How To Avoid Internet Marketing Scams
Do you consider yourself an optimist?
I consider myself one. At least in my heart, I believe most people are good and want to help others.
That’s a great quality if you want to let yourself get ripped off until you blow your retirement fund, kids’ college fund and any hopes of a nice life.
Fortunately, my brain, as undeveloped as it is, is much, much more skeptical. I assume that, at least on the Internet, everyone has an angle. They all want to make money and I’m their personal ATM. Regardless how many “Dear Dave” letters or “To your success” salutations they send me, the want one thing: my money.
So, I guess I’m optimistically skeptical or skeptically optimistic. I am the “Show Me” person. Before I get involved in any Internet business, I need proof that it’s not a scam, it will work for me and it has staying power.
Before I go further, let me point out that this approach was developed over a period of time, after I got burned badly by scams, bait and switch schemes, false advertising, etc.
Yes, I’m cynical, but I’m keeping my money where it belongs: in my wallet (or invested). Further, I’m finally making money, but that’s a different, although extremely happy, story.
Here are my 6 steps for approaching a new opportunity:
1. Does it sound too good to be true?
It probably is. Get rich quick schemes almost never work. This doesn’t mean you can’t check them out (details below), but promises of instant wealth are generally EMPTY promises.
2. Look at the source for the advertisement.
Is it from someone you know and trust? Then it may have passed the first hurdle and deserve more investigation. If not, you’re going to have to really do your homework, as discussed below.
Here’s one rule I have, coming from my skeptical brain: if I receive from the same person many, many offers to join programs, I have no faith that he/she believes in the program. He/she is only in it for the affiliate commission of referring new members. In fact, I lose faith in all his/her emails and just delete them.
Recently, I joined what I thought was a respectable web site for referrals/leads. Next thing I know, the owners (not members) are sending me over 10 emails per day asking me to join the next great web site. In just a week, I’m receiving at least 50 emails about different sites.
Do you think they really believe in these sites, or are they getting some kind of a kickback (e.g., affiliate commissions)? No one can truly believe in and promote that many programs!
3. Do your homework.
When I see an opportunity that interests me, I do some digging.
I Google the company. And its founders – especially research if they were owners of many past failed programs before. And locate their social media profiles to see if they are transparent or even legit as an individual.
I check for complaints with the BBB or in internet marketing forums like WarriorPlus. I talk to as many members as I can. I try to find former members to whom I can speak. I ask members tough questions:
* How much are you making?
* How much do you spend on advertising? What type of advertising?
* What type of training do you get?
* What type of benefits do you get in your back office or from your team?
* How is the support?
* Do you get support from your sponsor?
* How much time per week do you spend on this program?
* It says X, Y and Z on your web site. Can you explain to me how X, Y and Z work?
* Why did you decide to join this program? Any regrets?
If they start waffling, change the subject or just refuse to give an answer — RED FLAG! I don’t work with people who aren’t honest with me, and neither should you.
With that in mind, remember that there are certain things (processes for making money, etc.) that they probably can’t tell you as that is one of the benefits of membership.
If you find that the information you receive is different than what is advertised, then ask them why. Also, remember, if you’re talking to someone currently in the program, he/she is trying to get you to sign up.
Be wary of his/her answers! Listen for tone of voice and whether he/she is trying to change the subject. Don’t let your desire to make money get in the way of your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is.
Also, don’t be surprised if they try to brush you off; they’ve been trained to get rid of the “tire kickers.” In other words, they only want money from people who don’t exercise intelligence and inquire about the program that they are considering joining.
Remember, it’s your money; you have a right to know on what your spending it.
4. Anyone getting paid?
The purpose of anyone getting into an internet marketing opportunity is to make money right? And for that to happen, you got to get paid. So, do your research and find out if the members are getting prompt payouts from the company. If there are frequent delays in payments or frequent changes of compensation plan, then that is a HUGE red flag!
5. Any product or service?
If there is no product or service involved in the internet marketing opportunity, then stay far away. That is most likely a cash gifting / so-called crowdfunding / ponzi scheme! In business, there must always be a product or service for customers or members. If its an investment company, make sure the ROI is logical and not too good to be true. If they are paying out quite a generous amount, try to figure out how the company is making money in order to profit and pay out to its members.
6. Don’t get too emotional.
Sure, you want to make money, but your rational side must take over to determine if this really is a way for you to make money. So, clear your mind and decide rationally.
Those are 6 basic steps you should do in order to avoid being involved in any internet marketing scams. I hope I had explained them pretty clearly. Remember, it always pay to be extra careful. Doing so will also help to protect your personal brand in the online marketing space.
You would not want to be pulling people into scams or ponzis – your personal brand or even real life relationships might get damaged. If you do have any questions, hit me up in the comment box below ya.
Ari Tumijo is a freelance digital marketer and affiliate marketer, and was previously a full-time Brand Consulting Practice Executive as well as Head of its Digital Strategies with Rayan Daniyal Consulting (RDC) brand practice. He possesses 5 years of digital marketing experience and this website is the result of his continuous seeking and sharing of knowledge. With RDC, he was responsible for developing the solutions for clients seeking to improve their digital presence and brand equity in the social media space. In addition to account servicing role, Ari was also involved in business development for Brand Capital, a subsidiary brand of RDC. He has a Diploma in Mechatronics Engineering and spent his early career years in F&B Management and Semi-conductor industry.