You can make money online -- but be sure to avoid the scams: Internet ScamBusters #3
By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
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SCAM: The "Know Nothing, Do Nothing" Scam
This scam *really* infuriates us. It's probably the most common Internet scam which is aimed at entrepreneurs and professionals who want to use the Internet to promote their products and services. It leads to major disappointments, and it drains huge profits from thousands of businesses.
Let's look at a few examples. We've heard many unscrupulous promoters promise that:
"You don't have to know anything about the Internet or computers."
"You don't have to even use the Internet to make money on it."
"You don't even need to use a computer!"
"You can just put up a Web page, do nothing, and cash huge checks--there is no work required!"
We hope you realize how ridiculous these promises are. In fact, we investigated a number of these claims, and each of them has turned out to be misleading (at best), and most often, an outright scam.
You see, these promises violate one the most important rules of Internet marketing: to understand Internet culture. If you've never used the Internet--and don't feel like you need to learn about it--you will not be successful promoting your products or services on the Internet. In fact, you may as well save your money: you'd just be throwing it away if you approach Internet marketing from this perspective.
Here's why: The Internet culture is *very* powerful.
Understanding it will help you be successful, whereas failing to understand it will most likely lead to abysmal failure and PR nightmares. You have to speak the language of your market. There is no other medium where understanding the culture and the rules is as important.
Further, the Internet is not merely a new tool for marketing like the fax machine was several years ago. The Internet presents new and special challenges to entrepreneurs because it is substantially different from other advertising channels. For example, other advertising channels are all unidirectional, whereas the Internet is interactive.
This has very important implications for your marketing success.
Our experience is that many of the promises about Internet marketing today are based on what we call the "Aladdin's Lamp Theory of Internet Marketing." You know, you make three wishes, rub the lamp, and then you expect them to instantly come true.
For example, since there are millions of users on the Internet, you can just create a Web site, rub the lamp, and you'll be rich!
(That's the topic for another issue of Internet ScamBusters!)
Needless to say, this doesn't work.
Yet, we're not against the *appropriate* use of the Internet to promote high quality products and services. In fact, we do this as part of our own business. We just take exception to wrong advice, misleading advertising, and of course, scams and swindles.
So, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Please don't let the scam artists dupe you.
Besides, learning and exploring the Internet, and getting to know the people on it, is a lot of fun! :-)