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12 Blog Tips to identify Social Media Scams

How to Safely Walk the Social Media Minefield

Although the names, dates and technology may change, some things just never do. Seasoned surfers know the web is abound with snake oil hustlers and scammers, and Social Media is no exception.

Recently I came across one of these hambones who also happens to be using Twitter to hawk their wares. The scammer is trying real hard to convince you to buy their course(s) or get hired as a consultant.

This character has also been doing some serious sucking up to social media a-listers, and from what I’ve seen so far it’s working. It just goes to show you what a little schmoozing and a pretty face can accomplish.

What’s that old saying? Oh yeah, “there’s a sucker born every minute”. The scam artists know this well and that is what they’re banking on.

Which is why I’m writing this post - so the innocent will be a little more net savvy as they make their journey on the hazardous road that we call Social Media.

Amazingly this person boasts thousands of Twit followers. I know of some hacks that can game Twitter. In fact I’ve been a victim of this myself, with twits suddenly showing up in my follow list that I never subscribed. So I assume this scammer knows about the cheat, or there are a lot more suckers out there than I first anticipated.

So I thought I would use this person as a case study to show you some common tell-tale signs that should set your alarm bells ringing. I’m not going to give you the link but if you should ever come across their site you will immediately notice the resemblance.

12 Blog Tips for Avoiding Web 2.0 Scams:

  1. You join a Social Network group and get spammed with sleazy sales pitches. The social web is becoming a hotbed of online scammers trying to pick our pocket under the guise of being our friend. Well thanks for wanting to be my friend, but…
  2. Watch out for phrases like “Limited Time Offer”. Or in other words — better hurry while the offer still lasts (pant, pant) as they try to create a false sense of urgency! I thought I heard it all on late-night TV infomercials but old clichés like this are still being recycled in the new media.
  3. They call themselves “Coach“, “Expert”, “Guru” or some other clichéd, self-absorbing title. How lame can you get. These characters are cropping up everywhere with their corny sales pitches. The funny thing is most of these so-called experts look like they’re barely out of high school. Yet they claim to know-it-all enough to be your online “expert“. My advice is to check their credentials and background to see how much knowledge and experience they really have. If you can’t corroborate their claims then whatever you do, don’t give them your money and run like hell.
  4. Their blog/site is just a front to sell you something. Many of these are obvious but some are very good at concealing it (even a-listers). They may offer quality content they’ve recycled from the web to draw you in to sell their books, courses, services (so call the “coach” eh) products, advertisements or some form of low-life marketing scheme. I’ve seen more of these than I care to remember. Like I said before — run!
  5. They offer testimonials from their alleged customers without any verifiable contact information. Or they provide names of alleged business partners where everyone is a CEO or an Executive from a no-name company. Yeah, right! No doubt they’re just a network of sleazeballs swapping out names.
  6. The text is abundant with LARGE print, bold fonts and bright colors. It is written in a format full of sensationalistic headlines, exclamation points and teasers that are designed to excite you and have you begging for more!
  7. Sorry, but I’m not impressed. Remember, if it’s written in a manner that feels like you are being manipulated then you probably are. Also remember that if something sounds too good to be true — it probably is.
  8. They love to use clichéd superlatives like ”Master”, “Success”, “Pro”, “Secrets”, “Zen”, “Prosperity”, “Opportunity”, “Make Money” or some other hokey variation (that appeals to our greed and perceived happiness) to describe themselves, products or services. They know this stuff attracts minions like flies on the proverbial poop. One exception might be the Robin Good blog that’s been around a long time using the term ”Mastermind”. No offence intended Luigi.
  9. They tell you everyone else is a scammer and everything that you’ve heard before is BS. Only they know what the TRUTH is (because the truth is out there, ya know) despite using the same sleazy tactics as those whom they put down.
  10. They claim huge incomes and that anyone can duplicate their “success” if you will just buy their course, or book, or… The funny thing is they don’t offer any proof that their so-called “students” have made anywhere near the amounts claimed. Apparently the only people making the big money are the same ones who make these claims selling us their courses, books, ads, speaking engagements… so go figure.
  11. “But Wait … There’s More”… near the end of their sales-pitch they might also have a so-called “special gift” offer to entice you to buy. In my humble opinion it’s no different than adding more crap on poop.
  12. They offer a “30 day risk-free trial” - but insist on taking your credit card info anyway and try to upsell you to the “pro” version. Hah! Not getting my card in this lifetime.

Some things never change, even if the technology does.

What’s really shameful is the more “successful” scammers try to reinvent themselves into social media celebs. It really makes you go hmm. It also makes you want to subscribe to that a-list doesn’t it (rhetorical question).

Lately I’ve been feeling like a minnow swimming in a pool of sharks. Or a better analogy might be crossing a minefield of Bouncing Betty’s cutting me off at the knees.

I realize that by writing this post I run the risk of being unpopular in some circles – especially with those who want to make money off the web. But this is not about me against making money.

It is about making money the right way, and the best way I can point that out is by exposing the errors that are being made. After all, just because you know how to make lots of money doesn’t always make it right .. does it. Just ask Kevin Trudeau.

There’s also a little something called ethics to consider.

The bottom line is everything that you see for sale on the internet can also be found for free on the internet. Just ask your magic genie Google.

So if you see any of these 12 examples … take my advice, turn your tail and run. Better still, click on the back button or close down the tab altogether.

Caveat (B) Emptor … Let the (Blogger) Beware!

(*Similar articles can be found here..)

Written August 24th, 2008 by | 37 Comments | Filed under: Blog Ethics, Blog Tips, Favourite Blog Tips, Featured Tips, MythBusters, Social Media Tips, Twitter Tips , , , , , ,

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There are 37 Comments so far to “12 Blog Tips to identify Social Media Scams”

  1. I have seen this all over the net. I have some that have followed me on twitter that I end up blocking. How about an honest days work. I guess that has no meaning any more.

    Curtiss last blog post…My Cartoon alter ego

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 1:50 pm said...

    The catchword being “honest” ;-)

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  2. No body wants to work hard anymore. If someone wants something today, they want it right away and money being one of them.

    Suckers get sucked in by suckers…

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 10:45 pm said...

    “suckers get sucked in by suckers”

    I like that. Can I borrow it? :-)

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    Reply by: Jaffer at 5:43 am said...

    Yes you can.

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  3. I always knew of tip 10. If someone is successful, why will the person waste his time to teach you. If his goal is to help someone, why don’t he donate his money or volunteer for charity.

    axiobloggers last blog post…Clear Your Firefox History With Stealther Addon

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 12:43 am said...

    BINGO! You hit the nail on the head my friend. Well said.

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  4. Great post - really are timeless tips. I think this started when Ogg offered Grog 2 rocks for only ten stones, but if he bought now he’d also get a free boulder!

    The only thing that kind of smells of sour grapes is you lack of actual details. If you want to be a Hornblower - blow the horn. name names, show us details of their scams - really out them! Without the details of who you think the scammers are it kind of… no offense intended - smell of sour grapes and that these guys are scamming better than me. I’m not saying you are scamming people, (I don’t know you one way or the other well enough to know that) it just kind of has that feeling.

    I really want to know who you think the bad guys are so I stay away from them or at least know who is on your radar screen so I can make an informed decision.

    Can ya do that?

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 3:08 pm said...

    It’s not my intention to personalize this. If I did then maybe I could be accused of “sour grapes”. I believe that by keeping it general it makes a better reference tool for my readers when they come across sites like these.

    By the way, if you check out my archives you will see that I have pointed the finger in the past. The problem with that method is it ends up in an online fist-fight that goes nowhere. Then it really does denigrate to being sour grapes.

    Speaking of that, as I speak I’m in the middle of a broo-ha-ha with another online marketer over this post. If anyone can be accused of sour grapes it would be him.

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  5. Good list!
    The best idea to be safe from getting ripped of by bullshit ebooks is not to buy those at all. :D 99% of them tell you nothing new.

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  6. Just wanted to say, I miss your comments over at Yo-Yo.
    What is this Hi5? I am sick to death of getting notices to join. Hoping all is good in your corner of the world.
    Pura Vida, Teri

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 8:13 pm said...

    hi5 is an “international social network site with a local flavor”, or so they say.

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  7. This is my first time to visit your site. I find it very interesting and informative. Thanks! The tips you provided are very useful. There are a lot of scam sites out there so let’s be careful.

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 9:26 am said...

    Thanks Borgz.

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  8. Just a quick note to let you know I recommended your blog as part of BlogDay2008.



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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 11:57 pm said...

    Thanks so much Tata!

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  9. Looks like a more and more people are becoming scammers in the Internet. I think what we should do now is to take extra precautions.

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  10. Thank you very much, it’s absolutely informative for me..

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  11. Great article, it actually assisted me in avoiding an ‘opportunity’ presented to me by some 2.0 Snake Oil Salesman.


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  12. This is a shameless comment to get you to check my blog, Bloke.

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 5:14 pm said...

    Thanks for the pic Teri.

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  13. It never fails to amaze me how willing people are to fall for the latest scam to separate them from their money. I guess it’s a pretty safe bet that I will never be rich because my sense of ethics won’t permit me to use the kind of tactics in use by these people. But as P.T. Barnum said many years ago, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    Thanks for doing your best to make people aware of these scam artists, Bloke. At least there is someone out there with the strength of character to point out these frauds.

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    Reply by: Blog Bloke at 2:51 pm said...

    Thanks Lee.

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  14. My first time to visit your site and I can see true potential in your style of writing. I find it very interesting and informative. Thanks! The tips you provided are very useful. There are a lot of scam sites out there so let’s be careful. Like Jaffer said “Suckers get sucked in by suckers…”

    That’s exactly what’s happening in most financial sites now, a savings account page was duplicated for scam not too long ago.

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  15. good points here. i think it’s especially true that scammers try to get people to make decisions quickly. for me, if what you’re saying is true, and if i have my doubts, then it should be fine with you that i’ll put off a decision for a week or maybe several. you try to rush me, then i’ll walk away.

    koujis last blog post…haiku poem: help end hunger

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  16. Here’s a link I found recommended on Darren Rowse’s blog that I think is an example of what you’re talking:

    Adsense Videos

    I bypassed the doorway page that demands an email address. Talk about a bunch of hype.

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  17. […] Original post by Blog Bloke […]

  18. […] Original post by Blog Bloke […]

  19. […] Original post by Blog Bloke […]

  20. 12 Tips for Identifying Web 2.0 Scams http://bit.ly/ah3a07

  21. As a tribute to a radio show I heard last night I mentioned 12 Tips for Identifying Web 2.0 Scams http://bit.ly/ah3a07 Agree/disagree?

  22. @vaspersthegrate Speaking of snake oil hustlers: http://www.blogbloke.com/blog-tips-identify-web-2-online-scams/

  23. 12 Blog Tips for Identifying Social Media Scams http://t.co/Y7OLRSR via @BLOGBloke

  24. RT @BLOGBloke Social media snake oil hustlers: http://www.blogbloke.com/blog-tips-identify-web-2-online-scams/

  25. RT @BLOGBloke Social media snake oil hustlers: http://www.blogbloke.com/blog-tips-identify-web-2-online-scams/

  26. […] Social Media Scams […]

  27. @aharpaz @AnnaCas Speaking of snake oil — Identifying Social Media Scams http://t.co/YNXBdXYF

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