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Be Careful Out There!
by: Cary Christian

This is not the article I wanted to write this week, but something just happened that made me change my mind. As most of you know, we join a lot of different programs in order to evaluate them and report on them on our website. We test affiliate programs, MLM opportunities, traffic generating programs, banner programs, and just about everything else you can find on the Internet. We also evaluate advertising sources.

Recently we placed an ad with one of the "two bucks an ad" type of programs that for $10 will place your ad to a group of ezines that covers about 30,000 subscribers in total. This is very cheap advertising so we wanted to see if it was worth the effort. So we paid our $10 and placed an ad for an MLM program we are also evaluating. Our ad was to appear in nine different ezines.

One of the reasons the ads are so inexpensive is that you are actually placing your ad in return for becoming a subscriber of the ezines that run your ads. The advertising sales organization, in this case the "two bucks an ad" program, gets new subscribers for ezines which in turn provide free ads. The "two bucks an ad" program earns $10 for putting you together.

Now I don't mind being subscribed to additional ezines. I believe it's important to read a lot in this business and get as many viewpoints as you can. But what I found out bothered me a little.

You see, most of these ezines allow their subscribers to post free ads anyway. So you could subscribe individually and post your ads for free. But that's not a big deal either. The $10 might be worth it to have someone do all the work for you. The real problem is that your ad is just one of many, many ads in these publications. Some of them even have a separate ezine run that contains nothing but ads. So your ad gets lost in a jumble of anywhere from 20 to 100 other ads. How much response do you get under these circumstances? Well, we got one clickthrough with our ad supposedly going out to 30,000 subscribers.

But that is not what upset me. I sort of expected those results. Here is what got me going tonight:

I received today's edition of one of the ezine/newsletters that I had placed an ad with and there, right in the middle of the newsletter, was my ad. The only problem was the URL supplied with the ad was the URL of the owner of the newsletter! She had copied my ad word for word and placed her own URL at the end.

Now I know my ad wasn't copyrighted, nor would I ever attempt to copyright it. But doesn't that strike you as a little sneaky? If any of you placed an ad in this newsletter, I would never dream of turning around and using it here, or anywhere else for that matter, after you entrusted your advertising to us. To me that is just plain ethically wrong!

This story just tends to highlight what all of us must watch out for as we try to grow our own businesses online. There are some larger lessons here to be learned.

First, the Internet is full of people who are trying to nickel and dime their way to wealth. And it's YOUR nickels and dimes they are after. Let's take the "two bucks an ad" deal. The people putting these programs together know that you can place your own ads for free with most of these ezines. If you're willing to do a little research, you can find lots of ezines where you can place your ad free or for very little money. But they have devised a program to get $10 from you for doing the legwork for you.  Is it worth it?  It would be if the response from the ads were high. It can take a lot of time to track down appropriate individual ezines to advertise in. If the response is poor, which it certainly is, you've just wasted $10 for nothing.

How many other programs have you tried that got you for $5, $10, $20 or more only to find out later that if you had a little more information to begin with you could have saved your money?  They are all over place. They prey on people's lack of knowledge to make a living. If they truly provided an outstanding service that got results, it would be a different
story, but most of the time you get very little in return for your money. And the cost really adds up over time.

The second lesson from this story is that you have to be careful who you trust. Now I know ripping off my ad isn't a capital offense. But it is a character flaw that would prevent me from ever doing business with this person again. If I can't trust her with an insignificant ad, could I ever trust her with more? She damaged herself by her actions. What if I had wanted to run the ad in three or four more issues or purchase a solo ad from her? She had the opportunity to attempt to create a
lifetime subscriber and customer but decided to try to generate a short term profit instead. (The ad was a very good ad :))

Overall you have to realize that you get what you pay for on the Internet just like everywhere else in life. There are no shortcuts. Quality is quality. If you settle for less to save a few bucks, you're going to get less in return. Most of the time, you get nothing in return. Seek out quality. If you find it and can't afford it, save your money until you can. It's better to wait and save than to throw your money away on things that simply do not work.

If you're new to Internet marketing, take the time to learn before you spend. Read everything you can find on marketing.  Over time you will develop a picture of those marketers who are trustworthy and have the ability to give you solid advice.  Invest in a good marketing course written by one of these trustworthy individuals. Participate in forums on marketing and get other people's take on what works and what doesn't.

Take this article as a small example. If you are reading this, you are not likely to waste your $10 like we did. Some of you may say "It's only $10!" Based on our current bids on Overture and FindWhat which range  from $.01 to $.40, $10 will buy us from 25 to 1,000 HIGHLY TARGETED hits depending on the search phrase.  These are people looking for what we have to sell. Compare that with the ezine ad to 30,000 people with one click through and no sales. Quality, not cost, is the name of the game. Quality is ALWAYS LESS EXPENSIVE!

If you're not new to Internet marketing, you should still take the advice given above. The Internet changes daily and you need to stay on top of the changes to survive. It's a lot of work to succeed in this business, but it will be well worth your effort if you persevere and constantly educate yourself.

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