I didn’t write this post :: but I made up the word “confesstimonial” {because making up words is my long tail SEO strategy} … so 100% of the internet monies from this post will go to me {or maybe to Arianna Huffington}. I plan to invest most of those monies in silver … so that’s just stacking wins on top of wins for me right there.

Confesstimonials are first hand accounts from people with direct personal knowledge of these terrible situations. They’d like to speak out and litter the internets with their own thoughts and dissents … but it’s complicated. Scammers :: it turns out … aren’t very nice people. And other media outlets :: it turns out … couldn’t give a shit.

Victims :: former employees :: associated professionals and service providers :: former perps :: current perps … whomever I decide because I’m the fake king of my own fake kindgom. The people involved … in their own voices.

More confesstimonials are coming. Got one for me? Call me :: via email … don’t call me {cause I’m too busy not taking your calls to start taking your calls}.

Today’s confesstimonial comes from a former employee of Mike Koenigs :: it’s been shortened by me because people talk too much … but otherwise …

Not me anymore in 3 … 2 … 1 …

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The Illusion of Profitable Paths that turn out to be False Hope

How Mike Koenigs and Instant Customer will make Customers Instantly Broke

To all those who are persistently frustrated that very few things in this world work as we hoped.

A lot of our disillusionment is because of the misguidance of the supposedly trustworthy people we look to for guidance. These people often seem like they are successful, yet something doesn’t feel right when they seem to do things the wrong way. They’re disconnected from reality.

We are all connected and I believe it’s our responsibility to create the greatest, sustainable good (not “goods” per say) for the greatest number. This does not mean welfare, as that’s a temporary solution that undermines individual motivation to plan prudently, increase self-worth and earn sufficiently, and burdens others.

On our level, it means uncovering the keys to success, creating systems that work consistently, and making smart investments that have a very solid chance to payoff for all involved, and thus not be a burden but a blessing to society.

I felt compelled to write about Mike Koenigs’ and tie it in with his latest launch called the Instant Customer Revolution.

I feel safer to communicate about this now than when working for him or shortly after, for fear of reprisal. Fear of losing a steady paycheck creates passive conformity to what the boss says, in addition to the assumption that they know the “right thing to do”, rather than “speaking the truth to power”, since often times they don’t want to hear it to continue on their road to a dead end.

It’s unfortunate that so many people in this world are so stubborn and choose to cling to what they mistakenly feel is safe, when the safe option is often to continue to evolve to a more effective strategy based on delivering on the stated and anticipated desires of people you exist to serve.

Let’s get into some examples to make this clearer.

Intuition

When I started working with Mike and Rocket (his ex-partner), it was very clear that the systems weren’t intuitive and weren’t going to be successful.

Head tech-tard after head tech-tard, all founders, who thought they knew everything about tech and running a business got in the way of efforts to make it better for the users who were complaining about it, in their effort to make a quick-buck from it. But there’s one little equation they seemed to not analyze well enough and correct properly first:

Revenue – Cost = Profit.

Therefore, when Revenue is less than the high Cost to support the sloppy system, the Profit is negative, and the more you scale, the more you LOSE. This is why designing a system that’s so intuitive and easy to use is essential to profitability, because then it’s self-service, and easily scalable at a low marginal cost (the cost of adding more server power). Sloppy system design should not be overcompensated by an overwhelming amount of training guides either, as that disconnects the effortless user flow through the system. It should be as intuitive as possible first, and any additional info, seamlessly embedded. Instead, founders who create systems that customers don’t like tend to call them very condescending names, rather than listen with empathy and improve the system to be more aligned with their needs. They seem to point stupidity in the wrong direction.

Mike’s systems have never been intuitive and easy to use. He’s had Traffic Geyser, Mixiv, and MonsterFollowUp, now Instant Customer. He’s a self-proclaimed feature-freak. Ok, we all are to some degree, who wouldn’t want all the features that make sense in a system? Though he doesn’t like to listen to anyone else’s ideas, like the customers’ ideas, only his own. In fact, he has what seems to be a conflicting belief system. He’s publicly stated he wants to serve 1 million entrepreneurs (that’s code for “I wanna be filthy rich”). Yet he’s said privately “Don’t let the inmates (customers) run the asylum.” The idea being they’ll take over and mess up everything. That can be true to an extent, but when taken to the opposite extreme, of not wanting to take in customer feedback and constantly improve systems and processes, that’s a problem. Customers aren’t being “served” in a way that makes them happy; they merely exist to send Mike money.

Here’s how this further manifests giant-problems for him, his employees and his customers. Because he doesn’t try to make his systems intuitive, pushes everyone to pack in more and more features, and would rather make a rushed sale than sell a solid, tested proven product, those systems:

  • Can’t be used to generate value, Instantly
  • Require a tremendous amount of training videos to learn the system, which of course he’s happy to put a high-price tag on and sell to you
  • Are often hacked together in a rush to meet his deadlines and then break easily (He’s actually said “How fast could you build this if I put a gun to your head?” jokingly, but any developer knows that’s a bad idea in the long-run)
  • Turn highly intelligent people into overly humble people constantly requesting support, always well into the double digits before they actually generate any return on their investment
  • Need so much human support that the cost per customer would often exceed the revenue per customer, and customer support would be too overwhelmed to be able to do anything more proactive towards generating long-term value for Mike
  • Create problems on a massive scale when Mike and his team builds even more micro-systems like the old Facebook Page Generator to package up and sell during a launch, thus creating more faulty systems and overwhelmed support

Support was so overwhelmed after one launch that:

  • Customers didn’t get a response for WEEKS
  • Top-affiliates took hundreds of support phone calls and emails, where their line of responsibility is supposed to end with the sale
  • Mike, Rocket (his business partner) or Travis (President) didn’t even bother adding on more support staff, even though they just made millions, and staff was available and willing

Mike in his videos generally makes you believe that there is so much business waiting for you and he’s made it so easy that all you have to do is push a button, show a prospect one simple thing, and you’ll make multiples of your investment back in no time, if not, get your money back within 30 days. There’s the hope. And it’s become commonplace in Internet marketing, including in the WSO scene on the Warrior Forum.

Here’s the Reality

Now imagine you’ve “invested” $3,000 into Mike’s launch program, or any other IM launch, even $7+ in the latest and greatest WSO, and it’s one week later: his systems don’t work fully and you can’t figure out the ones that do, the training is more about Mike telling you how much value you’re getting than giving you actual value, support still hasn’t replied, you’re worried whether you’ll actually get to make a fair go of this before the 30 days are up, and before your bill collectors and significant other start to get fed up with your lack of funds due to your latest “hail mary investment.”

And oh by the way, he forgot to mention how much competition there already is in the marketplace, how unresponsive most target customers are and how little money they have, and how difficult it is to get success with most technological and marketing endeavors. So his customers’ expectations were set sky-high and now, they’re feeling seriously deflated and depressed.

Instant Customer is no different. Most customers weren’t seeing results, despite many trying many different marketing methods. Yet they’ll tell stories of the few to the contrary. How many people have you seen or heard race to whip out their mobile phone while driving in their car to text the number on the side of a van for a carpet cleaner? Needless to say, their lead flow was a drought and their return on investment was negative.

Test Results

After all of this hoopla, what has Mike or any other marketer like this accomplished? They’ve created a sea of quietly resentful customers. Those are the same customers who are often told by marketers that they “do nothing with their products” a.k.a. “it’s their fault.” I can tell you, I am NOT one of those people, I have tried a TON of supposedly successful systems, and most don’t work. They’re often conveniently missing information or critical factors that the creator had on his/her side when they generated their first taste of success, but like any good scientist knows, until that success can be replicated to account for other variables, it can’t be deemed a success until it sufficiently holds up through testing.

[Mike] has to rely on affiliates to generate sales. Not those from the Syndicate however. Ever wondered why you don’t see names like Frank Kern, Andy Jenkins, or Jeff Walker on Mike’s affiliate leaderboard? All I remember hearing Mike say about that is he has plenty of his own things to promote, so therefore no list sharing with the syndicate, and no syndicate love, despite Frank and Mike being good friends. With the remaining affiliates, he pays them 50%, of the usual $3,000 launch price. Maybe that’s why he can’t afford to hire enough support staff, developers, UI experts, and didn’t have a copywriter on staff until last year.

Conveniently Unspoken Information

Now since Mike’s systems and most IM products more often fail to generate more value than the time and money invested for the general user, not for Mike himself since he builds it for himself, his systems naturally won’t get to enjoy the same free word-of-mouth marketing and wild profitability like Steve Jobs and Apple are capable of generating. Therefore he needs to compensate for this weakness to generate more sales by using “heroes”, “all-stars”, “Internet marketing micro-celebrities” and affiliates to all speak positive praise. Who would bother to invest time and money or be given the stage to speak negatively? Everyone you see will provide motivation to buy, as it’s not profitable to tell you to not buy. I speak, because I care about speaking about the underlying truth to people who may experience, are experiencing or have experienced the same pain and frustration I have.

Here’s some of that missing information I was referring to:

  • Mike’s systems in the past have essentially sold lead generation services via video SEO, known as Traffic Geyser. Posting a video on YouTube with keywords in it doesn’t guarantee a page 1, position 1 placement, and neither does blasting out 20 of the same video to 20 different video sites. I’ve tried it many times, and it doesn’t get to the top, nor does being in any other position seem to generate any meaningful number of leads to sell and profit from.
  • Paul Colligan is infamous for confidently splurging great sounding money-making methods which actually don’t work and don’t make money… maybe that’s why Mike pays his hotel bill at events and hired him as an employee because he can’t make enough on his own?
  • The only thing the All-Stars would claim is that they’d get their clients videos on the front page, which happened, but they wouldn’t speak to how much their client actually made, only “if” they generated X number they would profit. Furthermore, the videos of one All-Star was posted in an area with very low SEO competition, like Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Another All-Star was sued by an SEO client because of the lack of results. Something most people aren’t told of course.
  • Another All-Star didn’t succeed even with all of Mike’s sales materials. In fact, it took this All-Star seeking out a REAL sales professional who can really sell one-on-one to actually learn how to sell. Yet Mike gets the credit for her success.
  • As a result of Mike’s systems and training not being able to generate meaningful success fast enough, and support lacking, poor helpless customers are then tempted to seek out these All-Stars for additional help and coaching, to the tune of around $500/hour.

Top affiliates have also stepped up to profit even more on their desperate situation. Just before one of Mike’s events, top affiliates and All-Stars held a sold-out event to educate their customers and at the end, sell a done-for-you + advanced education system. Out of 300 or so people in the room, everyone raise their hand to buy. Months later… this system didn’t succeed either in making its customers wealthier, just poorer and more frustrated. Their SEO tactics didn’t work, despite supposedly having a world-class SEO guy on hand, who actually has his own system to do the SEO work, which even one of the customers’ could get better SEO results faster than.

This is how customers and their cash trickle down the pyramid scheme until most go broke and few succeed.

All of Mike’s senior people have left him pretty soon after doing a lot for him. Why? He doesn’t listen to them, doesn’t pay what they’re worth, and he won’t change. As for Rocket and Mike, on the surface they would show they had love for each other, when they made money, there was a definite sense they kept their distance from each other and behind closed doors, they argued intensely about the direction of the systems and company.

Both seemed to succomb to the pressure of not having enough money, due to giving 50% away to affiliates, and $1 million+ to buy-out their former business partner, Frank Sousa. They didn’t want to raise money either to not have outside investor pressure, so they had cash flow pressure instead, which was not healthy for a sustainable business.

I too got discouraged and left and went to work at another Internet marketing company that “appeared successful” with another seriously disillusioned and stubborn CEO. Despite only having 3 customers and very little sales background, he had the bright idea for me to try to close large enterprise clients within 3 months, without starting with any solid relationships or referrals, during the holiday season, putting out proposals up to $100,000/month. Naturally none of them closed in time and the blame was placed on my “poor performance” rather than properly on his massive ignorance of the marketplace. This was later confirmed by a top insider at one of our target companies.

Since then, I’ve realized it’s far easier and more profitable to not just listen to what any supposed authority has to say. They often dispense advice that’s not consistently effective for others. It breaks the scientific standard of creating reproducible results. The smart thing to do is, do what the successful people are doing. Instead of just buying from them, become like them, by finding out the critical factors and principles that made them a success. Some of those things are timeless classics like negotiation skills, knowing from Warren Buffet that you make your money when you buy – so buy the lowest you can go, writing effective marketing copy, sales skills, and low-cost/high ROI lead generation. Make sure what you’re selling has been thoroughly tested, and you’ve factored in all the critical information and variables needed to account for different people and situations to truly take people from “where they are, to where they want to be,” effectively, effortlessly and easily.

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{PS … you can’t make money online.}

>> bleep bloop