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Determining A Scam Through Math

Posted by on May 7, 2011

A few days ago I was sent a link by someone I know. It was to have an opportunity to listen to a webinar that was broadcast in November if I happened to sign up on a particular website by 11AM today. It proposed teaching us how to make 6-figures within 90 days doing online marketing.

by Jean-Etienne Poirrier

Yeah, the scam meter was up, but it was free so I figured what the hey. I might pick up a thing or two that I hadn’t yet tried before, right? So, around 4 minutes before 11 I went to the site, put in my first name and email address (throwaway email address), and waited for the link to the webinar, which came about 5 minutes later.

I’m not going to say who these guys are; frankly, they don’t deserve the publicity either way. What I’ll say is that 15 minutes into the presentation I knew they were setting people up for what I’m calling a major scam. Why do I say that? Because 10 minutes in they showed an example of one of the old default WordPress blog themes where this guy had supposedly written only one post; it was something about gout. In that one post he had one link. He’s never written another post, ever. He only had the one link, and it went to a book on how to cure gout, which he supposedly bought to cure his gout. And they said this guy was making $30,000 a month from just that one post and one link for over a year.

Minutes later they showed another thing, this time a one page website. Supposedly the woman that wrote it had only written one article, telling a story about her puppy and how he was very misbehaving. She had all sorts of problems getting it to do right. Then she bought a book, which she linked to in the article a couple of times, and all her problems were over. The guy on the webinar said she was raking in $70,000 a month just from that one webpage.

Now think about this for a minute. How much money do most books make? Okay, my book is on leadership, but I might have made close to $1,000 on it over 7 years. Either of these books making this kind of money would put them way high on the New York Times best sellers list. That’s because one would have to assume that if one person was making that kind of money off a book they didn’t write that the person who wrote the book would have to be making at least half that amount, and other people would have to be making major sales off it as well.

The first guy would be making $360,000 a year off one book from one blog post; the woman would be making $840,000 a year off one book off one webpage. I’m betting Stephen King isn’t making that kind of money off book sales online every month; who’s buying this?

I’ve heard promises like this often enough. One of the worst things about being online is that people will sell you a bill of goods that should sound too good to be true? Think about the top affiliate marketer you’ve ever heard of. Some of them have had million dollar product launches; no problem with that. But how many of them sustain that level of sales longer than a few months off one product? It just doesn’t happen. And if it’s not happening for them, then it’s not going to happen for every Tom, Dick and Harry that writes only one blog post ever, pops in a link and does nothing else, not even any attempt to promote it. The numbers just don’t hold up.

That’s why people get weary of what they see and hear online. That’s why many of us defer and want true confirmation of what we see and hear before we’ll buy. This is why it’s hard to trust people.

Unfortunately, I know many people will fall for this scam, which is actually an attempt to get you to spend bigger money to receive coaching from them. Can you make money online? Sure. Is what they’ve shown possible? Maybe one in 500 million times, if that. Don’t fall for this type of thing; always remember that if it sounds too good to be true… well, you know the rest.

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Hi Mitch Mitchell,
This is really a very good and informative article. This article is very helpful for the neophytes. The pints you took to explain were well chosen and well explained too.Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

May 7th, 2011 | 5:14 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Shivam. I hope people listen and don’t get suckered.

May 8th, 2011 | 3:31 PM


Great simple, non-emotional answer here to these scammers. Math, figures, facts.
You are absolutely right, if an author was making that much cash by selling his book, not only would he/she be on the NYT Bestseller list but also featured in magazines and newspapers.
Get rich quick!
Great post

May 8th, 2011 | 3:09 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks John. Just don’t want to see people continually getting ripped off if I can help it.

May 8th, 2011 | 5:13 PM

Yeah, math and common sense, most of the time scammers sounds too good, but sometimes they are doing the system in very smart way and looks realistic.

May 9th, 2011 | 4:43 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Not in this case, Carl. I’ve sat through other presentations where people are told stuff like this and they all eat it up. It’s shameful.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:08 AM

It is surprising the number of people who will fall for that!

It’s also surprising how many “evil” people there are out there ripping others off.

May 9th, 2011 | 7:12 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carolee, unfortunately it’s not so surprising to me on the second, and it’s just disappointing on the first. But when one is looking for a way to change their life sometimes these things sound great without someone thinking about what they’re getting into.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:09 AM

No wonder most of us will only buy from people we know. this is yet another example of giving marketing a bad name!!!

And yet sadly some people will fall for the “get rich quick” schemes and then bemoan the fact later on. The old saying if it seems to be too good to be true then it probably is comes to mind!

Patricia Perth Australia

May 9th, 2011 | 8:20 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Exactly Pat. I mean, if some folks just looked at the numbers and did a little bit of thinking they’d see where they were being taken advantage of.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:09 AM

Nowadays people are becoming aware of this scamsters, first there were promises to make you rich over night, then there were promises to make million in a month.

I personally feel ebooks are dead market, as more and more people have tasted the failures of buying a ebook.

I feel it has reached a saturation point.

May 9th, 2011 | 10:27 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s an interesting statement, Arun. Ebooks on their own might be; I’ve had little luck in selling my own ebook on web stuff. Courses, on the other hand, still seem to do well. It seems if you can offer something that covers at least 5 hours, which means video, you’re probably going to make some sales with it all.

But very few folks are going to make the kind of money these scammers are talking about unless they’re skilled and practiced at it.

May 10th, 2011 | 11:20 AM
Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech:

Sounds great, Mitch! How do I sign up?

Just kidding. You were very wise in sniffing out this scam. Programs like this are what give the legitimate internet sellers a bad name. Thanks for sharing your insights.

May 9th, 2011 | 3:43 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carolyn, people are always getting juiced when they hear things like this. One can only hope they’ll be paying attention. If not, then one can hope they’ll read this. 🙂

May 9th, 2011 | 11:18 PM

Hi Mitch,
It is a very nice and informative post.Sometimes it is really difficult to findout a scammer but thanks for sharing it and it is especially very helpful for bignners.

May 10th, 2011 | 9:34 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks; I do my best.

May 10th, 2011 | 11:17 AM

Of course we know better because we’ve been doing this for a while and we know it’s not that easy. But they’re not trying to fool us, nope they’re aiming for those foolish people who have yet to learn to use the old rule, ‘If it sounds too good to be true then its probably a huge damn scam!’ 😉

Good find Mitch.

May 11th, 2011 | 10:21 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Sire. And that’s why I write about stuff like this and you have your blog about stuff like this because there are so many scams out there trying to take advantage of the uninitiated.

May 14th, 2011 | 8:22 AM

As your last sentence makes clear, many of the rules that apply to life in general also apply to online activity. Yet for some reason, a lot of level-headed people lose all sense when they sit down at that computer. Great post, Mitch.

May 12th, 2011 | 7:40 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Thanks Charles. Hearing about the opportunity to make millions easy has felled some pretty smart people over the years, which is astounding, but hopefully folks writing about it will keep some from making those same kinds of mistakes.

May 14th, 2011 | 8:39 AM