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Another Scam?? – Free Internet Markrting Education

Feb 16th, 2007 | By | Category: Website Branding

Hahaha … OK, I just HAVE to blog about this (bad karma notwithstanding).

A few minutes ago, I was reading Andrew’s post about the “Borat of Internet Marketing” – a new youtube video featuring a dude who talked in strange english and gave lessons in marketing to his video viewers. The guy’s actual name was PV Reymond … I’m not sure what country he’s from (maybe North Asia or South America). Since his website URL was on the video … I popped open Firefox and put the website on).

And the minute I turned it on, three options came to my mind …

  1. It’s a practical joke. Someone is pretending to copy Borat (the accent is eeirily similar) and getting some free publicity (good job, it’s niiiice!) … or
  2. It’s a really new Internet Marketer. Every new marketer tries the route of “sharing their experiences” on the path of Internet Marketing … or
  3. It’s a scam. The signs are all there – poor website, hype-filled headline. Many similar websites have tried to cheat people out of their money.

But I’m not giving a judgement yet.
In light of the transparent investigations done by Adam Wong & Stuart on a recent scam, I decided to give this fella fair treatment, hold back from my initial reaction and give him a fair chance.

And as I dissect this website and give him suggestions to improve, I’m sure all of us who have to write sales letters / opt in pages can learn quite a bit, right?

Introduction – The YouTube Clip

Well, the first thing I saw was the video on youtube. When it started off, there seemed like a regular chap coming up to speak. He even made a disclaimer about his english not being good.

The intro video was very 1970s. Flashy music, blinking lights and random keywords on the screen. His facial expressions were hilarious – he was either really angry or really constipated.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t qualify as a scam. If anything, our dear friend PV gets extra points for coming out and showing his vulnerabilities with English and Facial expression. He could benefit even more by putting a more interesting background (books, window) and relaxing as he speaks (although the speech wouldn’t be as funny then :D )

Initial Reactions – It’s not a scam, just an inexperienced marketer …

Next, let’s move on to his website. At first glance, it seems like a typical newbie website.

But as we play closer attention … we notice some incongruent things … like the fact that the page title has spelling mistake – “Free Internet Markrting Education”.

A crime? Of course not … but a MS FrontPage website with a spelling mistake in the title will definitely not make this guy any serious amount of money.

A lesson to everyone else reading this – if you can’t design, then don’t. It’s not a good use for your time. Spend the 10 bucks to buy a sales letter software or template – it will be well worth it.

Let’s carry on and look at the other elements of the site.

First, the header image

Ummm, yeah. He’s put his face up. He’s put his laptop down. And all it says is “Internet Marketing Education”. Nothing scammy, but lame nonetheless. If you ever have to design a website … this is what to NOT do.

Here’re some things that you CAN do with your header for professionalism

  • Radial coloring, glow/shadow on words.
  • Images that are professionally put (check out for a good example)
  • Background images that blend into the colour
  • Large text and subtext (check this site or andrew’s site for examples)
  • Skip the damn header! The best sales letters ( or survive just fine without.
  • If you can’t design it, just skip it.

Next, the Headline & Sales Pitch.

The headline seems ok enough. He’s put a video up – that’s bonus points. This video could’ve been done a lot better … possible things to improve could be the background and the speaker. Nevertheless, it’s still interesting enough to make people stay online.

But where’s the rest of the sales pitch??

Any serious Internet Marketer knows that people come to websites to read. And if there’re no words to lead them to the opt-in, you might as well throw darts on the wall and depend on luck. If you have to err, just err on the side of having too much to read on your website … not too little.

If you’re not a sales writer, here’s a bunch of things that you CAN do in the body of your opt-in page …

  • Introduce yourself and your personal story
  • Talk about achievements or past results
  • Give testimonials of other people who’ve taken your course
  • Bullet points explaining the benefits of joining your page
  • A story about you or someone else that can pace the experience of the reader
  • The text of the video speech – Not everyone is going to have the patience to watch the video … just talk to them in text

Next up, the book covers displayed on the page.

“My Mistakes & Experiences With Internet Marketing”

“How I Made $1447 in 16 Days Using 100% Free Advertising”

Yeah. Like we need another one of these. These headlines are fodders for newbies to just opt-in to any damn mailing list.

(Note to newbies – if you were actually tempted by opting into this website – WAKE UP!!! Stop subscribing to every damn mailing list. There are plenty of PROVEN gurus in every niche – John Reese, Yanik Silver, Perry Marshall, Joel Comm, Rich Schefren … stick to their lists … and NEVER give out your email address without seeing proof that the person has achieved whatever you want ($$$, great websites, opt-in, launches etc).)

The first book cover was unreadable – it had a lot of bullet points with the words “fail” in them. The second book cover seemed like a generic affiliate report. Urgh.

Important Update – I emailed the owner of the site to ask for income proof and he replied back earnestly explaining that the $1447 amount was not his. Beginner’s mistake. He says he will change the book cover to something more personal soon. I appreciate his promptness in replying.

Next, the enormous earnings disclaimer

A couple of reasons why such a huge disclaimer is scary.

First, he didn’t really make any claims. Except the book cover which talked about $1447 in 16 days. Did that really warrant a 322 word disclaimer? (Yes, I counted)

Second, is he really that scared of getting sued? When Ewen Chia puts a disclaimer on his site … we understand. He gets thousands of sales a day. But this site has a disclaimer that’s bigger than the sales pitch!

Anyway, since the disclaimer mentioned that all earnings claims can be verified upon request … I’ve dropped him an email. If he responds, I’ll give him a great opportunity to defend himself on this blog and get some more free publicity for himself. (Update, he did respond back and assures me that book cover will be removed).

Next, the Thank You Page

Again, extremely amateurish. There’s a broken link right on top. In the middle are random words like “The” and “Lawyer”.

Oh wait, was that his tagline – The Lawyer, Internet Marketing Educator ?

Haha …

Ok, I know I’m being mean. But I’m just reacting like most other web surfers would. A 100% effort from your part may only qualify as a 30% effort to the eye of the web surfer who sees tens of site every day (most professionally designed).

Finally, The Whois records …

It’s confirmed. It’s his real name protected through proxy with GoDaddy (smart move buddy). Plus, since he stuck his face on the video, photo … I’m pretty sure it’s a real guy trying to make a real living selling info online.

My Conclusion – It’s not a scam. Just another new internet marketer heading down the wrong path.

I know I know, I’m being overly critical. But I feel strongly about teaching in the “Internet Marketing” niche. Unless you’re uniquely qualified, don’t step in. Find something else to teach.

Note to newbies – stop trying to teach other people how to make money online … especially if you haven’t made any! There are plenty of other things you can write about – overcoming health adversities, personal happiness or even hobbies. Teaching other people about making money online is wrong when you haven’t achieved commendable results yourself.

Note to PV – Make a quick course on how to get viral traffic from youtube videos. That – you are qualified to do.

I do NOT approve of sites like these. (Although I do approve of innovative marketing techniques PV, everyone should make interesting videos and post them on youtube.)

This kind of sales letter reminded me of the argument at BarCamp, a few weeks ago

A few weeks ago, I was at the BarCamp conference where we were having a lively discussion about marketing. It was Chandra’s Pinko Marketing vs My Direct Marketing approach to growing an online business (Dipanker has a nice post on it)

The minute I told the (mostly techie) crowd there that I approve of sales letters, an instant uproar happened. They immediately pointed me to a couple of hype-filled scammy websites that promised instant millions and quick-fixes to your money troubles.

Urgh. Why Do We Internet Marketers Have The Reputations Of Scammers?

As Internet Marketers, I’m sure many of you have faced the same kind of judgement before. Take it seriously. With every sales letter you write, you’re taking on some responsibility. Responsibility to not scam. Responsibility to provide honest answers. And responsibility to back up any hype with real proof.

Fulfill your responsibilities. Every successful marketer sticks by this code of ethics.

And if you don’t, I’d be happy to hunt down your scammy site and roast it in public :D

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