Thesis of this post: it’s important to pay attention to things in our daily lives. They teach us things about our business.
Ok, so I was up late over the weekend working on one of those internal projects that never seems to get done during the work week. I turned on the television for some background noise. My home office is an offshoot from the living room, and I can see about 60% of the screen (hence the pic) — it eases the pressure of working in complete silence, and I get to keep abreast on the latest rerun of scrubs.
Back on track: this infomercial came on, with a goofy-looking kid, anthony morrison, who promised riches beyond measure by using his system, hidden millionaires. All right, I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking the same thing. Because these things are all the same, right? The one thing that got me was anthony’s use of the phrase “affiliate marketing”. As you may know, affiliate marketing accounts for a small stream of our revenue, so I instantly tuned in (still working, but a greater percentage of my attention dedicated to the tv).
The basic tenet of affiliate marketing — I push someone else’s product, they pay me cash for the lead or the sale. To draw our current affiliate income, we currently use our seo/sem skills to place ads, plus send messages to opted-in subscribers via online outbox, our email marketing platform, to get the message out. Got it? Moving on…
It seemed odd to me that someone in an infomercial like this would let the cat out of the bag before the general public got to the event they were pushing. Some meeting in the basement of some dingy hotel conference room, with music pumping and big lcd screens on the walls: that’s where they finally unveil their magic potion, or secret formula. So, honesty? That intrigued me.
So i’m not making $200k+ every month from affiliate marketing like this kid is, right? So I register for his event in my area for the next day, out of curiosity.
Disclaimer: I didn’t sign up for the millionaire program. In fact, I left early, in the middle of the guy’s presentation. It was a 90 minute presentation, it was worth about 30 minutes, and I stayed 15 minutes too long, debating on whether it was rude to get up and leave while the guy was talking.
Anyway, I knew that I wasn’t signing up for anything, but I attended to conclude why I wasn’t signing up for anything. I owed that to myself. So here’s my conclusion:
1) within the first 5 minutes, they introduce the company that they’re affiliate marketing for: it’s a credit card company. I have nothing against credit cards, the issuers, or their customers. I have credit cards. But not everyone who has a credit card should have a credit card. And I have a moral issue with the way credit cards are marketed, especially to those already steeped in debt, without much hope of getting out. A $1,000 visa card is not the solution to their debt.
2) the program is like $4,800. They offer convenient financing options. First, that’s a lot of money to pay in order to start working for someone. The affiliate marketing programs that our team participates in have been established by relationships. We haven’t paid a penny to become an affiliate with anyone.
Second, the presenter spoke for forty-five minutes straight, speaking in very simple technical terms, explaining the basic tenets of search engine marketing, promising that anthony himself would come later in the evening and give us the very phrases that we should use in our campaigns. This sounds like a lesson in search engine optimization. A very expensive lession in search engine optimization. Other than the web site that they give you included in that $4,800 package, I saw nothing proprietary in what they offer.
I googled the company and in a post, saw someone’s opinion that said something like, “if it really worked, they wouldn’t charge you until after it worked.” that’s a little lame. If i’m the late sam walton (or I guess, sam walton’s kid), and I sell someone a can of slim-fast, I don’t let them pay after they’ve lost 40 lbs. I sell them a product. What they do with it is up to them. However, I didn’t see $4,800 worth of product in the package.
3) a little investigating showed some suspicious aspects of the company’s existence, such as no articles of incorporation, no contact information on the public services web site other than to register for an event. You know, the basics. And support, no matter what you’re selling, is crucial.
So what does that teach me about business? First, sometimes it’s worth investigating something just to know for sure why it isn’t a solution. Second, allocate enough time to investigate, but once you know enough to make an informed decision, make that decision and move forward. Third, google, google, google.
All that to say, in this rambling post, that we’ve got a good thing going here. At a $4,800 discount. Thanks for reading…