What Goes Around, Comes Around

Even though many in the USA seem to think we have a special privilege to be called "Americans," I acknowledge that everyone who lives in North, Central or South America is "American."

However, for the purposes of this article - and simply because it's less cumbersome to write - I am using the term "American" to define only those who live in the USA.

At the risk of being considered un-American, I have a couple of words to say about the level of online professionalism in the USA. It's sad. Not only is it sad, but the prevalent attitude of Americans that the USA is at the top of the internet pecking order - and therefore has special privileges - is downright misguided.

As citizens of the USA we had better get our heads out of the sand (or wherever else we have them) and wise up, or we'll find more than our heads buried. It is so typical of us Americans to believe that we are the be-all/end-all of everything. Such an attitude blinds us to the fact that the internet has leveled the playing field.

I realize that I am making sweeping statements in what I'm about to say. I also realize that I am going to offend some Americans. Yet, these statements need to be thought about and acted upon - not REacted TO out of some sense of unjustified superiority.

These comments certainly do not apply to all Americans. It is unfortunate that those who abuse the opportunity to work online as true professionals give the rest of us such a poor image.

Plenty of us are struggling to bring the rest up to some level of competence and professionalism. However, the pitiful fact is we are fighting this battle against our own countrymen. (Sorry Ladies, I don't know if they've come up with a non-sexist way to use that term.)

I work online with people from all over the world every day. More and more I'm finding that I prefer to work with those outside the USA. Why? Because that's where I find the most true professionalism. What a sad commentary on my own country!

It is here in the USA where online business owners refuse to give complete contact information. It's here in the USA where a legitimate business letter will be ignored. It's here in the USA where people won't bother to return a phone call. It's here in the USA where we find such pathetic customer service and the attitude of, "The proprieter is always right."

The greatest blessing of the internet is our ability to easily establish relationships with others around the world. We have an opportunity never before available to learn first-hand about - and from - those of cultures foreign to us. Why do we waste that by complaining about how they use the English language - all the while we butcher it ourselves?

Our languages are different - our sense of humor is different - the way we experience the world is different. And, certainly the way we do business is different. Why do we not celebrate this opportunity by learning all we can? Have we become too arrogant to do that?

I have begun to fear that arrogance is the exact reason why so many Americans are unprofessional. I rarely encounter this when I work with businesses outside the USA.

What I find instead are people who care about their business - who care how they present themselves - and who cooperate on a grand scale to get things done in the most courteous manner possible. What I do not find is email ignored - unreasonable demands - broken commitments - lousy attitude - and blatant dishonesty born of greed.

Outside the USA I find people who take great pride in what they do - without all the self-aggrandizement. They show that pride by the actual work they do - not by blowing their own horns.

I don't hesitate to make these statements because the few exceptions I've found are negligible compared to USA standards. Or, lack thereof.

The greatest thing the internet has to offer us isn't money. It's knowledge. It's the opportunity to learn and to finally become a true global village on this planet.

Can we do that? Not if we don't get off our high horses and admit we might have something to learn.

Meanwhile, continuing to treat those outside the USA as the second-class citizens of this global online village is bound to come back and bite us in the ol' wazoo! Tolerance and acceptance of other cultures is part of being a professional in the first place.

You can trust me on this. The USA internet glory days will most assuredly come to a close. So, just remember ...

What goes around - comes around. Every time.

Namin' Names Goes Both Ways

A reader sent me the following, last week:

Thanks, I take time to read this report each week. You have great advice.

I do have a beef with a lot of the email ads I get.

'Only 49.95, so easy even a 12 year old can do it. Just cut and paste, that's all. No other fees. Start making money in 15 minutes, upline help, lots of spill over.'

How many people have been falling for ads such as these?

We join and then we need to buy a domain name and buy hosting. The instructions are nowhere close to being clear. You need to be a guru to set up the site. Oh, yeah, you need to buy traffic. Maybe it's just me not understanding. I will quit ranting now.


No, Wayne, it isn't just you not understanding! Many of these programs are designed to be like that. Get the buyers in, then dump extra fees, etc. on them.

This reminds me of a term I saw recently for the first time in years - "Cash Cow." I had really hoped I'd never see that again!

I think we have to remember some of these ads are being put out by beginners. They haven't been around long enough to spot the bogus money-making programs.

The first clue is any term like “Cash Cow.” Forget it. Cows don't give cash. Never did. If you're lucky, you might be able to get some milk. If not, you'll get “cow” patties - also known as bull sh**.

So, if you're thinking about “namin' names,” be careful. Be sure you get the person at the top of the program. Try not to blame the beginner. We've all been there and most of us learned by experience.

Even then, you should consider other factors ...

When working online (or, trying to) we work in a huge environment. You'll run into a few actual head-cases and a lot of personality disorders!

You don't want to take on the wrong person - even if you're right!

You'll find this true even if YOU don't say anything to, or about, anyone. Sooner or later, if you're in business, someone will take YOU on.

Now, you have to decide how to react. Of course, the smartest thing is to ACT - NOT to react. Cooperation will work with reasonable people.

But, sometimes, you have no choice but to fight back. And, that can get real tough if you're dealing with a head-case or personality disorder.

My own rule of thumb is to ignore the head-case completely as soon as I realize what I'm dealing with. You can't win with this one, and it could be dangerous.

But, I tend to get right up in the face of the personality disorder. You may not shut them up, but you can usually make them go away and find someone easier to bully. Operative word is “usually.”

Bottom line is this: I truly believe the hype-masters, who are ripping folks off, should be exposed to protect the innocent, but I no longer make that my life's work. Unless one gets too close to me!

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 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.

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