I alluded to this last month when I posted a piece on integrity in marking within the prepper niche. You can read that piece here.
Well, first let me say I am sorry in the piece mentioned above I promised to tell you the next week what I am about to tell you now. Again my sincere apologies, by the end of 2013 I was running on empty and as many noted not being myself. I disappeared as planned for two weeks and got a great deal of personal battery recharging done. I will add to my apologies, if I was an ass to anyone in December, I am again very sorry. We all have breaking points, I am not even sure why, but I was close to one of my own. I needed time to refocus and I think the first week back we had last week, shows that it worked.
Well now that I am at full steam let me explain something I want you to be aware of. While so many are concerned about keeping your data from the NSA or what have you, there are others that want it only so they can market to you. OVER AND OVER AND OVER and such people often sell things of value and they often sell garbage, the only real concern is does it make them money.
I have met many of these people in the prepping niche and they indeed disgust me. When you try to discuss actually valuing people with them they defend their actions with bottom line numbers. What excuse do they make next, I don’t know because at that point I am done.
In any event there is a common tactic that goes on in internet info marketing and I am now seeing it more and more in the prepper niche. I am also seeing some of my good and trusted friends pulled into these things. They are doing so because they want to reach more people, I have no problems with that but have warned them all about what I am about to tell you.
There are people who understand marketing on the internet at the level I personally do. Most of them don’t really care what they sell or to whom though other than from an analytics stand (how do I use this data to sell more). They are largely the type of marketer that Bill Hicks was talking about when he said “if you are in marketing or adverting kill yourself“. (ADULT LANGUAGE WARNING FOR THAT LINK).
What these people do is a simple process,
- Identify a niche that is hot
- Identify the key names and authorities in that market
- Set up a program to involve as many of the “authorities” as you can
- Give these authorities a sweet deal, pay them, expose them to a larger market
- Run this “program” to simply harvest as many contacts from the collective authorities database as you can
- Build follow up products and market to this database with automation over and over and over and over
- Find another niche and repete
The goal of said individual is to build dozens of such niches and when anything pops up that you can sell into one or multiples of these verticals do so. People like this are concerned with open rates, click though rates and sales conversion percentages but not with the customers needs or well being. They will sell a good product or a bad product or a junk product they don’t care, if it converts they will use it as a harvest mechanism.
Now here is the shocker, I don’t see a ton wrong with this, seriously. I won’t do it ever! Yet, I won’t try to stop it and frankly if I had the power to do so with a wave of my hand, I wouldn’t bother to. People are free to sell what they want and buy what they want in my view, but my problem is that this technique is deceptive. So my tactic is to inform you so you know it when you see it. Also if you are one of my friends who are now being sucked into the second one of these, I want you to understand it and hell next time you do one, send your contacts this article first, so they can take one very simple step to protect themselves.
Here is the big problem, twice now someone has run a program like this that has involved well known authorities in the TSP community. One of them is done, and the other one is in progress. Both times these people approached some of my best known TSP guests. Then you guys get an email that is from someone you trust because you trust me. It doesn’t matter that I have told the producer to never use my name. My brand and TSP give credibility though the name you know because of me.
So you sign up for the free updates or class or whatever. Trusting that it is quality and that your email information is safe. It is called credibility by association. Now understand I am credible, my friends are creditable but the third party is an UNKNOWN FACTOR, they may or may not be so.
Now my first question is what were they doing the day before this new bundle or seminar or what have you. Most times it was some other info niche or it was well, you don’t know there is nothing to see, a blank slate. This is not always bad but it is a huge red flag to me. What you have now is a person or group of persons seeking to gain creditability in a market based on the real work done by others. They know that many consumers will be happy with the initial program and forever associate them with the way they learned about them. They gain instant market presence based on that which was earned by others.
So you might think I would say to just stay away from anything like this. Well, not so fast. The people being “used” are always great folks, the product of the initial collaboration is likely quality. Right now one such event called “The Survival Summit” is being put together and to give you an idea of friends of Jack that are involved the names are things like Coffman, Harris, Wildcraft and Wheaton.
Do I think Survival Summit will be good, yes. Would I give these people my actual email address, no. Here is how this works you assemble your team, you set up tracking codes and you tell each participant I will pay you X% for every sale that results from your audience. Now the problem is many of us run in the same circles. I am also sure if you examine some of the other names there is overlap with ours and more and more circles.
So now the psychology works this way. You dear TSPr get an email from Harris and say that sounds cool, sign up or your don’t. Then you get one from Wildcraft, next from say Wheaton. At this point it doesn’t matter who you clicked the link for, you’re sold that the event promoter must be creditable.
“Do we disclose any information to outside parties?
We do not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to outside parties your personally identifiable information. This does not include trusted third parties who assist us in operating our website, conducting our business, or servicing you, so long as those parties agree to keep this information confidential. We may also release your information when we believe release is appropriate to comply with the law, enforce our site policies, or protect ours or others’ rights, property, or safety. However, non-personally identifiable visitor information may be provided to other parties for marketing, advertising, or other uses.“
As a marketer on the net for almost 15 years let me translate that. This says they can collect any data they want, they agree not to sell your data but may they themselves use your data anyway they want to sell to you in the future. They may also use your data to sell a third parties stuff too you, they will also sell information about user behavior to others for, “marketing, advertising, or other uses”. In other words it is double speak and semantics.
The solution? Simple when you see something that smells like this, in the words of Ronald Regan, “trust but verify”. Simply set up an email JUST FOR THIS ONE THING, then forward it to your main email. That is all. You can do this with G-mail or other free emails if they allow forwarding. You can use one like Yahoo too but then you have to log in to get your invitations, confirmations, etc.
Once the event is over you have three choices,
- Cancel the forwarding and leave the email account just sit and rot
- Delete the account
- Leave the forwarding in place and watch what happens (you learn the truth good or bad this way)
You will also likely want to clear recent cookies from your browser after spending time on their sites but the truth is unless they have your email address they really can’t do much with it. Info marketers are not NSA types. They simply want a database to market to.
Why do I think it is important that you know all this?
So you can choose to support someone you like in one of these efforts if you want to. So you can get the value provided if you want to. Yet I want you to know how to do so that you can choose to KEEP THE LONG TERM RELATIONSHIP WHERE YOU WANT IT, with the people who have earned your trust.
So hey if the next guy/group to pop up ends up being legit with this one simple step you will know it! When you get nothing but good quality information to that stand alone email you ONLY USE FOR ONE THING, then you know that provider is solid. When you start getting “37 Things to Horde” and “Get Off the Grid for Pennies a Day” and “This One Trick Obama Used to Become a Millionaire”, all actual programs by the way, you will know what you need to about the party sending it to you.
I want to be very clear I believe all of the speakers at this event and MOST PARTICIPANTS in anything like this are solid as hell, they are not out to do anything to harm you. They are not deceiving you. Hell the new party that came from nowhere isn’t really deceiving you, they just are not telling you what I have.
The fact is what they are doing is actually quite transparent, if you know what to look for. Let me just say whenever you get an email from a trusted party about some new thing they are doing with some new party, ask yourself who the heck is this new person/company. If they appeared out of nowhere just use a bit of caution.
Now look nothing they are doing is actually harmful really to you personally, in that I mean the consumer. The party they are really preying on are the “experts” they assemble. Frankly it is a lot like Google getting Yahoo to give them a customer list! You know I expose this audience to a ton of people every year but I work hard to only expose you to genuine individuals who have a track record or nothing to sell, either is fine.
The key though is I always have turned down invitations to author ebooks for bundles and do seminars like this coming one because I know full well what the game being played is. They want you to trust them due to my name, well unless I FIRST TRUST THEM, it isn’t going to happen. My question is always up till now what have you done, seldom is there a satisfactory answer to that.
The key is now I have introduced you to many fine people. They all have huge integrity and I love seeing their names with my name. They see these opportunities for what they are as well, they see the good. They know they can make some honest money and reach a bigger audience. There is nothing wrong with that, again though, I would refrain in the future from giving these people your email address.
What if I already did it? If so relax, you are not on a terror watch list, and MOST of these people use a solid email system like Aweber which you can opt out of anytime you want. Just from now on know how this works.
I mean these people might have something to sell you of real value down the road, they might be the salt of the earth, I don’t really know. Good marketing doesn’t equal bad person! Yet again when dealing with an unknown, make them earn your trust. Never trust anyone simply due to who mentions them to you, “trust by verify” actually means, don’t trust what you don’t know and don’t trust it until you do know.
If any of my friends are out of sorts about this post, I am sorry but let me say. Many of you are yourselves in someways leveraging your creditability gained from TSP in these types of things. To be fair it is creditability well earned! Yet when you email your audience about “the next great thing” due to our past associations you are also emailing a pretty large portion of my audience. Hence I feel full disclosure on my part is the only honorable thing to do. And you guys all know how I feel about honor. There is quite simply nothing more important to me than honor.