Internet marketing, scams and fraud: The art of selling what we want

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Warrior forum From time to time, I peek into the Internet’s dark underbelly. This research usually coincides with a review of our business objective to discover a network of sales representatives to help us expand into new markets in Canada and the U.S. They work from home. In Canada, we have a screening system and offer a starting salary to candidates who pass through some rigorous (but fair) testing.  (We pay them for their time after they complete trial assignments.)

Of course, our business could grow even more rapidly if we didn’t need to pay a starting salary to the sales representatives. If they would work on pure commission, we could open our doors virtually anywhere. However, if you’ve ever moved into the space where you are looking for “work at home” commission-based sales representatives without geographical constraints, you’ll run smack, dab and right into the Internet scam “work from home” and “get rich quick” space.

Here, businesses dress up offers to suggest that for a small investment — or sometimes no investment if you have a network of friends and associates — you can make the money of your dreams, without really working, and then have all the material things you would ever like, including the luxury home, car, vacations, and so on — and if you wish, you could share a portion of your good fortune with good causes and deeds you support –all for a modest investment of, whatever . . .

These operators prey on emotions, needs, dreams and hopes. They live in the world of the weight loss, “debt elimination” and easy money universal dreams, appealing to everyone who wants to achieve great results without any effort or sales ability.  Of course they are scams. Many use agents or affiliates, who collect commissions of 25 per cent or more to recruit more into the game.  Marketing costs can be incredibly high in comparison to the retail price of the “information” product — after all, it doesn’t cost much to actually produce and send an e-book, and if the package is more expensive and substantial, usually this is the first stage to sell more and more, to the “list” of clients (or suckers).

Periodically, even, legitimate and successful businesses people get caught up in the scams and hype. I know of one guy in the U.S. who sold a successful glazing business, and then paid a small fortune for Internet market training, to learn the secrets of developing and marketing worthy information products to subcontractors.  I think he was sincere, and I think he truly had hoped to offer genuine value to his clients. But (as I’ve learned through practical experience) the folks who “need” marketing advice the most are least willing to pay for it. So his venture, as far as I know, fell flat on the ground, and he has moved on to other things.

Of course, like in most things in the real world, a few players at the top of the pecking order do quite well for themselves, generating incredible profits because of their reputation, and most importantly, their incredibly large lists of purchasers of various Internet offers. These are the golden geese that can lay egg after egg — because some fraud suckers, of course, are ready to be victims more than once.

If you read through places like warriorforum.com and (creatively) warriorforumsucks.com, you’ll gain a snapshot into this Internet underworld. You’ll also see legitimate extensions. Ignoring the scams and get-rich-quick schemes, successful Internet marketers make clear that you need to work hard to succeed, you need to focus on what you really know and can contribute, and you should be wary of buying the offers you see — you can often obtain the same information for free, with a little research. (This is most apparent with Google’s AdSense program, which allows website owners to collect some advertising revenue from Google advertisers by placing a bit of code on their sites — the classic “make money at home without work while you sleep” game. Of course things aren’t so easy, but you certainly don’t need to pay anyone to “train” you how to use AdSense. Just go to adsense.google.com and if you wish, hang out at the help forums.)

The challenge for me, of course, is the scammers and sleeve-bags have driven up the marketing and promotion costs for our own work-from-home commission-based careers since they are willing to pay top dollar to promote their dishonourable deals.

I guess I’ll have to go back to the drawing board. Sigh.

If you want to learn more about our work-at-home advertising sales initiative, you can visit www.adsalessuccess.com.

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