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Have you ever had that feeling when you’re making something and you’re really excited to keep going. Where you know the process is going to be as awesome as the end result? That’s how I feel about writing this post. I just want my fingers to keep moving, as there’s a lot of insights to come.
Before I do that, I want to do something I never do and that’s push a project or idea, but here we go: Sign-up to my email list at the bottom of this post or in the right sidebar here. Click through to ViperChill if you’re reading this elsewhere. The emails I have been sharing lately include information you won’t find on any other website (even here) mostly focused around unique SEO ideas. I actually have two more videos going live to the list this week.
I mention the list not only because I want you to subscribe, but I recently launched my Warrior Forum guide there. A quick background check for those of you who don’t know about Warrior, is that it’s basically a discussion board for internet marketers wanting to learn about internet marketing. It’s also huge with thousands of people logged in at any one time. My guide was about purchasing products there and reviewing whether they actually lived up to all of the hype.
Now, I’ve always known their WSO section (marketplace) to be a bit of a shady place. For the most part, it’s frequented by people who only make money by teaching other people how to make money. That’s easily 90% of the listings there. I’ve participated a little over the years (109 posts since Jan 2011) but generally kept out of the WSO area and just offered advice in other areas.
Until recently, when I went super-saiyan rage mode.
I’ve been doing so much SEO work lately with my links guy (to be revealed soon to those on my list) and having a ton of success. I decided I would check out one of the SEO guides on Warrior, just to see what people were talking about these days, as I haven’t been involved in reading others’ ideas much. Rather, I’ve been testing my own.
Needless to say, the first product I bought was terrible.
It happens, I can understand that. But what really got to me was how many excellent reviews this thing was getting, all clearly faked or influenced, and how many beginner marketers were getting scammed out of cash.
My research saw me purchasing 3 more of these products, each with the same, awful end-result. Again, there’s full details and screenshots of the actual products for those on my list. You’ll get the PDF instantly.
I left the first negative review on one product thread for an eBook I purchased. It was a guide teaching people how to make $350+ day from their email list, with a lot of guarantees. The short version of this is that the product was terrible and can be summed up with the phrase “give people free things so they like you”. It was also barely readable, and really just trying to sell you on other products through affiliate links.
My review received 13 thanks (the forum equivalent of likes) and hopefully stopped a few newbies from getting ripped off. I mean, the product owner couldn’t even give me one example of a $350 day. Never mind doing it on a daily basis.
What happened next? Well, he turned the entire sales page into giving away some other product for free. A small win on my part, right? Wrong!
He then had another thread going where he now decided to sell this same product (of course, which lacked my negative review) saying that now you’ll only make $250/day instead of $350. No update to product buyers and nothing mentioned on the other thread. Just an I-got-caught-out bait and switch.
I reported this multiple times over the period of a week. Nothing was done by the moderators there.
I have to admit, I was a bit pissed-off at this point. You might think I’m getting a little too emotional over bad products on a forum, but I remember in my teens how I was so caught up in buying money-making-idea after idea on websites like this. It can be really addictive. I see so many people caught up in that trap, and what they’re being sold is absolute garbage, to put it nicely.
I decided to create a thread about the marketplace section of the forum being shady, and how members (like the one who changed his entire thread) were scamming a lot of people there. Lots of people thanked me for the post and sent me private messages in agreement. Within an hour it was deleted. No PM, no message, nothing.
Please note that I’m not just some random member crying on the site. I paid for my account there and I’m 99% sure I have the highest post count to thanks (likes) ratio for any user on the entire forum.
Even more frustrating that my one-week reporting did nothing, but my thread could disappear in less than an hour.
I purchased another product. Not out of wanting some secret idea, but I actually wanted to dislike it. I wanted it to be bad so I could be 100% guilt-free when telling people to stay away from that section of the website.
It was terrible. In this 30 minute video, which promised you would make $100 a day with 30 minutes work, you’re simply told to use ‘solo ads’ to build your email list. That was honestly all there was to the course.
Not what email service to use. Not what niche to choose. Not what kind of content to email people. Just “use solo ads”.
Yet, half of the reviews were amazing. I left a negative, but fair, review. Here’s what someone instantly posted on my Facebook page:
40 minutes later, it was deleted. A review of a product I’d paid money for.
I wrote it again, with a slightly nicer tone. Again, deleted within an hour.
Alan (thanks Alan!) prompted me to do a little research into his shady looking testimonials:
It turns out all you have to do is grow a network of people who will all do video testimonials for each other. That should be enough to convince the newbies in your thread – who don’t have too much spare time like I do – that you’re the real deal.
There were actually a lot more than this, but you should be starting to smell something fishy already.
My initial idea was just to blog about it. I have a fairly large audience here and I know quite a few of you are active members on the site, meaning some Warriors would hear about it and hopefully be a bit wiser about what they purchase. That’s purely my aim. People are allowed to scam newbies on this forum, so I wanted to get the message across to them to be wiser about their purchases.
What you’re about to read was not done to seem cool, “hey look what I did and they didn’t notice”. I really don’t care about that. I highly recommend that anyone who doesn’t understand my frustrations go and buy a product from the site. More than likely it will be under $20, and you can choose from thousands. Then tell me if your product matches the hypes from the sale page. Hype is supposed to be hype, but it wont even be remotely close (unless you buy software, rather than an info-product).
Then go and tell me if it matches the glowing reviews, or the amazing testimonial videos. Then think about how many hours some people had to work just to get that product. Don’t think you’ll definitely get your refund either.
Also, if you’re reading this via RSS or in your inbox, please read my first comment at the bottom of this post.
Was there a better way than hearing about my blog randomly? Wouldn’t it be better if I could get in front of actual people who are stuck in this opt-in-for-everything and want to buy everything mode? But if my threads would be deleted within an hour (and myself possibly banned) and my reviews weren’t sticking (or if they were, the product owner just moved to a different thread), surely there was nothing else to do but blog?
Well, there was one thing: I could join these scammers in the WSO section, and sell to these people who are buying and opting in for everything myself. And that’s exactly what I did.
I didn’t really sell anything. I just promoted an eBook that has been on this website for over two years (though I did update it a fortnight ago). I sent people to an opt-in page where they could get it for free, here: http://www.viperchill.com/10000-subscribers/
Here’s my thread:
If I’m going to be paying $40 just to have a thread there, I may as well promote something.
Now I can hear you thinking “But Glen, what does this have to do with trying to get people to beware of scammers over there?”. Hold on young padawan, let’s look at one of the reviews:
Sorry if the text in that image isn’t entirely readable. My blog is only 600px wide. He’s basically thanking me for talking about garbage IM products on the internet and says he has been scammed many times before. It seems like a random review and totally off-topic. And it would be, if I was only giving away that 10K subscribers eBook.
Here’s the follow-up you’ll get as soon as you subscribe to my list:
As you can see, in the second eBook they are getting what they signed-up for, just with an added bonus as well. The first thing they’re getting is my Warrior guide, which shows my experience of buying multiple products from the site and then I reviewed them. TL;DR: They all had huge claims, but not one delivered.
I don’t really know if this would be a bannable offence on the site. I don’t see why it should be, but I guess it’s possible when simple product reviews are getting deleted. If I’m banned after this blog post, I’ll accept that, but it will only reinforce my beliefs about the best practices (or lack of) that happen over there.
More importantly, it worked: Over 200 Warriors have picked up the eBook so far. It would be nice if the number was higher, but that’s 200 people who actively spend time in the WSO section of the website, buying products and opting in for any freebies that they can get. Hopefully they’ll pass the message on to even more people.
I could have made the number much higher, but I’m at the point now where I have to keep bumping my thread ($40 each time) but then I’m financially supporting a business I don’t agree with. More importantly than my Warrior fate, is whether people got something from my guide:
To end this section, I want to say that I don’t believe every member or every product being sold there is bad. Not at all. But from my experience, the vast majority of products on the site are garbage and a waste of time. If you’re going to buy WSO’s, proceed with caution.
I could have split this into two blog posts, but you know I love making people scroll ;).
I recently discovered the worst email list on the internet. It wasn’t something I happened to come across overnight, but something that became more clear to me as time went on over the last few months. Unsurprisingly, it was the list of an internet marketer. Not necessarily a slimy marketer, but a marketer nontheless.
That email list was mine.
Those things were pretty bad – and something I’m a little ashamed of after pushing email marketing so much on this site – but there was another issue…
Nobody took action.
I posed this question on Facebook at the end of March, and received a lot of interesting answers. Three people won the competition, and they all guessed zero.
Since then, someone actually has came to me with a beta version of a plugin they’ve built from one of my emails. It’s not quite finished, but they took action. Unless I’m mistaken (it’s possible after well over 1,000 replies) not one person (out of 20,000+) built a website around the ideas I sent.
And I don’t think it was because they’re bad emails. I literally have over 1,000 emails from people thanking me for the niches that I’m sending out:
If they’re thanking me and telling me they love the suggestions, why wouldn’t they do something about it?
The simple answer is that people generally don’t want to work on things they don’t care about. As much as I love marketing, SEO and so-forth, I hated my job in Africa at times where I was so limited by what I could do with clients. Here I was, working with some of the biggest companies in the world – my dream job – and they give me little more than a Wikipedia page and say, “go and promote this”. You can be sure that not every day in the office was very exciting for me.
Interestingly, I had people bugging me for more updates. “Hey Glen, when’s the next niche idea coming out”, “Why are you not sending more emails”. I have the ideas; just it feels such a waste to keep promoting them. Almost like I’m contributing to the opposite of what I preach. I’m encouraging people to go from project to project, rather than sticking to one thing and really dominating that industry.
Some of the most common emails I received (besides ‘thanks for the idea’) were people asking me questions on how to take the idea further. How do I build the site? How do I monetise it? Where should I get my theme from? Does X matter? I try to respond to as many as I can, but as one man I can only do so much. Another place where passion would come into play here is that most people tend to figure it out. If you care about the niche enough and want to make money, you will find answers to these questions.
Whether they’re from a person you email or forums and blog posts, you’ll do what you can to find a way. Giving people random niche ideas doesn’t seem to help that.
I’ve known that I need to change my list for a long time, but it’s been running so smoothly (people have been thanking me, and unsubscribe rates are very low) that I’ve been waiting for a solid reason to take its place. With my focus the last few months more on building new websites for case studies and for rankings, I’ve found that my passion has come back 10-fold.
Now that results (traffic and earnings) are starting to come in for these new websites – in non-marketing industries – I’ve been creating more marketing content than ever (I have 4 more videos lined up for subscribers in just a week, and they’re all of a high quality).
Some people even started to notice:
However, I have a ton of new content that I want to share with my new-found motivation, so I took the decision to reset my list. This means that I deleted every single follow-up email in my sequence, and started again from scratch. This means no more cloud niche, and it also means a lot of confused subscribers.
Some people pointed out that the infrequency of my emails probably had an affect – and I’m sure it did – but no doubt the change in direction (which I explained in a follow-up video to my audience) and email titles caused a lot of confusion. There wasn’t really much I could do to mitigate that.
But here’s the thing: It’s a shame that some people won’t be getting my updates anymore, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. This new focus and content angle will not be for everyone. If you’re not interested, the last thing I want to do is take up space in your inbox.
I then went and rectified a few things:
A lesson for those with a list: Don’t be afraid to change if your emails aren’t getting the desired result. You may lose subscribers, but it’s more important to build an audience who are passionate about the same things as you. If you’re not in it, they’ll know. All the praise in the world doesn’t mean anything if your emails are not doing what you intended them to do.
See you on the inside? As always, thanks for reading!