Am I Liable? Part 2

This is a follow-up to the post I wrote regarding affiliate liability as it pertains to a recent situation in my business.

In a nutshell…

I had previously recommended a certain copywriter [redacted]. On my recommendation, one of my readers hired the copywriter.

Unfortunately, the copywriter did not complete the work that he was paid $1344 to do (The agreement was for two sales letters plus 3 landing pages. The copywriter delivered only one sales letter which was irrelevant to the project according to the customer). Rightfully upset, the customer asked for the work to be finished, and when it never happened, he asked for a refund.

The copywriter stopped responding to the customer. The customer tried disputing the payment with PayPal, but by that time it was beyond PayPal’s 45-day limit.

Having exhausted those options, the customer asked ME for the refund, citing that he had trusted my recommendation.

So I blogged about it and asked two questions…

1) Am I legally liable?

2) What is the right and ethical thing to do?

Over 1000 comments were posted – thank you for all the great input!

Regarding the first question (Am I liable?), the responses were nearly unanimous.

Everyone seemed to agree that I was not legally liable for the situation. I had made the recommendation in good faith, and the buyer was responsible for exercising his own due diligence.

Regarding the second question (What should I do?), the responses were mixed.

The majority of commenters agreed that I should not pay the refund to the reader out of my own pocket. In fact, many stated that it could set a bad and potentially dangerous precedent for myself and other marketers.

The most popular opinion seemed to be that it is solely the copywriter’s responsibility to remedy the situation, and the matter is exclusively between the customer and the copywriter.

Some readers suggested that legal action be taken against the copywriter. I’m not a lawyer, but in my opinion it would not be worth the time or money required to pursue a civil case.

The legal costs would exceed the $1344 amount, and even if the customer were awarded a judgment including legal costs and interest, it seems unlikely that the copywriter would be able to pay it.

A few readers suggested taking it to the police, and I do think that this suggestion has merit. The copywriter was doing business in Houston, Texas, so a case could be filed with a local jurisdiction. Again, I don’t have any legal expertise, but based on what I’ve seen I think the customer may have enough evidence for a criminal fraud case.

Additionally, I discovered that there are several other people who are claiming similar problems with the same copywriter over the past couple of years. Those within the statute of limitations could potentially be added to the case as additional victims.

Some readers suggested that I get in touch with the copywriter to intervene in the situation. I liked this suggestion, and I tried hard to get in touch with him.

I emailed every known email address of the copywriter, I found him on Facebook and sent him a message, I left him a voicemail, and I even did some additional sleuthing and ran a background report on him in attempt to get contact information.

I was polite in my communication, and I even offered the opportunity for the copywriter to correct the situation, tell his side of the story, and potentially save his reputation.

Unfortunately I never heard back from him. I could have gone another step and contacted his relatives since I have their contact information too, but I felt that it would be inappropriate for me to cross that line in this situation. If the customer wanted to do that in his attempt to recover his money, that would be his prerogative.

Of course it’s possible that the copywriter was unable to respond due to extreme circumstances like injury, death, or even a month-long vacation off the grid. However, I believe those are unlikely scenarios considering the copywriter’s history.

In my research I found that he has allegedly treated other customers similarly in the past. He communicates with them in the beginning, but when things go south he cuts off the communication. Here is a thread in the Warrior forum [redacted] evidencing a couple of disgruntled customers who stopped receiving communication from him.

Now he has done the same thing to me too. When he was trying to get me to recommend his service to my subscribers, he emailed me several times and even called my home phone number a few times.

At the time I thought… wow, this guy is really on top of things. In retrospect I see a pattern that is typical of someone who is either a con-artist or has some serious personal problems and was starved for cash.

Another example of his “hit and run” style was his [redacted] membership that he launched last year. He signed up members who paid $97/month for “unlimited” sales letters. [redacted] claimed to have a team of writers working for him, but in his [redacted] “confession” in the Warrior Forum, he implies that he was doing all the work himself and quickly got burned out.

[redacted] then reportedly turned around and sold that membership site to another individual for $10,000, claiming that the site was bringing in $10,000 per month. According to the new site owner (who communicated with me on the condition of anonymity), he did not realize that he was in fact acquiring a collection of disgruntled customers who had not received the copywriting service for which they had paid.

Due to the toxicity of the situation, the new owner issued many refunds, and shut down the site, effectively losing his entire investment.

In spite of all this, the offer I made to [redacted] in my communications still stands. If he is willing to correct the situation, I’m willing to post his side of the story here on my blog… and I won’t even critique it.

Some readers thought I was being too harsh by potentially damaging the copywriter’s credibility. I contend that he damaged his own credibility.

In the previous blog post, I remained objective and did not attack the copywriter’s character at all. I presented the facts, and asked for input.

Today, on the other hand, I am calling his character into question. It’s a gut-wrenching thing for me to do, but I think it’s the right thing to do. Honestly, I hate blogs that “bash” people and drag their names through the mud. I’m not into that, and if you know me then you’ll know that’s not what I’m doing here.

A few readers felt I was being insensitive to the customer/victim by blogging about the situation. I can certainly understand that sentiment, and I’d be asking the same question.

In this case you just need to know that the customer was aware that I was going to write the article. He was OK with it, and he was grateful for the opportunity to publicize his injustice.

He was also very happy with my attempt to intervene in the situation.

Several people said I should “go with my gut”. Not a bad suggestion. For those who were intuitive enough to see that my conscience was bothering me, you’re right. I wouldn’t have blogged about it if I didn’t care.

On the one hand, emotions can make this kind of thing tricky, which is part of why I wanted to get some additional opinions on the matter. On the other hand, I do have a moral conscience that guides me, and ultimately I think I did go with my gut.

A minority of people said I should pay the refund, and their reasons were mixed.

Some said I should pay my commission to the customer, but in this situation I did not receive a commission from the copywriter.

Others said I should pay a percentage of the refund to the customer (suggestions of 10%, 33%, 50%, or perhaps an amount equal to the commission that I SHOULD have earned).

A couple of people thought I had a moral obligation to pay the full refund, citing that my recommendation was the sole basis of the buyer’s decision.

Others thought that I should pay it simply because I CAN afford it. They assumed that I am wealthier than the customer I referred, and therefore I should happily transfer some of my wealth to him.

Yet others said I should give the refund because of the positive PR it would bring me, and the goodwill that it would generate with my subscribers.

A good number of people said I should provide some other method of compensation.

Some said I should write the sales letter myself, since I know how to write sales copy.

Others said I should hire a copywriter to finish the job.

Yet others said I should provide some free coaching or give a bunch of my own products to the customer.

All very intriguing possibilities.

So you want to know what I decided?

The first thing I decided is that I want to make two things abundantly clear for the future:

1) I am not liable for your results or experience that occurs as a result of anything/anyone I recommend. Always proceed at your own risk.

2) I DO stand behind my recommendations. While I can’t be held liable for someone else’s poor service, I also will not tolerate my subscribers getting ripped off.

If you believe you have been the victim of a rip-off or scam as a result of my recommendation, I want to know about it. To the extent that I am reasonably able, I will try to get in touch with the other party to help you get the product, or get your refund.

You still need to go through the normal channels first (contact their support, request refund, etc.). But if all else fails, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. I’m not making any promises, but I’ll definitely see what I can do on a case-by-case basis. And hopefully there won’t be any more of THIS kind of case, because I’m going to be even more careful about what I recommend.

As I mentioned, I diligently tried to get in touch with the copywriter and was unable. So under normal circumstances, there’s probably not much else I would do in this situation.

However, I felt it was warranted to do something extra for this customer since I did turn his unfortunate situation into a nice case study on my blog!

So I got in touch with a copywriter named Paul Hooper-Kelly, who seems to have a stellar reputation and came recommended to me by my friend Jeremy Gislason.

Paul has pulled off some great successes for Jeremy – as well as other internet marketing top guns in a wide variety of niches – with conversion rates as high as 12.5% and sales well in excess of a million dollars from a single sales letter.

With this kind of success to his credit, Paul doesn’t work cheap. But if you’ve ever had a truly great sales letter written, you’ll understand that paying good money for high quality sales copy is actually more “affordable” than hiring a “cheap” copywriter.

After all, the true measure of a sales letter is how well it converts, and a good-converting sales letter can pay for itself quickly.

If [redacted] isn’t a con-artist, at the very least he can be faulted for charging too little for his sales letters.

That means something has to give.

Researching the market, understanding the product, and making that vital connection between the two is often overlooked by “cheap” writers– so the sales letter lacks the magic that makes it convert.

Or (as may have happened in this case) the writer is overwhelmed with work because he’s offering “bargain” prices– so he never delivers.

Being closely involved in the copywriting business, Paul knew this wasn’t the first time [redacted] had upset customers, bringing the copywriting profession into disrepute.

So, to prove not all copywriters are the same, Paul has agreed to write this reader’s unfinished sales letters on a pro bono basis!

So at this point, the problem is solved for the customer. And if [redacted] ever comes around, he owes Paul Hooper-Kelly… big time!

After inspecting Paul’s work and examining his credentials, I’ve also decided to recommend Paul in the gap that was left due to my “unendorsement” of [redacted]. I’m confident, from what I’ve heard from his happy clients, that he won’t be letting my readers down.

So, I’ve arranged for Paul to set up a special area on his site – accessible only by Eric’s Tips readers – where you can enjoy Paul’s world class copywriting for a much lower price than the general public pays for it (His normal price for a sales letter is $7500, but Eric’s Tips readers can save thousands of dollars. Other services are available too.)

So don’t order any services from his open pages. Instead, submit a ticket to my helpdesk if you’re serious about hiring a top-notch copywriter, and we’ll give you a secret link to check it out.

Now in case you’re wondering…

NO this whole thing was not some sort of publicity stunt so that I could recommend another copywriter. It just worked out this way, and I think it’s a good outcome for everyone.

Thanks again for all your input, and as always… you are welcome to leave your comments below.

Have a great day!

206 comments on “Am I Liable? Part 2

  1. Abu Shafi

    Hi Eric,
    Thank you for the way you handled this unfortunate matter. All is well that ends well. The victim is at least compensated though not by the culprit.
    This case serves as a warning to name and shame potential offenders and I hope marketers will now be more careful when dealing with their clients in future by working with diligence and integrity.
    I hope more victims will in future come forward and expose dishonest marketers.

    Reply
  2. Jamey

    I don’t understand why the fool who lost the $1344 (after contacting all the people who left testimonials praising this “copywriter”) asked YOU for a refund? On that basis, he should have asked everyone on the sales page who recommended this guy for some money. Yet, he singled YOU out for a refund? I think your solution to this guy’s problem was WAY TOO GENEROUS. I hope the next time he gets ripped off he doesn’t come running to you for a refund, or me, or anyone else reading this!

    Reply
  3. Daz

    Eric,

    Did you pay Paul for completing the sales letter ? Pro-bono basis ?

    Reply
  4. Daz

    How about compiling a list of all the cons out there ?

    Reply
  5. Karen

    Nice resolution Eric. I wonder though if your customer is prepared to do the same for his customers if he ever recommends anything and receives a similar complaint/request. Let’s hope so!

    Reply
  6. Noel F. Hayes

    Well done Eric, you’ve turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse here looking at all the positive comments from your followers. Very wise also to the check things out thoroughly we are endorsing. Great to see you accepting some responsibility.
    Keep up the great work
    Noel

    Reply
  7. cyril

    Well done Eric i wish to shake your hand one day
    God Bless

    Reply
  8. Tony

    Eric is an honest man (in my experience) and excellent communicator, who does his best for everyone. So it is good that he has found the time to document this incident as a lesson for us all. Thank you Eric.

    With regard to the Bible. You know what they say; never believe everything you read; it is up to all of us do our own due diligence. (As Eric has suggested.)

    Good deeds often go unrewarded and evil people do prosper, despite the best efforts of a lot of people to bring them down more than just a peg or two!

    The concept of decency is profound. We should all be that way but, disappointingly, some are not. But the more we watch out, and take care not to be duped, the more chance we have of not being duped. But it will happen, in spite of all the due diligence undertaken.

    As they say, caveat emptor! (And I have been caught in the noose a lot more than once, and that is my fault). No one else need take responsibility for mistakes, except ourselves.

    My advice, for what it is worth; do not rely on anyone but yourself, and certainly do not believe in everything you read in the Bible. After all it tells you that the earth was built in seven days, and we have only had the planet for around six thousand years to play on!

    Good business practice has nothing to do with any religious text, so do not rely on it. Rely only on yourself! That way you will make progress and, eventually, get your due reward.

    Stop thanking God, and thank people like Eric for his effort to help us all to make more of our lives and to prosper.

    Reply
  9. Dez Futak

    So it’s not just my imagination that all us blokes are the same then šŸ™‚ (Independent-minded, take action etc)…my wife often asks me the same question šŸ™‚

    It’s not without good reason that the female brain is so differently wired šŸ™‚

    Dez.

    Reply
  10. Eric Hendrix - Traffic Amp

    Hi Eric,

    I am a true believer that everything that happens, happens for the best.

    This situation exemplifies that phrase, in my humble opinion.

    It amazes me that there are people out there that would allow their greed, despair, hard times, or what ever you wish to fill in here, get in the way of better judgment when running a business.

    You are a true gentleman and scholar and there are very few of us left. LOL

    I love your solution you found for the person getting Paul’s services and it is a great offer you have made available to your readers.

    My kudos go out to Paul for stepping up to this situation and to you for having great friends you can count on in a pinch.

    We all are a little bit smarter after reading this blog post and happier in the knowledge you have our best interest at heart.

    Thank you,
    Eric

    Reply
  11. Roy

    Hi Eric

    Well done.

    Hi Dragutin

    You Must know that alot of this type of situations never get resolve.

    You owe Eric A BIG THANKS!!!!

    Reply
  12. Eric Post author

    Pro bono means he is doing it as an act of charity.

    Reply
  13. Di

    Your subscriber made the choice to take action on your recommendation, Eric, you did not force him to, so he was solely responsible for any negative consequences. But nice that this case had such a good ending. He owes you! Di

    Reply
  14. Butlin.

    Hello Eric,
    This seems like the saying, out of evil cometh good, I think this situation has thought you and many of us, some very important lessons about people and their ways. However have a long and lasting live on the Internet marketing scene.

    Butlin.

    Reply
  15. selfconfidencehypnosis

    It looks like you laid the matter to rest in an amicable manner.
    I personally did not see what the fuss was about at the beginning. It was a clear cut case in your favor. However, it turned out well for a few people. The publicity received by various individuals was tremendous. (I know you did not plan it like that – or did you??)

    Reply
  16. Randal Blanchette

    I am really proud of you Eric. You did not take the cowards way out by saying it was not your problem. Gives me hope that the IM scene still have some good people with a heart for customers and sense of right and wrong.

    While everyone who comments is entitled to their opinions, I still think that anything short of what you did is simply mean spirited and not aligned to good business practice. Read, they need to work on their people skills.

    People just want what they pay for, recommendations are a form of endorsement. If the government does not look lightly on these things (you can thank the FTC for this one marketers) then why should we or our customers?

    It invites yet more unwanted intervention by The Man when we follow what some have said here. THAT is Always a poor choice IMO.

    Reply
  17. Astoria Pediatricians

    Eric, you’ve always been the classiest IMer out there, and I think you’re handling this correctly. Paying out of your pocket would set a dangerous precedent, and I agree you should not.
    Regarding legal action, the best thing to do is find out if this is considered “small claims” but the Houston jurisdiction this copywriter operates out of. If it is, a legal case could be waged pretty cheaply. If on the other hand it qualifies as a larceny, then the best thing to do is inform the Houston authorities.

    Cheers,

    Frank

    Reply
  18. Dan @ Instant Money Making Websites

    Thank you so much Eric for the way you have handled this case. Your honesty, and a heart to help is worth emulating, I’m really touched.

    I didn’t find the victim’s comment on your solution, but I’m sure he will be satisfied with what you have provided for him. This solution doesn’t only restore his investment in his business, it also provided him opportunity to get even better job done from Paul, and restored his trust in the industry.

    For [redacted], it’s a pity that he would allow greed, impatience, love for money, or whatever it is to damage the golden opportunity he had to build a multimillion dollars business – what a huge waste!

    Reply
  19. Karen

    Hi Eric

    Well done. You arrived at a totally satisfactory solution.
    And a very important point has be made.

    Reply
  20. Steve Morehead

    While this falls short of my recommendation of a refund, the alternative is actually better for everyone. Brilliant choice. Thinking outside of the box keeps you on top. You remain the only internet marketer with access to my inbox, because the bottom line is : I STILL TRUST YOU !

    Reply
  21. Mustafa

    Wow, that was an awesome ending šŸ™‚

    Reply
  22. Jeanette Fitzgerald

    Hi Eric,

    Great solution to a messy problem. I kept on reading and secretly hoping that you would not give in and refund the money yourself.

    This Paul must be quite the guy to step up and help out in such a dreadful situation.

    Take care,
    Jeanette

    Reply
  23. KL

    Eric,

    While the end result is positive for all, the one thing that has not been mentioned is that you need to complete your due diligence when making recommendations, you owe it to your readers. Alas I’m sure the lesson has been learned.

    Very adeptly handled, kudos to you.

    Reply
  24. Ramesh.G

    Hi Eric, You have honestly tried your best to solve your readers problem. you are no way responsible for any more. I love your attitude
    really

    Reply
  25. Reed

    Gary,

    You’re back ???!!!

    Hey, you were always the first to comment on Eric’s pages. But then – Long Time No See ??!! Where had you been ?

    Welcome back ! Nice to see your smiling Gravatar at the top of the comments once again !

    Enjoy and have a Great Day !

    Reed.

    Reply
  26. Gary Pettit

    Thanks for your comment Reed…lol. I’ve been busy trying to finish some projects and at the same time Eric was releasing lessons very quickly. I’m finally caught up on the lessons.

    Reply
  27. Celeste

    Hello Eric,

    Thank you for this great, real-life lesson and a solid copy-writer recommendation.

    So many times, when problems like this arise, I agonize over it and usually end up giving more than I really feel I should, just to make the problem go away. I usually feel beaten up, used and resentful, but I chalk it up to trying to run a moral, conscientious business — and that IS worth a lot to me.

    Thank you for showing how a true professional worked trough a dilemma such as this. Although you solved the problem in a way I probably couldn’t (I don’t have contacts like yours), I like your approach and attitude: you put in the time and effort to help the customer while not compromising your values or your own belief that you were not liable. It sounds like the outcome might serve you well: a happy, satisfied customer/reader, 2 great blog posts with tons of comments, an alternate, stellar recommendation with a discount for your students and (?) even greater commission potential for you. Good on you!

    Reply
  28. Stefan

    Eric;

    I realize I’m late to this discussion but after reading a number of the responses along with parts one and two of your post I feel there may be something else to add. The following is simply my opinion.

    I can see two points in this issue where you may be said to have some liability.

    .1 In most correspondence that I have read from you or on your system, you place yourself in the position of a teacher not a marketer. This would place your reader in the position of being a student. As a student of a teacher that they are paying to be taught how to do something, they should or at least could feel that you have responsibility for what you are telling them to do.

    I did not read the initial recommendation for the copywriter but I can take a statement from one of your other recommendations and point out how the recommendation can be perceived as a statement from a teacher to a student as the correct way to do something.

    Excerpt from your XSitePro recommendation:
    “XSitePro intuitively helps you build your website the right way. It can actually help you grow your website on autopilot and all sorts of stuff.”

    In the excerpt above you plainly state that this software will help you build your website the “right” way. The perception of the statement is certainly different from a student’s point of view than a point of view held by a prospective customer. The use of subjective words such as intuitively, right and autopilot can be said to raise some expectations in a student’s mind.

    .2 Your recommendations are simply thinly veiled offers to sell.

    This veil presents your responsibility and perhaps liability.

    The example of one person recommending a doctor to another person has been used in this discourse. Certainly, there is a difference between someone saying, “I recommend this doctor because he did a good job for Me.” and “I know this doctor that will pay me $20 for each patient I refer to him, you should go to him.”

    Your recommendations are presented like the first instance but are in reality wholly like the second instance.

    I hope your readers / students realize that what is presented as a free course is really being paid for by them purchasing items from the links provided in your posts and e-mails.

    Thanks for your time, and again this is just my opinion.

    Reply
  29. Daniel

    Bravo Eric!
    I think you handled this very, very well.
    WAY above the call of duty.

    Reply
  30. Dee Dreyer

    My comments on this are that you are not liable for the refund but you are liable for your recommendations as long as you do not include a disclaimer. So for future, use that disclaimer you wrote about any recommendations being from personal experience only and to proceed at your own risk. I would also set up another page on your blog for resources in the case of someone being scammed and in your post of recommendation, state “if you feel that you have been scammed by anyone, please check out my page on resources” and include those resources which you listed here.

    My next thought is that this guy is either a smooth con-artist or he didn’t realize how overwhelming this would be. Some people think they are the greatest at everything and can handle anything that comes their way, and quickly realize that things move very quickly on the internet. I think he may have fallen behind due to taking on more than he can really handle and kept getting so much bad PR about him that he realized he’s going to be in serious financial trouble soon, so he stopped responding to people. He probably did that because he believes if he “never saw it” or “never got the message” that he can get away with it – but unfortunately for him, a class action law suit is probably already in the works.

    It’s definitely not good for you to contact his family members, regardless if you found their information. They or he could ultimately sue you for harassment in that case, depending on what state they live in. Also, who knows if that background checking company is really a legal way of finding someone? Seems too risky to me.

    But I gotta tell you – you were very dedicated to helping this person and that’s what you can and should have done because in this case, I feel you would be liable for at least trying to help them straighten it out.

    As far as you feeling like you are bashing this person and giving them a bad rep – no. You recommended someone to your blog readers and you have every right to retract that recommendation. And the greatest part about it all is that he can’t even sue you for slander or defamation of character or anything like that because it’s a true incident that occurred…some people tend to think that they can but really, I believe it’s only when you make something up about the person that isn’t true. But, I’m no lawyer so I could be wrong.

    But to summarize, if I recommended you use someone for a kitchen makeover because mine turned out marvelous, and yours doesn’t go so well…whose fault is that? Not yours. Word of mouth can only go so far…the contractor/company/worker must present their own image.

    Reply
  31. MJ

    Hi Eric,

    As an offshore copywriter working for somewhat lower rates than my US counterparts, I felt that [redacted] did ALL of us a disservice by literally ripping off his paying customers.

    It’s hard enough to get good clients in this business, especially when you’re just starting out. He on the other hand, already had something good going for him – he just had to nurture that seed of potential with hard work and strategic implementation of whatever sustainable business plans he had.

    But he chose to take the loot and run away (even getting someone to take the heat for him by selling his website – what a joke!)

    Reply
  32. Thomas

    Hey Eric,

    Sorry to say SCGM 9.0 has done nothing. I’m kinda choked. I’ve emailed, filled out tickets and get no response yet they still charge me hosting. The 800 number didn’t work in Canada. I ended up making my way to the USA for some work and tried the 800. No one answers the phone so I left a message. I haven’t even got a return call. Its not that they did a bad job – its that they didn’t even do a job and charged me over $300. I hate being scammed out of my money!! The sad thing in all this is that you were used to refer clients to them – like me. any suggestions? Or is it just too bad? You know I’ve been trying to get this sorted out for months now.

    Thomas

    Reply
  33. Thomas

    Oh, and by the way, Eric, you may have seen my site. Jeremy Burns will be one of my first posts under emergency alert for scams. Its one of the reasons I made the site but never thought it would be me who was scammed

    Reply
  34. Eric Post author

    I will send him a personal email and CC you on it. I’m not sure what the deal is, but it’s not the Jermey I know… he must have something going on.

    Reply
  35. Eric Post author

    Just checked out your site… the post on Michael Dunahee really brought back memories. I was in grade school in Vancouver at the time, and remember seeing the posters all over my school. Very sad.

    BTW- I think your site is a great idea. Either as a for profit or non-profit. I would tweak the design. While the header graphic is cool I think its too spooky looking. I would try to give the site more of an “official” and trustworthy look. I would also use a mod_rewrite script to make your URL’s more user-friendly. (/person_name instead of viewquest.php?id=###). But more importantly you need to inject the person’s name into the title tag for SEO.

    It’s an ambitious project, but I think it’s really cool. I also like the HelpSolveThis twitter concept. Now you just need some followers šŸ˜‰

    Reply
  36. Thomas

    Hola Eric,

    Just want to thank you for helping me out. I did get a message from Jeremy, finally – we’ll see how things proceed from here. I like the product, too, but the support is less than stellar. Again, thanks..

    Thomas

    Reply
  37. Thomas

    Thanks for having a look at my site. Michael is the first case I put on due to me living in Victoria. And, yes, its sad. Hopefully my site can make a difference.

    As you may have seen, Q&R sends out posters to registered users. If it all works out and I get enough members, it would be very difficult for anyone to get away with anything (stolen cars, abductions, crime, etc,). I’m glad you like the concept. I just have to find a way to get people on board – maybe focus on parents…

    I think I’ll donate some of the money collected to whatever cause. I’ll charge a small fee for posting (it would be much more expensive and time consuming to do it all one’s self – say USA or advertising for canada).

    Thanks for the advice. I’ve been trying to get people to give me advice, but never seem to get any. I’d like you to clarify a couple of things for me. When you say tweak the design, what exactly are you referring to – the header or other things? And can you give me an example of what you term ‘official or trustworthy’. I don;t take it bad at all, but I’m not sure how one does make it so.

    I’ll see what can be done with the scripts.

    Again, thanks for the tips and if you see anything else that requires attention or new ideas, let me know – its appreciated

    Cheers,
    Thomas

    Reply
  38. Eric Post author

    I went looking for examples of more trustworthy looking sites in your niche, and had a hard time finding any! The vast majority were very amateur looking, so I guess that’s good for you in a way. Probably the best examples of “official looking” sites I found were:
    http://www.missingkids.com
    http://www.amberalert.com
    http://www.mcsc.ca/ (I like this one best out of these 3)

    But I don’t really like those very much either. I like the simplicity of your interface better.

    So I think just changing your header, background, and footer would help a lot.
    right now the header looks like a “personal” website. IMO it should look more like a government website, or something a little more corporate.

    For the background, I would recommend solid color, something lighter.

    And no footer graphic.

    I think the best way to make your site become what you want it to be, is going ot be to find a way to get a lot of free media attention in newspapers, magazines, TV, etc.

    That is not an easy thing to do, but it can be done. I would suggest “seeding” your site with many more active quests, by searching around the internet for personal sites that people have set up in effort to help their own quest.

    You might start a blog, and start building a list too. You could become an expert authority on this topic, and then you can position yourself to the media to be quoted when such topics are covered by them.

    At that point I think you would just need a big “break”, which would best come as a quest solved as a result of your site. The bigger the quest, the better. You can then take that to the media and publicize it as a success story, which would get more people to post quests. Then after some more quests are solved, it can reach a point of critical mass, with plenty of social proof… and can snowball from there.

    Very ambitious, with fairly low chance of success. But definitely can be done.

    Reply
  39. Pastor Laurence

    Eric you are a fortunate man, the Lord has been good to you and your wonderful family.
    Please Eric don’t think me forward for making this appeal. I have been the pastor of a church in East Belfast now for thirteen years.
    I have been personally threatned, bullets shot through the windows, car windscreen smashed, Grafitti sprayed over the walls with the foulest of language.All our wndows are wire glass with metal grills on the outside. I was approached to let the church out once a month for a community dance, I couldn’t do that. Church cannot be made into a market place, It must always be a house of prayer. However Eric we are a poor church, Yet we have been offered a much better church building priced at Ā£250,000 We are offered it at Ā£120,000 Is this not God’s hand? and the best part is our church is called The Upper Room. Eric we need donations. I have set up an ability to recieve donations at http://www.try-jesus.org
    Will all my Christian brothers and sisters who read this please pray for us. And if you could send us a drink of water in Jesus Name. I know He will return your giving. Amen
    God Bless You All
    Pastor Laurence

    Reply
  40. Online stock brokers

    Hi,Eric
    I love reading through your blog,I wanted to leave a little comment to support you and wish you a good continuation. Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.

    Reply
  41. Pete Rich

    Hi Eric,

    You are doing a great work for people in making money on there own in there own business, thank you for all the info and training material. I do not know how you stay so focus getting so much done. And your “be box” great stuff.
    On another subject I see that you have been working on getting Gods word out to let people know there is more in life! I just got back from the Philippines (have a small house there my wife is from the Philippines and some of her family are there in Laguna about a hour south of Manila) and see the need there to get out the word of God in a more personal way like every where. I hand out bibles and talk to pastors that are doing a great work have a friend from Germany that has been working for 15 years sponsoring kids to go to college and just starting 3 charity schools for children and he is doing a great job helping the children that can not afford to go to public school there parents making $2- $3 dollars a day on a good day. But things seem to be going a little slow after so many years I fine that it would be great to get it out into a bigger audience. The kids that have some extra money go on facebook and play that crazy game war craft. I know the church grows with hard work and the movement of Gods Holy Spirit. I just was wondering as you go to India have you come up with suggestions to allow The word to get into more peoples lives. The kids use there phones a lot but mostly for text. It is hard for them to afford anything more.
    Thank for your time.
    Gods protection, Peace and Wisdom be with you and your family.

    Thanks!

    Pete Rich

    Reply
  42. Graham

    Eric,
    Just one question. Did the person appreciate/acknowledge what you did for him?

    Reply
  43. Eric Post author

    Yes he did šŸ™‚

    Reply
  44. Eric Post author

    keep up the good work brother!

    Reply
  45. Kelly

    Iā€™m appalled that people think YOU should pay. It is up to each person to check out what they pay for. I have only been ripped off twice in ten years on the net last time was $10,000 bit the bullet and learn.
    Not much else can do>

    Reply

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