Have you ever fallen for online business opportunities which you later found out were too good to be true? This post explains in three steps how to avoid scams for making money online so you can better tell apart good products from bad ones. By putting these tips into action, you'll protect yourself from scams and better identify products that can actually grow your online business.
You can follow the steps outlined in this post whenever you come across an internet marketing product of interest. Now, your first couple of product evaluations will likely take some time but once you get the hang of it, you'll speed through the process in a matter of minutes.
(To make the task easier, I've included a downloadable checklist which you can find at the end of this post).
Going through these steps may not seem worthwhile for a product that only costs $7 but remember you'd also be investing your time and energy and the last thing you want is to spend weeks or months following bad training that gets you nowhere.
So spend the few minutes it takes to research a product to find out if you have a winner or loser on your hands. With that said, let's get going...
STEP 1 – DISTINGUISH BETWEEN WANT VS. NEED
Before getting to the nitty-gritty, it's important to give some thought to the question of want vs. need. Let me explain...
There's a constant barrage of new internet marketing products released every day, many of which are probably promoted to you through email lists you're subscribed to.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from the onslaught of shiny new objects is to ask:
Does this particular product help solve a real problem I'm having right now?
Answering this question honestly could save you a lot of money.
It's easy to fall into the habit of buying products thinking they'll come in handy down the road when more often than not, they're forgotten about. And it's not uncommon to spend even more money on similar products weeks or months later, forgetting about the previous purchases you made.
Just take a look at your past purchases stowed away somewhere on your computer and see how many of those products you actually used. You might be surprised at what you find. So don't lose critical judgment when checking out the latest and greatest shiny new product and succumbing to impulse buys. Draw a distinction between products that could help your online business today vs. those that look "cool" which may or may not be useful at some later point.
STEP 2 – EVALUATE THE SALES PAGE
Assuming the product in question passes the test as outlined in step 1, the next step is to take a closer look at the sales page to ensure they're no red flags. These are the glaring signs to watch out for in no particular order...
Ridiculously Hypey Copy
How to make $10,000 in 1 month at the push of a button!
Granted, some hype goes with the internet marketing territory but sales pages making outrageous, fraudulent claims should be avoided at all costs. As readers of my blog know, push button riches don't exist so please don't fall for these sleazy tactics. Building a real business takes time and perseverance.
Outdated Design and Layout
Sales pages that hark back to 1998, featuring ugly graphics and mismatched color schemes make it seem as if the product creator didn't care enough about his/her product to present it in the best way possible. This doesn't necessarily mean that the product itself is bad but chances are it is. (On the flip side, a slick, professional-looking sales page doesn't automatically mean the product is great either).
As soon as you spot flashy cars, flashy mansions, and men surrounded by flashy women, run away as fast as possible! This is one of the most egregious tactics to lure in internet marketer newbies. Is this website a scam? You be the judge...
The whole presentation screams of:
My product is pure fluff but I'm hoping you won't notice by mesmerizing you with dazzle so that you'll buy it anyway.
Misleading Screenshots of "Income Proof"
You have to take these income claims with a grain of salt. At worst, the product vendor may have fudged the numbers to make him/herself look great in your eyes (the truth of which you'll probably never know).
But assuming the claims ARE real, you still don't know if those earnings came as a result of using the tactics in the product being sold to you. Was the money exclusively earned that way? Partially? Not at all? The fact is you don't know.
Emphasis on Bonuses Instead of Product
It's reasonable for a sales page to feature some product bonuses. But it's a problem when you get the sense that the vendor is giving away all that extra stuff to compensate for a less than stellar core product.
There's nothing wrong with using scarcity if it's legitimate (e.g., "the price is going up in two hours so get it now before you miss out!") But many times it's falsified to make a quick buck off of you.
Whenever you see a ticking time counter, clear the cookies in your browser and return to the sales page to see whether the counter continues from around where you last left off. If not, the vendor is trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Along the same lines, look out for products that claim they'll close down after a certain time. Think of it this way — these vendors spend a lot of time creating these products so why would they limit their earnings by taking them off the market prematurely? Oftentimes (but not always), it's an illegitimate tactic used to rake in more sales.
This is a red flag which newbies may find difficult to spot but it becomes more noticeable with experience...
Many vendors routinely put out products full of outdated, rehashed information that stopped working years ago (not to mention the 100's or 1000's of older products that should have been taken down for the same reason).
Not only do these methods no longer work, they may actually damage your website! For example, training courses that still teach spammy link building techniques and tell you to use Fiverr.com for cheap backlinking services is a recipe for disaster.
Generally speaking, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies are where you're most likely to find out-of-date information which isn't surprising considering how quickly Google changes its algorithm. So make sure to give these training products extra scrutiny.
Requiring Purchase of Upsells to Make the Product Work
While upsells (product upgrades and OTOs, a.k.a. One Time Offers) aren't strictly part of the sales page, they're part of the greater product sales funnel and thus definitely worth checking out.
Upsells are almost a given in the internet marketing space. It's a well-trodden marketing technique used to squeeze the most amount of cash from an already paying customer.
The problem lies when you discover that the front end product you just bought won't really work unless you also buy the upsells. It goes without saying that a surprise like this can be upsetting, enough to want a refund. Fortunately, there's a quick way to check whether a product funnel is set up this way...
Type in the product URL followed by "/jv" so that it becomes "productname.com/jv". On the joint venture page, you'll likely see a diagram of the sales funnel that will look something like this:
Scan the page for information about the product upsells and gauge whether they're necessary to make the front end product work or whether they're complementary. If it's the former, you probably have reason enough to skip it.
STEP 3 – LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PRODUCT CREATOR
Assuming the sales page passes the test, you'll want to spend a few minutes doing some quick research on the product creator.
Check the Refund Rate on Previous Products
Sometimes a good way to determine the quality of a product is by checking the refund rate of a vendor's previous products. A product creator who consistently has low refund rates (anything below 5%) is normally a good sign.
But be careful NOT to dismiss a vendor just because he/she has one or two products with a high refund rate. For all you know, that high number could be artificially inflated due to a subscription-based product (most subscribers eventually unsubscribe which would raise the refund rate). The key thing to look for is consistency across ALL the vendor's products.
Also, don't dismiss a product creator if you can't find these statistics. Most likely, he/she is a first-time seller and still may be selling a great product!
So here is how you find these refund rates:
First, get the name of the product creator...
The vendor's name is usually located near the bottom of the sales page but if not, try typing in "/jv" at the end of the sales page URL so that it's "productname.com/jv" and you'll likely find it there. As a last resort, go to muncheye.com, search for the product you're interested in, and you'll likely see the product creator's name listed alongside it.
Next, head over to JVZoo.com
- Log in (it's free to sign up if you don't already have an account).
- Click Affiliates in the main navigation and then click Find Products.
- Type in the product creator's name in the Keyword search box (if nothing comes up, the vendor is likely a first-time seller).
- Click the Refund link in the table to sort the data from highest to lowest to do your research.
Grade the Vendor's Level of Professionalism
You'd be surprised how many customers routinely buy from the same vendor despite previous bad experiences. Don't assume it'll be different next time because most likely it won't. So long as people keep buying a vendor's scammy products, he/she will never get the hint and it just reinforces the negative impression people have of internet marketing.
The WarriorForum.com is a great way to find more about the product creator and get an idea of his/her level of professionalism. Simply type "product creator name + Warrior Forum" into Google and read through a couple of threads he/she contributed to.
An even better way is to check out any WSOs (Warrior Special Offers) released by the vendor on Warrior Forum and see how he/she conducts him/herself on those threads. Did the vendor answer every question asked or was the thread abandoned? How did the vendor handle confrontation if there was any? Did the vendor honor refunds?
Simply type "product creator name + WSO" into Google to find these threads. Here's an example of the kind of thing you DON'T want to see:
If you're on the fence about a product that's particularly expensive, you can always contact the vendor directly to ask your questions and gauge his/her response. If you don't receive a reply within 48 hours, you already know that the vendor's level of support is poor which may be reason enough to walk away from the product.
Contact information is usually found near the bottom of the product's JV page where you'll usually find his/her Skype, Facebook and/or email information.
See What Unbiased Reviewers Say
It's always a good idea to read and/or watch reviews of previous products released by the vendor. While it won't be the specific product you're interested in, you'll still get an idea on whether the vendor generally delivers quality products.
A quick Google or YouTube search will probably yield lots of results but most of these reviews are made by promoters, not reviewers. If you're unsure, try contacting these affiliates and ask them any questions you have and gauge their trustworthiness by their responses.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW TO AVOID SCAMS FOR MAKING MONEY ONLINE
By following these steps, you'll protect yourself from becoming a victim of internet scams and find it easier to identify products that actually complement your online business instead of distracting you from it.
And to make the task easier, I've included a free checklist covering the steps described which you can download here.
Now, I've laid the groundwork for you but let's face it, having to do this over and over again would get old pretty quickly. But there's an alternative...
See, I fell victim to many of these scams when I first started looking to make money online. Then I started to apply a few of the tips mentioned in this post and actually came across some halfway decent informational products. But that's just it, they were halfway decent and nothing more — no great training, no real community, no fast support...really none of that.
It took a while but I finally found a training program that completely delivers so I recommend you check out my review to learn more!
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN!
Were you scammed by a make money online product? How did you find out it was a scam? Leave your comments below!