Edition #89 – 10/16/2006
I wish I had gotten this review out a couple of weeks ago when I bought this product, but as many of you know, I was immersed in preparations for another product launch at the time.
When Chris McNeeny launched his latest ebook, Affiliate Project X, earlier this month, I received about a dozen email promos for it. I got them from just about every internet marketer that I subscribe to, including several that I personally know and am friends with.
Since I was bombarded with it, I’m guessing you may have seen some of the same.
The thing is, some of these guys promoting it are really friends of mine…guys who typically do not promote junk, and whom I generally trust for marketing tips.
So naturally, I went and checked out the site.
What I came across was what I would consider to be unquestionably one of the “best-written” sales letters I’ve ever seen. As soon as I saw it, I knew… it’s no wonder so many of my friends are promoting it, this thing must be converting like crazy.
I sat down and read through the page, and by the time I got to the order button I was truly salivating for the information promised by the sales letter. I knew I had to buy it. At that point, I was thinking of it in terms of using this information for MYSELF, and not necessarily as review-material for this newsletter.
So I went ahead and bought it for $77 (since then, the price has gone up to $97 and may be going up to $197 soon).
Unfortunately, this product did not even come close to meeting my expectations, and left me disappointed with the purchase.
I did not ask for a refund, because I don’t think Chris is trying to rip people off, and because I just typically don’t ask for refunds. I also feel like its sort of a courtesy as a fellow marketer, and I feel more justified in giving brutally honest reviews when I’ve paid for it.
Okay, so before I continue, I want to give two disclaimers that I don’t always give.
1) I do not think Chris is trying to rip people off, or that he’s a bad guy.
2) I don’t think my internet marketing friends who promoted it were trying to mislead you, or that you should judge them on the basis of this one product. In fact I think most of them were sincerely trying to help.
Okay, so that said, I’ll tell you what I think…
I think the sales letter is over-the-top full of hyped up claims, and the product does not fulfill those claims.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jumping onto the “all hype is bad” bandwagon.
If you’ve seen any of my product launches, you’ll know that I also weave certain hype elements into my own marketing style. I make no secret about it, because I’ve also TAUGHT in this newsletter about how YOU as an internet marketer can use tactics such as urgency and scarcity to drive your sales.
While there is a contingency who will vehemently disagree with me on this, I feel that as long as your claims are TRUE, and your product helps people in the way you say it will, then there’s an ethical place for marketing “tactics”. If you disagree, then honestly you should get out of this industry altogether. If you feel it is wrong to attempt to sell anything to anyone, then you can’t be an internet marketer.
At the same time, I’m not afraid to call hype for what it is, and separate the facts from the tactics…particularly when those tactics are clouding the truth.
In the case of Affiliate Project X, I think a brilliantly written sales letter kind of got away like a runaway train, and took on a life of its own apart from the product it was originally intended to promote.
Let me break it down a bit and point out some things in the sales letter…
The headline starts by saying, “You’re about to discover the affiliate secrets that the gurus have been keeping from you.”
I’ve started to realize lately that guru-bashing is becoming a very popular and profitable strategy. A good example would be the “AdSense is Dead” guy, whose reports supposedly flew in the face of the gurus. He created instant trust by disagreeing with the gurus, and made an absolute killing when he launched his product shortly thereafter.
I’ve long considered myself to be a “Non-Guru”, but please realize that doesn’t mean that I’m ANTI-guru. There are plenty of good gurus out there, and the way most of them became gurus was by sincerely helping people. If they never helped anyone become more successful, then they wouldn’t have so many followers.
Okay, so that’s not to say that all gurus are trustworthy, I’m just saying that being a guru does not inherently make someone untrustworthy.
But what’s happened lately is that SOME gurus have gone overboard with their hyped up techniques, and it’s caused a large fallout in the internet marketing community where a lot of people now think that ALL gurus are bad.
The ironic thing is that this new breed of anti-guru people are still craving leaders. Maybe the gurus didn’t lead them to success, so they’re looking for someone new to show them the “truth” about making money online.
This opened the door for some smart marketers to fill that void by turning themselves into self-proclaimed bearers of the truth (and that opportunity still exists very much). All you have to do is loudly proclaim your anti-guru dissent, and claim to be a revealer of the truth hidden by gurus. And if you can get people to hear you, you will soon have many in agreement with you. The extra dose of irony is that those marketers become instant “gurus” in their own right.
This whole rant is just to say, beware the anti-guru marketing technique. It may be legitimate to a degree, but I’ve been around a lot of gurus, and I can sincerely tell you that in general they are NOT trying to hide secrets from people. In fact, most of the time its just the opposite. They’re trying to learn more so that they can reveal more.
The anti-guru marketing technique is founded upon exploiting the pent-up frustration that so many marketers have toward the gurus.
But this is not where the Affiliate Project X sales letter took a wrong turn. I think that started to happen when the income claims started popping everywhere. Let’s look at some of the income-related lines from the sales letter…
“The methods the real super affiliates use to make $500 per day…”
“Quit your job in weeks, not years and make as much as $1,000 per day…”
“A complete affiliate formula… that will allow you to make at least $5,000 per month…”
“…guiding you every inch of the way until you make the same $2,000 per day that I make.”
“… one of my test subjects caught fire and did $400 in a single day.”
“…had collectively done $643/day in their final week.”
“…a few secrets separate… the abject failures from the $500/day affiliates. ”
“$600 IN MY FIRST TEN DAYS” (testimonial)
“$1,465 SINCE I STARTED” (testimonial)
“…the very reason that some affiliates make as much as $20,000 in a single day”
“…how to 100% guarantee a $200/week income stream”
“…and setup $5,000/month income streams every time”
“…used by the world’s most successful, underground $500/day affiliates”
“…how the super affiliates – the $1k/day guys – do their research”
“…as much as $5,000 per month with NO list and NO special skills required”
“…including a $6,000 per month income stream that you can replicate”
“…you are practically guaranteed to be making $100 per day within 30 days”
“…every promotion that a $600 per day affiliate has ever done”
“…the surest path to $500/day financial freedom on the planet.”
“…replicate, sit back and watch those $2k checks roll in like clockwork.”
“…an hour’s work a day for $2,000 a week, anyone?”
“$19,000 in two weeks…”
“I have generated a little over $400 from a dead start.” (testimonial)
“…when I began to make $1,000 per day.”
“…I have gone from broke to banking over $12,000 in a single day.”
“I was making $300 per week… then $400… and it grew and grew”
“… a few weeks later, I did $750 in profit.”
“…and then I hit $15,000 per week”
“…my income hit the $1k/week level, then a few weeks later, $2k a week.”
“…I hit $3,000 per week in clear profit, then $10k per week”
“…soon I was making an easy $15,000 each and every week.”
“…and another $14,000”
“…hitting $1,000/week within 2 months of my initial experiment”
“$300 IN THIRTY HOURS” (testimonial)
“I made $476 in 3 hours”
“…set up a $50,000 income stream with a single web page”
“…a full $180/day with no advertising costs”
“I setup a $46,000/year income stream while in an Internet cafe in London.”
“…already set up $2,470/month in passive income streams.”
“…were collectively making $1,509/day.”
“…was making fully $300/day despite starting out with no capital.”
“…making $5,000 is one hell of a feeling”
“…when you have your first $1,000 week”
“do this, make $100 per week and repeat” (testimonial)
“…every strategy used by the $100,000+ affiliates”
“…and a full 8 weeks to make $2000 per week”
“I want to make as much as $2,000 per day…”
“…buyers making as much $600 in the 30 hours since launch.”
“…10 of them were making a upwards of $100 per day.”
“…affiliate promotions that make me $100,000 per year.”
Okay, now I’m not saying that those are straight up “income claims” as the FTC would define it, but good grief!
That’s a LOT of numbers for one sales letter, wouldn’t you agree? Normally you want to be extra careful not to confuse your reader, because a confused mind never buys. But in this case, I think the barrage of digits had a bit of a “shock and awe” effect.
I can tell you that by the time I finished reading the sales letter, I was like… okay I don’t have a clue who this guy is, but I HAVE to know how he makes all those amounts of money.
With all those SPECIFIC numbers, it must be true, right?
I’d be willing to bet that the above numbers ARE true, but here’s my advice. Don’t let numbers alone sell you on ANY product, because they are not necessarily representative of the value you’ll be getting.
Another area of the sales letter that I’d like to mention is the prevalance of “so-called-evil”.
This is another marketing technique that has become highly successful lately, with various “black hat” evil secrets being revealed by the gurus and anti-gurus alike 😉
I guess a lot of people think that the biggest money-making secrets inherently must be evil or illegal in some way, and we’re attracted to it.
The sales letter says things like…
“I would guess that less than 100 affiliates world-wide are using these underground, “black hat” methods”
“…you guys are going to feel a little uneasy when you learn how I have been making my riches.”
“Several of my techniques are so profitable, so devious, so treacherous…”
“My methods are downright evil. Chances are I will get shut down by someone, somewhere…”
However, I didn’t find anything overtly evil in the methods described in the book. A lot of it involves what I would call “spying on the competition”, but nothing particularly unethical, and nothing illegal that I could find.
Once again, it’s a tactic. People are drawn to the dark and mysterious ways of making money. Sometimes those black hat methods are real, but here’s my advice. Don’t buy anything just because it claims to be “bad”. Maybe it really is, but chances are better that it’s just a sales tactic.
I could go through the entire page and pick apart the dozens of hype-laden promises that led me to buy it, but I don’t think that’s necessary.
In the ordering area, he says “It is beyond dispute that any affiliate on the planet will need this at some point” .
To that statement I simply have to disagree. If you’re new to the internet marketing game, this ebook could get you off to a great start. But you’re not destined for failure without it.
He even goes so far as to say, “You will not find my techniques in any e-book on the market. Ever.”
Again, simply not true. In fact, I’d dare say I’ve seen EVERY one of his techniques in other ebooks, though he does put his own spin on a couple of them.
With all of the hype and claims, I really expected the ebook to be “all killer and no filler”. After all, who would have the guts to make such bold claims unless their product seriously rocked?
That’s why I was surprised to find the quantity of information relatively small. The ebook is only 50 pages, and the strategies don’t even start until page 11 (the first 10 pages are an introduction and basics of affiliate marketing).
In all, the ebook covers six techniques over the course of about 32 pages. Again, I was fully aware of all six of these techniques, and I’ve also seen them taught in other places (but maybe not all in the same place).
In fairness, maybe I’m overestimating the prevalence of these techniques being known and used. Maybe I just happen to have spotted these techniques in other places because I’m already one of the super affiliates and I know what to look for. That is possible.
So the bottom line…
Are these six techniques worth the money?
1) YES they are worth the money. In spite of the hype, one small technique (it could be any of them) would easily pay off the price of the ebook.
2) BUT if you already know the techniques (like me)…it obviously isn’t worth your time. I’m guessing that most semi-successful affiliate marketers know this stuff, but again I might be wrong.
3) AND don’t set your expectations too high if you read the sales letter. As I mentioned, I was disappointed because I was expecting life-changing information after reading it.
If you can contain your curiosity; more power to you. But if you just can’t contain your curiosity (like me), then I’d say feel free to take him up on his money back guarantee. He is so brazen as to say that if you’re not making $2000/week within 8 weeks than you can have all your money back.
I’ve covered a lot here… really more than just a product review. I’ve also talked about income claims, anti-guru marketing, and so-called-evil-marketing, all of which are forms of hype in my opinion.
I’d be happy to hear your take on all this.
As always, you can leave your comments here in the blog.
Have a great day!