10 (+1) Ways to spot an online money scamPosted by William
I’ve recently been getting into reading a lot by an awesome marketer and thinker by the name of Seth Godin. I recently read this post on Seth’s Blog and it really hit a note with me. First I think this guy is awesome and his views on the ‘purple cow’ relate heavily to my own thinking about what sets marketers apart from their competition, never more relevant than during current economic times.
With the current economic downturn people have lost a lot of money. This gives some online wantrepreneurs (wannabe entrepreneurs) the opportunity to take advantage, offering get rich quick schemes promising fortune and wealth almost immediately by doing hardly any work. The idea is appealing and although an inner part of those who take up the offer knows that this is not going to work, it’s that sense of hope that maybe this is the one. The guy told them so. Its guaranteed. Its only $47.
As we know, for anyone who has decided to use the ‘corkscrew filter system’ or ‘reverse aztec cash funnel’ it simply does not work. It is never sustainable because at the end of the day you are never adding any value or creating something extraordinary. Thinking of creating an information hub about credit card debt and consolidation, then make thousands a day from people clicking your adsense ads? If getting traffic is that easy and cheap then wouldn’t you think the companies advertising would do it themselves?
What I thought I’d do is put together a short list that will help you identify the online scams. When I say scam, I don’t mean that they will take your money and run. It would be much better if they just did that! Instead I’m talking about the ones where you will receive your ‘valued’ item, use up your time getting it running, raise your hopes that your onto something big, then realise a few wasted months later than it simply doesn’t work the way you thought it would. You may like to go through this list the next time you consider taking up one of these fantastic online money making offers.
- Layout - A lot of these guys will have a very similar layout. It’s usually always a single page that continues for about 30 web page kilometers full of great testimonials, dialogue boxes, large font, big brash heading and bad (usually yellow) text highlighting. For some reason the font will always be roughly the same, usually Verdana or Times. You can spot these horrors from a mile a away.
- Contact - There is always a fundamental lack of contact details on these get rich quick scheme sites. You probably wouldn’t expect contact information for a blog, especially a personal one however when someone is trying to sell you a money making course, or any other online product, shouldn’t they be contactable other than through a web form? Yes, there are a number of online businesses operated from home and not having these details public is perfectly understandable but these guys simply won’t put details on their site as it results in them being accountable and answerable by phone, remember, out of site out of mind.
- Tone - Get rich quick schemes can often have a very unique and distinctive tone. The pitch can be seen as arrogant and confronting. Phrases such as ‘why would I care? I’m filthy rich’ pepper such scam sites. The held belief behind this tone is that indifference and arrogance are signs of someone who is successful and does not care whether you purchase from them or not. They don’t need the money, they are rich already. Why would they care if you don’t lose weight, they are in great shape. Its a gimmick and a strategy quite deliberately included by the seller. The best and most successful companies in the world care and are obsessed with what their customers think, not the other way.
- Guarantee - A 100% guarantee is usually, if not always, offered. This is to develop a ‘I have nothing to lose’ mind-frame for potential buyers. These are genuine guarantee’s and I’m convinced that if you were to ask for your money back they would be more than happy to return it to you. What these guys also know is that only an absolute fraction of the people who buy their product will actually bother to ask for a full refund. This unfortunately is a proven fact which these marketers take full advantage of. They know that if your after a get rich quick scheme and have purchased their product you are most probably someone who wants a quick fix, something for nothing. Asking for a refund takes effort meaning the very people buying the product would be less likely to pursue a refund for it. So don’t think that just because they guarantee success it really means they believe it will work!
- Spelling and Grammar – Bad grammer is alot. There is no such word as ‘teached’. Although rare it a sure sign to stay away immediately.
- Hurt and Rescue – The classic salesmen theory. First they will try to hurt you, tell you how bad life is going to be when your broke and your partner leaves you like when it happened to them. They try to hit you where it hurts. But don’t worry, be part of the scheme and you won’t have to worry about this because you will have so much money… like they do.
- Quick! – The key theme among the majority of these sites is that they promise a proven method to making money now. If you don’t act now the price of the service will go from $67 back to $297 so you need to be quick. This is exactly what you want, you want to make money now and they claim they will deliver, plus your getting it at an absolute bargain. See that little counter saying you have 23hrs 59minutes and 56 seconds until the price goes back up. Click refresh and see what happens… oops. The promises of quick riches is a deadly trap as it is extremely inviting and the thought of having an extra $20,000 by the end of the month is an opportunity that you just simply can’t ignore. Well ignore it.
- Visual Examples – Online money making opportunities are filled with visual examples such as proof of income or some guy standing next to an exotic sportscar. These are his earnings and this is the car he drives and it could be yours too! All you need to do is… you get the picture. Just in case you don’t believe that you can make that much money, proof of income (usually Paypal or Clickbank snapshots) are a great way for these guys to get their message across and actually SHOW you how much money they make. I’ll show you how much I am earning as well. Have a look at my latest Clickbank earnings:
And no I didn’t use photoshop. Seriously, this is really how much I make selling plant pruning ebooks online. How could you doubt me?! The scary thing is you can do this to ANY website using ANY numbers without getting a designer to do it and it takes about 30 seconds. Both Clickbank and Paypal are reputable companies but its so easy for these guys to manipulate and use goodwill of these big online brands. I’m not saying they are all fake examples but you need to view these visuals with a grain of salt.
- Domain Names - www.makemoneynowonlinewithoutworking.com. Most of these domains are long and almost always look rediculous. Many webmasters try to incorporate every single keyword such as ‘money’, ‘online’, ‘rich’ and whatever else they can jam into their domain. Take a quick look and if the name looks a little laboured then i’d probably give it a miss.
- Too good to be true – The obvious one. As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You have all these bonus items, a free website, free audio tutorials and several bonus packs valued at over $297 and they are offering it to you for $47! And your guaranteed to make money, lose weight, bench more, sleep better, run faster and love longer.. right now! Its sounds great and yes is probably too good to be true.
- (The +1) The number 7 - My favourite, I love this one. The majority of online scams and get rich quick schemes love to incorporate the number 7 into their marketing and pricing structure. This sounds crazy but I would strongly recommend against buying anything where the price ends in the number 7. Get rich quick schemes seems to have a 7 pattern when referring to pricing. $97, $37, $27 and $47. I think its both a cause of follow the leader (blind leading the blind) and also because they need to add value in their marketing. According to these marketers, nice whole numbers is a sign of a lack of value. Throwing a ‘7′ in the equation makes the price appear more believable and it’s not close to a rounded figure such as a ‘5′ or a ‘0′ at the same time not making the item look too expensive by sticking an 8 or 9 at the end. Companies do it to their pricing all the time but the ‘7-collusion’ effect among online rip off artists is something of a giveaway to the quality of the item they are selling. As silly as this may sound it shows the desperation, lack of knowledge and understanding by these webmasters and wantrepreneurs. Ever heard of $19.95?
There are probably a whole host of other small factors and indicators which I have missed but I believe this is a solid list of the key features that you should be aware of. The truth is that making money and sustainable success is a reward for plenty of hard work, sticking through the tough times and usually a little bit of luck. Overnight success happens to a very select few, who eventually go on to make waste of it.
I believe this is a good thing. I am happy that the majority of success does not come overnight. This allows the natural and organic success path to weed out the posers looking for a quick buck and reward those with drive, determination and passion.