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How Bloggers Manipulate You and Why I No Longer Trust Blogs With Price Tags On Them

Would you voluntarily join a sect?

I bet you’re thinking – “HELL NO!

This is how most of us will react, yet there are hundeds (if not thousands) of sects around the globe – all because most people get there by being deceived!

It all starts with a friendly invite to attend some meeting or lecture on a topic that bothers you, which in reality is a point of no return.

For the most of us the word “Sect” has a negative meaning and is quite often associated with the word “BrainWash“. That’s because we know that the people standing behind any sect are brilliant psychologists and outstanding public speakers, they use all known NLP techniques to manipulate your conscious and subconscious minds and make you do exactly what they want.

Now what if I say… that the Internet gave a birth to a brand new type of sect.

It all happens online now. From the very first interaction being a blog post, a video, a webinar or even a tweet, you get sucked into a funnel with one single purpose – getting all your money.

Guys, I want you to meet The World’s Most Deceiving Online “Sect” being…

Internet Marketing:

I strongly encourage you to stop reading my post and watch this video from the beginning and to the end. And in case you have some extra time you might as well check a brilliant post associated with the video above (big as hell, but really worth reading).

This whole “Internet Marketing Sect” is nothing else, but carefully crafted MLM pyramid.

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing strategy in which the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they recruit, creating a downline of distributors and a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation.

In other words, joining the forces of some scammy internet marketer requires you to buy his products as well as help him distribute them among your own network. And if you’re lucky and persistent enough – you might even sell a couple copies of your own product – but you will never get a check as big as your “guru”. That’s because he’s somewhere at the top of the MLM pyramid and he’s not interested in letting you reach his level and split profits.

I won’t dissertate about the success you might or might not achieve with an MLM business of any kind, I just want you to understand that people want to bring you to MLM not because they want you to make money, but because they want you to buy their products and redistribute them. And then it’s up to you how close to the top you can climb, but that’s not even close to something that’s called “get rich quick“.

The Blogs With Price Tags

According to my theory the “price tag” is one of the many indicators that the blogger is trying to manipulate you. Let me break down all of them, so that you could either approve or criticize my theory:

Stolen Face

There’s no better way to improve the credibility of your words other than show your face right next to them (hint: take a look at the top of my sidebar). Which of the testimonials will sound more credible to you: a) un-signed paragraph of text; b) a paragraph of text signed with a name; c) a paragraph of text signed with a name and a photo; d) video testimonial.

You might vote for the video testimonial as it’s the hardest to fake. Yet, with people offering video testimonials for $5, the right answer would be: e) a testimonial by someone you’re 100% sure he actually exists.

The internet is flooded with bots, fake names & paid testimonials by random people. You cannot trust anyone unless you know he’s real.

By saying “real” – I mean that you should be able to track a person if that’s needed. For example you can find me on Foursquare and see where I hang out (even though my account is barely active). You can find me on Facebook and talk with my friends about me. You might even find my YouTube channel and discover my little hobby – spinning vinyl :)

What I mean is that every real person will leave a ton of “footprints” around the web and if you’re struggling to find them – there might be something wrong with this person. I think that the only reason someone might want to hide his identity is doing something dodgy or unethical.

Do a reverse image search on a persons photo and you’ll quickly find out if it was stolen.

Fake Personal Story

There’s nothing wrong with storytelling actually, thousands of bloggers tell their personal stories to build that rapport with their readers which helps a lot in delivering their message.

Yet you must consider one very important thing. While you’re reading all those personal stories, your brain treats them as if you were actually there when it happened, which makes you think you know this person, which in its turn makes you think you can predict his actions in certain situations. Which is very very wrong…

I’ve just finished reading a book by Richard Branson “Screw It, Let’s Do It”. The book is great and it made me feel that Richard Branson is a very kind and reasonable person and in fact I even feel some attraction to him (no gay). Yet if I ever be lucky enough to do business with Sir Richard I don’t think I’ll make desicions based solely on what I’ve read about him in this book. Cause in reality I have no clue of what kind of person he actually is, I’ve just read something he wrote about his own self!

But Sir Richard has a huge advantage over poky online people – one hell of a reputation that can be confirmed by thousands of people he had dealt with in his life.

Speaking of online marketers, a few Google searches like: “name scam”, “name rip off”, “name cheat” might really add to that shiny personal story that you’ve just read.

Crafty Cliffhangers

Again there’s nothing wrong with this tactic in general. Lots of bloggers will drop cliffhangers here and there to make you want to come back to their blog later and read that little thing that was elegantly seeded into your mind.

What if I use a cliffhanger right now and say that next week I will reveal how this very blog post helped my friend to escape the trap of buying a $10.000 training course from a scammer? Did that make you slightly shiver of impatience to read this story? Well that’s the Zeigarnik Effect in action:

The Zeigarnik Effect is the tendency to experience intrusive thoughts about an objective that was once pursued and left incomplete. The automatic system signals the conscious mind, which may be focused on new goals, that a previous activity was left incomplete. It seems to be human nature to finish what we start and, if it is not finished, we experience dissonance.

You were reading this post and suddenly I made it kind of incomplete by promising you to reveal a very relevant story. There’s a good chance it’ll stick into your mind and you’ll recall it sometime after. So what’s the problem with this tactic anyway?

Well, you see, in most cases a sequence of cliffhangers means that you are in a sales funnel. So get ready to be pitched some product at the end of it.

Again, I’m not necessarily saying this is something bad, but if you add that to the other “scam indicators” you might not like the fact that some dodgy person is manipulating you.

“Expensive Free Stuff”

Those are the price tags I was referencing earlier. How many times have you seen messages like “download my FREE ebook, valued $97″, “attend my FREE webinar, normally sold for $197″, “sign up for my FREE email course, previously sold for $247″.

What irritates me a lot is that those products were never ever sold for the declared price even once. Their creators are simply exploiting a well known psychologic trick that people value things according to how big is the price.

Yet at the end of the day the only purpose of this “FREE $97 valued ebook” is simply to get you into that sales funnel with a sequence of cliffhangers nurturing you for the purchase of a product, which in its turn is nothing else, but another sales funnel for a more expensive product.

Enter The Mystery:

First of all, I’m not making any claims here, just sharing my observations.

Recently I’ve discovered a very nice IM blog called CopySean and I was blown away by the success story of the guy behind it. It was really inspiring and pleasure to read. I didn’t think long before I submitted my email address into one of his lead capture forms.

Yet something was bothering me about him. And so I decided to tell that to him directly:

Afterwards, we had a short conversation on Twitter where he assured me that he was a real person. I didn’t care that much anyway…

But sometime later I decided to learn more about Sean and searched for his social profiles. To my surprise I was not able to find any. So I did a reverse image search on a photo he had on his “About” page and discovered that it belonged to some other person.

At the moment of writing this post the photo was no longer there.

But it was still in Google cache, so I decided to record a video proof:

Spencer Finnley is someone who actually exits – at least I was able to find him on Facebook, unlike Sean King.

You might say that there’s nothing wrong with faking your online identity, using a pen name (I use one myself, actually) or even hiding your face behind fake photos. And I totally agree with you on that one (that’s why I had to add some X-Files music to my video – it creates drama LOL).

I’m not saying Sean King is a scammer or a bad person and something makes me think this post will help him a lot more than harm him, but in any case I’ll keep an eye on his blog and see where it all goes.

What the battle is for?

I’m an avid learner. Each and every day I will dig deep into the world wide web for some new information on internet marketing, productivity, business, management & stuff.

These days over 90% (my own estimate) of information is available for free, you just have to spend your time to find it and lean it. And I hate it when I get sucked in yet another sales funnel with a sequence of cliffhangers promising me an informational holy grail which at the end appears to be some paid product which I know I won’t purchase.

Instead I want to spend my time reading trusted resources that will provide real value in each and every post they publish. And THOSE guys actually have great chances of selling me something.

Will you join my forces?

Tim Soulo calls himself an MMA marketer (which stands for “Mixed Marketing Arts”) and his focus is tactics and strategies that bring you either money or clients. Grab the free email course if you want to grow your blog traffic!

51 Comments

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  1. AllieRambles

    Tim,

    I can’t even write what I feel right now!!!

    Scammers exist everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  And it is so sad.  Why do people fall for them?  They prey on the desperate.

    You almost got me.  I go by a pen name, AllieRambles.  It is a play on my site’s name.  But if you check out my blog’s about section my real name is there.  I only tried to stay anonymous in the beginning to protect my children but that started to waver soon after.  I pretty much now protect my address.

    Anyhow, this is powerful stuff!  I can’t wait to visit the Verge and see what he is talking about.  I’ll be sharing this with as many will listen.

    ~Allie

    • Tim Soulo

      well yeah.. I’m not saying that you should give your address to everyone… I just mean that when people feel they can reach you – maybe at some conference, or at some restaurant you often visit – that gives them a feeling that they can trust you.

      In this Verge article there was a story of how one salesman was talking to his victim for a few month and kinda made friends with him.. yet when the victim emptied his credit card, the salesman vanished and there was no track of him.. no chance to find him.. so that’s what I’m talking about.

      really glad you liked the post, Allie :)

  2. Bryce Christiansen

    Tim this was amazing.  I’m actually kind of pissed at you because now I want to shower after watching that video, but alas my office has no such place.

    I’m with you on the scammy price tags, long form sales letters, pitchy, crappy, internet marketing products.  Last year I was at a marketing convention put on by the makers of our marketing software and all of those internet marketing pitchmen were there doing exactly what this video exposed.

    It’s some shady stuff and even smart people are attracted to it, because they do a good job of making you feel good, or giving you that hope.

    I’ll sign your pact.

    It doesn’t mean I will stop running a business, but I’ll certainly make sure people get value from anything they sign up for on our site and that there will always be a free option.  The paid products will certainly give you value I couldn’t deliver for free, but it’s not going to stop you from getting the benefits I promise in the sign up.

    Great work, glad you are back.  Love your site’s design.  In fact it inspired the owners of my company to actually let me have a designed blog.

    Bryce

    • Tim Soulo

      Exactly! :) people should buy from you not because you’ve tricked them into doing this, but because they were constantly getting lots of value from you which they were able to implement and get results.. but they want more..

      Will you show me your “designed blog” once it’s ready? :)

      Cheers, mate!

  3. Samuel

    Nice point out Tim. A great topic to discuss about..

    And a very large one. It is quite interesting the scammers are able to use plain psychology into their tactics and get what they want. And they are doing it very well. They wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t. People keep falling for it and will continue to do so.

    You can’t fully believe anyone on the internet, as much as you want to believe. Even in the real world, that is the case.  Especially for those that don’t know you well.

    But very nice article :)

    • Tim Soulo

      Hey Samuel, thanks for stepping by :) Glad you liked the post.

      I totally agree that things are not that different in the real world but what’s important is that in every case there are certain patterns that you can look for. I just wanted to outline what I consider to be the patterns of dishonest bloggers :)

  4. Ileane

    Hi Tim, thanks for this post, it will be a real eye-opener for a lot of people reading it. 

    Not that I’ve ever fell for any of these scams but it reminds me of a time that I did get ripped-off before.Back in the day, these guys would stand around at the train station and play a card game called 3 card Molly. There was always a crowd standing around watching and you would have to guess which of the three cards was the Ace after they were shuffled around a few times. There was always a guy in the crowd who would guess correctly and win a few dollars just to prove to everyone else that they had a fair chance. Of course it was all a set up and these guys were working together. There was no way anyone could really win! OK I admit they got me for about $20 bucks. I was about 19 or 20 at the time so I learned at an early age and I can see scammers like this coming from a mile away! Looking back that was probably one of the best $20 investments I ever made in my whole life. I learned some really valuable lessons that day but most importantly:#1 – What you see ain’t always what you get!

    • Tim Soulo

      that’s an awesome story, Ileane! huge thanks for sharing it here :)

      I must say that $20 was quite a cheap price for the obtained immunity to scammers :)

      I must confess that I’m guilty for purchasing a couple courses, ebooks and pieces of software most of which turned out to be rubbish, or just repurposed content available for free.. so I don’t want other people follow my mistakes.

      Thanks a lot for sharing your opinion!

  5. Dainis Graveris

    Great read, Tim! I am still grateful you shared that Verge post with me – very interesting study explaining how big guys do it, and how they can sell knowledge..with big price tag attached. 

    Interesting story about guy, who may be faking his identity. It can be smart move..especially if you don’t have emotional story with car crash or how you were completely helpless some time in life..just fake it – and stand out hah!

    Well, I won’t do that ever myself, although for somebody it will make perfect sense in order gain emotional connection with readers. 

    Very interesting was to find out, that on Underground Seminar most people were saying that there are very little quality products, most of them are crap! Soon enough people will learn a bit more about Internet..with such posts and Verge studies and then I believe quality will start to play more important role. But no matter what – you need to know internet marketing to sell something online. You need to sell, which makes us all to be related with Scammers..at least at first.

    • Tim Soulo

      “Soon enough people will learn a bit more about Internet..with such posts and Verge studies and then I believe quality will start to play more important role.” – excellent point! :)

      if you look back, a huge amount of scam was outed and hardly exists these days… so I think it’s just a matter of time and people will no longer believe those fake stories and false identities :)

  6. Mohul Ghosh

    Awesome! Never read such a detailed description and ‘proof’ against the ‘Guru’ products.. I, myself have subscribed to atleast 100 such ‘products’. Its really fun to read those mails.. the perfect example of using words as powerful weapons..

    • Tim Soulo

      “atleast 100″ ? :) you must’ve been reading lots of the same stuff over and over again :)

  7. Mohul Ghosh

    But I guess the example of  Richard Branson was somehwat off-beat.. He is already worht $4.2 billion .. http://www.forbes.com/profile/richard-branson/ Doesn’t need to play some fancy games to sell a book :)

    • Tim Soulo

      Hey Mohul, I wasn’t saying anything wrong about Branson :) in fact I’ve outlined that he has a reputation that many of us only dream of :)

  8. StartYourNovel

    Wow, Tim, that Verge video is brilliantly put together. 

    I am naturally wary of price tags, wherever they are, most of all on life-guru type blogs. Most of the time, these people can’t offer anything a customer wouldn’t get for free reading widely from trustworthy sources.

    I have to take exception to one thing you said, however: “I think that the only reason someone might want to hide his identity is doing something dodgy or unethical.”

    That’s one reason. Another is political dissent for people who live under oppressive regimes — divulging their real identity would endanger them and their families. Surely speaking out for democracy in North Korea is neither dodgy nor unethical?

    Here’s another: A battered woman looking to stay away from an abusive partner. She would still have a right to use the social web, right? And to a certain level of anonymity or pseudonimity.

    Yet another: I write under a pseudonym, because my real name is unmemorable, hard to pronounce, and I’ve heard it mangled more times than you could count on the fingers of both hands. But online you get my real opinions and tastes. You can look me up on G+. You can find me on Flickr. There’s an actual footprint for John Magnet Bell.

    You see, there’s the name your parents gave you, and then there’s a name you choose for yourself. Sometimes the two overlap, other times not.
    Using a pseudonym — Is this unethical on my part? If so, then Mark Twain should have signed all his books “Samuel Clemons, Jr.”

    What about Salty F. Droid? Was he wrong to start out defrauding scammers through an anonymous account?

    I can think of another reason to hide your identity online: Facebook, which tracks tons of people unawares, whether they want it or not. Same with Google+. I always have at least 3 privacy tools installed in any browser on my computer, because I don’t like being spied on.

    Oh, and privacy. The fact is, you don’t owe these companies anything. They don’t have a right to learn your real identity and make money from it. It’s a privilege. 
    A stranger on a bar wouldn’t have the right to know where you live, what you do for a living and how much money you’d make a year, just because we happened to be in the same bar at the same time.

    Your identity is privileged information. There’s nothing wrong with being a private person and using a pseudonym online.

    As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to hide your civilian identity that do not entail illegal or unethical pursuits. There are a good many other reasons to use an alternate identity – I was going to point you to the My Name is Me website, but it seems to be under attack at the moment. You can check out their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/MyNameCampaign if you’re so inclined.

    Oh, and “you should be able to track a person if that’s needed.” I find that problematic and cause for concern. You’re not the police, Tim. If you just shoot that out there without qualification, it seems that you’re saying “if you don’t tag your geographic location and the places you visit, I can’t trust you. If you’re not trackable, you’re hiding something.” But then you said that your 4sq account is mostly idle now. Should people stop trusting you because you’re no longer signaling your whereabouts?

    Do you have the right to know where I ate last night?

    Another question: I deleted my Facebook account years ago. Does that mean I’m hiding my identity? What about a hypothetical person that doesn’t use social networks but only has a blog, who isn’t really trying to sell you anything, but lacks a widely disseminated digital footprint? Are they being unethical for limiting their online activity?  

    Think about this as if YOU were the target of unwanted attention. Who has the right to know where you are and what you’re doing? Can an interested 3rd party request more information from you than you’re willing to give? Is that a right of theirs? How do you define “needed”?

    OK, I do get that the context here is about online scammers and, true enough, anyone looking to do actual business on the Internet automatically looks suspicious if their strategy is all smoke and mirrors and useless products. Anyone looking to sell anything, seminars and coaching sessions of all things, should give their customers a genuine way to get in touch. I too am wary of little secretive clubs who toot their horns a bit too loudly about how you can make a million bucks in a year. 

    Obviously I don’t find “Sean King’s” appropriation of a stranger’s photo very ethical. I wouldn’t do that myself.

    Please don’t take this as personal criticism — you’ll notice that there’s not a single word up there about you and your traits or choices — it’s just that this post, thought-provoking as it is, raised a lot of questions. If I wrote what I wrote above, that’s because I found a couple of stumbling blocks in this otherwise brilliant post.

    And thanks for telling us about TinEye. Great tool there.

    • Eugene Farber

      Awesome comment! I take issue with the Verge video though (and especially Mr. Salty Droid). 

      The video portrays ALL marketers as villiains trying to scam people out of their money. Those do exist. And some people might put people like Frank Kern or Eben Pagan into that category – I wouldn’t (I’m inclined to place David Wood in that category however). But to say ALL marketers are scammers, whether you include them in the list or not, is just false. 
      The tagline of Salty Droid is “You CAN’T Make Money Online.” Really? I can prove otherwise. I think that video is too extreme, and quite honestly very damaging. 

      For example, I build an email list with my blog (and Tim does here too). If were on the same level as someone like Frank Kern we’d be named int hat video as scammers too. 

      • Tim Soulo

        and did you notice btw that there are two communities of marketers?

        1st – marketers that have their own companies.. like Rand Fishkin from SEOmoz, Critchlow brothers from Distilled, Ian from Portent, ConversionRateExperts, Neil Patel… etc…

        They actually WORK with businesses and implement their knowledge in “non-mmo niche”…

        2nd – “coaches” that have nothing but large email lists and never-ending product launches with new strategies… that worth nothing but re-selling them to other people..

        mr. Salty was talking about the second community.. and I somewhat support him..

        and that’s why I want to switch focus of my blog from helping “bloggers about blogging” to helping “small businesses of ANY KIND”.

        your thoughts? :)

        • Eugene Farber

          I think switching focus to small businesses is good, because those are the people taking things seriously. Many people just blogging and looking for advice strictly about blogging, may not be willing to make the necessary investment (both time and money) for you to help them. Unless they really do treat their blog as a business (which is a small fraction).

          That being said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with “coaches” either. There’s good coaches and there’s bad coaches. 

          I think Tony Robbins got sucked into the mess because he has associated himself with “the syndicate” for marketing purposes at least on a few occasions (hence the video with him and Frank Kern). 

          I think that just goes to show that they know what they’re doing :). 

          And to say that just a few people are able to make money online while the rest of IMers are struggling is also a huge over-exaggeration. 

          That video is just full of fallacies and unfortunately the uneducated people that it is targeting will be influenced by it. 

          Personally, I think it’s better to err on the other side and have hope that you CAN make money online and try to figure out, rather than trust this video and have your dreams shattered. 

          Then again, I’ve never fallen for any of the ACTUAL schemes they describe in this video like the boiler room example.

      • StartYourNovel

        Yeah, the video goes to extremes and takes a rather dim view of Internet marketing.

        One of the inadequacies of the video is that it really needs to be read alongside the companion piece that Tim linked to, where the writer acknowledges that there IS such a thing as legitimate Internet marketing.

        And lumping in Tony Robbins with the rest of them, well… I don’t know what he’s been up to lately, but I’ve read his classic, Unlimited Power, and he doesn’t promise overnight success. The attitude to that book is more like, ‘follow this method to get what you want, but it’ll take hard work on your part.’

        Salty Droid lacks subtlety, I think, because his aim is to defend people who don’t understand subtlety and can’t read between the lines. You and I are not among his intended audience. “You CAN’T make money online” strikes me as a shock tactic, an attention grabber.

        He’s using the same discursive strategies as the snake-oil salesmen to broadcast a counter-message.

        This is a battle that people fight rather loudly. The finer points can get lost in the noise.

    • Tim Soulo

      “OK, I do get that the context here is about online scammers….” – this paragraph is exactly what I was thinking about when I was writing this post.

      You can be whoever you want and do whatever you want as long as you’re not asking for money and making certain promises.. 

      I’ve seen a ton of situations like that: you come to an office center for some deal with some company.. you sign up papers and give them your money hoping for profits.. yet the next day when you call – no one answers… you visit the office – and it’s no longer there.. you give the papers to your lawyer and it appears they are fake. – This situation is quite common all over the world.

      And in online world there’s one big difference – you can be totally fake from the start. No need in office, papers & stuff. Register a domain, write you’re a pro & get money.. then delete a domain – pooof – you’re gone.

      So yeah.. my point is actually targeted towards BLOG READERS other than bloggers. If people want to buy a certain product from a blogger, they should go and dig on him… and make sure he’ll not vanish the next day. And once a person uses some fake photo – that’s a signal to be extra cautious.

      Speaking about bloggers – we can do whatever we want… We can even use fake stories and fake photos.. but we must make sure we don’t do anything harmful and don’t sell “shit”.

      so yeah.. that’s my point :)

      ps: thanks a lot for your comment! :) it really rocks :)

      • StartYourNovel

        “[M]ake sure we don’t do anything harmful and don’t sell “shit”” – Excellent point.  

        And you’re absolutely correct in that you DO have the right to know who you’re doing business with. That’s why I don’t sell anything through my blog and have a separate channel for my translation services, where people can find my real name, all my contact details and my CV. If I ever sell anything through Start Your Novel, it’ll be fiction or quality content through a credible program like Amazon or YouWorkForThem. No secret handshakes, no elite underground club, no miracles.

        Very good point about the promises, too. Guy’s got to be extra careful about his own promises and the promises others make.

  9. Justin Germino

    This is an excellent article and one reason why I have such a small amount of products I affiliate sell and I don’t create, sell any of my own products.  I would rather review a game, movie, product and just include a passive Amazon affiliate banner at the end of my article for those who liked my review to choose to buy it from Amazon.  The exception is when I really like a product like a WordPress plugin, I don’t sell or endorse any “make money online” programs (teaching programs) I do however promote the ones that directly pay bloggers to earn from Sponsored Reviews like SocialSpark.
    Reputation is everything, and I would never be caught promoting something I don’t know and can’t stand behind.  On another note, Richard Branson is one of my role models, been following him for years not just for his business savvy but his vision in expansion and what he is doing with Virgin Galactic.  

    • Tim Soulo

      Hey Justin! Thanks for comment! :)

      I see nothing criminal in promoting affiliate products & making some money with your blog. None of us is running an online property with a sole purpose to help people and get nothing in return.

      The only thing that pisses me off is those scammy blogs with perfect success stories behind them that feed you with never-ending promises to teach you how to be successful online.. however eventually it all comes down to the fact that you  need to buy their product in order to be successful.

  10. Dave Lucas

    Come visit my blog! Valued at USD $1Million!

  11. Jamie Alexander

    Nice post, Tim

    I find some of that stuff quite sad.I can live with some of it. Some things like using prices that never were are just too unethical.

    I use a different surname but only because my own one is too hard for people to remember. 

    • Tim Soulo

      Well I think that there’s nothing wrong with using a pen name :) But when you see a set of “scam indicators” present – you should start to worry :)

  12. Mike From Maine

    It’s so hard trusting people these days, especially on the Internet. People can fake identities, income reports, successes, and so on. We just have to be extra aware.

    • Tim Soulo

      yep.. “da interwebz” is one hell of a cloaca :) and it gets bigger all the time :)

  13. Rodolfo Grimaldi

    It also looks from your point of view that if someone hasn’t a Facebook profile, isn’t real. I beg to differ. I came here after a good friend’s RT, and now I’m sorry. Too much talk, DISQUS, and more…

  14. Cristina C. Ansbjerg

    Hi Tim,

    this is a great post. I read Salty Droid from time to time and it’s very interesting. I agree with him in most of his points, however, sometimes he uses generalization, which is not fair. Not all marketers are scammers and yes, you can make money online (ethically).

    About pen names, I have to say I follow Sean King and I didn’t know he was faking his name. I don’t care much because he doesn’t sell anything in his blog. Actually, he recommends NOT to buy products to make money online. 

    Everybody can use a pen name to protect their privacy, as long as their story and background are real. 
    Using someone else’s picture is not ethical.

    • Tim Soulo

      Hey Cristina! Thanks for stepping by :)

      I never said Sean King was a criminal or smth like this.. I’ve just shared my observation that there’s something wrong with his photos..

      btw..he has a new profile picture :) Maybe that’s his real face now :)

      • Cristina C. Ansbjerg

        Yeah, I’ve noticed the new picture too. I don’t know, it seems the same guy to me. At least they look very much alike. Don’t you think?

  15. S3bY

    You are so right! And yet so many people fall for those tricks!

  16. sueken

    I was caught once with a training product that I thought was only going to cost me $1 a month. I paid my sub only to be charged $97 the next month. This was not from some no name, no face person either. He was a well known marketer. My fault for not digging further to find the small print although I am not sure it was even there. Now I will not sign up for anything unless I have had recommendations from my trusted contacts.

    • Tim Soulo

      the sad thing is that there are TONS of products like that.. start with $1 and ongoing $99 afterwards.. this makes me sick

  17. Izmael Arkin

    Tim, this is very interesting. 

    You bring up a lot of points. I do not disagree with the creation of a funnel to eventually to get me to buy a product. In fact, I think this is just the nature of marketing. And based on the post it doesn’t sound like you disagree with this. 

    Marketing is a complicated beast. I think when it comes down to it, nothing beats providing genuine and real value. Yes, in the short term there are a plethora of tricks that people can do to con people. 

    But over the long haul I believe that if we provide true value, maintain integrity, and constantly do the work we will be more successful than any con out there. 

    • Tim Soulo

      exactly… funnels are totally ok… but when you have a solid funnel for a weak product – I consider it a scam

  18. Damien

    I agreed with many points you have shared.

    In internet marketing world there is lots of scams and frauds companies too. and about the testimonials, you are right Tim  we can get video testimonials at only $5. I think we should avoid the sites which have pricing first and information 

  19. ياسين المدويني

    There is nothing wrong with manipulating people with NLP , I myself a practitioner of that modern science and let me tell you every one use it starting from your president to the last person you know . babies use psychology on us and even you used it in this post !

    the ethics here is not use it for harm , scam people or to go against their morals and beliefs . but we can’t stop ourselves from delivering to people what they love to get ( People love quick easy to remember names , People love beautiful people just because they are beautiful , taller man get hired 63% more than short man , People love to connect with their seller , people love social acknowledgment …)

    My blog visitors express their love to my articles because they are full of NLP patterns , i don’t promise the impossible nor giving the magic pill and hence people love that too i mean look at how many stupid gamble , it makes my blog stand out as it makes yours .

    by the way my name is Yassin Madwin

    • Tim Soulo

      Hey Yassin,

      that’s exactly what I wanted to say here.. there’s nothing wrong with using NLP and all the social triggers.. yet you must not do that to scam people

  20. Emma

    This was very good. Very active day and it was worth making the effort to look at it all. Given me a lot of something to think about and won over a new audience to become a top quality member.

  21. clarkmartin

    Interestingly, I’ve had absolutely no comments at all on my blog from people attempting to defend these blatant scammers. Usually saying anything against The Secret brings at least a few of them out of the woodwork, but not with this

  22. Thomas Rudy

    It’s funny because I’ve done business with people over the internet i’ve never met countless times, and I completely trust them. You really just never know.

  23. wallpapers

    nice your site thanks for sharing love you all teme good work keep it up

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  24. Great post, qualifies as Epic…. Can’t wait for next weeks post about how you saved someone from spending 10K! A few more posts like this and I will be ripe for buying a premium product as long as the price ends in a 7 (97 or even 197)… Or maybe you should sell me a $9 product that doesn’t really solve my problem properly… Then hit me with an upsell :)

  25. Palash Lee

    Thanks fro sharing important information with us.

  26. Rakesh Narang

    I am not really concerned about Scamsters because if they succeed, it’s not because they scammed, it’s because you were too careless to notice that the guy was not a real person, or was selling something that wasn’t that valuable.

    I live India and I see people scamming other people every single day. We call this “jugaad.” You give your phone to some local repair shop, which the owner claims to be a business, and receive a working phone with all original parts repaired with Chinese fakes. That’s how they are able to sell services for cheap. And scale doesn’t even matter.

    A rickshaw puller earning 100 rs a day will use the same strategies to scam like a billion dollar CEO would. That’s something that I have observed and you know what, if a business is profitable, it doesn’t even matter if what it does is ethical, here in India.

    But I don’t know why, I can’t be like them. I have been scammed Rs. 30,000 (~$600) in a used car that I purchased. I know realize that it was my lack of patience and knowledge that led to this.

    I want to be an entrepreneur but you know people would never support other people who want to do something that’s out of the ordinary. That’s relevant everywhere. I am at risk of facing problems while getting a job due to blogging and social media, but that’s something that I am not concerned about.

    I am real and I do the right thing.

    • Tim Soulo

      Thanks for an awesome comment, Rakesh :) I guess India is not the only place where scammers are born :) they are everywhere these days :)

  27. annie

    Hey, I was thinking about starting a blog, and was trying to decide if I should use my real/full name or not. I want to be a writer and eventually get published. Should I stick to my real name then? Or think of a pen name?

    • Tim Soulo

      Well it all depends on how your real name sounds and if the pen name would be more memorable. There’s nothing wrong with the pen name as long as you’re not trying to scam anyone ;)

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