In my last post, I talked about the first of three disturbing trends I am seeing in the world of internet marketing…
The growing torrent of what we would call in the UK ‘chocolate teapot’ products hitting the streets.
By that I mean products that are either (frankly) rubbish or provide little, if any, real value.
In a nutshell, it’s software that creates logos for businesses, brands and products.
All well and good, you might think…
Except that you can produce logos to a similar, dare I say better, standard using completely free resources.
But first, I have to mention the sales video, because it does a valiant job of trying to persuade you that you need something you don’t.
It proclaims that “All the most successful companies have logos that stick”.
Isn’t that a truism?
I mean, the logos ‘stick’ because the companies are successful, not the other way round.
We are then told that “80% of businesses fail in the first 18 months”…
With the implication left hanging in the air that they might just have succeeded if only they had created a better logo.
I think they may be confusing ‘logo’ with ‘brand’ there.
We then have the old marketing favorite of comparing the offer with something much more expensive…
Get your logo done at a website like ’99 Designs’ and it could cost you $199… for ONE logo.
Well, the first point to make there is that you will be getting a completely unique logo designed specifically for your business created by a professional designer.
And the second point is the failure to mention another alternative that is just as good as Brandrr and completely free…
It comes in two parts.
Part 1 is IconFinder.com.
This excellent site has more than 800,000 icons and probably around half of those are free to use for any purpose, including commercially.
I’m not saying for one moment that this is where Brandrr got its images from, but have a look around and I think you’ll agree that there are a lot of similarities in terms of quality and style of design.
And you can tap into many times more images here, covering a much wider range of topics, than you can in Brandrr’s limited library.
Part 2 is Pixlr.com.
Upload your free icon from Icon Finder into this excellent free online image editor, add your text and bingo, job done!
It really is that quick and simple to replicate what Brandrr does for you.
To demonstrate, here is a screenshot of the logo they create in the sales video for Brandrr…
And here is something similar I knocked up with Icon Finder and Pixlr in 2 minutes 28 seconds (I timed it)…
I just searched Icon Finder for ‘buildings’, set the ‘free’ filter, downloaded my choice, uploaded it to Pixlr, added the text and downloaded the finished logo.
Now, I don’t think either of them is going to win any prizes, but I suggest that mine is at least as good as the Brandrr effort.
As well as completely DIY, you can also search Google for ‘free logo maker’.
Be careful because many of these will allow you to design the logo for free but then ask you to pay to download it.
(And I am not suggesting for one moment that you take a screenshot using free screen capture software such as Jing.)
But there are also many that are genuinely free or only require an email optin.
Just one I have found is Logo Garden.
However, you can generally do a better job on your own.
What about the claim that you can use Brandrr to set up shop as a logo designer and earn $50, $60, $100 or more for a few minutes work?
Professional designers will design a logo for you from scratch.
(A better business model would be to get those $50 to $100 clients and sub-contract the work out to a Fiverr gigger.)
The bottom line is that Brandrr is another example of a product that costs you money and does a poorer job than free or lower cost alternatives.
However, I am definitely not suggesting this is a scam.
Brandrr works and it does what it says on the tin: it makes logos.
All of which brings us to the question…
Trend 2: The Product Launch Band Wagon
Why do these chocolate teapot products sell so well? (The statistics show that they do.)
It’s because of the second disturbing trend…
The growing number of marketers who promote these products, even when they are not really very good.
And, in many cases, even if they are complete rubbish.
Why would they do that?
In my mind, it’s a story that begins a few years ago when John Reese became the first online marketer to make $1 million in a single day.
And he did it by launching a product called ‘Traffic Secrets’.
This was the first time that a product launch had been ‘scientifically’ planned down to the last detail, months in advance.
(With the objective of making that $1 million in a day.)
An army of affiliates was recruited and incentivised long before launch day and it was just a matter of opening the flood gates.
This naturally got the attention of a lot of other marketers!
And a handful of the better ones went on to have their own million dollar days.
Online marketers were sold on the idea that affiliate driven product launches were the way to make a lot of money.
It used to be darned hard work to launch a product and you certainly had to make sure it was a good one if you wanted to get the small number of ‘super affiliates’ out there to promote it.
Now almost any marketer, or would-be marketer, could do a ‘product launch’.
And they do.
To the extent that multiple products are launched on JVZoo every day.
And, inevitably, far from all of them are good products.
But there are still lots of products being launched that are genuinely good.
So why promote the bad ones?
There are two reasons as I see it.
They have to promote something every week – or even every day – to keep the money coming in.
And many of them don’t really stop to ask too many questions… or even take a good look at the product.
If other big and well-known marketers are promoting a product, it must be good, mustn’t it?
Which leads to the question why ‘big well-known marketers’ would promote products that maybe aren’t that great.
The answer lies in ‘reciprocation’.
Many of these marketers have turned a big chunk, even all, of their business model over to product launches.
Some do one a month or even more.
In order to attract people to promote these launches in a crowded marketplace, marketers will promise to promote those people’s launches in exchange.
And there is no quality ‘rider’ on that.
It is pretty much a ‘blank cheque’.
The end result is a self-fueling process where the quality of the actual product can become an almost secondary consideration.
The losers are the people who end up buying into sub-standard offers.
So how do you avoid getting caught out?
Just be on your guard.
Be aware that, just because a well-known marketer is telling you a product is great, doesn’t make it so.
Look for indications that the marketer has actually reviewed and (gasp) used the product before making the recommendation.
One sign of this is if any negatives are mentioned.
No product is perfect but you have to actually take a look before you can see any shortcomings.
Another sign is whether they have ever written to you about a product they DON’T recommend.
If they are genuinely ‘reviewing’ products, they will inevitably find bad ones as well as good.
Do the claims made make sense?
What can this product really do for you?
Are there other, maybe free, alternatives?
Finally, listen to marketers who give you bad news as well as good.
And now a disclaimer.
I am not saying that all products are bad.
Far from it. There are some excellent products out there.
And I am not saying that all marketers promote bad products.
There are many ethical marketers who genuinely review products and give you their honest assessment.
Sadly, they seem to be in the minority.
Next time, I’ll talk about the third disturbing trend that is aggravating all of the above.