Are You Often Disappointed By “Free”?

I think I give a lot of advice on this blog, as well as a lot of commentary. I’ve helped a lot of people by showing the results of research, or testing things so they don’t have to. I don’t believe I’ve ever really held back on a topic when I’m writing about something unless it was personal.

by Andrew Steinmetz

With that said, I’ve also sometimes wondered why none of the products I’ve created sell here. I know I said that I don’t expect this blog to make a lot of money, but I do expect it to make some. Many comments indicate that there are some relatively new folks who visit and glean information from this blog, yet I’ve never sold any of my books or my webinar from this blog, though luckily I’ve sold them from other places.

What’s leading me into this conversation? The other day someone who I follow on Twitter posted something that said you could learn how someone else made $8,000.00 while on vacation through membership sites, and if you followed the link you could learn how. Well, I thought that was intriguing, as I’ve thought about membership sites, and so I followed the link and got to this page that I’m not going to advertise right now. There was a short video which said if you gave your name and email address, there would be 5 videos that would explain how she’s able to make great money through membership sites. I figured that within 5 videos I might glean some pretty good information, so I gave up the information to one of my rarely used sites; that’s how I subscribe to many things.

I got immediate access to all 5 videos, and I started watching them; took me an entire day, as I had other things to do as well, but eventually I got through all of them. And when I was finished? The only thing I got out of it was that she’s got all of her membership sites set up for recurring billing; that’s it. She talked about concepts, about statistics, and showed a lot of other people’s blogs, but never got to what I wanted to hear, which was just what someone might put into a membership site.

For instance, she mentioned a website where people could get together to talk about autistic children. Okay, that sounded good, but is there content in there? Are there videos or podcasts? How much? Is any material original, or gleaned from other sources? See, to me that’s pertinent information; that’s the type of thing that would help me decide if I wanted to not only create a membership site, or even to join one. I’ve actually joined a couple here and there in the past, only to be disappointed by one thing or another.

Now here’s the thing. Within hours of getting the link to the videos, the emails started coming about a course on how to create a membership site. At that point I pretty much figured I probably wasn’t going to get anything out of the videos, but I found it amazing that, in total, the videos were about 80 minutes long. How can anyone talk for 80 minutes and not say anything, and not be a politician?

The strange question to ask then is are you ever disappointed in free things, and do you deserve the right to be? I’m of two minds. One, if it cost you nothing and it didn’t work quite right, then you got what you paid for. Two, if something took up a lot of your time and at the end you got nothing out of it, then that’s something entirely different. That’s like sitting through an entire presentation geared to get you to pay someone thousands of dollars to create multiple websites for you by telling you how much money other people make and not telling you how other than “they sold cat brushes and made $100,000 in a week!”

What are your thoughts on this type of thing? Do you like the tease to buy, or will you buy if someone can at least offer you something up front that maybe you didn’t know?

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14 thoughts on “Are You Often Disappointed By “Free”?”

  1. Hello Mitch, I am not a fan of watching videos or reading 8 Amazing Tips that is Guaranteed to Overflow Your MailBox with $10,000 Overnight and get no kind of information as to what you are exactly doing to get that money. I hate beat around the bush sales pitches. Tell me what it is you want me to sell/buy/invest in and get to the point. That’s my feelings on that. As far as you selling the products you have created here, I was unaware you had any products for sale here until now. When I come to your blog or anyone else for that matter, I admit I get straight to reading. Unless something catches my eye in bright colors or big fancy words, I have my blinders on. Now I have noticed the products but I never looked closely at any of them to see that your name was on them. That might be in part of me coming here to read to see what you have to say for the day and just not being aware of the other aspects you have going on.

    1. You’re still relatively new to the blog, Karen, but yeah, I have products. I don’t even have them all listed on this page, since most of them aren’t geared towards the topics I talk about here.

      As for the rest, well, I thought I was going to get some real information out of it, mainly because I’ve trusted the person who recommended it. That won’t happen again.

  2. If the videos don’t give you a reason to buy the follow up information, then they are going to get very few sales. I doubt I would have the patience to sit through 80 minutes either if nothing of interest was given. I know you were hoping to see and hear some so you kept going. Though you did waste some time, you know you will not waste any more of it or any money.

    1. True Scott, but hot disappointing. I didn’t even want a step by step on how to do it; I just wanted to hear about the types of content that one might put into a membership site.

  3. Hi Mitch
    I agree with you about some of the free stuff out there. Early days I would get tons of emails about the latest and greatest must have next big things. Would read, get free info, get disappointed and now I just delete!
    Some of these membership sites are just big money funnels and as you can expect, are just followed by fans of the said marketer who owns the site. There is big money in it but after joining a couple awhile back I realised it was another money funnel as they then advertise more of their must have goods you need to buy. One exception was a well know blogging site and they didn’t need to sell anything as they got thousands of members. I was totally overwhelmed and unsubscribed so am staying away from all that.
    I get enough help, information and encouragement from my blogging friends but you don’t know this when you first start out. if I had I would have saved the $$’s!!!
    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Pat, I think we all spend some interesting money early on, and as we learn we back off. Sometimes you can only learn by buying, which is why “we” make our own products, hoping to entice buyers here and there. Still, I have those times when I wish someone wasn’t just going to waste my time to pitch something later on. Back in the 80’s there was this commercial on TV that talked about finding ways to help you save money. It was one of the first 30 minute commercials that are so popular now. However, in this commercial, the guy actually gave 3 great tips, one that I put into practice back then. That almost got me to buy the book; I didn’t, but I bet a lot of people did, looking for more nuggets to supplement that one. To me, that’s what it should all be about; give something and you’ll get something nice in return.

  4. There will be always that kind of stories, how somebody make that much or more. Most of that is not true. I like your blog and I like the way your write.

  5. As I see it nothing is free, and you can’t earn money unless you work (apart from winning the lottery). No one is that nice to give you tips on how to get rich, and ask nothing in return. What I dislike, is that these kind of ads are promoted very aggressively and loudly over the internet.

    1. I wouldn’t say nothing’s free, Mia, but sometimes you really do get what you pay for when you go the free route. Then again, look at all the information that’s online; I’ve found lots of information on the internet, so I can’t totally gripe.

  6. I never trust someone who wants to give me (or to the word for that matter) something for free. I find it suspicious if someone says that he/she is going to tell me how to make 10000$ per day and doesn’t want anything in exchange.

    Probably that is why I never believe this kind of articles, posts, email or even commercials (all have a little star at the end of the word FREE, and a sub note telling you that is free only if you pay for it).

    How would I buy an advertised product? Hmm, i think I would a product only if I need it or it seems something that will be valuable in the future, but I tend to avoid buy one and get 2 for free (I know I am actually paying for all 3)

    1. That’s an interesting take, Alex, on the buy one get 2 free thing. Actually, I do mental calculations on things I’m interested in to see if it’s worth it, based on that same principle.

  7. Hi Mitch,

    I’d say that as a general rule, any site that asks me to give my contact information BEFORE they show me their content, is definitely planning to try to sell me something.

    Sometimes curiosity gets the best of me, and I’ll fill out the form even if I know I’m not going to buy anything. But for the most part, if I know they’re trying to sell me something, I don’t Expect them to give me the answers I want for free.

    The best chance of actually finding good, quality content, that might actually answer your questions, is when you don’t have to opt in … or, ironically enough by joining a quality membership site on the subject (although those are few and far between … as several of the commentors above have alluded to, most are nothing more than outsourced junk, who’s primary purpose is to separate you from you money).

    That being said, it looks like this site: (not mine .. just found it) might have some useful information on what type of stuff to put in a good membership site … it appears they are monetized by attempting to sell the software to run the site.

    Just my two pennies 🙂

    1. I liked that Todd; thanks. I know you rarely get much information out of anything you have to pony up your email address for first, but sometimes you’ll get a nugget that can take you further than you were. That’s why I keep trying, but I’m quick to unsubscribe when I get nothing out of it. Still, it was a bit disappointing that someone I thought gave pretty good advice would recommend someone who gave nothing in 5 videos.

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