John Reel’s GoTryThis Black-Hat

By | July 17, 2006

UPDATE: This review is now outdated. I am leaving it here for informational purposes only. For the most up-to-date information and recommendations, please join my free newsletter.

Edition #67 – 7/17/2006

GoTryThis Black-Hat is another one of those products that I didn’t want to review, and wasn’t going to… but after being totally bombarded by “guru” email promotions for it, I felt I needed to give a balanced review because I know you’re getting some of those emails too.

First of all, don’t be fooled by the title of the product, the hype surrounding it, and the negative tone of the sales letter. It’s all a part of the marketing strategy… a very good marketing strategy.

First of all the title: GoTryThis Black-Hat. For the past year I’ve been thinking about concocting a product with the words “black hat” in the title, because it’s sure to be a best-seller. I think John Reel has proven that hypothesis to be true.

However, don’t be misled into thinking this is a mysterious product full of deep dark secrets and methods. This is a script which combines several techniques that have been used by experienced affiliate marketers for a long time.

Also don’t be fooled by the gurus who are claiming this is ground-breaking information, and that they’ve never seen anything like it. All those gurus are proving is that THEY are NOT experienced affiliate marketers.

I’ve been an affiliate marketer since before I ever started writing Eric’s Tips, and I can tell you that these techniques are nothing new, and I’ve been using most of them for a long time.

John is right about this though… a few of these techniques are not known by the majority of affiliate marketers, and those of us who are using them would prefer that John never created this product.

However, it’s NOT for the reasons he implies. He makes it seem like the elite affiliate marketers are going to be mad about the increased competition. As far as I’m concerned, that’s not really an issue. What I am concerned about is that fact that more affiliate programs will soon be banning some perfectly legitimate techniques due to the increased abuse of them.

As for the sales letter, the headline pretty much sets the tone…

Discover How You Can Get Your Selfish, Greedy, Undeserving Hands On The Most Effective ‘Black-Hat’ Arsenal Of Affiliate Marketing Weapons Anyone Would Ever Dare Release!

If I were to take it at face value, I’d be somewhat put off by it. I really don’t like sales copy that is condescending and degrading to the reader. However, I think it’s clear that he’s using a “shock-value” anti-marketing approach. He’s even got a picture of himself with devil horns, but again I think it’s just a marketing strategy.

While it’s not really my style, it’s a very effective technique (think about the Rich Jerk ebook — ‘I’m better than you’).

The fact of the matter is that this “black hat” resource has very little to do with true back hat techniques (like shadow domains), and it has nothing to do with black hat SEO, which is most commonly associated with the term “black hat”.

Most of the techniques are pretty much standard stuff that you could find in any number of affiliate software programs. The nice thing about GoTryThis is that it ties some of them together better than other programs. The sales letter lists 21 key features of the program… so let’s break them down one by one…

1. Works on your site and brands your links with your own domain name…

Yes this is a good technique, which I explained in an edition awhile back:
Of course you don’t need any special program to set up redirects on your own domain.

2. Helps you get way more click-through’s with more professional looking URL’s.

Same as above point. That’s why I advise avoiding URL shorteners like TinyURL for the purpose of affiliate marketing.

3. Stops affiliate thieves from stealing your commissions

Again tied to point #1… this is a reason for using redirects.

4. Tracks hits to your affiliate links

You do typically need some sort of script if you want to view all of your affiliate click stats from one location. There are dozens of programs (including free ones) for this.

5. Blah blah blah… you’ve seen it all before


6. Lets you publish your links in any folder with any name you like on your site. Other solutions make you put them in a specific folder like “/recommends”.

Most solutions do not require a certain folder, and of course if you set them up manually, that’s not an issue anyway because you can put them anywhere.

7. Take control of your affiliate marketing campaigns with a complete “front-to-back” affiliate tracking solution.

This is a good idea…again there are many solutions out there for this.

8. Organize and maintain all of your affiliate programs in one easy to use interface

Same as point #7

9. Create and track sub campaigns “on-the-fly”without doing any extra work or setup

This is admittedly a nice feature. A lot of affiliate programs (like CJ) have this capability built-in, but its nice to have it be a part of your central tracking system.

10. Compare results of two or more affiliate links

Again most tracking programs offer this, but GoTryThis does have very nice comparison features.

11. View real time tracking campaign statistics

Again this is part of virtually all link tracking systems

12. Make your links “viral”, and double your commission chances.

Nothing new here… it has been proven to be a successful model with programs like Mike Filsaime’s Instant Buzz and Russell Brunson’s Link Brander. However, I don’t typically use those programs because I don’t like to distract my visitors from what they’re supposed to be looking at.

13. Secretly embed an affiliate link in your web pages with one cut-and-paste

This is the one technique that “could” be black hat, and it all depends how you use it. What some black hat marketers do (like adware creators), is drop zillions of affiliate cookies onto your hard drive. That way if you buy ANYTHING on the web, there’s a good chance they’ll earn a commission from it.

However, I’ve been using this technique for perfectly LEGITIMATE reasons for a long time. The main reason I use this technique is so that I can send visitors to any page of a vendor’s site.

For example, let’s say I’m promoting an insurance company. Perhaps their standard affiliate link takes the visitor to their home page, but I want to send them directly to the application form. I can simply embed the cookie on my referring page, or within the redirect itself, and send the visitor to the page of my choice.

There’s nothing black hat about that. I made the referral, so I deserve to get credit, and the vendor is happy because I’m sending them leads/sales.

Lately, I’ve found this technique to be a great way to deal with the ever-increasing amount of marketers who are using the “squeeze page” technique (requiring you to opt-into their list before letting you view the sales page). Due to the proliferation of this method, I am no longer sending my subscribers to squeeze pages, unless I know and trust the marketer.

By embedding a cookie, I can send you right past the squeeze page and directly to the sales page. Maybe you’re thinking…. but, isn’t that wrong? After all, the website owner intended the visitors to go to the squeeze page. Well if an owner doesn’t want me to do it, then I won’t. But you need to consider this… If I don’t do it that way, then I’m not going to do it at all. So 99% of the time they are happy because I’m sending them customers instead of sending them nothing.

(UPDATE NOTE: I never embedded affiliate cookies/links for unethical or sneaky purposes. I did it when I was overtly promoting a product. However, this technique has been abused by unethical marketers, and as a result many affiliate program providers no longer allow the embedding of cookies. For this reason I err on the side of caution and don’t do it anymore.)

14. Secretly embed affiliate links in your LINKS.

This is basically the same thing as #13, but you’re embedding the cookie in the redirect page instead of the referring page. This method has less chance of being considered back hat, because everyone who is cookied is clicking on the link anyway. This is the method that I usually use if it is needed.

I’ll show you what I mean…

I could send you directly to my affiliate link for GoTryThis Black-Hat, which takes you to the squeeze page:

OR I could send you directly to the sales page, with the affiliate link embedded in the redirect:

The sales letter makes it sound like you need this program to do this, but it’s a very simple code. Here’s the code I used to create the above link:

If you want to be sneaky about it, then you can encrypt the embedded part, but I never do because I’m not trying to be sneaky.

15. Secretly hide rotating affiliate cookies in your web pages

Okay, this one is black hat and you should not do it. If you’re not promoting a particular product on your site, then you should not cookie the visitor for the product. If you do, then you’re basically doing the same thing as people who create spyware/adware. Use of this by customers of GoTryThis Black-Hat will probably cause some affiliate program to tighten up their rules. It is unfortunate, because that will also rule out the ability for legitimate marketers such as myself to use the technique in #14.

16. Secretly hide rotating affiliate cookies in links you publish ANYWHERE!

Same as above.

17. Quickly split-test affiliate programs to discover which one will make you the most money.

Split testing is nothing new, and there’s nothing black hat about it. GoTryThis does have very nice split testing capability.

18. Run GoTryTHIS on all your domains at no extra cost!


19. Get ALL The Guru’s Affiliate Marketing Secrets

Hmmm…. do you really want to listen to the ALL of the GURU’s?

20. Blue-Print Training Videos and Flow-Charts

He’s got some sample videos posted on the sales page… they are good for learning to use the software.

21. Just Added: Split-test any page with live graphs!

#11 and #17 combined


I’m giving GoTryThis Black-Hat a one thumb up. It’s a very nice script, and it fills several gaps that I could previously only achieve through a combination of a couple different scripts, or manual work.

The only black hat technique in this system is embedding affiliate links, and the rest of the stuff is pretty much standard techniques combined into a nice package.

It’s easy to use, and the reporting functions are great. The techniques are good, with the exception of the rotating cookie script, which should never be used. This program will save you time, and will add an important dimension to your affiliate marketing business, particularly if you’re not employing basic strategies like link cloaking and split testing.

As I’ve demonstrated, you will NOT be left in the dust if you choose to pass up this offer (in spite of what some gurus are saying), and you can employ many of these techniques without the use of software.

However, I can definitely say that the program IS easily worth the price John is charging for it. If you’re an experienced affiliate marketer, it will save time and likely add valuable reporting to your arsenal. If you’re a non-techie it will put the tools in your hands to be able to do some things that would otherwise be difficult for you to do.

GoTryThis Black-Hat

NOTE: After seeing all the comments from people who can’t afford GoTryThis Black-Hat, Gina Gaudio-Graves (the JV broker who helped launch the product) reminded me that there is a FREE version of GoTryThis available. I have personally tried it, there is nothing black hat in it, and I highly recommend checking it out.

57 thoughts on “John Reel’s GoTryThis Black-Hat

  1. Kenneth Washington

    Hello Erric,

    I just subscribed to receive your Eric’s Tips Newsletter a little over a week ago and I’m quite impressed.

    The cander you use for reviews (Like the one for GoTryThis) is very much appreciated. There are way too many unknown and known Gurus who don’t care one way or the other if the little guy makes any money. As long as they get their 50% of a $497 or greater package, they’re happy.

    I’m one of those individuals who has literally several Gigabytes of unused PLR products, scripts and ebooks stored on my harddrive.

    I’ve not even looked at more than 80% of the products cluttering my hard drive, but fancy talk and killer ad copy got me to buy most of the stuff anyway.

    I finally decided to take some action and focus on one area that I felt could truly bring me some money.

    This started with me buying Joe’s AdSense templates and putting them to use. I created several sub domains for my site

    Are just a few. Instead of waiting months for the search engines to spider and list my sites, I decided to take the initiative and pay for PPC advertising.

    Purchased PPC ads through SearchFeed, 7thSearch, Miva and GoClick. I chose these services, because I could bid as low as .01 per click and still get high volumes of targeted traffic to my sites.

    The investment cost me $100 in total and already I’ve made over $250 for Google AdSense this month and $50 plus for 2 affiliate networks whose offers I’m featuring on the sites as “Today’s Top XXX Providers.”

    I will continue to expand on my small Niche sites and promote them this way. Didn’t take much, but for me to do the following to make more than I spend:

    1. Trash any obvious email pitches for me to buy something.
    2. Use a product from a leading marketer whose making real money using the products themselves.
    3. Spending some money to promote the product and not sitting on my hands waiting for someone else to do it for me (Search Engine Spiders).

    It all boils down to taking the right action and sticking with it. I don’t hope to get rich doing what I do, but if it can put an extra $300 to $500 in my pockets every month (Spending no more than $150 a month) then I’m happy.

    You’re doing a good job and I look forward to reading your newest mailings and blog entries.

    Thanks for being there for the little guy.

    Kenneth Washington

  2. Ken

    “Amy, I figured when I put devil horns on my picture, people would get that we’re having fun with it and not take it too seriously. ”

    You were right the first time: anyone who gets offended by such non-issues takes life waaaaay too seriously. What surpised me the most was that people actually read your headline, lol. I had no idea what it said until I read it here. I never read headlines anymore on salepages. What’s the point? I mean, they’re often the hypiest part of the page, and seldom offer anything of substance that would affect my buying decision, so I just skip right by them. Now, I’m not saying headlines are ineffective(hey, that would be a good test), I’m just saying I don’t read them. It’s a waste of time.

  3. Janice Willingham

    Hey Folks,

    Who is Eric Holmlund? Never heard of him until I was browsing John’s forum and someone mentioned to go read his reveiw of GTT. Wow, that was a thorough review! For someone who is new to affiilate marketing that was great and most importantly unbiased. I may not have purchased GTT if I had read your review first. However, after reading the adcopy for GTT several times I realized the potential of the software. It’s like a one stop shop and that’s what I paid for because I have grown tired of listening to the “gurus” who in my opinion only want to make money off of some unsuspecting newbie. I have learned from this review that you sure can’t hang your hat on everything those gurus say, you really have to search for the answers and be always on the lookout for someone like Eric who is going to tell like it is. I recognize your website as a true find and will bookmark it. Now, it doesn’t seem like enough time in the day for me to catch up on your past writings and try to find out where I can become your subscriber!

    I’ve installed GTT, John has been great with tech help and making sure his customers have what they need to enjoy and use the software. Great marketing on his part and also for even conceiving such an idea to put most if not all the information needed for someone to at least get started in this affiliate marketing thing or be well on their way to success. For that, I applaud his efforts and look forward to more from him.

    I think both you and John have been a breath of fresh air…from those gurus that have bascially saturated the Internet.

    So, two thumbs up! One for each of you. I love to baby watch (anticipating their arrival). Take care and congrats on your baby…

  4. Rick Harper

    In response to Kenneth’s entry, I too have purchased way too much stuff. I think today I’ve only spent $57.00 , but I did buy the blackhat package the other day. Now all I need is a website to use it on. The main reason for purchasing the product was to help me in my affiliate sales efforts. Having made a little over $500 and spent over $3000 on ppc and other ads, I’m feeling like I need some positive cash flow from my efforts. I did buy Joel’s and Eric’s adsense templates, which I am working on, and yesterday I did have income of 11 cents from those, so its looking up. Has anyone else thought it might be more cost effective to hire someone, pay them $2000 and get some good advise and direction rather than continue to grab all these latest “got to have” products?

    Eric, I love your advice and believe you are sincere in your reviews and recommendations. If you’re thinking of having a private class on how to do…all this stuff… I want to enroll now. I average about $50 a day buying stuff I don’t know what to do with, I would much rather use that money to get some good education, designed for a non-techi type.


  5. Franck silvestre

    Awesome Blog!

    It’s an example to follow, for me first, and for the entire web. I like that.

    I will subscribe to your email list. I will come on your blog from now to see rwview of poping products.

    Thanks a lot for your honesty.

    P.S: I didn’t like John’s Horns on the salesletter…

  6. said hassan


  7. Baka Tare

    Yeah Eric, I guess by now you have a different opinion about GTT 2 I see updates your affiliate link with the new format. I used GTT 1 for 2 years now and use it every day. Something I cannot do with other software. John is a winner and as you know the script is first class not some crappy thing we buy form other so called programmer. I think you way oversimplified the technology GTT incorporates and lots of other stuff that is not so but hey you are a great marketer and the heard will listen LOL,
    Have a lovey day Eric.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 50 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here