Online and Affiliate Marketing Scams

Online Scams

In today’s What’s Up Wednesday, I talk about an issue that can cause you a lot of heartache along with a loss of money and time; online and affiliate marketing scams.

Yes, they’re out there and exist in every online market. Some do it to make a quick buck, others are even more malicious with their intentions.

It’s also a well-known fact that all successful sales pitches appeal to the emotions; such as the need to be liked, the need for security, and so on. The trouble with scams is that they are promoted based on one of the strongest emotions of all: greed. And usually only greed.

It’s instinctive, and the emotional appeal is so strong, that your mind wants to believe it, and when it happens, all common sense goes out the window.

In any case, you need to be aware of your online surroundings and take a few precautions to avoid being their next victim.

What to Avoid

Anyone claiming to be a “guru”

The word itself reeks with deception. Internet guru, marketing guru, most any type of guru. If there is such a thing, I’m sure there are far fewer than claimed. Solid online reputations are usually hard-earned, but unfortunately, they can also be invented. Just because someone brags about being one of the big dogs doesn’t automatically make it true.

Easily make millions

You can easily make millions with our program. How many times have you seen salescopy online promising huge earnings? Things like “Earn a 1,000 dollars a day”, or “Join our program now and become a millionaire”. If your look closely at these ads, they’re not actually selling anything.

Their often just selling the opportunity to make money. Anyone who puts a dollar amount (without qualified proof) is basically lying to you! And even if they have made a million doing it, doesn’t automatically mean you will do the same!!!

Secret way to…

There are extremely few genuine secrets left and certainly no new marketing ones. To be fair, I am still constantly learning about advances in technology and software that open up new ways and methods of doing things, but it’s highly doubtful that these can honestly be described as ‘secrets’.

Expert recommendations

Beware when it comes to recommendations! A more honest word for this would be ‘referrals’. Any recommendation you see, even from well-respected marketers, are very often motivated by the large commissions they will receive.

A majority of these best known high-end online marketers are on each other’s ‘A’ list for pre-launches and the mad scramble that follows is a sight to behold. They love the big fat commission checks they get for doing this. Do you really believe they all have tried out all of these programs and can give an honest assessment based on worth? Think again.

The dazzling array of graphics

You’ve seen the big mansions, the luxury cars, stacks of cash, guy sitting next to a pool at a tropical resort with a cocktail in hand, or relaxing under a palm tree by the beach with a gorgeous bikini-clad girl just coming out of the surf… the ultimate appeal to your emotions.

But there’s no way for you to fall for all this is there? Of course there is! The appeal goes directly to your subconscious and they always work, unless you trained yourself to see the humor and can laugh at them.

It’s a form of subliminal advertising and it works on all of us. As I said, remember what they are really trying to do so you can laugh at them, because then at least you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that the joke’s on them.

Money-back Guarantees

Just because they proclaim a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee (or any other) is no real guarantee at all. Your best bet is to find out what the payment processor’s policy on refunds is before even believing the so-called guarantee in the salescopy.

Always read the small print section, too (Terms for example). Just as in the real world, these often contain carefully worded legal clauses that mean, in essence, that the vendor or provider is not liable in any way.

If you end up having to take legal action, you most likely won’t have a leg to stand on, especially if the party is located in another country.

Just remember the most fundamental rule of business: ‘It’s impossible to make money from nothing’ (unless it’s illegal)! If you are ethical, you’ll heed my warning.

What to watch-out for as an affiliate

Guaranteed Sign-Ups!

No one can guarantee any number of worthwhile sign-ups to something the ‘‘signers’ themselves know nothing about. How could they? Especially where money is involved.

The vast majority of these ‘schemes’ produce absolutely nothing of any value for you at all. But you’ll waste a lot of time and energy before you realize that it’s time you gave up and money you threw out the window!

In some cases scammers will actually systematically collect genuine email addresses of people in some poverty-stricken nation in return for a pittance, or may even pay them to join what they tell them to (Twitter followers, Facebook likes, etc). But, come on! What are they worth? Not even a plugged nickel.

No product (or service) needed to make money

Those who offer ‘an opportunity to make money’ are most likely pyramid schemes. The idea is that you make money when you get others to join. The only people putting any money into the opportunity are the ones who actually join.

There is no income being created, just money being passed from one person to another. Not only are these scams (and you’ll loose what you invested), they are also illegal and you can personally face prosecution!

No vendor website

If the vendor has no website, then you should seriously consider something else. Legitimate affiliate marketing programs should have a detailed website with all the information you need. You should be very suspicious of vendors that operate only by email.

Besides, a website is fairly easy to create – so why hasn’t this vendor bothered to invest the time to do so?

Little or no offered support

An affiliate marketing program should always provide you with some sort of support. This can include an agent that you can contact with questions or problems. A legitimate vendor should want you to do well. The better you do the better they do. They should at very least provide a phone number, email address and a fixed street address.

Require a sign-up fee

Check the start up costs. These should be minimal if any at all. Most legitimate affiliate programs are free. If there is an initial fee (and you are still interested), ask is there is a way to pay back the start up costs through your sales commission. Most vendors are willing to do this.

However, if there seems to be a lot of initial money that needs to be paid by you then find something else. The chances are good that they will take your money and run, leaving you with worthless product or unpaid commission.

Final Thoughts

Always be cautious when signing up with any affiliate program. Make sure there is adequate support available to you. Make sure the company is easily contacted and that they answer queries in a timely fashion. Be incredibly cautious of companies that have no website. These factors do not always mean that the vendor is out to scam you; however they should be looked at carefully.

What do you think? Do you have a question or experience with a program you would like to share? Maybe an additional issue to watch out for… leave a comment below, thanks! 🙂

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About the Author

Michel has actively been online as an Internet and affiliate marketer since 2009. He has experience with many systems and programs that he has used throughout those years, finding some to be great and many not so good. He’s learned what works, and what doesn’t work and is willing to share it with you. And it is always changing!

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