The 2 faces of Internet Marketing

Hey there,

Ever noticed how hardly anybody wants to declare publicly that they are an “Internet Marketer”?

Here’s my take:

when you look at Internet marketing, where it’s come from and where it’s now (and where it’s heading), then to me it looks a little like this:

First there was the Internet – then people discovered that you could use it like any other marketing channel to market your products and services. And that’s still a great use of “Internet Marketing”: ONE (of many) channels through which you can market valuable products and services.

Next, “Internet Marketing” was taken over by the spammers who exploited

  1. people’s fascination with the new medium (including “it must be true, it says so on the Internet”)
  2. the ease, speed and low cost of doing mass-marketing (often: spamming)
  3. the incredible ‘arbitrage’ opportunities (buy cheap traffic, send straight to offer) – simply because the price of the traffic wasn’t appropriate for the inherent value.

(meanwhile, those who are using Internet marketing to market high-value products and services are still around and thriving)

Finally, Internet Marketing in the sense of the “greatest business opportunity of all times” comes along.

It’s not just one little opportunity like “hey, sell our pots ‘n pans to your friends” (who am I to complain, I’m using the good ol’ Amway frying pan I inherited from my parents a long time ago, it’s awesome;-), but suddenly *everything* to do with the Internet is a business opportunity.

And of course, like every other business opportunity, in almost all cases the person who gets rich is NOT you, but those who came up with the scheme in the first place.

So, why this rant in the first place?

(in case you don’t consider it a rant: I freakin’ *HATE* the whole biz-opp aspect of Internet marketing for so many reasons I don’t even know where to begin, and I absolutely LOVE Internet marketing as in “the marketing channel based on the Internet that’s used to sell high value products and services that actually help people”.


Because it truly lets you set up a business with less capital, more speed and less risk than ever before … but heck, I’m starting to sound like a biz-opper…)

So, rant in the first place because I see so many honest folks pulled into IM-the-Biz-Opp and then either give up after months and months, sometimes years of struggling to make *anything* work (and enriching the biz-oppers’ lives in the process) …

… leaving credit cards maxed out even more than before, that awful feeling “hey, am I really this stupid, why can’t I make it when everybody else appears to succeed with this?” and often enough a serious strain on their relationship with friends and family.

So, let me ask you again:

Ever noticed how hardly anybody wants to declare publicly that they are an “Internet Marketer”?

Could it be that deep down they already know they’ve falled for IM-the-Biz-Opp as opposed to really learning how to use the IM-the-value-adding-marketing-channel (IMVAMC;-)?

Tell me (I’m serious, tell me! and hey, we’re all anonymous here;-):

Which side of IM are you on? (wittingly or unwittingly)

And if you’re on IM-the-Biz-Opp (nothing to be ashamed of, sales-psychology is a strong force):

if you were on the IMVAMC side –

  • what problem would YOU solve, and use the Internet to market that solution?
  • would it even make sense to purchase courses that teach you
    • how to “exploit loopholes” (most likely to be closed tomorrow)
    • “crush, kill or maim” this, that or the other? (I thought it was about providing value?)
    • go “viral” by putting out “easy to source” content
    • build other people’s business instead of yours (both the biz-oppers, as well as Google’s, Amazon’s, Apple’s …)
  • why would you even bother with the cheapest traffic possible, when you can get *targeted* traffic of people who actually want your stuff (and have the money to pay for it) for a tiny bit more?

Tell me, and yes, I’m serious, let’s start a conversation here!

If you’ve been stuck in IM-the-biz-opp land, you’re not going to get out of it by sitting there, maybe even nodding your head, maybe feeling a little ashamed, or thinking that I’m an idiot (that’s me, not you!;) – tell me what’s going on … I’m more than happy to help, but I cannot read your mind!

over’n out







  1. Hi Veit… I’m so much into internet marketing that I have found that in LinkedIn I proudly announce that I’m a internet marketeer and also can help others to succeed on the net that those in my LinkedIn circle can ask for my expertise to guidance re..SEO, networking, social media and more. Since Google Panda, Penguin and coming soon Piranha… internet marketing may have been hit hard depending on ones direction. So much has happened in the last eight months re Google that if you gave nothing re content and visitor interaction, you most likely got deindexed into the Google black hole.

    • lol, yes, Google Piranha coming up!

      IMO it’s GREAT news for the rest of us – in terms of SEO we now have a level playing field, no longer a question who can buy the most backlinks, but instead: who can truly generate high-quality content!



  2. Hi Veit,
    Interesting post.You do make some valid points.Speaking from a personal perspective it is easy to get sucked in to the IM biz op land.One of the reasons for this is as follows:
    The amount of so called entrepreneurs who think a good way to run a business, is to prey on people’s desperation for more money and a better lifestyle.Let’s face it the IM world is full of people who say their main focus is to help but really all they are focused on is money and making more of it. Now don’t get me wrong, one of the reasons we all start a business, is to have more control over our financial future’s.But profits at the expense of people is neither good business sense or ethical.
    Another reason, is ignorance and I include myself in this, the main reason there is so much rubbish being sold in the IM world is because there so many naive individuals who buy the rubbish. I mean, let’s face it, a company like Google, is full of some very intelligent people once they get to realise some back door method or loophole exits they ain’t going to leave it open for long.
    I do believe that The internet is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to start and grow a business and many opportunities exist to build an enterprise that’s not only highly profitable but also highly ethical and genuinely does care.
    Anyway ranted on for long enough.

    • Hey Julian,

      checked out your FB page – 100% aligned with my thinking: deliver value, the rest will follow.
      Now, for me the key-point is this: as you rightly point out: doing business at the expense of others is never a long-term business model – and in a way I’m glad both Google and e.g. the FTC are doing their thing to crack down on the biz-opp nonsense!



  3. Hi Veit. You’ve identified the huge pitfall of the Internet based marketing life. It is ignorance. And it’s gullibility. I came into this looking over my shoulder all the time for the scamsters and the simple unethical dell-boys. Looking back over what I’ve achieved in 4 years… your introductory words made me squirm. I have tried to deliver value and have walked away from what turned out to be well marketed scams… I’ve lost 1000s in the process. I am earning a bit now but it was only when I stepped back and managed to stop spending money on shiney objects – even your shiney objects ;-0 – that I have begun to make a little headway on the local marketing help angle. Maybe I’ve been too picky and too slow to act – I should have retired by now if I’d stuck to the day job. The ignorance of what MARKETING actually is; is the huge hurdle I have had to overcome. Before I crossed over to the “dark side” I was rabidly anti towards anybody that tried to sell or market to me. The learning curve has been immense and painful. I have the knowledge and the technical skills and I am beginning to feel comfortable with marketing local services to local and wider visioned businesses, but I struggle because I end up doing too much of the work myself. Past encounters with outsourcers have been indifferent in the main and disastrous in 1 case. Some advice on how to build that side of the business up would be really good; working from an almost zero cash flow and rather bad personal debts, to generating a stable income that will let me meet my obligations feed my two youngsters and regain a bit of the life I have lost over the past few years. Don’t want much do I?

    • Ray, I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head:

      far too many people are fascinated by the ‘technical’ side of things and lacking desperately on the ‘marketing’ and biz-building side of things (which is totally understandable, most people neither have the MBA nor the masters or PhD in marketing, but rather ‘normal’ backgrounds, often enough being in employment all their lives, rather than at least figuring out how to build and run a business whilst self-employed)
      So, do I have some advice?
      Yes – as long as you promise not to take it in the sense of a “shiny” object, but instead advice that’ll send you down a path that’s littered with actual work, sometimes hard work.


      PS: apologies if any of my stuff appeared to be shiny, magic or flo-glow – that was not my intention.

  4. I think Buffett said it best when he said “in any market there is always a sucker. Take a look around, and if you can’t figure out who the sucker is, then you probably ARE the sucker”.

    I think until you realize that the Internet is just like a magazine or tv or radio and is just a medium via which you sell stuff, then you’re doomed to be the sucker. That’s not to say that the Internet isn’t a great medium with many inherent advantages, but it’s still just a medium, not the business.

    I learned that the slow and painful way.

  5. Hi Veit –

    Having started doing web design services, I ended up being drawn into the idea of also offering SEO services… hmmm.

    So when one ‘technique’ did not work… you would necessarily try to fix it by using the next and buy the next course… and on and on..

    But as you can imagine, mostly the techniques the ‘courses’ proposed were less than ‘white’.. hence a few hickups came along when G decided to unleash the ‘zoo’ !

    Although I have always been the ethical type! It seems I in part fell into, or got drawn into… the ‘IM-the-Biz-Opp’ thing I suppose.


    • John,

      and there’s nothing wrong with being drawn in by the biz-opp side – I still get excited when I see shiny stuff, I just hate the hangover that comes with it enough not to jump on board … plus I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to asking for refunds if something sucks;-)

  6. Hi, Veit!

    To answer some of your questions:

    When I first started I fell for some “exploit loopholes” kind of products; now I know better, after I’ve seen how many of these products are “useful” for like 10 days until the “loophole” is closed, and I now avoid any offer that says “loophole” like the plague.

    Regarding “crush, kill or maim” etc, I try to distinguish between what may be the real content and what may be just some sales copy “exaggeration”.

    If it’s a blind copy that tells you that you will “kill your competition”, “crush your servers with all the traffic you’ll receive by just clicking a button” etc, I just leave the page. If there seems to be some real valuable content, a sound proposition, and an explanation of what the method is about, and it makes sense for my business, I may “forgive” a little bit of hype in the copy and go for it.

    The same goes for “viral” thingies. I think if you really achieve your content to go viral, you can definitely take a step forward in your business, so I don’t discard any method or software that says it helps you go “viral” per se. I also try to determine (something veery difficult to do in advance) if what they are offering can really teach me something valuable, or they just are trying to “teach” me that ‘lolcats’ and hot blondes will may make my site go viral…

    I don’t completely agree on the “build other people’s business” idea, I’d make a distinction between two models:

    It’s true, if you just create an affiliate site and drive traffic to Amazon -using them as an example- without building your list, your own products, etc, you are growing *their* business, and not yours.

    But if you *do* build a list, create some products of your own, maybe even publish a report on the Amazon Kindle store, etc, and on top of that include Amazon affiliate promotions as part of your business model, I think of it like you are “partnering” with them. It’s a mutual benefit.

    Of course, I’d rather not talk about biz-oppers, in that case you are more likely to get screwed and build a list and get sales for them, than you are for yourself…

    • Hey Mikel,

      just picking up on a couple of points here:

      although I agree e.g. with what you’re saying about building a list is building an asset, so it’s ok to “partner” with Amazon, in *reality* the whole process overwhelms most people.

      They focus on getting the traffic AND building the list AND creating their own product AND … AND then overwhelm sets in – and I think that’s where the real problem is:

      the IM-the-biz-opp hype suggests you can easily (“just read 3 books, then you’re an expert, and you can create your own product and be a Clickbank bestseller this weekend”) do all of this – and seen individually, yes, you probably can, but when you put all the things together that need to be done to get the ‘passive income machine’ going, then the vast majority of people end up overwhelmed.

      Unfortunately, it’s not sexy to have on your sales-letter: “I’m going to teach you to build a list, with the objective of learning how to build a list. Heck, we’re not even going to make money off that list, right now, all we’ll focus on is building a list” … I don’t even need to do any split-testing to know that the promise of “building a list of 3472 people THIS WEEKEND using only free traffic and then milking tens of thousands of $ from that fresh list” is going to win…

      just my $0.02 of course;-)

  7. Hey Veit,

    I also fell for some shiny objects and lost some money in the process. I’m still in the process of uncluttering the stuff (deleted all my auto-splogs for instance). I still sometimes fall for mall shiny objects (cheap WSOs, some of yours too), but I see most of what I buy as investments, as I am able to use themes and plugins for clients’ websites, or use good marketing fundamentals to help grow their businesses.
    I go for building fundamentals first: Defining and optimizsing the sales process, uncovering and using hidden marketing assets, defining and communicating the USP or even a “Why” with the client.
    Internet marketing is just a tool like copywriting or advertising.

    I tried to be a blackhat IMer in the past, but as these methods do not hold as a business model, I looked for and found the fundamentals with the old school marketers.
    Now there is a bunch of old tools dusting on my harddisks 🙂

    Cheers, Alex

    • yep, as I keep saying: the secret to making it with IM is NOT the cool, cutting edge stuff, but marketing & business building 101.

      problem is: “old-school” just doesn’t sell as well as “shiny”…


      PS: no, didn’t change the blog-settings, and: heck, I’m going to have to have even bigger warnings above my stuff: this is old-school, not shiny – never intended to sell shiny stuff.

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