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Blogging Infomercials: Making New Money Online the Old Fashioned Way

$$$ But Wait… There’s More, so Don’t Touch that Dial ! $$$

Get Rich! Buy Me NOW! This is a topic that has burdened my heart to the point that I can no longer remain silent. Certain fellow bloggers have teamed up to repackage their Six Figure Blogging course. Looks good on you guys, but…

Now please don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against making money online via passive income sources such as advertising. But this sort of hype selling really makes me uneasy. To me it smacks of huckstering. Am I wrong?

It looks like something that I would expect from watching a Kevin Trudeau infomercial on late night TV. You remember him don’t you. He’s the kingpin of late night hype, slogging products with unsubstantiated claims and boasts of “buy my course and get rich”, or “for little or no money down”, or “buy my book and it’ll cure all that ails ya”. Sounds familiar?
Hi, I'm Kevin Trudeau. The kingpin of late night hypeHi, I'm Kevin Trudeau. The kingpin of late night hype
Hi! I'm Kevin Trudeau. The kingpin of late-night infomercialsLet’s step back a little. I thought the blogosphere was about sharing ideas, information and collaboration… not dipping into each other’s pockets. So if you guys really have all the answers then why not just post about it? I thought that’s what bloggers do. Or maybe you already have and just finessed it into a money-making scheme.
Or like evangelist Kawasaki likes to preach “When you post — think book”.

While I have no real problem with that, there’s much talk these days about making lots of money on the net. The blogosphere has become the next brave frontier for hyped-up money-making schemes with flagrant claims of making tons of money.Bloggers who are making these claims should be up front with their income and disclose all of their sources (ie. “multiple streams of income”) that may be contributing to these alleged figures (if they are even real at all). Or perhaps it’s like my bud said:

“$100.00 is six figures to some people, 5 numbers and one period=six figures”

So I have a few question(s) that I will appreciate answered: Anyone can have a great month, but are they consistently making the kind of money they are making claim to? And how can we verify that? Is that monthly or yearly income, and why the “6 figure” hype? Do they guarantee results?

How many bloggers that took the course last year are making anything close to a 6 figure income? Are they making anything close to a 6 figure income themselves? If they are really making so much money then they had better back it up with real proof.

If they are really doing so well why not just give their course away? Follow Bill Gates example and become a philanthropist. We’ll love you all the more for it. But please don’t tell me you are selling it for our benefit so we will appreciate it all the more. I’ve been there and heard that line already.

Ok, so I’m going to come right out and say what I feel in my heart and let the chips fall where they may. I’m really sorry to have to say this (and I run the risk of being flamed) but here goes — I don’t buy the schpeel (no pun intended) and neither do I like it. I don’t mean to knock them but in my opinion they have crossed a line that ought not have been crossed. So sorry, but that’s how I feel.

I repeat, I have nothing against making money online. I’m certain that they have good information in the course, albeit I’m also certain I could find most of it already online in the great Recyclesphere (and for free). I myself have probably published similar information over the course of my career in blogging.

But that’s not the point. It’s the HYPE that I object to… selling people exactly what they want to hear. Anybody can make a million by promising to make them a million. There’s always enough gullible people out there that are only too willing to open up their wallets. But if they really want to go down that road then they had better be prepared to back up what they promise (or infer).

We all want to attract more readers, and writing catchy phrases in our titles about making money is an easy way to do that. Let’s face it, everybody wants to make more money, but there’s also a line that should not be crossed (or at least as far as I’m concerned).

If you are going to sell the dream — back it up with real world proof or forever hold your peace. I say that with all sincerity and no malice intended.

Come on guys, this was in bad taste and you can do better than that. My advice is stop staying up so late and leave the hypesters like Kevin Trudeau and his snake oil selling ilk on TV and out of the blogosphere.

So what do you think. Is there a place for this sort of stuff in the blogosphere? Or have I overreacted?

Now if you will please excuse me I have to get back to finishing my latest book: “Making (Me) Millions Online: A Blogger’s Fantasy Come True”. It should be available at Amazon.com before the end of the month. Woohoo!

Written August 27th, 2006 by | 22 Comments | Filed under: Blog Ethics, Business Tips, Make Money Tips ,

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There are 22 Comments so far to “Blogging Infomercials: Making New Money Online the Old Fashioned Way”

  1. I laughed so hard I almost pissed myself. You are soooooo right Bloke. Well said and thanks for having the courage to tell it like it is.

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  2. All valid comment Bloke - but let me respond with a few thoughts:

    One of the things that Andy and I set out to do with our sales page and promotion of this product was to avoid hype. Of course selling a product is difficult to do without telling the good things about it etc so it might be interpreted as hype I guess but in comparison to a lot of e-products on the market I think we’re anything but hyped.

    I think if you listen to the free preview call that we supply to potential people that we actually speak about the realities of blogging for money and attempt to give people a realistic picture.

    You’re right that the blogosphere is about sharing ideas, information and collaboration - I’ve no issue with that. In fact when I’ve promoted this course in the past I’ve told people that most of what they get in the course they could find on ProBlogger for free. However what they do get in the course that they don’t get on ProBlogger is:

    1. A verbal explanation rather than a written one - something a lot of people find helpful as not all learn well via the written work
    2. A condensed packaging of ideas - on Problogger there are 2600 posts which take considerable time to work through. I guess SFB is a best of type approach where we attempt to condense the lessons I’ve learned over 3 years into a more manageable form. We found people were very willing to pay for that type of thing.
    3. You get two people’s experience - it was interesting as we ran the course to see what came out of the combination of our ideas. Any has expertise in areas I don’t - and I have expertise in areas he doesn’t.

    I’ve written a little more about what the course is and isn’t here.

    In terms of admitting I have multiple blogs - I’ve always said that. In fact the few times I’ve talked about my income I’ve emphasised again and again that it’s been a long term process, working long hours and working on many blogs. I emphasised this in the preview call and throughout the course. We never talked about getting rich quick like many of the other courses out there.

    Do we guarantee six figures - no, we don’t and we’re clear about it.

    How many bloggers took the course and are making six figures? - I’m not sure about that but I do know that a number of the bloggers who took the course told us that at the end of the six weeks that they’d already made what they paid for the course numerous times over already.

    Are we making six figures ourselves? - I can’t speak for Andy (and he’s never claimed to have made six figures) but I can for myself. I’ve talked on a number of occasions about the fact that I make six figures (over $100,000 USD - considerably more) per year from my blogging.

    Why not give the information away? - I do at ProBlogger. If people want to spend a week or two reading my archives and surfing around the web looking at numerous other sites they’ll get most of what is in the course. Some people are willing to pay to have a more concise version.

    Why do we sell it? Why does anyone sell anything? I have a mortgage, I have a family I’d like to clothe and feed, I’d like to build a sustainable income. I have built up expertise in an area and there is demand for that - people are willing to pay to learn something I know - its demand and supply I guess. I’m presuming you didn’t offer your services when working in the computer industry, doing journalism etc for free?

    If you don’t buy the ’schpeel’ as you call it then so be it. We’re not pressuring anyone to do the course. I rarely mention it on my blog, we don’t send endless pushing emails telling people it’s something that its not and on the one occasion that someone has been dissatisfied with the course we fully refunded the money. I’ve even told a number of people who asked me whether the course was suitable for them that it wasn’t (once I heard what level they were already at) - if anything I anti-hyped this course.

    Like I say in the link above - this is not a course for advanced users, its something for those getting into blogging for money. It’s not for everyone and we don’t sell it as that.

    The feedback we had in our final session with those doing the live version of the course was extremely positive. The main thing we were told by participants that we covered too much information and that they’d need weeks more to digest it all. I’ve kept in touch with quite a few of the participants since and know of a few that are now full time bloggers. I wouldn’t claim that SFB was the only reason for this - but many of them feedback to me that it was well worth what they paid for it and that they are recommending it to others.

    I’m not sure if this really answers all your questions and concerns.

    I do acknowledge that it’s difficult to know how to promote a product. Perhaps our sales page has moved towards hype in your eyes but I’d love to hear your suggestions on how to sell a product that you are proud of and that you think would help people without some level of marketing.

    Of course you might not be able to answer this as you wouldn’t sell such a course at all - but I guess that might be a point where we have to agree to disagree.

    Anyway - happy to talk more about this with you as doing so helps us improve what we do. I’m always willing to learn more or hear others ideas or suggestions on how we can improve.

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  3. Sharing idea on the blog is why I started writing, but I also must agree with Darren, most people are too lazy to go all the through hundreds of post to get the same thing. They are willing to pay for 1-2 hour presentation with audio-visual elements. I know I was.

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  4. Thanks for the comments Darren. To summarize my main concern is the hype, and to me labelling the course “Six Figure Blogging” is a little over the top, even if you do attempt to downplay it.

    I can’t verify your claims of making $100,000 blogging, but I will say that when your blog is primarily about the topic of making money it can’t help but become a self fulfilled prophesy. Like I said, most of the people selling infomercials out there are making most of their money by selling courses and books etc., and I can’t help but wonder if you are also in that category.

    So let’s be real Darren. The same people who are addicted to late night infomercials promising riches are also Googling the keywords “make money”. Since you even put those keywords right in the title of your blog they are obviously going to stumble upon your site. It’s a no brainer get rich magnet for attracting traffic and that’s why you do it.

    And that is the point. If you want to make lots of money, just tell people what they want to hear and let Google do the heavy lifting and surely they will come. It seems to be working for you so good on you I suppose. But hype selling is not something that I would do because it would put me in the same category as the Kevin Trudeau’s.

    I consider myself a successful blogger and I do it without the use of cheap parlor tricks. (Some of these may or may not apply to you — you be the judge). I don’t link bait. I don’t sell hyped-up courses and play on people’s greed to make a buck. I would not load up my titles with rich keywords like “make money” or “adsense” to attract gullible folk who are quick to part with their money. Nor do I believe that making lots of money is necessarily a yardstick for success. At least not at the expense of my self respect. (Just like I wouldn’t roll up my skirt and sell my body on the street… oops, I think I may have just let the cat out of the bag ;-).

    But you get my point. I don’t do a lot of things that other bloggers might do to get traffic or make money, because at the end of the day I still have to look myself in the mirror and live with my conscience. It’s called integrity.

    Nevertheless, my advice still stands and I recommend that you tone the marketing rhetoric down a little. I still love ya brother and no hard feelings. This was not a personal attack on you or Andy. You’ve just lost your way a little and the Bloke is trying to steer you back onto the straight and narrow.

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot to tell you. I took the plunge and bought your course so you’d better make me a $100 grand or my friend Dominic will be paying you a visit with a baseball bat. I have family in Australia and I know where you live. Know what I mean? Friends are friends, but when it comes to money…


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  5. Well said Bloke.

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  6. I think the points made by both Darren and Blogrich regarding accessibility are spot on. I was discussing something similar with an actor friend of mine recently about free vs paid casting networks. The point he made was that Yellow Pages is free to use and contains all the information you require but if you’re lazy or don’t have the time, you pay for the 118 service.

    However I’m with BB on the subject of hype. I think a title like “Six Figure Blogging” is not only misleading but, in my opinion, it cheapens the product considerably. Hey I want to make money as much as the next guy but I instinctively turn my back on any product that, on the face of it, claims that I can generate a six figure income with just a small up front investment. I wouldn’t buy a product like that off my own mother. It smacks of scam.

    I think selling your experience and expertise is perfectly acceptable but it’s how you sell it that counts.

    As Ken Evoy says in his (free) eBook, preselling is the most important factor. Get your customers to trust you and it doesn’t matter what the product is called, they’ve bought into YOU.

    Darren is considered an expert in his field so even if he called the product “Top Ten Tips On Curing Hemorrhoids” people would buy it. Resorting to a title like “Six Figure Blogging” just cheapens the product and will turn off a lot of potential customers.

    Sell the sizzle, not the steak.

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  7. “Sell the sizzle, not the steak.”

    I like that. Can I borrow it Mike? I think I have an idea…

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  8. Thanks for dropping by BlogRich. I agree with you to a point. Instead of saying “people are too lazy”, I would change that to “people are too gullible”. ;-)

    Just messin’ with ya.


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  9. Bloke - can I recommend that you do a little digging before you post assumptions. It wouldnt take you too long to find out that ProBlogger makes me very little money (I’ve said it many times on the blog).

    The six figures that I earn from blogging is made from blogging - not selling information products. I’d hit that mark before I releases SFB (my first and only informational product). I can only wish that SFB had made that kind of level of money. It’s had some moderate success in terms of numbers of participants but is not a huge money spinner - it makes significantly less than blogging makes me.

    I use the words ‘make money’ in my blog title because it’s a blog about making money from blogging - something I do and something that a lot of my readers do to different extents (here’s a poll I did of my readers).

    I too don’t believe successful blogs = money making blogs. I believe this because my most successful blogs make very little (including problogger). There’s much more to life (and blogging) than making money :-)

    With regards to the title - I see your points but I guess this is one of the decisions we made that we’re now living with. On one hand we didn’t want to hype, on another we wanted to get some attention and I was a six figure blogger that wanted to share what I had learnt. I think it’s a valid title because I wanted what we produced to not only educate but inspire people to see that it was possible (with work, creativity, committment and a long term view) to make a good living from blogging.

    I work very very hard at not hyping or tricking my readers into thinking they can make easy money from blogging. I’ve written many articles about how long it takes and how much hard work it is (here are just some of the posts I’ve written trying to bring balance to the get rich stuff that I see a lot of people writing about).

    I genuinely have work very hard to build up a reputable and balanced blog on the topic and get frustrated when people look at the surface and make assumptions. I’m sorry if I’m sounding mad here - I’m not angry but am frustrated to be honest as I go out of my way time and time again to answer these types of critiques and accusations. I can understand them on one level because I know there is a lot of rubbish out there on the ‘make money online’ front - in fact that’s the reason I decided to start the blog - I wanted to give people honest, balanced lessons from my own experience. Unfortunately people see ‘make money online’ and a claim to be making money as a scam.

    Guess I’ll have to learn to live with it because every time I help one critic to see I’m not a scammer another pops up asking the same questions :-)

    Anyway - I’m off to bed. Life’s too short to be arguing about this sort of thing at 10.30 on a Sunday night when I’ve got a baby to change the nappy of!

    have a good weekend everyone.

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  10. Darren my friend, we are in the business of writing and we are unfortunately accountable for every word that we utter. It can be frustrating which I know only too well when people have taken my words and misconstrued them for their own purposes.

    But this was not the case. Blog Bloke is here to help and I’m not trying to rain on your parade. Nor am I some crackpot critic with nothing better to do. In case you haven’t noticed I take blogging very seriously, and as Andy knows very well, we still have Net Neutrality and it is incumbent upon all of us to hold one another accountable.

    I hope you also noticed that I did not comment or link directly to your post. Nor did I mention you or Andy in this post either. I have tried my best to depersonalize this and make my point at the same time, so please don’t play the martyr role because it’s not working for me.

    No matter what you may have posted on your blog or said in the past, the fact is the marketing method that you chose here was over the top and wrong. Be responsible and own it and I will respect you all the more.

    You can inspire people without filling their heads with unrealistic dreams of grandeur. Your rhetoric sounds like a quote from an infomercial I’ve heard or books that I have collecting dust on my book shelves.

    So if you don’t want to lumped in with snake oil salesmen, then don’t make exaggerated claims because believe it or not there are consumer laws against this sort of thing and you could find yourself in trouble. Last time I checked the blogosphere wasn’t granted immunity from prosecution. That’s not a threat but sound legal advice (no charge).

    The fact is most of the people who buy your course will probably not even come close to what you infer (i.e. 6 figures). And if you really are doing that well blogging then you really don’t need the money and should give your course away to the same bloggers that have made you all that money. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then maybe you should read this.

    Doing that will make your course’s value seem all the more credible because it sends the message that you don’t need the money from it. You will also reap the goodwill value that it will bring you. But if you still want to sell it, then leave the hard sell hype for the car salesman.

    In all sincerity I hope that you will take this criticism constructively and as a learning experience, and keep the huckstering out of the blogosphere and on the television where it belongs.

    Have a great night’s sleep and no hard feelings (I hope).

    P.S.: Regarding the dirty nappy thing — been there and done that :(

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  11. I like that. Can I borrow it Mike? I think I have an idea…

    Borrow away, BB.

    Apologies for the delay in responding - I was picking the splinters out of my arse for sitting the fence on this one….

    One thing I will say, though, is that it’s never too late to rebrand an electronic product. There’s no packaging (as far as I can see) involved. A quick Photoshop and a $2 GoDaddy domain name later and the name of the product can be altered. My personal view is that more units will be shipped rebranding.

    Incidentally, Darren, if you do want to purchase a new domain name through GoDaddy my affiliate number is……. ;o)

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  12. I don’t want to belabor the point and be accused of picking on Darren because I like him even though we’ve never met. He seems to be a nice fellow and I always try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. Perhaps next time I’m in Australia he will allow me to look him up. I would like that very much.

    But I think Darren has lost his way on this one and I can’t help but ponder about his statement “my most successful blogs make very little”. For if indeed that is true, I wonder which blog then is making these alleged 6 figures? His least successful blog(s) perhaps? That doesn’t make sense to me and how could we even verify that?

    So Darren, what say you to that? I’d love to hear your response. This is your opportunity to clear the air once and for all.

    Apologies accepted Mike. Been there and done that too (often). At my age I believe I’ve earned the right to speak up and my blog gives me the soap box to do it.

    Three cheers for the blogosphere!

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  13. What is all this hoopla about making money? I do it for entertainment. Where can I get my Making Money Blogging course? -Teri

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  14. You can visit Darren’s site or you could save your money and buy me a beer next time I’m in town.

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  15. If you can make to Costa Rica, the least I can do is buy you a beer!
    Seriously, this Dollars for Blogging may beat my making brownies for a living. ;)
    Cheers, Gringa Gordita

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  16. Blogging for brownies. That’s brilliant! I’m on it.

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  17. …months later
    BB - The Blog Buster! There’s always someone out there that will figure out how to make a dime on something that’s for free.

    Bloke - you remember dial phones, right? Did you ever dream we would have ‘vision’ phones? How about Internet?
    Can you see a day where blogging goes from words and photos to pure video? Who would have thought You Tube would be so popular. I can see conventional t.v.’s going by the wayside and all programing being on-demand, displayed on a big ass HD screen attached to your computer. What do you see coming?
    Teri - (living in a 3rd world country)

    Tica Macha (Teri)’s last blog post..This is me…

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  18. You’re right about the TV and computer. They will be integrated into one device with a built-in video camera and telephone. While you’re watching the telly an incoming call will pop-up a small corner on the screen with your Aunt Mable. In another corner of the screen you could be blogging or playing games with your friend on the other side of the globe. All the while you’re watching the final episode of celebrity apprentice.

    It won’t be long before there will be no need to leave the sofa except for to go the the bathroom.

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  19. Ohh MY GOD I never laugh like that before.
    thanks guys

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  20. very nice blog … :) liked the whole content very much

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  21. […] figure blogging? Now where have I heard that before? (Don’t be naughty […]

  22. […]  But WAIT! There’s more! //OBSTART:do_NOT_remove_this_comment var OutbrainPermaLink=”http://www.blogbloke.com/its-six-figure-blogging-time-again/”; var OB_demoMode = false; if(typeof(OB_Script)!=’undefined’){ OutbrainStart(); }else{ var OB_Script = true; var OB_langJS =”http://widgets.outbrain.com/lang_en.js”; document.write (”"); } //OBEND:do_NOT_remove_this_comment * Author’s Note: Although I try my best I might have missed something or not explained it in the best way possible. So please let me know if this article has helped your blog experience, if you have any further questions about blogging and something you want to add, or if there is another blog tip you would like me to write about. Either way I would like to hear from you. SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: “It’s Six Figure Blogging Time Again!”, url: “http://www.blogbloke.com/its-six-figure-blogging-time-again/” }); del.icio.us Digg Facebook Socializer StumbleUpon Technorati […]

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