Everybody wants to be rich

I got a bit upset in my morning rounds of browsing. A site I read regularly seemed to be promoting a huckster Internet Marketer. I got upset because I've seen other sites cross over to the dark side: what used to be a nice place to visit turns into a slick "Internet Marketing Machine". I didn't want to see that happen here, so I emailed the guy who wrote the article and expressed my misgivings.

He protested that he wasn't condoning the type of marketing done by the huckster (I'm not going to mention any names here), but merely wanted to point out one aspect of the marketing and discuss that. I'm willing to accept that as stated, but am still left somewhat uneasy. Had this been my second or third visit to that website, it would have been my last - I felt that uncomfortable about it.

The huckster himself is selling a grossly over-priced product (appx. $2,000.00) that purports to teach you how to - big surprise - overcharge for your own products. There's dark humor for you: I'll overcharge you to teach you the best ways to overcharge others. It would be funny if it weren't that a lot of folks who fall for things like this really can't afford to waste their money.

We have to be careful here: if we have a willing seller and a willing buyer, there is some argument to be made that any pricing is legitimate. That's true, but there's also the matter of expectation. The buyers of this pitch are told that they could make back the entire cost in just a few days, and are encouraged to imagine the rewards they will reap in the months that follow. No doubt some will: if you can learn how to be a huckster, you might be successful too. But most will be left with a pile of glossy junk and a depleted bank account.

There's also the matter of perceived value. It's sometimes the case that pricing something too inexpensively is detrimental to sales and that overpricing it will help it sell more. There's truth in that, but I get upset when people take it too far. I've seen that too many times, unfortunately: an e-book being hawked for $80.00 or more, this kind of multi-thousand dollar "course".. it just seems obscene to me.

I'm going to take my e-books as an example. Pick any one, it doesn't matter. I can tell you as a matter of absolute fact that people sell very similar products for five, six, even ten times what I charge. I couldn't do that. Honestly - I couldn't live with myself. I'm probably underpricing them now, but I'd rather do that than overprice. I'd rather feel that there is no possible way anyone could think that they didn't get the value they expected. I need to like myself more than I need to get rich by picking people's wallets.

Not that I wouldn't like to make a big pile of money from those books. Of course I would. But I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and feel good about what I see.

Some people can defraud other people and feel nothing. Others may have a moral twitch or two but are able to rationalize it away. I can't do that, and I'd like to think that most readers here couldn't either. But maybe I'm wrong, so let's take this to the comments: suppose that you could learn to manipulate people to overpay you. Would you? Is it OK to be a huckster?

If you could get rich by overcharging other people, would you do it and feel that you did nothing wrong?



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© Anthony Lawrence







Sat Feb 14 15:42:41 2009: 5413   Vinod

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good contents





Sat Feb 14 16:18:27 2009: 5414   Kelly

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Tony,

No. Rich at all costs is not my way. Overpromise, and overdeliver. Overpromise, and leave a bunch of folks feeling bad about themselves because they've failed to make the best use of my advice? Icky.

Does that mean I wouldn't love to be able to draw people in, fascinate, and sell with such ease? No again. So I watch, and I try to see what it is that's grabbing me.

It only means that if I made more sales, and made them more easily, I'd be able to share our fine work with more people. I'm a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race kind of person, but who wouldn't love that?

Regards,

Kelly



Sat Feb 14 16:35:11 2009: 5415   TonyLawrence

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Kelly, I've visited your blog often and never felt anything but comfortable and at ease. You don't pitch sleazy techniques, you don't over promise.. Maximum Customer Experience is a great motto and you seem to live it.

I find that other kind of stuff so ugly.. and I lose respect the people who defend it or say "it's just marketing".

I still have respect for the person at the other blog who made that post, but honestly it's a little tarnished now and I feel much more cautious and hesitant. He says it was just an example and that he's neutral, but I don't like neutrality on that kind of stuff - it's too ugly.



Sat Feb 14 17:19:14 2009: 5416   TonyLawrence

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"It only means that if I made more sales, and made them more easily, I'd be able to share our fine work with more people."

Yeah, there is that. But the implication there is that people need to be helped to make decisions that are good for them. As true as that may be, I'd rather just leave them alone and let them work things out for themselves. If they think that [insert name of a famous marketer]'s book on making money on the Internet for $169.00 is better than my $14.95 version because "it MUST be or why would it cost so much?" - well, so be it. I could say I'd be doing them a favor if I charged them $80.00 and did a Fran Kern job on them so that they felt good about it, but *I* wouldn't feel good.

So there it is. I'm being selfish :-)



Sat Feb 14 17:30:33 2009: 5417   JonJon

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But isn't everything sleazy to some extent? You live in luxury because so many in the world suffer..



Sat Feb 14 17:35:47 2009: 5418   TonyLawrence

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OK, yes. And that bothers me and yes I have to rationalize those things. But there are limits and folks like Kern are way out there in my mind.

It's a complex subject, I agree. Certainly getting richer by scamming people isn't going to help anything..



Sat Feb 14 21:49:54 2009: 5419   BrettLegree

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I left a comment over at "the other site" and maybe could have worded it a bit differently or added more, but I can also contribute here a bit.

I understand or think I understand that the point of the original post was to say "this is a way you can promote your stuff".

I think a lot of the people commenting might have feelings similar to mine, to the first part of my comment - I've seen so much of this stuff that I start to wonder "what is real" and so I'm inclined to just ignore it and instead form my own ideas.

But to add a little bit more, I will do that by answering your question - would I get rich by overcharging people if I could? Hell no. I couldn't live with myself. I am already quite privileged to live where I do in contrast to what some of the rest of the world is, and I'd rather work to make things better than screw people for my own gain. Enough people are doing that already...



Sat Feb 14 21:54:54 2009: 5420   TonyLawrence

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Yeah, that's for sure. And look where all that greed has gotten us.



Sat Feb 14 22:00:21 2009: 5421   BrettLegree

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Look where the greed has gotten us indeed.

Cross-posting back and forth between here and the other blog - after watching a bit of the video and replying to you there, I read the text below the huckster's video box.

Classic snake oil tactic in my opinion. Buy my info now before the price goes up and before I stop offering it for sale.

I know this works for some people but I don't think I want to do that. Something about it just doesn't feel "right" to me.

If I have some information, some special knowledge on something, I'd hope that I feel confident enough about it that I'm not worried if someone buys my book and then shares it.

It kind of reminds me of when the video game companies hype the new console early fall and then don't ship enough units, driving up demand and price and leading to all kinds of people selling them on eBay for crazy prices.

If my information is so secret that I have to do this, create false scarcity and limit availability, then to me that really says I don't know very much at all. There's no depth, just magic tricks.



Sat Feb 14 22:15:50 2009: 5422   TonyLawrence

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Well, Brett, we're probably fools. Apparently that's all just marketing, and the "smart ones" all do it.

Shrug.. I still don't understand why some people see that guy as sleazy and others think he's cool.. obviously some of us are wired very differently.

I'm really emotionally drained. I've been holding back, trying to be very polite, but honestly it all really pisses me off. As you said, there's enough poverty and despair in the world; like you, I'd "rather work to make things better than screw people for my own gain".

I really can't understand how anyone could live like that and feel good about themselves. Really.



Sat Feb 14 22:45:17 2009: 5423   BrettLegree

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Yeah, we're fools for sure...

(And since I believe this is the one shot we've got at life and there's no need to be "good" to get into Valhalla since it doesn't exist, I'm a big-time fool for having morals, I guess.)

I could go on about this kind of thing too, for hours. It is part of the "why" behind the reasons I don't particularly care for where I work anymore. So much poison being sold to people who just don't know, so much wasting of taxpayer money. Lots of people who could sell anything to anyone, selling nothing at all.



Sat Feb 14 22:52:31 2009: 5424   TonyLawrence

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I think we have morals because we've evolved that way.

In small societies, people without morals won't last long - they get found out and shunned. It's only recently that the world has gotten to the point where these aberrant people can exist freely.

I think it's just evolution.



Sat Feb 14 23:12:10 2009: 5425   BrettLegree

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You summed it up really well - I saw a study about morals vs. religious beliefs. Morality is there independent of faith in a "higher power".

And of course, some of the most "religious" people don't have good morals. These days, though, it is easy for them to hide.



Sat Feb 14 23:26:41 2009: 5426   TonyLawrence

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It's funny how some religious people won't trust you or me because we aren't religious but they will trust someone who professes the same beliefs they hold.

Of course the guy who's out to screw you is going to act just like you - he'd be dumb not to!

But they don't see that..

Oh, well: I have to take my sweetie to the dance now.. she's so purty :-)



Sat Feb 14 23:34:08 2009: 5427   BrettLegree

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I had a brief conversation with a very religious friend (he got "converted" at college) about UFO's. He didn't understand how people could believe in them.

I said, "well, there have been pictures of things purported to be UFO's, so I can understand that belief - have you ever seen a picture of your deity?"

:)

He didn't like that!

Enjoy the dance - that's something I agree with you on 100 percent - you value the truly important things in life.



Sun Feb 15 14:28:55 2009: 5429   TonyLawrence

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It turns out that there's a larger question here.

Assuming you wouldn't do this yourself, is it OK that other people do? Is it "buyer beware" and that's the end of it?

I certainly wouldn't want laws protecting people from being overcharged for information products - that would be ridiculous. Yet I can't help feeling disgusted by people who do this.. and I think it's important to express that even if it is impotent and even when most of it falls on deaf ears.

A lot of folks see the "rich Internet Marketer" as a hero. That can be true even when they would never use similar tactics - the same thing has sometimes been true of bank robbers. Some people admire success even if the means of that success are distateful.

So that's the other question. Do you admire success no matter how it was gained? Are people like this heroes? Are people like Bill Gates, Joseph Kennedy et al. heroes or knaves?







Sun Feb 15 14:41:47 2009: 5430   BrettLegree

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Exploitation is exploitation - so yeah, if I don't think it is okay for me to do it, I don't think others should do it either.

Like you, I don't believe we should have laws preventing this - so we do what we can, we talk about it and let others decide for themselves.

Do I admire success no matter how it was achieved? Hell no. For modern day examples I'm thinking a lot about some of the shady gangsta rappers you see out there, and I scratch my head when I see kids deify these people.

Bill Gates, Joseph Kennedy - both great examples of people I would put forward as questionable characters. They got away with things neither you nor I could get away with *because* of their riches and influence - and that's wrong.



Sun Feb 15 14:49:33 2009: 5431   TonyLawrence

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Kennedy definitely didn't break any laws - the stuff he did would be illegal today but it wasn't then. Gates, well, that's more confusing. The judge in the JD case certainly seemed to feel Bill was breaking laws, but at the end of the day none of it stuck so he's not a criminal.

For some, that's enough. I can't see things that way. Kennedy, Gates and hundreds of other greedy, un-empathetic people are very ugly to me.

But I think very few would agree..



Sun Feb 15 15:01:04 2009: 5432   BrettLegree

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True about Kennedy, and perhaps Gates too. I look at it as the "spirit of the law" vs. the "letter of the law" I guess. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, so that's why this kind of thing bugs me.

(e.g. I was laid off a long time ago for a few months, and while I could have drawn unemployment insurance, I did not - I had sufficient savings to keep me going until I was working again, and there were other people who needed the money more in my opinion - different situation of course, but you get the idea)



Thu Oct 1 20:06:59 2009: 7034   TonyLawrence

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A long overdue followup:

Some time later, that blog did something else I found a bit sleazy and I stopped reading it entirely. The owner and I had some email exchanges about it - he doesn't see himself as I see him. No doubt I'm overly critical, but still: I can't read you if I don't like the cut of your jib.







Thu Oct 1 21:54:28 2009: 7036   BrettLegree

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Yeah - I noticed that too, and it wasn't for me.

Also, I had a few exchanges on other blogs with said owner that deteriorated to a high school level (it was pretty childish, actually, but luckily that part happened offline - said owner's reputation would suffer if people knew about it I am sure).

That was pretty much enough for me, and I unsubscribed.

To be honest, for a while it soured me from writing on my own blog and I focused on other things - probably a good thing, actually, as they will ultimately be more important than my hobby blog.



Fri Oct 2 02:18:13 2009: 7037   TonyLawrence

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Hmmm.. and I thought it was just me.

Oh well. You and I are probably overly critical :-)



Fri Oct 2 02:24:23 2009: 7038   TonyLawrence

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But you know what's funny - the people who think they are great probably still think so no matter what sleazy crap they promote. Cult of personality, you know?



Fri Oct 2 02:28:43 2009: 7039   TonyLawrence

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And finally, the shame of it is that there's no reason fior them to be sleazy: they actually have talent!

Which probably ticked me off more than I would have been otherwise!



Fri Oct 2 03:59:04 2009: 7041   BrettLegree

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I think you're right, we're overly critical - it's because we're always right, of course ;)

And that's one thing I've noticed about many blogs as they gain popularity - the opinions become homogeneous, and the fun disappears. It can be dangerous to have a different idea at some of them these days.

You're right, too - there is a lot of talent there. No need to "enhance" it with questionable techniques, in my opinion.



Mon Dec 7 17:37:03 2009: 7719   anonymous

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Hmm. Followed your comments on xyzxyzxyzxx and followed your link here. Sorry mate, but you are making money off people who want to make money just as much as the person you are criticising and accusing of being a scamster without any knowledge of his products (have you actually seen them so you can actually give a qualified opinion as to whether they are overpriced or not?) I haven't seen your products but if it's crap, then 19.97 is also overpriced.

I also find it ironic that on your website, you have google ads advertising get rich quick on the internet schemes. So you are quite happy to be paid pennies for someone to click that link chasing the get rich quick dream...



Mon Dec 7 17:40:06 2009: 7720   anonymous

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at the time of reading this article, your page shows the google ads for gonnamakemoney.com, make-a-ton-of-money.com, ('ll Show You How I Did $77 Million In 2 Years. Full Turn-Key Business!) and Make fFrom 200 to 500 Per Hour Start now with 5&#949; Free...






Mon Dec 7 18:50:09 2009: 7721   TonyLawrence

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have you actually seen them so you can actually give a qualified opinion as to whether they are overpriced or not?

The huckster in question SAYS they are overpriced! That's his whole pitch - learn to overcharge just like he does.

I also find it ironic that on your website, you have google ads advertising get rich quick on the internet schemes.

I could block specific advertisers, but what's the point: some other charlatan will take their place. But I do appreciate the irony too: I think it's pretty funny that Google puts those ads on a post that is speaking negatively about the very things they are pitching.

I can tell you that in all the time this post has existed, not one visitor has ever clicked on any of those ads. I would hope that trend would continue.

As to the unmentioned fellow, I'm trying to be fair. I don't like his attitudes toward scams like the one we talked about here, but I understand that's MY OPINION. Apparently an opinion shared by some others, but still just an opinion. As I said, I think what annoys me the most is that he and his partner actually have talent - they don't need to walk on the dark side at all.






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