In part 1 of this series, I talked about the growing number of ‘chocolate teapot’ (i.e. less than useful) products that have been hitting the market lately.
In part 2, I discussed why so many marketers – even well-respected marketers – jump on board and promote these products despite their shortcomings.
All of this is bad enough, but there is something else happening that is aggravating the situation still further.
Of course, there have always been dodgy operators in the internet marketing space and new ones have always sprung up to chance their arms.
But the numbers have increased dramatically over the last few months.
And they are also turning up more and more on previously trustworthy platforms such as JVZoo.
They are no doubt lured there by the promise of fast riches that the ‘product launch’ business model offers (as described in parts 1 and 2 of this thread).
I come across a lot of these dodgy operators because, unlike a lot of other internet marketers, I have a policy of actually buying (gasp!) and using (bigger gasp!) the products I review.
This means that I not only find out what the products are really like…
I also get to live through the whole ‘customer experience’ from dealing with product sellers.
If a product is good, I will keep it and use it.
But, if it is bad, I do ask for support and, in the extreme, a refund.
Sadly, in an increasing number of cases, I am getting neither.
Based on my experience, here are some tell-tale signs that you should be on your guard…
1) Dodgy Guarantees
For some years now, the standard guarantee in the internet marketing space has been the ‘unconditional’ guarantee.
This means that, if you want your money back, you can get it by simply contacting the product owner and asking for it.
You don’t have to give a reason and you shouldn’t be asked for one.
An increasing number of new entrants into the market are trying to re-introduce the ‘conditional’ guarantee…
And many are trying to make you think they are unconditional when they are not.
Here is one example (I have blanked out the product name to protect the guilty)…
The badge states that the guarantee is ‘unconditional’, but the text then states that you need to “provide tangible proof”.
Not really ‘unconditional’ then, is it?
You will see numerous variations on this theme.
Here is another one…
First, we have “100% risk-free”.
But then “if you are not able to run successful campaigns and we cannot help in any way”.
To my mind, that wording is ambiguous and far from the ‘unconditional’ statement you want to see.
There was another screenshot of a guarantee I wanted to show you, but I seem to have mislaid it.
It’s one that I see more and more.
As always, it starts out claiming to be ‘unconditional’, but then says words to the effect of…
“If within 30 days you have any technical difficulties accessing the product and we are unable to resolve them within 48 hours of you informing us, you will be granted a full refund.”
Note that this says nothing about the quality or usefulness of the product itself.
Also, this most commonly turns up with products that consist of one or more PDF files.
So there are unlikely to be many insurmountable ‘technical difficulties’.
Lesson: Always read the full wording of a guarantee to make sure it is genuinely unconditional and, even then, take a screenshot of it.
2) Dodgy Support
Sales letters from reputable marketers will almost always contain an email address you can use to contact them.
This may be on the sales page itself or via a link on the sales page (at the top or bottom) to a separate ‘Contact Us’ page.
There are exceptions but, if you don’t see one, be on your guard.
Also be on your guard if the support email address is a free one, such as from Gmail or Hotmail.
Reputable marketers will have a permanent support system in place.
3) Dodgy Testimonials
This one can be a little more difficult to spot.
However, you are looking for testimonials from ‘real buyers’.
If all you see are testimonials from other marketers you have never heard of, including links to dodgy-sounding ‘make money’ websites, be on your guard.
(If you see enough of these offers – as I do – you will start to notice the same ‘usual suspects’ turning up to endorse each other’s products.)
And look for testimonials from people getting real results from using the product.
Not people who say how nice a guy the vendor is or how pretty the packaging is.
Or people who don’t mention the product at all in their review.
4) Dodgy Offers
Many of the offers to look out for are the so-called ‘blind offers’.
These are ones that make big claims (often very big claims) but give little, if anything, away about the method used to achieve them.
Reputable marketers will always tell you a lot about what you will be buying.
5) Dodgy People
There are certain marketers out there that are serial ‘scammers’.
They churn out one useless product after another just to make a few fast bucks.
And then can’t be contacted when you have issues or want a refund.
I won’t name any names here, but I have often called them out in my product reviews.
If you are considering investing in a product from a marketer you do not know anything about, search Google or maybe the Warrior Forum for them.
Do they have a blog or other indications of an established internet presence?
If they have a history of dodgy-dealing, they may well appear on forums and blogs.
The Bottom Line
There are more sharks entering the internet marketing waters, so exercise some simple common sense and do a little ‘due diligence’ before you dive in.