Avoiding The Vortex

Posted by Neville on March 19, 2012 under Reviews | Read the First Comment

Do Not Get Sucked In

This blog started out as a place to discuss Truth and Reality in Internet Marketing. As a result, that has, at times meant researching some opportunities that could fall into the category of Scams or likely to fail because of unsustainable practices.

Avoid the VortexThat activity can be time consuming, and because the sharing of findings is not always positive, the people who have joined and are promoting them can become very defensive. Reacting to those defenses can be draining of both emotional energy and time.

Ultimately it is not very productive to engage with people who are defending the dodgy schemes since they have an investment and enthusiasm to see it succeed. It is after all going to pay them if it succeeds. But that is a big IF!

Once it has been pointed out that a heavily promoted great new opportunity is flawed in some way, there is not much point in continuing to try to convince the converted to your way of thinking about it.

Hence the warning. Avoid the vortex that will grow with every argument and counter-argument. There are forums where discussions go on for days and weeks, and just following them takes up valuable time and energy that could be applied to more productive pursuits. Do not get sucked in!

Some Time Saving Devices.

Well they are not really devices, but acronyms that I use to label the process that I use when evaluating the latest “new whizz-bang” opportunity that has been put before me.

I first found it necessary to develop methods for sifting the useless and potentially malicious products when providing training for fellow educators (in simple language, teachers ) and because teachers love to use acronyms I created the acronym CD-ROM. Yes, I know, not very original, but the key to a good acronym is t make it memorable.

So what does CD-ROM stand for? Please excuse the the language. Crap Detector- Reality and Objectivity Monitor.

It serves as a reminder to check out the program, software, opportunity or learning opportunity to see if it really will achieve the objectives you have. Over time the CD-ROM has become obsolete, so there have been some changes to the acronym.

To keep up with the times it had to be updated to DVD: Due Validating Diligence. Not very original but it went with the times.

Now the DVD is less potent as a hook to hang an acronym upon another more relevant one needs to chosen.

How does this sound? iPAD: Impossible Program and Activity Detector.  (But I think we had better keep that quiet, or the folks at Apple might not be happy.)

Whatever you find helpful, remember, investigate but don’t get sucked into the vortex that is generated when the scam busters call out the latest big thing to hit the Internet. Apply your CD-ROM, DVD or iPad, make up your own mind and stick with it.

Due Diligence: It Continues

Posted by Neville on January 27, 2012 under Reviews | Comments are off for this article

One last post on my review of the “opportunity” that I have been investigating, before resuming articles on niche marketing.

Into The Fray

Due Diligence One of the criticisms made of people who try to warn others of possible scams to steer clear of, is that their reviews are based on guesswork because they have not joined and are not receiving the benefits. It is not necessary to have to join, because many due diligence tasks can be done from a distance. I believe that after completing Due Diligence on several “opportunities” is possible to develop a “nose” that can sniff out the scams, so that less valuable time is wasted investigating dead ends.

To counter any criticism that I do not know what I am talking about in this and the previous three review posts, I actually joined the Just Been Paid (JSS Tripler) program. (There: I have now named the program!). That has given me more access to the materials that are produced and sent to members, and allowed me to continue what I have called my “Due Diligence” on this heavily promoted “opportunity”.

Of course, I realize that by doing that I have not complied with the Terms and Conditions, as stated in this quote:

8. I affirm that all the information about or related to JBP (other than that on the pages available to non-members and the marketing materials authorized for public use) is proprietary and confidential and I will not reveal said information to anyone else.

Of course, JBP would not want us to see information, other than that provided by them, because perhaps then many people would be able to see through them, and decide that the offerings are not viable.

Check the Promotional Materials

Another (dubious?) benefit of joining is that you receive email messages aimed at stirring the membership into action and supplying them with more information. Company information, with the “go forth and multiply” type messages.

Occasionally there will be a hint of what to do when you meet people who ask questions. Like the BIG question, Is JBP (or JSS Tripler) legal?

A recent email attempted to set the minds of members at rest by stating that JBP is licensed under a US Patent. Anyone doing Due Diligence, after joining and continuing to question all aspects of what they have joined will ask, “What does that mean?”

The email message from the leadership of the program baldly states that it is legal because of that patent. There is no mention of how that makes JBP legal. Further research into the actual patent makes no mention of JBP, and reading the patent background material is a difficult task, make it hard to decide if being licensed to use the patent actually has any legal standing.

The message here is, don’t just take the word of the promoter of the program. Check it out yourself.

If it still looks OK, stick with it. If you can’t be sure, it might be time to back out, before any legal consequences come your way. Remember that the Terms and Conditions leave it up to you decide, based on local laws.

All readers of these pages are emphatically advised to obey all laws to the letter. ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES FEATURED HERE ARE VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LOCAL LAWS. Participants in any activity related to JustBeenPaid!, participate at their own risk. Participants agree to hold the JustBeenPaid! owners, managers, and operators harmless in respect of any losses incurred as a result of participation in any activity related to JustBeenPaid!

Unless other pressing issues arise this will be the last post on doing Due Diligence on the Just Been Paid! stable of “opportunities”.

The next step is to cancel my membership, get back my life and move on!


More Due Diligence: How Does The Site Work?

Posted by Neville on January 20, 2012 under Reviews | Comments are off for this article

Matching Hype and Performance

Due DiligenceDoes the hype from the advertising of a site really tell you what you are joining?

Take the “business opportunity” example from the previous 2 posts.

All of the advertising for this site has a strong emphasis on earning a regular daily 2% income on the money that you have put it. That process looks very much like a description of  Investment activity. It seems to me to be reasonable to assume that people who sign up for it believe that it is some form of investment.

Refer to the Terms

But let’s look at the Terms and Conditions that you need to agree to before you can join.

4. I understand that if I decide to join [name deleted], I will be joining a private association to build a base of leads that I can use for any home-based business the association may join and/or any legal businesses or opportunities (other than those of a sexually explicit nature or otherwise objectionable nature) I wish to promote.

5. I have NOT been led to believe that this activity is an investment activity, franchise, or employment opportunity.

So there you see that the program is a LEAD-BUILDING opportunity, and not an investment activity.

The advertising, done largely by affiliates who have already joined, is I presume supplied by the company, and as I have noted has a heavy emphasis on the 2% daily return. Looks to me like an Investment activity.

Of course, it does not take a genius to know that in these current times, a return of 2% daily is unbelievable and unrealistic. It is however a result of these difficult economic times that many people can be taken in by this promise, and part with their hard won cash.

Some people, who happen to get in at the right time will make some money, but when this system crashes, as it will inevitably do, the vast majority will have not received any of the promised returns. What is particularly concerning about this particular program is that owner knows it will reach a stage where it becomes unviable. His solution is to devalue everyone’s “earnings” and start all over again with those who remain convinced they can make money in the next round.

Read it for yourself:

19. From time to time, the [name deleted] managers may import the entire [name deleted] membership into another program, maintaining the [name deleted] genealogy. This will also be done on the basis that people imported into the other program will have to activate their accounts by a certain deadline in order to become members of the other program. If they don’t activate their accounts by the deadline, they will be dropped from the other program. One benefit of this procedure is that [name deleted] members receive their [name deleted] downline in the other program (to the extent that accounts are activated). Another benefit is that those who don’t want to be in the new program will be dropped automatically if they do nothing. Prior to such an import, [name deleted] managers will inform all [name deleted] members via email and in the Member Area of the expected import and the reasons for it. Subsequent to the import, managers of the other program will email those imported from [name deleted] to explain the benefits of the other program, and to provide them with the procedure to activate their accounts, should they wish to become members of the other program. More than one email may be sent by the managers of the other program. ([name deleted] members who don’t activate their accounts in the other program by the deadline will be dropped from that program.) [name deleted] members agree to receive the emails referred to in this rule 19. (Privacy: Any import per this rule 19 will be on the basis that the managers of the other program will not abuse the [name deleted] email addresses in any way. Once the deadline has been reached, all unactivated accounts in the other program will be deleted and the email addresses for these deleted accounts will not be retained by managers of the other program.)

If I read that correctly, as well as reading between the lines, when the program is becoming non-viable the entire membership lose its current account (and any “cash” in it) and will be dropped into  a new “program ” to start all over again.

He calls that “indefinitely sustainable”, implying that it will continue forever. He has chosen his words very carefully as “indefinitely sustainable” could also mean that there is no definite period for it to be sustainable, and it could crash at any time.

In my opinion, the sooner the better, so that the impact is felt by less unsuspecting members.


Reading The Fine Print: Due Diligence

Posted by Neville on January 18, 2012 under Reviews, Training | Read the First Comment

Reading The Fine Print:

Reading the fine printIt is a common practice for membership sites to expect potential members to agree to the Terms and Conditions that have been prepared for that site.

Usually that means that you simply have to tick a box to say that you agree to the Terms, even if you have not read or understood them. It has been a common piece of advice to never sign a contract until you have read the fine print. The same should apply when signing up for anything that you join online, but I assume that many do not even give the Terms even a brief look.

Some promotions use urgency as a means to get you to quickly make the decision to join. This encourages the new member to skip over or simply click the I agree box without reading the terms. This has the potential to produce undesirable consequences later.

Encouraging new members to skip over the terms or to ignore them completely could also be used to mask some undesirable elements in the Terms.

I continue to highlight the example of the previous post, with quotes from that “opportunity” and its Terms and Conditions.

Something To Hide?

If an “opportunity” is legal, legitimate and above board, why should it be necessary to include the following conditions?

6. I affirm that I am not an employee or official of any government agency, nor am I acting on behalf of or collecting information for or on behalf of any government agency.

7. I affirm that I am not an employee, by contract or otherwise, of any media or research company, and I am not reading any of the [name deleted] pages in order to collect information for someone else.

New members are asked to state that they are NOT employed by a government agency, media or research company. Surely this not simply to discrimination against these people, but an attempt to make sure that the “opportunity” is not put under any independent scrutiny that may identify problems, shortcomings or even legal issues that may result from the way it operates.

Some sites have incredibly long and difficult to understand Terms, and unless you are totally confident that there is nothing to concern you, it may be a valuable exercise to read and understand the Terms and Conditions.

Possible Consequences.

Loss of account (and any income made).

By not knowing what the  Conditions contain you may be putting your account in jeopardy by unwittingly breeching one of the conditions. How many people have lost income they have built up in AdSense by not knowing that sites displaying their ads can not be shown on some sites?

 Legal Issues:

All readers of these pages are emphatically advised to obey all laws to the letter. ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR PARTICIPATION IN THE VARIOUS ACTIVITIES FEATURED HERE ARE VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LOCAL LAWS. Participants in any activity related to [name deleted], participate at their own risk.

In the quote above, it looks pretty obvious that if there are any issues raised by participation in places where local laws prohibit it, the company involved is NOT going to come to your aid. I wonder how many people in that particular “opportunity” have investigated any legal implications from their participation.

A Final Word (or four).

Read The Fine Print