Internet Gurus Who Do Not Coach
Like most of the Internet gurus, the people below do not have comprehensive business websites with information about the company and its staff. The nine individuals treated here do not appear to offer coaching. They are Ryan Deiss, Jeff Johnson, Frank Kern, Mark Ling, Holly Mann, Armoind Morin, John Reese, Rick Schefren, and Jeff Walker.
Those with the best content are designated with an exclamation point: ! Those about whom there are major questions about their products or about the firm are designated with a question mark: ?
As always, you need to do your own due diligence, regardless of what people (including myself) have written in the past. What are people saying now about the current products? For starters, check to see if there are any scam complaints at www.strategicprofits.com and the (rather garish, tending towards ranting) www.saltydroid.info. Also look at IM Report Card. IM's reports of the gurus are whitewashed. However the product reviews tend to be more reliable.
? Ryan Deiss, www.ryandeiss.com, is a good public speaker, a trait common to all the Internet gurus. His website, which opens with a very nice diagram about his company's growth from one to 35 employees, implies that he has a Bachelors in finance from the University of Texas, Austin. A company address is not, however, obvious on the website. A good feature of it is to have comments ("threads") about the postings he makes on it.
Apparently the products he offers are of varying quality. Several of them have received excellent reviews on IM Report Card (linked above). However one of them, about getting free traffic, was just destroyed (with screen shots) in a scam report written with real animosity: "Ryan Deiss Perpetual Traffic Formula is a BS Scam" at www.saltydroid.info (linked above). Although the report seems credible, one should be aware that a hostile competitor may write a scam report (or even load up another company's website with bad links, so that the Google search engine algorithms will "punish" it by downgrading its ranking from, say, page one to page five -- or 500.)
Jeff Johnson, www.undergroundconfessions.com, has a company named Profitable Results Marketing LLC.
! Frank Kern, www.frankkern.com, has the reputation of making money in Internet market niches besides the standard one of "how-to-make-money-on-the-Internet." How he does this is not clear. He does, however, offer refreshingly honest, and amusing, articles on his main website.
In "Two Magic Powers" he writes about a woman entrepreneur he admires, Madam C. J. Walker. In fact, his comments brought her to our attention, and our own article about her appears as a subpage at CXO Careers. He begins the article about this remarkable woman with a little bit about his own initial trials and tribulations: (Yaro Starak´s more extensive description of his start in Internet business, "ten ways to make money on the Internet," is given as a link at his name above. It does not involve nearly as much drama.)
QUOTE: Here are some of the businesses I´ve effortlessly run straight into the ground (it´s a talent):
1. Used Car Lot (the prestige!)
2. Underground Dog Fencing (don´t ask)
3. Roofing Contractor and Commercial Repair (even more prestige!)
4. Merchant Bank Card processing (failed at "legitimate" business)
... And of course, this is before I got online.
Once I got online, I was able to have my most spectacular failure to date ... the dreaded instant Internet empires, which got the attention of the FTC* and earned me a nice lawsuit, which cost me everything I had. END QUOTE
In another article, "You, the best Guru ever," also featured on the website landing page, he gives some realistic, hard-nosed advice about a) losing weight and b) earning money on-line:
QUOTE Imagine a guy wanting to lose weight (ahem). How many books does he need to buy? For the love of God, it´s easy. Put the fork down and walk around for a few hours a day.
Do that for a month and you´ll weigh less. (Duh!)
But There´s A Gazillion Dollar Industry Delivering "New" Weight Loss Stuff Every Day!
. . . There´s a new diet book every 20 minutes or so it seems. And the books aren´t the problem. I´m sure they all work if the reader just the education they just got, adds in a lot of effort, determination . . .
But that clearly does not happen. People just keep buying books and gizmos that go unused. Same thing happens in the marketing world. . . We buy courses and seminars and then jump to the next one . . . without implementing. . .
1. Don´t buy any advice this month. Go back and re-read whatever you´ve bought in the past. It´s still good. . .
1. See what worked for other people.
2. Try it for yourself.
3. Adjust according to results.
4. Repeat END QUOTE
* FTC www.ftc.gov refers to the Federal Trade Commission of the U.S. It is a federal agency that enforces consumer protection laws, such as the endorsement guidelines for bloggers (revised 2009).
His websites incude:
1) www.frankkern.com This website is his main one. In 2010 he had a message on it that he had retired from Internet marketing and only accepted private clients and "Platinum Members," with no contact information. In 2011 his website had a bright new look. It features well-written, useful articles, as shown by the quotes above.
2) http://masscontrolsite.com This site links to the one above
3) www.frankkern.net has an unusual promotion for his new book (May 2011) about doing business on-line. Viewers are asked to suggest a title for it.
! Mark Ling, www.affilorama.com, of New Zealand, is one of the more successful affiliate marketers. He has a nice format for his webinars in that one does not have to opt in to receive a registration number. Instead he gives you a choice of different times to view it, and you just click on to the link at that time to join the webinar. In one (4 May 2011) he stated he had a list of one million subscribers, and that one should expect to average $1 a month earnings per subscriber.
He considered having open rates of 30% on an E-Mail newsletter to be good, 5% acceptable, and 1% to 2% a sign of failure. In contrast, Jeffery Gitomer's weekly E-Zine "Sales Caffeine" certainly has an open rate of well over 80%, and 95+% would not surprise me.
After offering some fairly basic, common sense information, the webinar concluded with an offer for $497 to buy an affiliate program. That program included "do-it-yourself" websites with excellent features. One can, for instance, adjust the width of the margin. (On this website, one has to edit the template's CSS to do that.) Nevertheless the "first, provide value" content of the webinar seemed a bit light to market a $497 product, given the sales mantra that one usually needs eight or more contacts with a customer before he actually buys.
The website offers a great deal of free content, including 100 video lessons. Premium membership is offered at $67 a month. His programs are oriented towards people wanting to be middlemen, as opposed to those who have their own content to sell.
? Holly Mann, http://hollyman.com/honestriches.html#buynow, tells an interesting story on the landing page. She had been a journalist in the U.S. Army, receiving an honorable discharge after an injury. She then worked as a civil contractor at the Baghdad airport in Iraq. Back at home in Wisconsin as a 26-year old single mother, she decides to use her computer skills (presumably acquired in the military) to start an on-line business. Having enjoyed a year in Thailand as a high school exchange student, she immigrates with her baby son to Thailand.
After four months working night and day on her computer, she earns $12,000. This claim sounds more credible than the $100 million claim of Eben Pagan, above and the $76 million claim of Armand Morin, below. Her next step is to write an E-Book on how one can make money on line, entitling it "Honest Riches." The E-Book goes step-by-step with screen shots into considerable detail, being advertised as 240 pages long. As it is priced at $37 that sounds like excellent value, especially because free upgrades are offered with proof of purchase. At different places on her websites she claims sales of 35,000 and 45,000 (June, 2011).
However then one encounters something quite unusual scrolling through her website, viz. http://hollymann.com/topics/holly-mann/ (28.06.2011). To summarize three entries that lept out at me:
1) Target-Freebies-Pillowcases, Air Wicks, posted June 21st, 2011, "Today I did a little shopping at Target. . ."
2) Wallmart Paid Me to Shop - Some Steals, June 19th, 2011, "Today my son and I went to get a few things from Walmarts. . ."
3) Website Update - Extreme Savings w/Hollyman, May 31st, 2011, shows a picture of a woman who, if not Holly Mann, sure looks like her, with not one but three cute children.
Why are these points of interest? First, nowhere is anything said about being on a trip to the U.S. from Thailand. Targets and Walmart do not exist in Thailand. Second, the lady has sold 35 to 45,000 E-books, currently priced at $37 each. Let us use simpler numbers. Call it 40,000 E-books at $30 each = $1,200,000 in sales, and E-books have very low production costs. My understanding is that the tax rate for a self-employed proprietor in Thailand is seven percent. As living costs are low there, a reasonable assumption is that she had, after taxes and expenses, about $1,000,000 to invest. At this level, spending serious time on grocery coupon clipping is no longer productive.
Yes, I realize coupons can be big business, e.g. Groupon. However here we are talking not about the coupon business, but about using coupons to save trivial amounts. The action and its presentation are not consistant with $1,200,000 in sales. So is the Thailand story just that, a story?
Giving the lady and those three cute children the benefit of the doubt, she really did go to Thailand and while there really did earn $12,000. (That is twelve thousand with three zeros, not five or six of them.). Her on-line business picks up and she decides she can afford, and wants, to live in Wisconsin (Beverly Hills?) after all. Perhaps the return to the U.S. was caused by her parents having health issues or concerns about the education of her child (children?). She likes the Thai sojurn, justifiably considering it interesting part of her life, and leaves it in place on her website unchanged.
No harm done, so why make an issue of it? An on-line business requires extreme, on-going attention to detail -- constant testing of the metrics, staying on top of SEO. The Internet moves so fast that this attention to detail is not a "nice to have" but a "must have." If the lady is sloppy about Thailand, gets distracted by penny-saving coupons instead of minding the dollars-generating store, then how much confidence can you have in her attention to detail in her information products?
Now the E-book approach with free updates is excellent, one of the very best offers on the market. Therefore my recommendation is, first, to check her websites See if the current versions have corrected the glitches discussed here. Second, look hard for real product reviews that discuss strengths and weaknesses, not just press release puffery. If both the website and the product reviews are satisfactory, you can have more confidence in a purchase.
Armand Morin, www.armandmorin.com, started on-line in 1996. His website (2010) stated that he trains 200,000 people a year and that he has had revenues of $76 million on-line. In an audio clip (26.09.10) promoting his Big Seminar, he stated current revenues of $24 million a year. This figure was revised slightly downwards on the website (27.05.11) to $20 million a year when he promoted his launch of Internetdots. Before turning to Internet marketing, he may have been the CEO and Co-founder of Global Telecom International Inc., acquired by American Nortel Corporation.
John Reese, www.income.com, apparently has been in Internet marketing since 1990. His claim to fame is that the 2004 release of his course Traffic Secrets allegedly reached $1,000,000 in sales in 18 hours.
Rich Schefren, www.strategicprofits.com, gives more information about himself on the website than most, including a full business address (at contact at the bottom of the website page) with telephone and fax numbers! He has a degree from Case Western University. His work experience includes positions at the accounting firm Arthur Anderson, in the family retail business, and founding a chain of hypnosis centers. He launched his Internet business in 2004.The site has good content, including a series of videos, in the standard market niche of how to make money on the Internet selling information.
His "Founders Club" (at Products on the website) has been reviewed as having a lot of high quality content. It is probably better value for the money then paying $2,000 for a "one-shot" comprehensive mastermind or guru program. The Founders "starter price" (2011) of $47 is a monthly fee. As no guarantee is offered, one wonders how difficult it is to cancel.
A great many of the Internet gurus have been customers of his. In a webinar on March 26th, 2011 he stated he charged $2,000 an hour for consulting, had received up to $25,000 for a one hour speech, had $3.5 million of sales on the Internet in one day shortly after launching his business, and had first year Internet revenues of $7.4 million. He also briefly mentioned his experience in "bricks and mortar" businesses.
The webinar made the credible point that most Internet entrepreneurs are opportunity seekers. Therefore they are serial buyers of "how to" Internet products, e.g. how to do SEO, how to build lists, etc. They tend to be doing everything themselves in their businesses. In short they are focusing on tactics. What he advises doing instead is focusing on "what to do." Do less and outsource. In short one should focus on strategy.
His webinar presentation used a rather peculiar sales funnel. He began with an extraordinary amount of self-promotion, interspaced with tidbits of content. Of the 276 people who subscribed, he lost about one person a minute the first 20 minutes. The rate picked up a bit, and 40 minutes later 77 people had left, at which point we also disengaged. By the end of the several hour webinar presumably only a small percentage of the people remained. That Rich Schefran knows what he is doing seems a safe bet. Perhaps the lifetime value of an "indoctrinated" customer is higher than that of one who has listened to a standard informational webinar, as opposed to his promotional one.
Jeff Walker, http://productlaunchformula.com, has a company named Internet Alchemy, Inc. He has an interesting story about Google, which apparently only allows one AdSense account per company. He and his brother opened two accounts, ca. 2003, in order the better to track income streams. The infamous "Google slap" followed and the accounts were shut down, payments owed not made. A year later (presumably after litigation, although he does not mention that), Google relented and agreed to make the payments. Despite a "no fraud" finding, he is still (2010) banned from Google. That has forced him to develop other creative ways of list-building.
Other Internet marketers are legion; a couple of dozen U.S. examples are:
Robert Allen Lou Edwards Jason Hendersen Tracy Repchuk
Matt Bacak Ray Edwards Mike Hill Joel Therien
David Cavanaugh Donna Fox Bob Jenkins Howard Tiano
Michael Cheney Dori Friend Simon Leung Kevi Wilke
Kirt Christensen David Frey Larry Loik Chris Zavadowski Willie Crawford Paul Hartunian Joel Peterson Brian McElroy*
* Coaching has been offered by him, and may be offered by some of the others as well, although they are not "major players" in the coaching field.
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