Saturday, October 30, 2010

The truth about scam reviews

The fact is, most people you do business with online will be honest, ethical, and helpful. The idea most people have of the Internet as a dark and dangerous place that’s crawling with scam artists is inaccurate.

At the same time, you need to play it safe and use good judgment. Regarding business opportunities, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is.

One of the smartest things you can do is find a good network of people to help you. You can join a reputable marketing forum or hire a business coach. There are many people online who are willing to help you get started. Some will give you free advice - others will charge a consultation fee.

The main thing is to take your time and evaluate things properly. Don’t rush into anything trendy - be wary of people who try to push you into any sort of impulsive buying decision.

You can’t even trust those “scam alert” sites because some are just people with a vendetta against a product owner and others are using this odd tactic where you actually sell products as an affiliate by writing a review and starting it with, “This product is a scam!”

They use this approach because it makes people think they’re being honest, and then in their actual review, they build the product back up in your eyes. Find true customer comments and learn the difference between seeing a Photoshopped “proof of income check” and a real detailed case study that shows how someone achieved success in a step-by-step manner.

How do you know what’s a good investment and what’s not? When you’re evaluating an eBook, you honestly can’t trust the testimonials. I hate to say it, but it’s true.

That’s because there are three kinds of testimonials:

1.) Phony feedback – this is the kind of testimonial where the product owner simply made up every word you’re reading. They go to, grab an image of a friendly face to use as the “customer,” and make up a name to go with it.

2.) You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours – It’s no secret that the Internet marketing industry is sort of incestuous. Marketers get in bed with other marketers (figuratively, not literally), and they make deals where they’ll each promote one another’s products without even bothering to evaluate it on its own merits.

3.) Real customer feedback – This is the real kind of testimonial – the kind where a product owner sells a product, hears back from a customer who likes it, and asks permission to post his or her comments right on their sales page.

The problem is, you won’t know what’s what as an average consumer. I’ve seen many photos of the same person with 12 different names posted to sales pitch pages (obviously scraped from a site like istockphoto and completely made up).

I also happen to know who’s in whose good old boy (or girl) network, so when I see marketer A promoting marketer B’s product, I don’t know if it’s because he really believes in it or because he himself has a product launch coming up soon and needs to generate return favors that he can call in when the time comes.

If you type in, “[Product name] review,” all you’re going to come up with in most cases is a review by an affiliate! Now granted, many affiliates only push products they truly believe in – but unless you know this person’s intentions, how will you know whether or not you can trust him or her?

This is what networking is for. You don’t want to be an island in this industry. You have to learn how to befriend other people in your niche and talk about what works and what doesn’t, about who to trust and who not to.

Sometimes you even have to ante up and buy a product if no one knows anything about it and rely on that refund option if it truly doesn’t measure up to what the sales letter claimed.

This is the truth about deciphering work at home successes from scams and I’m sure it’s not going to win me any JV partners – because people don’t want you to know about Photoshopped images and made up testimonials or product review tactics.

Greg Cryns
Work At Home Profiles

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