet truly does level the playing field, making it much easier for “wannabes” and B- and C-teamers to look, act and feel like A-teamers to the uninitiated, without having to spend money on nice stationary and glossy printed materials.

        Small wonder the Internet is so rife with scams and the scamming scammers who scam us.

  17. The vulnerability at the major transition points of a person’s life is also used by cults to recruit new members. People I have met who seem grounded and reasonable show up with a over polished business partner to pitch an mlm and then berate my ability to find happiness and success without their koolaid.

    Steven Hassan has written some books about his own journey out of the Not-so-Reverend Moon’s organization and his mission to intervene legally to reach people lost in cults and cultish organizations. It’s a great parallel and it’s uncanny how many of these IM people come from the NLP-persuasion coercion-pickup artist underworld.

  18. [quote]I didn’t “fail at IM” because I was a slacker. I didn’t “fail at IM” because I didn’t take “Massive Action”. I wasn’t successful because IM is bullshit. [/quote]

    Very well said.

      1. @been here before,

        I think what you were looking to do was {blockquote} “text you want to quote” {/blockquote}. Except instead of these: { } use .

        I’ll test it here, and if you see a block quote in my comment, it means my advice worked, if note, then you can safely ignore me.

        “See it worked”

        1. @been there before,

          Hahaha, 99% there on my advice…anyway, I put my example in these curly braces { }. You want the angle braces “” instead in order to block quote.

  19. I received an E-mail telling me about a free webinar that was being offered by Mike Koenings and Pam Hendrickson over a month ago. They referenced a couple of topics that I was interested in knowing more about, so I signed up to hear what they had to say. I had no clue who Mike Koenings was, or what products/seminars he offered when I received their E-mail.

    I do commend them both as they were very articulate and surprisingly did not come across as snake-oil salesmen. I was also surprised they did provide the information I was interested in as part of the free webinar. Usually you get the tease of an answer but for the whole answer you have to purchase their product that is to give you all the details so you too can become a zillionaire.

    But as I was listening to their presentation, I was struck at how similar it is to the conmen we deal with in the Internet investment Ponzi’s/scams and their various forms of cyber-crime. They too are smooth talkers, can convince you they are the real deal, know the buzz words that will get you to give them your money, and if you only invest with them, you too will become a zillionaire.

    Since what they do is not my area of expertise, I wanted to see if they could convince me to part with my money like the scammers we deal with do to their victims. While I was glad to know that I did not fall for, or was even tempted, to purchase their products and services. I can see how people do fall for it that have no knowledge and order their products/services and pay to attend their seminars. They are that convincing to the naive, gullible and desperate.

    A great learning experience for me, but all I have to do is point people here and they won’t become a victim.

    1. @Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington,

      Ah, come on. You didn’t buy their stuff? You mean you didn’t want to be Paid For Life? [saltydroid.info]

      (Koening I was already familiar with from the recent article, but “Pam Hendrickson” didn’t ring any bells for me, so I tried searching her not-so-common last name here on saltydroid.info and got that hit.)


      Furry cows moo and decompress.

      1. @Wyrd,

        Shocking wasn’t it. I don’t know how I managed not to jump and down with joy that I had found the missing link to being a millionaire.

        Let’s see, they said they were offering a package that if you bought all the goodies separately it would retail for $19,700, but you could get their 45 CD set (I think it was a 45 CD set) and attend their 2.5 day workshop for just $2997, and they would even let you pay in installments if you signed up immediately at the end of the webinar. I may be wrong on this, so I am not sure I am quoting this 100% correctly, but it was close to something like this. They were tossing in freebies so quickly and their price if bought separately that I could hardly keep up with all of them. I would have to find my notes to say for certain about their offer. Just too lazy to try and find them.

        Of course the big sell was for the monthly coaching prorgram where they would take anyone to the next level of success, whatever that was supposed to be if my memory serves me correctly.

        1. @Lynndel “Lynn” Edgington, It reminds me about that one thing too many of so many people in life make the mistake about is from them not finishing the previous next levels before going to go onto finish all of the next previous levels. It’s the simple fact which can save us all so much money and frustration these days.

  20. Hey Guys, it’s Me!

    I’m launching on an awesome affiliate sales program right now in case anyone is interested. I’m calling it “THE ULTIMATE PACKAGE!”.

    What I’m doing is re-purposing every “can’t lose” affilate sales program into one GIANT BUNDLE of money making joy. You will:

    * Have access to all the leading SEO apps before 2010

    * Learn how to make really engaging videos

    * Cutting edge opt-in email harvesting

    * Learn the WordPress Secrets no one else knows

    And for the first 100 internet millionaires that sign up, I’m throwing in Tony Robbins’ “Burn Away Those Pesky Corns” DVD absolutely free.

    My roll-out special is $147, but for Salty Droid fans day only it’s $97; a savings of $50! Just enter the promo code: R2D2

    This is a fantabulous offer guys so don’t pass it up.
    Selling excitement was never so easy!

    H.

    1. @H. Simpson,

      Ah gee, thanks. You shouldn’t have. Really.

      But you got Salty’s designation wrong, and given the general nature of your posts I can’t tell if that was on accident or on purpose (like giving away all those horribly outdated before 2010 SEO “apps”. (Side note: You wanna see something that’s really funny and tragic all at the same time? Try putting Windows 95/98 on an old computer and attempt to get on the Internet with the version of IE that comes pre-loaded. I doubt it will even load MSN without crashing and burning. Hard.) (And of course those “SEO apps” were likely mostly vapor even when they were new. And the part that wasn’t vapor was buggy. And it probably spammed and linkbaited and just did general fake-y BS to get that high page rank even when it worked.).

      Salty’s an R5-D4 as @HTNMMO pointed out previously.


      Furry cows moo and decompress.

    2. @H. Simpson,

      *** free testimoanial****

      Worth twice the full price for the podiatry alone!

  21. What these guys missed in trying to defend themselves with Danny Sullivan is that there are legitimate internet marketers, like say Amazon.com selling real things and Expedia that sells real services…and then there are internet marketers who sell internet marketing to internet marketers who sell yet more internet marketing to people telling them they can make millions of dollars selling internet marketing to people just like them.

    It’s a virtual pyramid scheme whose end product is selling hope to the vulnerable. At least snake oil salesman offered snake oil. You’d get a bottle, a cork, some cod liver oil, whiskey and maybe a dash of opium or cocaine.

    1. @Keyster, I agree. I think they edged around this, but were too nice to call Danny Sullivan out on it because he’s “legit”. I don’t consider Amazon.com an Internet Marketer…they are a retail company located on the internet, but I’m pretty sure their VP of marketing is concerned with Capital-M-Marketing of which tactics involving the Internet are just a component that must be integrated with their overall marketing program, not segmented out in some special way.

      1. @Shorty, Do you expect Amazon.com to open up physical retail locations in the near future? If not, then it’s factually incorrect to call them a retail company as they don’t in fact have walk-in retail locations.

        When their only sales channel and the only way to order from them is via the Internet, it’s correct to call what they’re doing Internet marketing just like a firm publishing a mail order catalog where you can only order through sending them mail is doing mail order. As opposed to a retail company which has physical locations for the walk-in retail trade.

        That they may be using other marketing channels (mail order firms advertising their catalog in magazines) does not change what their primary or only sales channel is. Which also explains why most firms who’ve had legitimate sucess with Internet retail sales have a mail order background and most firms who tried it without having or hiring mail order expertise was a disaster along pets.com lines.

        It also explains why most “and you can too!” is bullshit, because mail order is an extremely demanding logistics exercise when you’re selling actual stuff as opposed to unicorns and fairy dust.

        1. @Melkor, To quote your response:

          “Which also explains why most firms who’ve had legitimate sucess with Internet retail sales have a mail order ”

          Amazon makes money by selling retail goods, ergo they are a retailer. A walk in location just makes you a brick-and-mortar retailer. Amazon is most definitely an online retailer. In their press kits they refer to their websites as “retail websites”. Sorry, but I don’t think you accurately understand the term “retail”.

          1. @, Is someone selling reatail goods to the consumer over the phone called a telephone retailer, or a telemarketer? Is someone selling retail goods to the consumer through the postal service a postal retailer, or a mail order marketer? Is someone selling retail goods to the consumer over the Internet called an onlne retailer, or an Internet Marketer?

            Completely analogous terms.

            1. @Melkor,

              Retail simply means selling in smaller quantities and higher prices than wholesale. You can retail through a number channels: online (“e-tail”), physical locations (“brick-and-mortar,” including stores, pop-up stores, kiosks), telephone, mail order, door-to-door, tabling events (fairs, trade shows), street vendors, and even the “party plan” sales MLMs push. Retail is a business model. Online is a channel.

              If you define a business model by its primary channel or buying mechanism, it gets confusing very quickly. Is Victoria’s Secret a (brick-and-mortar) retailer or an Internet marketer or a telemarketer or a mail order company?

            2. @Lana, It’s semantics, and I may be annoyingly precise to some, but back when I cared about such things and wrote about it in about 1998 or so I kept trying to tell people “Look you moreon, you’re not an Internet marketer, you’re a marketer who happens to be marketing on the Internet”, just like “Look, you jerkface journalist, that’s a cracker or a script kiddie, not a hacker. A hacker is someone like my friend who’ve just hacked together a proof-of-concept web server that runs on his cell phone, not some 14-year old virus writer”.

              But language evolved on me, and on you – and it does serve a purpose to have terms that make a distinction between multi-channel retailers and single-channel retailers. Among other tings, regulations covering the terms of sale are different between goods sold through a fixed physical location, door-to-door, temporary markets, or through mail order and the Internet.

              Just because Ryan Deiss is a fraud selling courses on things he doesn’t know jack shit about like SEO doesn’t mean that SEO isn’t a real thing and there are people who can legitimately teach it (Aaron Wall, Jason). There are times when it’s useful to distinguish between sales channels and single-channel vs. multi-channel businesses, and times when it’s not, and I still reserve the right to hate telemarketers, loathe mail order firms filling up my physical mail box with catalogs of junk, and despise internet marketers clogging the web with ever-more intrusive forms of advertising that take over my user experience and ruins any chance of designing a sensible user interface on a content-based web site that depends on advertising.

            3. @Melkor,

              According to dictionary.com, retail is “the sale of goods to ultimate consumers, usually in small quantities.”

              Wikipedia says it’s “Retail is the sale of goods and services from individuals or businesses to the end-user.”

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retail

              Retail isn’t limited to brick and mortar. You can retail by opening a store, by creating a website, by going door-to-door, by telemarketing, by direct mail, or by any other method that sells direct to the end customer.

              Your statement that Amazon can’t be a retailer because they don’t have walk-in stores is simply incorrect.

  22. I got into Internet Marketing long ago in the early 2000s back when it was simple, held lots of promise, there were like 400 search engines and Corey Rudl was the number 1 authority before his young demise.

    Rudl created the internet marketing center and while I was skeptical at first, I eventually liked him for one specific thing. He marketed SPECIFIC solutions for specific needs and did not talk in vague, generalized terms. His language was crystal clear (except for the occasional marketing buzzword). He walked what he preached and had an air of integrity. Whatever dirty tricks he used to take your money, he revealed them to you so that you can use them on your clients.

    This created an expectation in me. Anyone proposing to be teaching or offering Internet Marketing solution had to be specific demonstrate integrity and know what he’s doing. If I received an e-mail from an internet marketer and it fell in my junk folder I wouldn’t listen because if he can’t even prevent his e-mails getting junked how could he teach me to build rapport with clients?

    I ran a website that sold an e-book about how to overcome procrastination. It was hard work but rewarding until e-books in general lost their power, the internet landscape changed, my life around me changed and it got harder, so I decided to quit.

    Around 2008 I decided to try my luck again. I took a look at other so called marketers but easily found that they either lacked solid foundations, were too vague and did not meet the expectations ingrained in my brain by Rudl. Having died in 2005 the Internet Marketing Center was no run by a guy named Derek Gehl or something. And since I had done business before with this entity I decided to search for some assistance by this business entity.

    To make a long story short I found to my disappointment that this once trusted business was using exactly what I hate to make money off me. There were blogs I would have to pay to read that would charge me $15 something every month on automatic and all this was almost in small print. There was a system called BeBiz that claimed to help you set up a website in as little as 4 days and you’d have to keep shelling $30 per month in order to keep your site up. Most of the software products offered were now old. But my horror was still to come.

    I signed up for training. I spent $3000 for a 6 month course on Bebiz, I set up the e-book again with some improvements and a better offer. I wrote articles. In the middle of these 6 months I learned nothing new that can’t be found for free and I got pitched on “more advanced” mentoring programs.

    I did make a some money but nowhere near as much as I spent. I later got phone calls and was pressured me into taking the advanced mentorship course because they knew I was earning something. They were asking for about $7000 without me having made the original investment back. The lady on the line (bree I guess her name was) even wanted me to pay the 1st $1000 BEFORE signing up a digital contract.

    Needless to say I realized this was a boiler room scam and did not join, but I would not have been surprised if someone would have fallen for the persistent pressure.

    At 1 point she even tried to sweeten the deal with a discount, with easy monthly payments and a free Bebiz site (which would of course mean an extra $30 a month once the free 3 months passed). WTF?!

    I looked at other IM solutions but it was evident, having been in real internet marketing that there is no integrity left. The scumbags mentioned on Saltydroid are but a small fraction of the filthy snake oil. There was no straight talk. No defined features and benefits. No crystal clear problems and solutions. Language is vague and mystic. Testimonials are bought. The only exact thing mentioned are numbers of dollars earned because $32,743.57 is more believable than $32,000. But you have no way of knowing if that number is true or repeatable, do you?

    There once used to be real internet marketing people could learn from honest people but those days are long, long gone. These days the basics can be found for free and nobody is going to sell you his tricks unless they don’t work. Even if there were any genuine tricks, why would they dilute their effectiveness by sharing them with you? And who says they can work for you too anyway? What makes you think there is no catch when you’re dealing with people far away?

    If you want to market your presence on the internet there is only 1 way. Trial and error, patience and hard work. There is no push button solution. If someone tries to sell you an easy solution, they are not giving you a service, you are giving them your money and rest assured that they will try to suck as much of it as they possibly can.

    If you have a product or service to sell, study real marketing instead, then observe people’s behavior on the internet and do real marketing but with an added internet presence.

    And if you don’t have YOUR OWN product or service to sell, there is no such thing as internet money for you. You can’t make decent money being an affiliate. There are so many doing it, buyers know how to bypass it (or ask for a refund quickly) and if you are a member of Clickbank or any service where setting up a site & affiliate program is easy there is hardly any honest opportunity to promote anyway. Promote one thing and your contacts will hate you for life because they mistrusted you.

    There is NO SUCH THING as, “learn this and you can start making money online”. Sounds enticing doesn’t it? It is meant to be enticing! All effective traps are.

      1. @Wyrd, In fact for my next business venture I’m going against all the rules taught in internet marketing.

        I mean look at who really does the millions on the internet? No one of them follows ANY of their advice.

        Take wikipedia for instance? Do they try to force Google to display their site among the first few search results? NO!

        Wikipedia don’t care about SEO. They are not running after Google’s love, It’s Google that is demanding their content to be displayed among their results instead.

        Wikipedia don’t beg for Google results. It’s Google results that beg for wikipedia.

        Did they focus on a small niche? Not at all. They did something huge that feels like an enormous challenge.

        Do they do affiliate marketing? NO! They ask for donations and they forbid advertising entirely; and people love them for it. And they donate.

        Do they follow a step by step formula anyone can use? Hell no. They built the Wiki platform themselves and practically invented the right way to do business for their kind of purpose. Others have used their wiki platform and imitated them but they’re nowhere as successful. So much for the hype that Web 2.0 had!

        Anyone these days making serious cash doesn’t use the internet. He builds an essential part of the internet people want to use. He builds a system HE controls and that other hopeful marketers will want to use for both traffic generation and fun. Look at Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, LinkedIn… They break all the rules and yet have the best results. They dream big, have a totally innovative kind of service (or do it much better than previous offerings), trust no one else to run their dream and they work their asses off.

        Last but not least… they are totally free from the guru mentality. Guruism is a curse. They don’t follow marketing or self-help experts.

        They are the drivers of their dream. They know their bad decisions are better than the good decisions of others. They are not happy to be internet users, they want to be internet makers. They want to be kings, not warriors. They want to work hard, not have passive income.

        It’s amazing that all gurus tell their followers to imitate successful people that are making millions, but then provide the exact opposite advice of what the successful people really do. That more than anything, is evidence that gurus are just self proclaimed experts (aka frauds).

        1. @Mark, it sounds like you have made some money, so have the luxury of time to invest in developing the next best thing on the internet – & there are real opportunities out there.

          You have some of what it needs to make it big:

          (a) being a dreamer

          (b) being a self believer

          But there are a whole lot more attributes, which you may or may not have..

          (c) being a pragmatist

          (d) being creative / inventive

          (f) coming out from left field

          (g) being able to understand your market

          (h) being able to sell to your market

          (i) capable of developing real value, or real entertainment value, from whatever hot idea is the one you choose.

          (j) not giving up… oops starting to sound like an IMer. Bad dog! Better stop now.

          Good luck. I also am excited by the internet, and the potential that it still has to offer, its facinating social complexity, plus the fact that it is still incredibly young. However, what the internet is offering currently is a mix of cess pit and good.

          The SD is one phenomenal exposer of the reality of one part of the cess pit. The commenters / followers of this site are good, smart, and very entertaining people. As a result, I spend too much time on this site, being entertained, and heartened by people with a mindset that I really identify with.

          From my perspective – I need to get back into more real work again, with real challenges, working for real people, providing real value, plus doing stuff that might not be my dream even though it is useful to the big corporate – but until I do so, I am using (a) and (b) above, and whatever rest of the list is part of my skill set, to come up with something else.

  23. To be fair and not to be confused…internet marketing and internet entrepreneurship are not the same. You can make money online……that is if you can provide an actual business service or real product to sell. Not some fucking cheap ass book on how to change a fucking babys diaper or teach a parrot to talk. 99% of the shit these people teach is crap but the world is shifting to the internet and some businesses that stay offline will ultimately be crushed or just barely breathing. SD try not to and find a way to trash this comment or make me look like the guy trying to save these shit dicks. I do respect you and what you do.

  24. It seems as though these guys are tooting their horns for not marketing or something when in all actuality they are, and they’re doing it on the internet. I mean seriously?? lol These guys are great but getting a little too carried away with the term “internet marketing” as a bad thing and having it as this umbrella that covers all aspects of business done on the internet.

    1. @Rob, Nope. Your comment does not reflect a good understanding of this site. Please take the time to read some more of it – you might get a clue.

      1. @Random stuff, hmmm so my overall understanding of this site boils down to a single comment on a single post of many?? and you might get a clue if you watched the entire video and SD’s post on when journalism attacks and how it is directly correlated with this video. So go ahead and go fuck yourself you condescending cunt.

        1. @Rob,

          Hey look, maybe @Random stuff was harsh and too judgmental of you, but I dunno if that’s a good enough reason to jump into c*nt territory. Is that how the good entrepreneurs would handle criticism?

          1. @Wyrd, Your’e absolutely right Wyrd….I guess I’m just still bitter over losing my father, brother, and mother in a car accident last month. My emotions got to me sorry everyone.

        2. @Rob, I misread your comment (I saw ‘these guys’ not as referring to the guys in the video video, but as referring to the guys / community / commenters on this site, where there is a pretty good understanding of the realities of IM, power of the internet, value of ethical marketing via the internet of good products (and indeed, making money on line) versus the MLM IM and the gurus who create significant misery, and are just plain bad news. – *and* I thought the comment was by a troll who had adopted your moniker.

          I should have held back and refrained from any comment, rather than jumping to a wrong conclusion. Scammers / trolls need harsh words. Any comment by a scammer that is allowed to stand will help reinforce delusions of people stuck in the MLM IM guru victim trap. But I will step back on that side – and avoid anything which could upset – I think I have done enough commenting on this site anyway.

          Finally- though some of my comments have had a good thumbs up – they pale a bit by the brilliance and insight of many commenters such as Wyrd, Lanna, Jack, Karen, and of course the awesome SD. Also – reading your and Wyrd’s following comments – no offence taken (!). Apologies from my side for the misdirected comment.

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