Bears Among Internet Marketing

The bears that live and unfortunately thrive in the Internet jungle come in several varieties. Out in the real world you only find a few kinds but on the Internet there are many more.

Being ambitious is not a crime. It is an admirable quality and one that you should be proud of. Wanting to do better is what has made this country great. It’s the corner stone of every fortune that has ever been built.

Wanting to better yourself and being willing to roll up your sleeves and do the work necessary to achieve a better life for yourself and your family is also the cornerstone of success in the world of Internet business.

Many people want a job and there is nothing wrong with wanting a job but others want to be their own boss. They want to be the one who gives orders and not the one who takes orders. They want to make the decisions and not just carry out decisions that have been made by others. They want to be captains of their own ships and masters of their own destinies….there is nothing wrong with that either. It is to be admired.

Ambition is good but it can also be dangerous. An eagerness to succeed can cause you to forget that you are living in a jungle that is fraught with danger on every side.

There are big ugly bears out there just waiting for you to forget for one minute that they are out to get you. They are waiting for you to get careless. They are waiting for you to let ambition cloud your judgment.

For every one ambitious, hard-working, honest Internet entrepreneur out there, there are at least a thousand under-handed, crooked bears waiting to take advantage of them.

Successful internet businesses can be created. They HAVE been created. You can create one yourself if you are willing to put in the time, effort, energy and, yes, money that is required. A successful Internet business will not be created over night and anybody who promises you that it is an easy and painless process is lying to you.

Don’t underestimate the bears. They are very, very good at what they do. They have fooled some of the best of them.

MLM schemes: We have briefly discussed Multi-Level Marketing schemes before but there is a lot more that you need to know so that you won’t get suckered into one of these schemes and become a bear yourself.

MLM schemes are illegal and if even if you get suckered into becoming a part of one, you are just as guilty as the person you involved you. Ignorance of the law is not an acceptable excuse.

These ‘plans’ for success on the Internet come packaged and presented in ways that make it difficult to identify them as MLM schemes. They do, however, all have some things in common. The most obvious and the easiest to spot sign is that you are offered a commission for sales of products or services that are made by others….this is above and beyond any commission payments for sales that you make yourself. That’s the thing that makes these plans MLM. You will be paying part of your commission to the person who recruited you and you will be receiving commission payments from people whom you recruit, as will, the person who recruited you and the person who recruited them.

The only limit to the number of levels that can be achieved in a MLM scheme is the point at which it collapses in on itself. Did I mention that the pyramid is an upside down one? The point is at the bottom…not at the top. There is always a point at which the scheme will collapse. When it gets heavy enough at the top, it will come tumbling down. You do not want to be anywhere near the point of collapse. As a matter of fact, you don’t want to be anywhere near the pyramid at all.

Do you recall ‘chain letters’? Chain letters are started by a person of a group of people and they prey on the greed of others. The first person starts a letter and collects $1000 from each of the next nine people. Each of those nine people recruit (there’s that word again) others to send them a $1000 each…and on and on the pyramid builds until it gets top heave and collapses. That is precisely what happens in an MLM scheme except that there is always a product involved in an MLM scheme and there isn’t ever a product involved in a pyramid scheme.

So how do you know for sure what is really an MLM scheme? Here’s a check list that will help you to avoid this bear:

  1. Are you required to recruit others in order to make money?. If the answer to that question is ‘yes’, it would be a pretty good bet that it is in fact an MLM scheme.

  1. Do I have to buy any inventory? Remember….there is ALWAYS a product involved in an MLM scheme. If you are required to purchase inventory, you may well be looking at an MLM scheme.

  1. If you see the words, ‘downline commissions’ anywhere….especially in the fine print…this is definitely an MLM scheme. ‘Downline Commissions’ means a percentage of a commission that someone else has been paid.

  1. Others have made millions! Oh, did you believe those glowing testimonials that you read? Anybody can write a testimonial. I could write one for myself or my business and sign anybody’s name to it and so could you. There is never a way in an MLM scheme to check out the ‘testimonials’. It simply isn’t possible. Even if you are given addresses and phone numbers or email addresses, you have no way to be certain that these testimonials are fact and not just a lot of marketing hype.

Fact: MLM schemes are illegal. Be certain that you are not drawn into one because then you are guilty of fraud.

E-mail processing: This is a bear that is very much like the enveloping stuffing one that preys on those seeking a work-at-home job but it is hungry for the person who wants an Internet business of their own rather than just a job. Rather than say, ‘envelope stuffing’ it says, ‘email processing’.

This bear only wants you to take fifty bucks away from you. He says that for that very low price, you can start your very own business and work at your leisure from the comfort of your own home. You can be your own boss. You can just work when you want to.

Now wait just a minute here! Back up that mail truck and let’s take a look at what is really inside this offer.

First of all, who do you think needs email ‘processed’ and what is processing? I’ve seen advertisements that claim you can make up to $25 dollars just for processing a single email.

You have an email account yourself. Go look at it and see which of your emails would need to be processed. I can tell you….none of them…..and nobody else has email that needs to be processed either.

This isn’t a business opportunity. It’s a bear. If you send in your $50, what you will get in return is a set of poorly written instructions telling you how to place the same ad that you fell for and get other people to send you $50 each.

That doesn’t sound like a legitimate Internet business, does it? It isn’t one. The only thing that you will gain from falling for this will be a wallet that is $50 lighter.

You want to be the proud owner of a successful and legitimate internet business. You don’t want to become a scam artist or a bear yourself.

E-Mail Marketing Business: While it is certainly true that many people do make very nice incomes sending out marketing emails that advertise products, it just is not as simple as the ads telling you that you can send emails and make money make it sound. You can become an email marketer but you must build your own list of people to market to.

What these advertisements are selling is a list of names and email addresses. Understand that anytime you see an advertisement telling you that you can make boat loads of money, there will ALWAYS be a product that is being sold. Selling this product is the way that the people who placed these ads plan on making THEIR boat load of money…not YOURS.

Back in 2003 the United States Congress passed the CAN-SPAM Act. It became the law of the land in January 2004. CAN-SPAM is an acronym for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.

The CAN-SPAM Act states that sending unsolicited bulk email is a crime. The Act is enforced be the Federal Trade Commission and they really are not kidding. There are fines and penalties for violations of the Act that go up to $11,000 per incident that are handed down be the Department of Justice.

Legitimate internet marketers, those who sell their own products and services, as well as, those who sell products and services of others (Affiliate Marketers), all have what are known as ‘opt-in’ lists. These are lists of people who have agreed to allow these legitimate merchants to send them email. The CAN-SPAM Act is not being violated if you have permission to send bulk email.

When you buy a list of names and email addresses, you do not have permission to send bulk email to the names on that list. I know….I know….the sellers of these lists will tell you that they have the right to give you permission to send email. They DO NOT have that right. The one and only person who can give you permission to send bulk email to their inboxes is the person who owns that email address…the recipient. Third parties cannot give you that permission.

There are many legitimate list building techniques. None of these techniques are easy and they are certainly not fast. You can write and market ebooks and articles, you can post to blogs and forums, you can do a lot of legal things to build your own opt-in list but you cannot BUY a legal opt-in list no matter what those ads tell you.

If this bear get you, it can end up costing you millions of dollars. There really aren’t any shortcuts to having a successful online business.

Fact: Sending unsolicited bulk email is a crime according to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The penalties are stiff.

1-900 Business Opportunities: This bear has claws and teeth. You will see an advertisement that says something like, “Call 1-900-555-5555 to discover your pot of gold!!!!!”

It is sad but it is true that it is perfectly legal to advertise a 900 number. Unlike 800 numbers or 866 numbers, the 900 number call is NOT free. Not only is it not ‘free’ the cost per minute is set by the owner of the number and can be exorbitant.

The advertisements are slick and very convincing. When you call one of these 900 numbers, your telephone company will be charging you be the minute. Fees per minute can be a few dollars of quite a few dollars. You will be kept on the phone for as long as possible. You will be given information on how to set up your own 900 number (that’s the secret that you are paying for) and how to place advertisements to get others to call your 900 number.

When you get your next telephone bill, you may go into cardiac arrest because it is likely to be well over $1000. You will have no recourse. You will either pay the bill or your telephone company will disconnect your service.

The person who placed the advertisement gets most of the money that you will pay your telephone company.

FACT: Never call a 1-900 number! You do not know how much you will be charged per minute for the call and the ‘secret’ that you will be given access to is just how to pull the same dirty trick on others.

Instant Riches Can Be Yours! This bear is used by many different crooks and scam artists. The body of the advertisement changes with the tides or the seasons but the message remains the same.

The message is that you can become unbelievably wealthy overnight if you just know how. The bears that place these advertisements are preying upon your ambition. Your ambition is a good thing but you must remember that is also bear bait.

Do you remember when the ‘Dot-Com Bubble’ burst in 2000? For several years prior to the burst of the bubble, many bright-eyed-bushy-tailed young entrepreneurs made millions overnight. They lost those millions overnight, as well.

Here is the bottom line of all Internet business opportunities: You can be a successful online business entrepreneur…..IF and ONLY IF….you are willing to put in the time, effort, energy, and money to become successful. That success is not going to come overnight. You might appear to be an overnight success to your friends and families but YOU will know better.

Fact: Overnight fortunes are never made overnight. They are the product of a lot of hard work and devotion to a dream. Don’t believe the hype.

Become a Blogging Millionaire: When this bear came out of the woods, I was just sure that nobody would buy into the scheme. I was wrong. A lot of people have fallen for this.

The ‘pitch’ is that all you have to do is just set up a blog (you can do this for free) and then sell high priced advertising space to big multimillion dollar companies. You car told that these huge companies have stacks of cash lying around just waiting for you to claim it.

Yes, blogging is big on the Internet at the moment but you won’t be making millions by starting your own blog. Blogging is a tool that is used by many very successful Internet marketers but it is not a business unto itself.

There may well be a few blogs that are owned and operated by people who are famous or infamous that make money selling advertising space. Yours is not going to be one of them.

You always must ask the question: “What is the promoter getting out of this offer?” You can bet your boots that they aren’t doing all this advertising for YOUR benefit and to help YOU get rich. They are selling something that will make money for THEM.

In this case, the blogging website is free but the information that, according to them, you MUST have comes at a price. For just a few hundred bucks they can tell you how to turn your blog into a “money-making machine”.

Do you have any idea how many blog sites there are on the Internet? Me either but I can tell you that there are a lot more than a few. Huge multimillion dollar International corporations are not going to pay you for advertising space on your little blog website.

Fact: You aren’t going to make millions selling advertising space on your blog site.

There are many legitimate ways to start and succeed at running an online business. You are to be greatly admired for wanting to do better for yourself and for your family.

You do, however, need to understand that succeeding in the world of Internet commerce isn’t going to happen overnight. It isn’t even going to happen over many nights. Succeeding at anything takes a lot of your time, effort and energy and succeeding at Internet commerce isn’t an exception to that rule.

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