Like Me? Follow Me.
I love of a bit of Twitter spam on a Monday morning!
There's nothing quite so entertaining as to logging into email to receive three notifications that "internetmarketer" is now following us on Twitter. I dutifully clicked on all three - to rule out that they weren't real people with interesting Twitter feeds - and discovered that two were shell accounts promoting a blog with one post about "Robert Allen Wealth Program" and one was a suspeneded account.
That this fake avatar has 129 followers shows exactly how undiscerning people are - or how many people use an autofollow script on Twitter.
The second Twitter avatar has a broken URL in its profile yet still has 125 followers - along with 4 updates, also all promoting the same splog:
The thing is, these sites actually do a lot RIGHT:
- The fake profiles have actual pictures, so they look real.
- The fake profiles are following real people and have followers so it does look like people are interested.
- The one post in the splog has a coherent title, coherent content, two calls to action, and a profile picture and description.
All of these things at least make it look like a person is behind each one of these profiles - a person who has maybe set up a new account rather than dozens of shell accounts to push the splog that is probably an affiliate of the actual Robert Allen site, selling access to his secrets.
His site is a typical "make money fast" site where you scroll and scroll as it hints at giving you information if you keep scrolling and then finally demands you pay to get any further. But, again, it does a lot right:
- It has a picture of Robert Allen himself, a dead ringer for American televangelist Jerry Falwell, and mentions his apperances on "live TV" straight off the bat - if he is on TV, he must be legitimate, right?
- He mentions Regis Philbin's TV audience - Regis Philbin presents both Live With Regis and Kelly - the American version of GMTV - and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in the U.S.. If Robert Allen has been on a TV show presented by Regis Philbin, he must be legitimate.
So Robert Allen is building the trust of the visitor by showing he's a real person who is trusted by people they trust.
Next, he gets the visitor involved in the process by offering a little quiz which asks:
Now really, if you have a choice between $500 a month and $10,000 extra a month, what are you going to choose, really? So you're involved and he's playing on our own greed and hope in a time of economic crisis, just a bit.
Then he presents you with this clock that is ticking down, telling you that you have only an hour in which to sign up:
Never mind that you could easily leave the site and come back later and sign up - the target audience is not meant to be thinking, they're meant to be drawn into the idea that they can earn an extra $10,000 grand a month and then if they don't get the information now - they will never get it - he's also said the offer expires today, April 6. Whether tomorrow that becomes April 7, we'll know tomorrow. So he's trying to stop people thinking too hard before getting out their wallets - he wants buyers to make a split-second decision before they consider whether it's money well spent.
Next, he points out that he has written not one, but TWO New York Times bestsellers about making money.
Then he gives some case studies about what he's achieved including helping other people earn a lot of money.
Finally, he offers an "iron-clad" guarantee that you can get your money back if his program does not work - in 365 days.
So if you remember in a year to ask for your money back, and you still have the receipt, he'll refund your $29.95 (although hopefully you'll be filthy rich!) - but have to give proof that you tried to put his teachings into practice.
How you offer that proof is beyond me, as I've not seen the course so I don't know what he's telling you to do, but you have to write an essay about it and then somebody from his company will decide whether you're telling the truth or not.
This is clever on so many levels in that the creator is building trust, using popular streams to promote the product - and playing on the fact that these streams are new to many people who have only just discovered social media and Twitter in particular - so they don't know how to spot spam like they would if it landed in their inbox. He's using household names, case studies and testimonials to tell you it works for everybody and then finally he's saying you can get your money back. At that point, who's going to read the fine print?
This may be a sure-fire way of earning money, not having seen his training materials I couldn't say - but common sense tells me that if it were that easy then nobody would want for money because everybody would be signing up. However, even if the actual product doesn't teach us how to make ourselves millions, the way he sells himself can teach us a lot about marketing products on the internet - so maybe, in a roundabout way, he really can show you how to make money online.
*EDIT: It has been brought to my attention by a colleague that the avatar that looks like Matt Cutts is in fact a picture of "Make Money Online" internet guru Joel Comm. This is a very clever way to make a fake profile look legitimate as visitors might recognise the photo.