Adventures In Internet Marketing How I Fell For A Losers Deal And Still Came Out Ahead

I was new to​ internet marketing (still am),​ and leery of​ scams. But I was also eager to​ make money. After all that’s the​ point,​ right? And so I was ripe for the​ picking.

The program looked very promising. it​ came with a​ friendly face. I would be able to​ make lots of​ money,​ and the​ site would be virtually free. And not only that. Everything would be done for me.

For someone who was still struggling with putting together her first website,​ this sounded almost too good to​ be true. as​ it​ turned out,​ it​ was.

Part of​ the​ reason I fell for it​ was that it​ appeared to​ be an​ affiliate program (or rather a​ whole network of​ them). I had just discovered those and was rather taken with them. as​ it​ turned out,​ though,​ the​ affiliate portion was really structured more like a​ multi-level marketing scheme. you​ have to​ fill up both “legs” of​ the​ pyramid in​ order to​ get any pay-out. And so on.

Hundreds of​ dollars later,​ I had received a​ check for a​ grand total of​ $11 (which was a​ partial rebate on​ my own purchase). it​ wasn’t entirely the​ program’s fault. I could have “worked the​ system” more. But everything seemed to​ cost money.

The helpful how-to instructions I received on​ a​ daily basis all involved yet another increase in​ my monthly expenditures. American Express called because they were concerned.

“No,​ no,​ it’s okay,​” I told them. “I ordered that.”

I suppose somebody actually may have managed to​ make money with that set-up,​ including,​ no doubt,​ the​ guy with the​ friendly face. But I sure didn’t.

When did I wise up? When I finally got curious about the​ specially-made-for-me auto-responder series that was supposed to​ lure my “customers” into joining that program as​ well.

I pretended to​ be such a​ customer and filled in​ the​ form on​ my website with one of​ my other email addresses.

What happened next was not what I had expected. I started receiving auto-responder messages alright,​ but with another marketer’s name on​ them. Not one of​ them featured my own name. it​ looked as​ if​ they were getting people like me to​ pay for it,​ while an​ inside group of​ marketers were sending each other the​ resulting sign-ups.

When I wrote to​ the​ customer service people,​ I received no response. So I decided to​ divest myself of​ the​ system,​ which took me a​ whole lot longer than it​ had taken me to​ sign up. There were so many sub-programs I had joined in​ order to​ get that “free” website that I had lost track of​ some of​ them. I’m still sorting through my back email and credit card statements to​ make sure I find them all.

And every one of​ them was charging me on​ a​ monthly basis. Several of​ them required additional regular purchases just to​ keep my “preferred” status,​ which was necessary to​ make any money at​ all.

Can you​ see the​ circularity of​ this? I can’t believe how long it​ took me to​ realize just how much of​ a​ loser’s deal this was.

Now what should I have done and what will I do in​ the​ future? For starters,​ I won’t spend hours signing up for a​ “right now” program ever again. Instead,​ I’ll Google it​ to​ find out as​ much as​ possible before I even consider it.

And when I do sign up for anything,​ I’ll investigate the​ whole system thoroughly right away,​ not months after I’ve been paying all sorts of​ fees.

I may have been side-tracked by work and life,​ and I probably shouldn’t have signed up for anything like this just before going on​ a​ 3-week trip overseas,​ but I still feel I should have followed up a​ bit more closely. But what the​ heck. It’s too late now anyway.

There’s a​ rule I learned recently: Don’t pay for affiliate programs. Unless it’s for a​ copy of​ the​ product,​ of​ course,​ so that you’ll have a​ way to​ evaluate it. Still,​ anything that requires monthly fees plus extra fees just to​ keep your place in​ some sort of​ hierarchy needs some healthy skepticism.

It also would have helped if​ I had followed my gut. I had made a​ big stash of​ fliers (“Make Money in​ your Jammies!” it​ screamed in​ neon green) and I couldn’t make myself post any of​ them. What if​ someone sees me,​ I worried. Why didn’t that tip me off that I wasn’t as​ convinced as​ I tried to​ make myself believe.

The biggie though was the​ fact that the​ auto-responder didn’t deliver the​ goods,​ and that I couldn’t get a​ response from customer service. I might have given them the​ benefit of​ doubt (though it​ would have been a​ pretty bad glitch in​ the​ system) if​ they had responded,​ apologized,​ and fixed it.

But no such thing happened. Meanwhile,​ I kept reading the​ messages I received with the​ other person’s name on​ them with morbid fascination (“Urgently go here!”),​ finding myself actually counting my blessings that they weren’t signed with my own name.

So the​ bad part ended up being a​ blessing after all. I just wish I hadn’t thrown so much money at​ this deal. But mistakes are learning lessons,​ right? And I sure learned a​ lot from this one.

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