I’m Gonna Be Rich — NOT
I've been exposed to internet marketing at its *best* these past few weeks.
It first started with an increasing number of “unpaid interns” leaving blog ‘comments' plugging a certain internet marketer's name and products (I refuse to give him Google points, so let's call him JB). Spam comments. YUCK!
As soon as I clued in to what was happening, I dug a little deeper only to find other bloggers complaining about the same problem, sometimes citing JB by name (one blogger called him ‘James Blah').
I took action by marking the most blatant comments as spam. Topic-related comments were kept, however I modified them by removing references to JB and his products. Each action was followed by a personal email explaining my reasons. One person had the decency to apologize and provided an explanation of what's really going on (confirming the unpaid intern rumors: “Your blog is on his list for his interns to visit.“).
The second incident was an email I received this week:
We've seen your website at http://blog.cristinafavreau.com/category/guerrilla-marketing/ and we love it!
We see that your traffic rank is 398906 and your link popularity is 10.
Also, you have been online since 5/1/2003.
With that kind of traffic, we will pay you up to $4,800/month to advertise our links on your website.
If you're interested, read our terms from this page:
The ContactThem Network
If you have a blog with any sort of traffic, you've probably already received a similar message.
At first glance, the allure of getting paid $4800 a month to advertise seems tempting. But red lights went up immediately.
- The email came from an AOL account, totally unprofessional.
- This was unsolicited, and nowhere was there to be found an unsubscribe or removal link. Immediate SPAM flag.
- They used my WHOIS email address, not the address I advertise on my blog or website (so they probably didn't read my blog at length).
- After reading the fine print, words we will pay you and advertising are used to describe an MLM or affiliate marketing program, not an advertising program.
- It sounds too good to be true.
- It plain just smells spammy.
Researching this a little more, I discovered this is a recycled version of an internet marketing tactic to recruit new affiliates. That means you'll get paid IF you do the job yourself, including levels, qualifications, renewals… blah, blah, blah.
Here are a few blog posts about this advertising “offer”:
- Stephen Ducharme, ContactThem scam
- ContactThem and their Marketing Trick
- ContactThem: Stop Contacting Me!
What's the point of this post? First, a little ranting about internet marketing feels good. Second, this serves as a warning in case you see a similar message come to your inbox. Finally, take a look at the emails you're sending. If you're offering a legitimate service and using email marketing as a client-generating strategy, be sure you don't get lumped in with “the others.” Make your intentions clear, be transparent and don't mislead. You'll gain more credibility by being open and honest than trying to trick people into buying from you.
Never mind what the so-called experts say about marketing. Let your your strengths, personality, core and values dictate what feels good and what is right. You'll attract like-minded clients. Go out there and make a difference in your own way.