If you found this post, I imagine you have been stung by various programs, courses and “secret systems,” promising to make you money online.
It’s led you to wonder…
Is internet marketing a scam!?!
There are many reasons why the idea of internet marketing is thought to be a scam and many of those are completely legitimate.
I would know, having looked into hundreds of programs online at this point in time.
The reality is that… Somewhere along the way, the legitimate definition of internet marketing has been mixed up, (and used by) con artists online.
It’s been used as a way to sell you scammy make money online products and get-rich-quick schemes.
So, what’s the difference between legitimate internet marketing and the scam-like products that flood the internet?
I will try and explain this as best I can, throughout this post.
What Is Internet Marketing?
“Internet Marketing,“ is really an umbrella term that refers to a bundle of different marketing strategies.
These may include…
- Email marketing,
- video marketing,
- social media marketing,
From the get go, I will just say: That I’m not a giant fan of multi-level-marketing, although it can have a large vocal following of devoted fans.
Partially this may be because, to be really financially successful at a majority of MLM’s, you need to recruit other people into the business.
When the success or failure of a “business,” simply relies on bringing more people into the business opportunity, (rather than the sale of legitimate products or services) then this is not a legitimate business.
MLM’s can often use controversial tactics to get people on board, trying to sell this opportunity your path to financial freedom.
The unfortunate reality is, only a minute amount of people ever succeed within the industry and it’s not at all as glamorous as they like to portray it.
While there are arguably some legitimate MLM companies out there, (big names such as AVON for example)…
There are many MLM’s that have been revealed to be scams and are often criticised for selling poor quality products and using dishonest marketing tactics.
Related post: The difference between an MLM and a pyramid scheme.
A majority of people who enter an MLM, will end up worse off than they started prior to joining, (that is the case whether it’s considered a legitimate MLM, or not).
While many MLM’s in on their own may have little to do with internet marketing, many MLM’s are now encouraging internet marketing strategies
…Some MLM’s are also entirely online
However, those who employ internet marketing tactics in order to get sales and leads, will generally be more successful than those who ignore that side of it.
More an more MLM’s are becoming internet focused – supplying individual websites and encouraging online marketing.
Internet Marketing – The Reality:
Internet marketing and trying to make money online in general, is not as easy as many people try and have you believe.
In fact, it’s not easy at all!
For many people, it can take months to see a single sale online, let alone regular ones coming in.
Many will give up before they make anything substantial online and for those who are determined, it can take some years to generate a full time income.
Unfortunately, there are many online programs and “gurus”, that claim they have some secret internet marketing strategy, that will make you very rich, very quickly.
Whether it be through some push-button system, some magical secrets of the industry they’re revealing, or a new revolutionary technique…
They will usually claim that you can make cash on autopilot, cash while you sleep and so on… you’ll have so much money, you won’t know what to do with it.
But, if it was all so-easy, don’t you think everyone would be jumping on board?
Additionally, if someone had created some automated system that makes them millions – do you really think they’d be letting THAT cat out of the bag?
Internet Marketing – Information Overload!
When people first come online seeking out how to make money online, it’s a minefield as different programs are promoted left, right and centre.
What’s more, there are so many differing opinions out there about what you should be doing, that’s it’s easy to become confused and overwhelmed.
People are often inspired into this by a few success stories they’ve read about, but try as they might, they never seem to get anywhere.
There is a whole spectrum of very poor quality scammy internet marketing programs, courses, webinars and ebooks.
While many may not always be total scams, (they may claim they have a money back guarantee, they may contain some elements worth knowing), signing up to them will usually chuck you into a sales funnel.
Your email address will then be sent on to other internet marketers – who will bombard you with relentless offers.
While many programs may contain some snippets of useful and honest information, many will constantly leave some vital information out, encouraging you to buy more and more expensive products.
People will buy product after product, trying to work things out and end up even more lost than when they started – and seriously in debt.
Many will quit before they’ve made a dime and will be in a far worse off position than when they started.
So, after a significant struggle, they give up and conclude that the internet marketing industry was just a scam all along.
While that conclusion may be understandable for people in that situation, it is also wrong.
Generally people give up trying around the 3-4 month mark of trying to make money online – however they go about it.
Ironically, this is also exactly around the time that many may start to see their first sales trickle through.
There can be a number of issues going on here:
- There are a lot of scam programs and products online. When someone has been let down a couple of times and whatever they’ve tried doesn’t work – they may conclude that everything to do with internet marketing is a scam.
- There are legit programs available that can teach people how to make money online legitimately, but they require hard work, they also require you to implement the training and put in into action.
- Unrealistic Expectations! Because people have seen so many get-rich-quick type programs, they expect it to be easy and quick.
- Unfortunately, many people skip the training, they do not take action, OR the action they do take is too small and too slow and they get frustrated that they are not progressing.
- Many people take limited action and still expect huge results quickly.
- People may not implement what they’ve been learning correctly. For example, they may have misunderstood some of the basics, such as keyword research, then get upset when they don’t rank in google and quit.
Those are just a handful of reasons that people may not succeed using internet marketing strategies and give up before they’ve seen any success!
Affiliate marketing: Is it a beginner friendly option?
One of the most widely known and used methods of internet marketing is Affiliate marketing.
Related Post: Affiliate Marketing Basics.
While it’s a legitimate way that people can make money online- many “internet marketers,” try and sell it as a get rich quick scheme.
Generally, these will be marketed as some sort of automated system, that can bring commissions in for you on autopilot.
They’ll claim you don’t need any experience, they’ll say that you just need to drive traffic to an offer, (for example).
But the reality always is, those sort of programs are not good for beginners and they’ll be a total waste of time.
Alternatively you’ll get a program that has a cheap course on the front end, that immediately tries to upsell you into higher and higher priced items.
In many cases, the higher priced items can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.
But if you don’t purchase the upsell, you will always be something missing from the training and so you end up feeling cheated and right back where you started.
There are some straight forward training programs available without all the hype. They’re just quite rare.
Getting-rich-quick programs SELL really well and that’s why so many shady marketers fall over themselves trying to promote them!
Many marketers get extremely rich by selling this dream to people online.
You can make money using certain internet marketing strategies online: but it’s not a get-rich quick option!
Let’s take blogging as an example – the article below comes from a post on Life Hacker about blogging for a living.
As it says above, a survey of problogger readers showed that a majority made under $3.50 per day, (many of these under two years old)
However, 9% did make between $1,000 – $10,000 per month. You’re talking 9 out of 100 bloggers bringing in a fairly decent income.
The article was written in 2014 above, so no doubt those numbers will have changed since.
In any case, while those numbers probably wouldn’t get most people running to set up a blog, it does show that it’s certainly well within peoples capability to make money through blogging.
It’s not “blogging,” itself that makes money though.
It’s the internet marketing strategies used to bring in money and sales.
For example; they may using affiliate marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, generating traffic via SEO or paid traffic methods and various other ways to generate an income.
Blogging is a legitimate way to make money online… but the numbers speak for themselves, it’s not just something that will happen overnight via a push button system!
Affiliate Programs Should Be Free To Join:
You should never have to pay to promote a brand, program, product or service!
Legitimate affiliate programs are completely free to join – you will normally just need your own website or blog in order to sign up to them.
While affiliate marketing and other internet marketing techniques are not that difficult to learn, it can take a lot of work before you start seeing results.
You won’t start making commissions overnight. You will need to learn a few skills to be successful and work consistently.
There is a high earning potential, but most people hoping to get-rich-quick, quit long before they see success.
As an affiliate marketer, you are simply promoting products on your own website, (it’s very simple to create your own website these days – even with zero design skills).
Related Post: How to make your first affiliate sale online.
If one of the visitors to your website clicks through one of your affiliate links and buys a product, you receive a commission.
Usually somewhere between 4-75% depending on the product/company… but can range from 1-100%!.
One of the biggest challenges is getting people to your website in the first place.
Also, connecting to other people in your niche, guest posting, posting questions/answer sites, (such as quora) and social media marketing, can help build up your following.
Additional methods to generate sales may include: video marketing, email marketing and kindle publishing.
One of my websites actually generates most of its traffic from pinterest alone, so don’t overlook the power of social media.
How To Spot Scams Online
There is a massive number of scam courses and products online popping up constantly.
Some potentially costing into the thousands of dollars and promising to make you rich online.
So, it’s no wonder the internet marketing industry receives a lot of negative press.
Unfortunately, the sheer number of scams out there can make it hard to navigate for new people coming online.
But the fact is: literally thousands of legitimate companies and individuals have affiliate programs that will pay YOU for bringing them in sales and selling their products.
Do you think all these companies would bother having affiliate programs if they weren’t profitable for them?
Thousands of people make money every day via different internet marketing tactics, often with affiliate marketing being a major source of income for many.
The range of products that you can promote, is limitless.
In order to avoid scams, remember to always look for the following signs:
- They will often claim you could make six figures within a year.
- They will often claim there is very minimal work involved.
- If they have a website, it may only contain thin content, generally short posts, which are likely stuffed with affiliate links or Ads.
- Instead of focusing on what you will learn, they will only focus on how you’ll be able to quit your job/have freedom/have an amazing lifestyle.
- They may talk about a “secret system” or similar, that’s simple to set up.
- They may claim that you can make money then “on autopilot” – with next to no work.
- They will often show off luxury cars, big houses and the like.
So, What Do You Need To Get Started?
In order to get started with internet marketing from scratch, you will need the following:
- A website.
- Domain name and hosting, (or you could start up with a free website initially).
- Decent training learn the basics – whether free or paid.
There is one program I consistently recommend to people getting started, because you can check it out for free and also get two free websites thrown in.
Build Your Own Website – For Free.
If you just want to check out just how easy it is to set up a website – you can try it out below.
You can have a go setting one up and it will literally take a minute or two.
Simply type in the name of your new website above in the box and go and create your website.
You can created a website based on anything you’d like to blog about. Think about hobbies, or passions.
Alternatively you could use your name, it’s really up to you.
You’ll be quickly told whether your website name is still available.
You don’t need to over think it, you can actually delete the website and restart with a new name if you change your mind.
While you can start off with a free website, I recommend you do eventually go with a domain that you own – but you can switch that at any time quite simply.
For more info about setting up a website, this post can help.
Many people come looking online because they want to make money FAST and reckon there must be an easy way that they can make lots of cash quickly.
The quickest way to make money online instantly would be to do something like sell your unwanted stuff on ebay, or set up A Fiverr gig!
but if you’re looking for a long term business, you need to be prepared to dedicate some time to it… Just like ANY business in the real world.
One benefit to an online business is, it’s certainly much cheaper to set up than a regular business.
You wouldn’t expect to make money overnight with a regular businesses and exactly the same applies here.
Unfortunately there are plenty of people out there ready to POUNCE on desperate people that want to make money quickly, or who really want to make a tonne of cash but aren’t prepared to put in the work.
Is Internet Marketing A Scam?
No, it’s not a scam – but it is a space literally saturated with scammers and relentless scam products.
If you’re clued up on what to avoid, you should be able to learn how to navigate the internet marketing world more safely.
The best thing you can do is to just get started, rather than procrastinating about it!
Have you been scammed before online? Leave me a comment and let me know!
I hope you found this post useful! Any shares are welcome of course.
All the best…. 🙂