The idea of getting rich quickly has exploded online and there are countless sites out there that promise to make all of your financial dreams come true. Unfortunately, most of those sites don’t actually live up to their claims but figuring out which ones do and which ones do not can be a challenging task.
Certainly, there are internet marketing scams everywhere, including many that actually look and sound legitimate.
In many cases, those sites manipulate users from start to finish. That often involves making bold claims about how much money a person can make, while providing almost no information about how the approach is even supposed to work.
Often, you have to provide personal details or money to even find out what you’re supposed to be doing.
To make matter worse, internet marketing scam artists are getting better and better at convincing people that they are legitimate and the people visiting the sites are often desperate as well. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that so many people do get tricked.
But, how do you tell a scam from a real product? For that matter, what is a scam anyway?
Well… that’s actually a good place to start.
What is a Scam?
You’ve probably heard the term scam pretty frequently and writers will call a product a scam for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes the term seems pretty accurate but, in other cases, authors may use it simply because they don’t like a given approach.
The term scam itself is also pretty general.
There isn’t actually a single definition of the term, so you find that people define it and use it as they see fit. One general definition of a scam is this one below.
This definition doesn’t really tell us all that much, especially as the key defining phrase is ‘fraudulent scheme’, which is almost as vague as the term scam to start off with.
Another definition is this one here:
This one is more specific but perhaps too specific. In general, I’d agree with most of the concepts here but I think a scam can be more than just getting money. After all, you sometimes see cases where the focus is on information rather than money.
Regardless of the precise definition, the implication of the word scam is pretty clear.
Most of us view scams as being incredibly dishonest and manipulative. If a product is a scam, then it’s something you should steer far away from. At best, you might waste your time but there also a very real risk that you could end up losing a lot of money.
In fact, people routinely lose a lot of money through scams, including online scams and offline ones.
With so many scams out there, it’s critical for people to take the time to research any product or service that they’re considering trying. But, as a term, internet marketing scams gets overused – particularly by reviewers.
Even though there isn’t single definition that we can use, I think the term scam should be applied carefully.
In particular, it should be applied to products or services that genuinely mislead consumers and trick them into spending money – and not for ones that are simply harder than they imply or harder than people assume.
For example, I promote affiliate marketing as a key way to make money.
From time-to-time, you might see affiliate marketing being called a scam, normally by people who started off using poor quality training or people who had unrealistic expectations from the beginning.
Now, affiliate marketing does actually work as a way to earn money.
However, it’s an approach that takes time, effort and a whole lot of patience. That doesn’t make it a scam.
A scam would be a site that hypes up the idea of affiliate marketing, telling people that they can earn hundreds of dollars per day and then charges them for a bunch of rudimentary training that is almost impossible to follow and is mostly out of date.
My Approach to Products, Services and Internet Marketing Scams
With this website, my main focus is on teaching people how to earn money effectively, in a way that can contribute to long-term success, rather than short-term outcomes. That’s why I use the phrase ‘Don’t Get Rich Quick’, because true online success takes time, even for people experienced at making money online.
One key element of this site is the reviews.
By doing this, I aim to provide readers with comprehensive information about what approaches work for making money online and which ones don’t. I also want to teach you to spot red flags when it comes to products, so you have a better idea of what they actually offer before you put any money down.
After all, the more that you know, the better decisions you can make.
That knowledge can help you to avoid scams and protect yourself.
I also focus on making sure the information I provide is informed, accurate and up-to-date. I hate the way that many reviews mislead readers and make products seem better or worse than they actually are and I’ve resolved not to do this with this site.
Instead, I take the time to provide detailed information about a given product or service.
Even when a product isn’t a good approach for making money in general, I often find that it can be an effective approach for specific situations. For example, freelancing can be a tough industry to break into and has very low pay to begin with but it can be a better approach than even affiliate marketing for people who need some income urgently.
In fact, there are a number of sites and approaches out there that are horrible for long-term income and pay far under the minimum wage. In some cases, these may be options for people who need a little money fast.
My Definition of a Scam
Without a doubt, there are some products that I like better than others and some concepts for making money that I favor. However, my reviews don’t focus on those elements.
Instead, I show you the pros and the cons of any given product and/or approach. I believe that this is important because just about every product out there is going to have some good sides and some bad sites.
I will only ever use term scam for sites that try to trick you out of your money and offer little to nothing in return – such as some of the scams that offer software for binary options trading.
In contrast, I won’t call a site a scam just because it is ineffective for long-term income or because it offers relatively little money.
Take survey sites, for example.
A lot of reviews call survey sites scams and admittedly, your potential to earn money with them is pretty low.
But… in most cases, survey sites don’t claim to make you rich.
Instead, they tend to be promoted as a fairly casual approach that can make you a little money on the site. And, that’s true. People do regularly earn $20 or so periodically on survey sites without too much headache.
They’re probably earning far under the minimum wage when you take the time into account but, in many situations, that isn’t a big deal.
Personally, I haven’t run into a single survey site that I would call a scam, although some of them are better than others. For example, Survey Say is an example of a fairly bad survey site, while Swagbucks seems to be one of the best out there.
Likewise, I wouldn’t use the word scam to talk about MLMs.
I actually really hate the MLM model, partly because I’ve known people that got fooled by it. MLMs tend to look really good on paper and their distributors can be very convincing. But, when you get down to it, the potential to make money through the companies is fairly low.
In many cases, distributors end up paying to promote products that are overpriced and that no one really wants to buy.
But, like survey sites, MLMs are fairly open about what’s actually involved. Normally, you can even find information about their compensation plans on the site for the company itself. Most MLMs do also make it clear that recruiting is part of the process to earn money.
In general, it is harder to make money in a MLM than most of them imply – but they do give users the information to figure that out for themselves.
All of the posts on this site have an open comments section and I would love to hear from you about anything I post, even if you completely disagree with me. After all, everyone has their own perspectives about specific products and approaches, and those perspectives won’t always be the same.
I would also love to hear about any products that you would like to know more about, especially if you are concerned that they might be scams.
Often, I will be able to create a review that will give you more information about just what the product has to offer.
With all this talk about scams, I do want to mention one service that I know isn’t a scam.
If you’ve read any of my other posts or reviews, then you would have heard me mention this before. I’m talking about the site Wealthy Affiliate.
That site was where I first seriously started learning about affiliate marketing and many of the things that I learned there still guide me today. For me, one of the most appealing things about the site is that it’s completely targeted at beginners, so it’s a great option even if you know nothing at all about websites or internet marketing.
The thing that really convinced me about the site was that Wealthy Affiliate offers a free trial. In fact, it has an entirely free version of its membership.
That aspect is absolutely critical for me, because the misleading sites and the scam sites tend to tell you little or nothing about how they actually work. In contrast, Wealthy Affiliate is very open about precisely what it offers and how it works.
Now, Wealthy Affiliate isn’t a way to get rich quick, far from it.
Instead, the site is focused on teaching people how to create an online business that will stand the test of time, along with any algorithm changes that search engines make.
When it comes to income, creating something that will last is one of the most powerful things that you can do – which makes training like Wealthy Affiliate that much more important.