Naming Names Gets Big Reaction

Ten years ago, I wrote an ebook entitled, “Kickin' Butt & Takin' Names." It was about the shady business practices I was seeing online - and some, even off line.

Since Day 1, I've never hesitated to name names when writing about sleazy internet marketing tactics. It got me into a lot of trouble. Not real trouble - just a lot of back-biting and put-downs for it.

I was nobody, and these were hot-shot internet marketers, and who did I think I was to have an opinion - much LESS judge?

Well, I'll tell you who I was. I had maturity and real life business experience, and I had done something more than deliver pizzas, or work at Thom McCann, before I came online!

I took a stand and refused to have anything to do with the marketers who even waivered in their integrity. Many times, they'd pat some sleaze-ball on the butt simply because that marketer made so much money.

Money was the gauge. I saw it time, after time, after time.

About three years ago, I read "Internet Marketing Sins" by Sylvie Fortin. I loved the report and even said, at one time, I wished I had written it. The only difference would have been that I would have named names. Sylvie didn't.

And, yet, she STILL caught flack from some internet marketers! Some even argued with her - as if they were denying what she wrote. HA! Deny all day long, Jack-leg. The lady wrote the truth!

Last week, Ryan Healy wrote about some internet low-life on his blog and he DID name names. People are pounding him on the back, telling him what a good and courageous guy he is, as if this has never been done before.

It even caused Sylvie and her husband, Michel Fortin, to explain WHY Sylvie had kept names to herself - as if they'd done a bad thing! It was really quite simple. They were trying to teach the consumer what to look for and what to avoid. They were NOT trying to put anyone on a cross.

Me? I like crosses. If you're being unethical, you deserve to be outed. But, that's just MY opinion.

As I mentioned to a friend last week, I've even opened my mouth and inserted my foot. But, when I do, those of you who have read me for years know I apologize, clean up any mess - and we all move on.

Then, there's the problem of libel. PPFFFFFTT! Any marketer would be a fool to try to sue someone who wrote about exactly what the marketer is doing - and can prove it. Not only that, they'd have to be able to prove exactly how much money the writer cost them.

Otherwise, no decent attorney would touch it - knowing it couldn't be won. Of course, we also have the shysters who would take the case just to make the hourly fees for a nuisance suit.

Them, I know how to handle - but I digress ...

We all have different ways of doing things. We all have different motivations for what we do. We may have certain knowledge that determines how far we can go. That doesn't make any of us wrong, or stupid or uninformed. Just different.

I am glad to see someone besides me finally find their cojones. But, I'll also add ... Be very careful naming names unless you know exactly what you're doing - and how to do it!

The Wild, Wild Web is Being Tamed

I send this information for iCop members so you'll know what you can - and can't - do. I send it for those subscribers who are simply online consumers to protect you - so you'll know what to look for!

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has recently published guidelines regarding “Negative Option” enrollment programs and is taking a very aggressive position against merchants using this business practice.

"Negative option" means: if you don't do something to stop them, the merchant will continue to charge you on a regular basis. This usually, but not always, goes along with a free trial and/or "pay shipping only."

Recommendations taken from the FTC's website are included in the following article:

I don't mean to be redundant but, if you're an online business owner, you're also an online consumer. Please be sure you check websites to be sure they're in compliance with the FTC guidelines - BEFORE you buy!

That's a good start. You see, I have faith that “internet marketers” are more creative than the FTC. I don't doubt they'll find other ways to take advantage of people.

The latest little scam I've seen popped up again last week. I went to a site that displays four phony “trust” seals.

They read: Privacy Confirmed - Business Confirmed - Identity Confirmed - Security Confirmed.

Yeah? Confirmed by whom? Well, it claims to be by “Honest Online” with a bullet between those two words. So, it isn't the company you might assume!

The website is entitled "The Google Traffic Pump System." Aside from those seals - that link to no where - there's no contact information and no privacy statement. It only has one of those silly, "We hate spam as much as you do" lines.

It took me five - count 'em FIVE - clicks to get off the damn page. Now, there's a website I would avoid!

But, I'm also beginning to have faith the FTC will continue to add to their “guidelines” (which are really regulations) as needed. After about 15 years, it's about time, don't you think?

By the way, it isn't too late to get your own website legal documents brought up to date. Every iCop member should have this package:

The Buzz Word Blight

Have you been reading the new direction many marketers are going? It's all so much alike, it gets downright confusing. As near as I can tell, after a year of not being able to sell products, now they're going to teach YOU how to sell products - for a price.

Nearly every one of them has a “new” idea about how to do that. Although I actually agree with a couple of them, it just strikes me that what I'm seeing is a lot of panic. Like, “What the hell do we do now?”

The terminology is a clue. It seems, when an industry doesn't know what else to do, they make up word meanings to make it all seem brand new. For instance:

* Big Shift
* The Wave (First used by Google.)

Both self-explanatory, but sound as if they are coming from New-Age teachings. Gimme a break!

The ones that crack me up, though, are:

* Cloud (defined "internet" - “You're in the cloud.”)
* Organic

That last one blows me away. They are trying to hook into the “green” revolution by using a word that has no meaning as it's being used.

We all know “organic” refers to natural food, natural chemicals, natural compounds. It basically means “natural.” It does NOT refer to such things as titles. How the hell does a TITLE "read organically?"

I asked the person who used it that way and the response was silence. Oh, it means the title should read naturally? Then, say so, dammit.

I guess you can tell buzz words annoy me. Using them to make oneself look bigger and brighter is just plain D-U-M. I don't recommend making yourself sound like a pompous ass.

In Loving Memory ...

Hi Everyone!

It is with the most profound sadness I acknowledge that iCop Founding Member, Joe Robson, has left this life.

Many of you already know this from his son, Steve's, email to Joe's lists last week. Because of this, I didn't feel the need to write another announcement at that time. Instead, I chose to honor Joe by dedicating this issue of the Trade Journal to him.

I actually took out the Top Spot ad for this. Then, I clearly heard Joe’s voice, British accent and all, saying, “NEVER pass up a chance to make a sale – no matter WHAT you’re doing!”

So, I laughed and put it back in – again in his honor. When your mentor speaks, you do as you're told!

Joe was ill with cancer for a bit over two years. With few exceptions, Joe kept the fact to himself and kept on keepin' on for as long as he could.

As Steve wrote:

He would not hear of letting you know what he was going through. He would say "people have enough problems of their own without hearing mine.

His closest friends did our best to support him, and I watched a quiet transformation as Joe finally had to accept the outcome.

He fought a mighty fight and, at one point, we thought he had won the battle. Unfortunately, the cancer came back with a vengeance, this time, not to be beaten.

Joe wrote the website copy not only for iCop but, also, for The MASTER COURSE. Everything I (painfully) learned about copywriting, I learned from Joe. But, that was the least of the things he gave me.

Joe and I came together in early 2000 - rewriting and renaming iCop. He became a true and dear friend - like minds and all that.

Joe quickly became iCop's biggest supporter for all these years. He did everything he could to both support and promote iCop. He was proud of iCop, and iCop was proud of him.

I learned all about Joe's life and loves. His wonderful children, the one he lost, his lovely wife, Rita, and their love story over many, many years, his love of travel (to Africa in particular) and, well ... his love of life.

Before his illness, many's the evening Joe would call me from "across the pond" in the UK - usually when he was fed up with something. We'd cuss and laugh and carry on about "internet marketing" until tears ran.

But, fed up, or not, Joe created and grew The Newbie Club into one of the biggest, most successful websites online. He is a man truly loved by his "newbies" and anyone who ever did business with him. He will be sorely missed.

Another friend of mine sent condolences and wrote:

Joe was definitely not one to sit on the pitty pot. The candle he lit should burn for a long time, not only for his program The Newbie Club, but for his outstanding example of taking what life delivers and making the best of it.

John Grafflin
JWG Marketing Group

Joe, true to form, made plans for the business. He trained his son, Steve, to pick up and carry on with the load Joe has laid down. Just shortly before he laid it down, he and Steve completed a project dear to his heart - his new copywriting membership site.

Joe didn't just hop online and declare himself a copywriter. He was a professional copywriter long before the internet happened. He knew his stuff!

I've come to know Steve a bit, and I'm sure he'll do a bang-up job of carrying on. He is - as you would expect of Joe's son - a terrific guy. I'll tell you more about the new site when Steve feels ready to fully launch it.

Steve was beside his dad every inch of the way. He may need a bit of a breather to regain his own strength and enthusiasm.

Joe was truly a great internet star. His talent, his wildly popular websites, his top-notch professional products, his positive attitude, his huge heart, his ethics, his love for, and caring about, people - all combined to make him one of the TRUE success stories of our realm.

Even though I knew it was coming, Joe's passing sucked the breath right out of me. It leaves a huge hole in my heart. No matter what I write here, I simply can not do the man justice. But, ...

Joe's light will continue to shine, simply by virtue of his having been with us. And, another brilliant star has been added to the heavens.

In loving memory of my beloved friend and mentor - Joe Robson.

Have a light-filled week, and ... Keep on Keepin' On!

     Wink jl

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