Amazingly, it’s been almost a year since I wrote this post on the cancer in Internet Marketing. When I went back looking for it, I expected to find it listed 6 months ago. Has this year flown or what?!
I’m happy to report that somehow – remarkably – all of our efforts did something. The cancer we have in Internet Marketing has taken a beating. Really a lot has happened in the past 12 months in regard to this whole saga. Bigger changes than I’ve seen in the 6 years I’ve been doing this.
Some things have gotten better, some things have gotten worse. There are new challenges now, new scams too. Just more to look out for all around. I thought I’d take a good post to spell out a bunch of what I’ve seen, and what you need to keep an eye on if you’re still trying to learn this game & make a living for yourself online.
1. The Snake Oil Salesmenn Move On…
The old fables about the traveling huckster salesmen go that when people catch on to their scam in one town, they’re forced to move on to another where the people are fresh, unassuming, and fail to see their lies again. That’s kind of what’s happened in the town called Internet Marketing this past 12 months.
You guys really did start voting with your refunds – and it affected the entire industry.
Refund rates went up on all IM products across the board. Regardless of the seller too. Bad guys AND good guys noticed this. On our own last product – Unstoppable Affiliate – despite getting rave reviews everywhere and being the best product we’ve ever released, our refund rate was more than double our historical average. That was saddening to me, but I totally get it. People trying to learn internet marketing are simply jaded, and rightly so. I’ve confirmed with other marketers I respect and they have reported the same rates.
This caused many “gurus” a lot of grief and they started to seek out greener pastures. The guys who were getting 50% refund rates on their product launches started to think that there had to be a better way to make easy money.
2. The Sheriffs Started Slingin’ Guns
The powers that be also started to get suspicious. By powers that be, I mean payment processors.
Midway through the year, a handful of big name IMers started to think that if Clickbank was going to start cracking down on them (which they’d threatened to do but not yet done) and if they were going to make it so easy to get a refund, they’d move to another processor. Their target was Plimus.
A few multi-million dollar launches happened on Plimus, but with predictable results: High refund rates, and a lot of complaints. Plimus processes a lot of $$ for non IM niches but the level of heat they got from credit card companies over it was through the roof. Plimus was forced to ban all online business/IM related merchants, which they did in an instant. They had far less to lose from the sale volume than Clickbank so it was an easy decision.
So IM scammers with their crappy products single-handedly ruined a potential payment processor for another bunch of well meaning sellers.
Things were heating up hard.
A couple of months later, and under great pressure, Clickbank was to follow suit.
They didn’t ban all IM merchants but they imposed the strictest rules on them since their inception as a processor. No fake actors in sales letters, no exaggerated claims, no this, no that. A LOT of IM offers were forced to remove themselves from the market because they couldn’t comply. The ones that remained had to change their copy up in BIG ways.
Then – icing on the cake – they imposed penalties on vendor accounts with refund rates over 15%. That is, almost ALL IM merchants, period. There might be 2% of IM/biz-op offers that have refund rates below that level. This again caused many of those sellers to decide Clickbank was no longer feasible and go in search of other options.
These are HUGE changes.
The end result of course, is a much nicer market for all of us to learn in. Well, a little nicer anyway…
Unfortunately, the high refund rates across the board, the changing rules of processors, and the insanity in the market in general made IM a harder place to sell stuff. As a result, a few good, well meaning guys decided it wasn’t worth it any more. They went off to sell other stuff to easier markets.
We lost some good teachers and leaders in that process, so while we’ll let them remain nameless, let us here remember and salute them.
4. What Remains Of The Gurus?
Here’s what happened to the gurus we all love to hate. They either:
a) Moved to the business opportunity market.
Remember the first time you saw an ad like “Make $3000 a month working from home?” how excited you were? At that time, you were in the business opportunity market. Hopeful, unfazed, excited by sales hype… ready to buy NOW!
Those guys realized that group of people are just much easier to sell to and they moved on to that town. Some “good” guys even did that too. It’s a bigger market where easier sales can be made and you can provide the buyers with less information for their money. Sounds like an easy gig right? Too bad the likelihood is that before long, the same thing will happen as what happened when the IMers moved payment processors… they destroyed them. Perhaps that market is too big and too old for that, but that all remains to be seen.
b) They Became a “Good Guy”
You’ve seen this right? Now all of a sudden, EVERYONE emailing you is claiming to be “against the gurus”… EVERYONE is “sick of the scams in IM”, everyone is “fed up with product launches”, and blahdie blah blah.
It’s a joke. They’ve picked up on the sentiment of their market and they’re pandering to you. Many of them are the very same “bad guys” that customers are rallying against in forums and on blogs across the internet.
Be careful of this, reader. As I’ve always said: Choose who you listen to wisely.
c) They went bankrupt.
Not kidding. More than a couple of big name marketers went out of business in the past year for precisely the reasons we’re discussing. Many more who didn’t, resorted to some of the lowest acts they’ve ever committed. Desperation stuff in the name of survival. To say that it’s been crazy times is an understatement.
5. Where To From Here?
Here’s the situation:
You’ve got a big bunch of fed up people who still want to learn how to make good money online, but don’t know where to turn. And you’ve got less people wanting to provide them the right information because it’s difficult to do so.
Here’s what I think we’re going to see because of that…
I think in the next 12 months we’re going to see LESS product launches than the year previous. Less emails flooding your inbox, that’s a good thing, right?
But it’s still going to be messy.
Now that a lot of these guys are meshing lists with people in the biz op market, you’ll also probably get a few emails for products on paid surveys, or “data entry” work at home jobs. I hope if you’re reading this, you know what to do with those.
You’re going to see some “rising stars” in internet marketing. New teachers who haven’t been round for as long, who are happy to get paid less to teach good online marketing info while they make a name for themselves in the biz. Make your judgements on these guys as they come along. They probably haven’t been around as long as more established experts, and their methods may not be proven to ride out the inevitable storms that go along with online business. Proceed with caution.
And finally, you’re going to see a lot of “new” strategies. Many desperate ones, some decent ones.
The backdrop to this whole story is that actually making money online became harder this year. It became harder for affiliates, harder for SEOs, harder for media buyers, harder for content creators. The internet changed again! And a lot of people are running scared from many methods.
As a result you’ll see new ideas coming up for making an easy buck. You know what to do with those. But hopefully you’ll see people innovating on traditional methods (like content marketing) to make them more profitable and more stable too. That part I look forward to.
Final (More Positive) Word
So that you don’t walk away wanting to give up on life, let’s end this on an important positive note…
Make no mistake: Internet business is still the best legitimate income/lifestyle maximization opportunity that exists. This business is awesome; anyone can have it; it’s still there for the taking.
In fact, online business is still in it’s infancy.
If we want to learn it, and keep getting better at it, we need do nothing more than follow the information of people we can trust, and compare notes based on the experience of our own ACTIONS.
Consider the changes of the past year one more obstacle (partly) out of your way. A clearer path awaits you.
To your success!