I was talking to a marketer earlier today (a couple weeks ago, by the time you read this), and he started trying to teach me how to get more affiliates.
The core of his system was, well, fraud.
Basically, he has a special list. He emails them and says “buy this product.” They all run buy it, and he gets big juicy EPCs (Earnings Per Click – sales revenue divided by number of clicks) to show his affiliates.
Later, he goes and refunds all their purchases, so they get their money back and have the product for free.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these people sent him reviews and shit, too.
When I was appalled at this, he didn’t understand why. He was just mailing a small test list to get EPCs, and the whole “you get your money back in a week” thing was just an ethical bribe to get them on the list.
I expressed my opinion that while it was a bribe, it most certainly was not ethical. And then I had to explain why.
The EPCs for a product are supposed to tell prospective affiliates how much they can expect to make from their list. If I know I can send you 600 clicks, and his EPCs are $2.50, then I should make $1,500 from that mailing.
What he’s doing is lying to these people so they’ll promote his product. The EPCs he’s showing aren’t real. They know next week, they’ll get the money back. They aren’t spending $10 – they’re just loaning him $10. For a week.
So what do you think? Would more or less people want to give him the same $10 to keep? I mean, just hypothetically. When you mail your list, those people don’t get a refund.
And here’s the really crappy part. Think about this.
Joe mails his list, and gets $2.50 EPCs on it. He shows you that, and you mail your list. Unfortunately, your list only generates an EPC of like 33 cents. So what do you think just happened?
Why, you think you have a shitty list, that’s what!
And where are you going to go so you can find out how to build a better list? Aha! You should obviously go to the guy with the $2.50 EPCs, right? He sure knows how to build a good responsive list!
And I’ll bet he’s got a product about listbuilding. Or at least an affiliate link to one.
I used to “bird dog” for a real estate investor – locating properties he would want to buy, then telling him about them for a small finders fee. He always told me he never put a single penny down on a house. And one night, over a few beers, he told me how.
“I have a million dollar line of credit,” he said. “Whenever I want something, I just write a check.”
“But that’s not no money down,” I protested. “That’s paying cash.” And he laughed, explaining that it’s not his cash. It’s the bank’s cash. And by the time they ask for it back, he’ll have sold the house for a profit. So he didn’t use any of his own money – the bank paid for the house, and he only paid them when he sold it.
And that, he explained, was why he never sold or endorsed “no money down” courses like Carlton Sheetz and his ilk sold. Because while “no money down” deals happen all the time, they don’t happen the way people think, and they certainly aren’t done the way these courses teach.
It’s the same way in internet marketing. Million dollar launches, six-figure lists, double-digit conversions… these happen every day.
Just not the way you think they do. And when someone is selling you a product about how to do what they do, don’t ever make the mistake of thinking that’s how they do it.