What’s Your Gullibility Factor?

I’m glad I understand SEO. If I didn’t, I could be one of those people who falls for those emails that show up saying “I found your site and noticed that you’re not ranked on the first page of Google. We can take care of that for you with a free assessment.” Those aren’t the exact words, but I’m betting most of you that have a website have seen something like that here and there.


Kevin Krejci via Compfight

Or maybe you see something like this in your comments if you have a blog: “Wow, you’re really smart and this post is amazing. I’m going to subscribe and read everything you write from now on.” Tugs at your ego in a positive way doesn’t it?

Actually, I’m not that gullible. I’m not all that trusting of people or promises if I don’t know them. I see everything as a scam until I’ve had time to investigate it. I’ll own up to there being a few times where I’ve seen a headline and immediately gotten upset before verifying it; these days I’m much better at checking that stuff out. I hate hearing that someone famous that I liked died… again… 3 years later. lol

One of the major problems of being online is that people come up with unique and sneaky ways to either take your money or get information from you so they can take your money in a different way. They’ve learned that flattery will get them far; if that doesn’t work then they’ll worry you into thinking that you’re not doing enough will or not doing things properly. They don’t care if everyone doesn’t jump on the bandwagon; they trust that enough people will and they’ll make their money.

The other problem is that those people ruin it for the rest of us who try to market or do business online. I’ve never told anyone that if I did their SEO I’d get them to the first position on Google; I don’t even promise them that I’ll get them on the first page for their search term. With my consulting business, I can promise that their processes and numbers will be better after I’ve completed my assessment and helped implement changes, but would be foolish to tell them how much before I’ve seen the numbers.

Those are impossible things to promise, but I know a lot of people who do this very thing. If one is ready to do some fairly nefarious stuff, you can always achieve results… they might look positive but it’s a relative term. When it comes to search engines, if they believe your site is trying to gaming the system, they’ll penalize you for it and then what; you’ve lost your web ranking and the company that got you in trouble has moved onto the next client.

B. T. Barnum said “There’s a sucker born every minute.” You know what? He never said it; no one’s sure who said it. There are postulations, but we now know that he never said that.


Were you gullible enough to believe that one? After all, people still quote it as reality. What about the lie about the Harvard graduates who supposedly wrote down their goals and how those that did it achieved great things while those who didn’t write them down failed in their careers? Sorry, that’s not true either.

Many people tend to believe things without trying to confirm them. It’s in our nature to trust people, even if we’re not all that trusting. We trust them when we don’t know, but we always have the ability to research and find out for ourselves what’s true and what’s not. For instance, politics; how many people actually look up to see what candidates are actually “for” instead of the lies their opponents say they’re for?

To break through the potential for finding gullible clients, I always tell people what I’ve done as far as services I offer and what I’ll do for them. I’m never very specific; I always say they’ll be better than they were. To date, that’s always come true. I can highlight that I helped a hospital increase their revenue by $730 million in one year as truth, while telling them that it’s not a guarantee I can do it for them. To me, that’s truth in marketing; for the potential client… who really knows?

I don’t want to fool anyone into using my services, reading my blogs, or buying my products. Those folks will never be repeat customers, and will never refer me to anyone else. They might even say negative things about me, write about me in places like Twitter or Facebook, or attack members of my family; who needs that in their life? I’ll also never fall for anything that anyone tells me, even friends of mine without verifying it.

As Mad-Eye Moody said in Harry Potter, “constant vigilance“. Never let yourself be fooled by anyone or anything. Don’t be gullible, and don’t count on the gullibility of others for your benefit. We can be better than that, and we should expect those who market to us to be better as well.

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8 thoughts on “What’s Your Gullibility Factor?”

  1. Hi Mitch,
    You are right on point. Even if you succeed in fooling your gullible clients, one thing is for sure that they are never coming back. It is better not to make any big promises in the beginning. But results are always expected in the upward direction. One other thing is that people never stop at anything while marketing their product. So being self-vigilant is the only factor which can save us.
    Thanks for sharing this.
    Vineet Saxena

    1. Thanks for reading it. Unfortunately for me, most of my clients are one-off anyway and they’re not generally inclined to share what I can do with their competitors. Still, it’s better to have a good name than a bad name in the industry, and that’s what I’m always shooting for. Good luck!

  2. Gmail catches such spam mail and my spam filter for my blog catches such comments and sends them to either to the spam box or for me to decide to approve or not. Neither has failed me so far.

  3. Soooo many Nigerian prince variants pop up, it makes your head spin. Google’s great at keeping spam out of my inbox, and Akismet does its comments-focused job well. But I’m seeing something new these days- what I’ve dubbed NMP: the Nagging Maggots Patrol.

    The presumption of gullibility begins at my contact form with a request for a backlink. Usually the domain name serves as warning, i.e. bigbucksecrets. Every week, the request repeats, each more demanding in tone. The inherent idiocy of such tactics mesmerizes.

    If they’d only comprehend reality: the initial communication dictates the first impression. And that vibe lingers, thrilling or killing opportunity.

    1. Great stuff Pam! It’s amazing how easy it is to sort these fakes out, yet also amazing how many people fall for these things or can’t see them for what they are. This is our present reality it seems; if I didn’t have a conscience, I’d take advantage of the lot! lol

  4. Hi Mitch,

    One of the major problems of being online is that clients need results fast. In SEO it will take atleast 3 to 6 months to rank for a competitive keywords, but clients need faster results than this.

    1. True. Actually, it’s possible to get a blog post listed pretty quickly, and if Google really likes it that post could end up in the top 10. As for websites, unless it’s a super niche site it’s definitely a lot harder to immediately rank well in any search engine.

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