Internet Marketer Question ... Being Too Skeptical vs. Being Too Gullible

29 replies
If you've been associated with online marketing more than a day, you know one of the biggest challenges is balancing your skepticism and your gullibility.

Being too skeptical can cost you many untapped opportunities. But being too gullible can cost you precious time and money. How do you strike that fine balance between the two?

Of course we all know the usual precautions:
  • Check background/Track Record.
  • Testimonies.
  • Google product or seller.
  • Check Reviews.
-Or -
  • Screen shots of deposits - If it promises to make you a million dollars in a month.
But what about those new ideas, i.e "ground floor opportunities" (excuse the cliche') that have no long track record yet.

You know, the one's you discover before the crowd rushes in and dilutes it. The kind most of us only get a shot at once in a blue moon. No need to search for a low or non-competitive niche in it, because the competition hasn't had time to form yet. Only the untapped demand exist. Ahh!

Would you let it pass? I must admit I may, only because of my natural skepticism. I often wear it like a protective shield - but I wonder can it also be an "opportunity blocking shield" in some cases.

I can't help but think, how many opportunities have I missed because of my over skepticism? Skepticism is safe, comfy and it helps protect me - no doubt. But where do you personally strike the healthy balance?

Any ideas or opinions?

Or what would you do if you got a shot at a once in a blue moon opportunity - but it had little or no track record?
#gullible #internet #marketer #question #skeptical
  • Profile picture of the author Dechardia1991
    I would like to hear others answers on this. I would personally say to research the company and its offer. But for me, I go by my gut feeling on things. And usually I am right. I pay attention to small details and see for any contradictions or things that just sound way too unbelievable.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    I would advise you to stop chasing shiney objects.

    Instead of recommending buying more products, like you do in your post.

    Or hoping for "a shot at a once in a blue moon oportunity".

    I think you need to take a step back and think about the kind of business you want to run, what your goals for the business are and what you would consider a "success".

    This applies to off-line as well as on-line businesses.

    Posting ways to keep buying stuff while minimizing the risk is not a good plan at all. It perpetuates the chasing shiny object syndrome.

    Your whole skeptical vs gullible premise is aimed at people buying shiney objects.

    Rather than give them the advice you do on how to buy more crap, I would advise them to stop buying and start selling.

    Then you will less bothered by the whole skeptical vs gullible thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      I would advise you to stop chasing shiney objects.

      Instead of recommending buying more products, like you do in your post.

      Or hoping for "a shot at a once in a blue moon oportunity".

      I think you need to take a step back and think about the kind of business you want to run, what your goals for the business are and what you would consider a "success".

      This applies to off-line as well as on-line businesses.

      Posting ways to keep buying stuff while minimizing the risk is not a good plan at all. It perpetuates the chasing shiny object syndrome.

      Your whole skeptical vs gullible premise is aimed at people buying shiney objects.

      Rather than give them the advice you do on how to buy more crap, I would advise them to stop buying and start selling.

      Then you will less bothered by the whole skeptical vs gullible thing.
      I appreciate your viewpoint. And I share your take on shiny object syndrome. But I'm not talking about bouncing from one project to another. I'm talking about opportunity to improve an already existing business, niche or focus you have.

      Most people who have reached a certain level of success can usually point to a game changing opportunity they seized that turned things around. They weren't necessarily chasing shiny objects - in fact most times they weren't. They were focused - and because they were laser focused ... they recognized the opportunity when others didn't.
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  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    ^^^
    I know, I'm just giving you the gears...

    I think "skeptical vs gullible" comes into play when you are looking at shiny objects.

    You aren't looking at an "Easy to use WP theme for Amazon Associates" product.

    You are looking at "I made $3,238 in 4 days with this secret method" or "Learn the secret to daily $273 Clickbank profits".

    You can only be skeptical or gullible if you don't really know what you are looking at. And what is there to be skeptical or gullible about of it is not an offer that plays off of seemingly impossible or unbelievable claims.

    I would recommend any new or inexperienced marketer stay away from these kinds of offers in general.

    Very often you find they are "true" but only if you have already been building a list for a year, or have a couple of JV partners that can leverage your sales, etc.

    Or they rely on a working knowledge of squeeze pages, sales copy and autoresponder sequences.

    I think if you need to decide if you are skeptical or gullible, you are looking at the wrong offer.

    It is not really what you need and doesn't provide enough concrete info to let you know (before you buy) if it will be any benefit to your business.

    In other words a shiny object that can't bee seen clearly because of the attractive glow it makes in the distance.

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    • Profile picture of the author kilgore
      Originally Posted by onSubie View Post

      I think if you need to decide if you are skeptical or gullible, you are looking at the wrong offer.
      Very much agree with the statement above.

      Personally, this has never been an issue. We run one business with one website within one niche. We have a vision for where we want to take the business and the website, and a plan to get there. Everything we do has to fit within this plan and vision.

      Absolutely we're open to new opportunities and we often adjust and revise our plan (at least in small increments). But rarely -- if ever -- do we buy something that we weren't already looking for, and we're only looking for something if it fits in with our vision for the business.
      • If traffic grows and we need more server capacity, we'll scale up some more servers on AWS.
      • If we need a widget to do X, Y or Z on the site, we'll do some research and find one that fits the bill.
      • If we need some special design work done, we'll hire a designer.
      And so on. But really we aren't buying much day-to-day that isn't operational.

      As for the products we promote, generally we already know what our users want and so we look for things that meet their needs. On a few rare occasions, however, something's come along that we hadn't thought of, but that when we saw it, we knew it was something our customers would like. In those cases, we didn't hesitate to promote those too, but only because they fit within the vision and plan for our business and met the needs of our customers.

      So basically, we're not looking for the next big thing in a completely unrelated niche. It just doesn't interest us at all. Maybe we're missing some "blue moon" opportunities, but I doubt it. And even if we did, I wouldn't notice since anything that crosses my desk that is out of scope for the business just gets deleted.
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      • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
        Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

        So basically, we're not looking for the next big thing in a completely unrelated niche. It just doesn't interest us at all. Maybe we're missing some "blue moon" opportunities, but I doubt it. And even if we did, I wouldn't notice since anything that crosses my desk that is out of scope for the business just gets deleted.
        I'm glad you brought that up kilgore, thank you. Because that's the impression some people have. Based on my O.P. Sorry if I somehow gave that impression.

        I'm not talking about a blue moon opportunity outside of your business, niche or focus. That would be too easy, right? I'm talking about a blue moon opportunity that's near and dear to your businesses, niche, or customers heart.

        People keep assuming I'm talking about some wild eyed, shiny object, unrelated opportunities, no, that would be too easy. It takes a little longer to decide if the opportunity relates to you and your goals. Right?
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        • Profile picture of the author kilgore
          Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

          I'm not talking about a blue moon opportunity outside of your business, niche or focus. That would be too easy, right? I'm talking about a blue moon opportunity that's near and dear to your businesses, niche, or customers heart.

          People keep assuming I'm talking about some wild eyed, shiny object, unrelated opportunities, no, that would be too easy. It takes a little longer to decide if the opportunity relates to you and your goals. Right?
          We're constantly having "opportunities" pitched to us -- not from direct competitors, but from others working on the same issues. Our venture is a social enterprise, so in addition to trying to make money, we work with non-profits, individuals and other companies working to advance our social mission. Basically, we approach all of these in the same way as I described above. Are they going to advance our vision? Do they fit into our plan or can we adjust our plan in a way that will enable us to better advance our vision?

          Here are some examples:
          1. We get tons and tons of share-for-share requests on Facebook. 99% of these we ignore, because frankly having a 100-member Facebook page share us doesn't buy us anything -- we have over 700,000 followers of our own that we reach six times a day.
          2. We get tons and tons of sales pitches asking for 15 minutes of our time. Again, we ignore 98% these because we don't need what they're selling. Today, though I did actually set up a meeting with a website that wants to talk about their affiliate program. But it's a site we already knew and were thinking about, so it fits directly into our plans.
          3. We also get interview requests from the media not infrequently. Frankly, media doesn't do much for the bottom line, but it does help advance our social mission. So we evaluate those on a one-by-one basis. For smaller publications, we'll usually consent to do phone interviews, but not written interviews (where they send a ton of questions and expect detailed responses. These can take forever. But for larger publications, we'll do them.
          4. We once had a major advertising firm ask if we might be willing to consult on a campaign they were running for a major consumer brand. Consulting is definitely out of scope for us, but we talked to them and told them we'd be willing to help, but only because they only wanted us for an hour. If they had wanted us for weeks or days, we probably would have said no.
          5. We were also invited by the US State Department to go to India to meet with people and to talk about the types of issues our business addresses. But other than credibility (if anyone even learns we were to go), I don't think we'd get any real business value from a trip like that. And yet... we still said yes. Screw the plan! It's a free trip to India!
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      You make good points, I have no argument with any of them. But let me give an illustration. You have a blog that's reasonably successful. Then you're approached by a competitor who wants to partner or even sell you his blog and list for a discounted sum, because he's retiring, in debt and want to relax with his money. That's the premise I'm basically referring to. Opportunities to advance what you're already doing.

      Other examples,

      • Donald Trump seizing real estate related opportunities that can further his real estate interests
      • Oprah Winfrey seizing opportunities that can further her media interest.
      -Or-
      • An Internet Marketer seizing opportunities that can further their interest.

      Not bouncing from one ... "million dollar a month while sleeping on the beach" opportunity to the next. That's shiny object syndrome - not an opportunity that furthers your interest.

      Big difference.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

        You make good points, I have no argument with any of them. But let me give an illustration. You have a blog that's reasonably successful. Then you're approached by a competitor who wants to partner or even sell you his blog and list for a discounted sum, because he's retiring, in debt and want to relax with his money. That's the premise I'm basically referring to. Opportunities to advance what you're already doing.

        Other examples,

        • Donald Trump seizing real estate related opportunities that can further his real estate interests
        • Oprah Winfrey seizing opportunities that can further her media interest.
        -Or-
        • An Internet Marketer seizing opportunities that can further their interest.

        Not bouncing from one ... "million dollar a month while sleeping on the beach" opportunity to the next. That's shiny object syndrome - not an opportunity that furthers your interest.

        Big difference.
        You're stretching, Niche Man . Those aren't internet marketing issues, they're general business issues faced by all successful business operators at some stage in their development. It's simply a matter of doing your due diligence.


        Frank
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        • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
          Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

          You're stretching, Niche Man . Those aren't internet marketing issues, they're general business issues faced by all successful business operators at some stage in their development. It's simply a matter of doing your due diligence.
          Frank
          Yes, Frank all successful business operators should perform their due diligence. But only after they overcome a certain amount of skepticism. If you're over skeptical you don't even bother with due diligence. At least I don't. Could I have missed some opportunities? Now we're back to the original question.
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        • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
          To be honest, I'm quite skeptical myself. Maybe it's because I'm a copywriter so I'm used to hearing exciting descriptions of things, maybe it's just because I've seen so many ideas fall apart completely.

          One of my rules is to never get involved in something I don't understand. If there's a business, website, or even individual who I can help, I will always make sure I understand the market or concept before agreeing to anything.

          The reason for this is that you need to be able to analyze the benefits and risks of any opportunity. If you know very little about the market, individual, or business then it can be almost impossible to do a real risk assessment. This is why I always start with a consultation where I attempt to understand the project as thoroughly as possible.

          Then I will do a value judgement. First, I start with the person in charge. Do they know what they're doing? Have they done this before? Have they succeeded at similar things before? Are their priorities in the right place?

          Then I assess the business. Does it have what it needs in terms of infrastructure and employees? Is it differentiated enough or positioned properly for the target market? Is it filling a need or is it just one of many businesses in a saturated market?

          With that information in hand, I can assess what I might be able to offer. Can I actually help? Do I have fresh ideas? Do I have any established connections that will help? Do they actually need my services or is the problem located elsewhere?

          This is usually how I analyze any potential opportunity like the one you've described. Risk is an important factor in both life and business. Risk is where you make the most money but it is also where you lose the most money.

          The richest guy I've ever known said:
          "Life is risk. If you want to avoid risk then don't get out of bed in the morning."
          You need to find that perfect balance between enough stability and just the right amount of risk to make the venture profitable.

          The more you know, the easier it is to find that balance.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
    If I had to choose I would say being too "gullible" would be more beneficial for succeeding at IM.

    Because you will be more likely to trust people and their systems for making money. And, you will naturally become more sceptical by learning from certain people and their products. However if you start out being overly sceptical you probably won't naturally become more trusting/open-minded.

    (Just my opinion.)

    Like you said though Niche Man, it's a balance between the two "extremes."
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  • Profile picture of the author discrat
    Originally Posted by The Niche Man;9579396
    But what about those new ideas, i.e "ground floor opportunities" (excuse the cliche') that have no long track record yet.

    You know the one's you discover before the crowd rushes in and dilutes it. The kind most of us only get a shot at once in a blue moon. No need to search for a low [U

    or[/U] non-competitive niche in it, because the competition hasn't had time to form yet. Only the untapped demand exist. Ahh!

    Would you let it pass? I must admit I may, only because of my natural skepticism. I often wear it like a protective shield - but I wonder can it also be an "opportunity blocking shield" in some cases.

    I can't help but think, how many opportunities have I missed because of my over skepticism? Skepticism is safe, comfy and it helps protect me - no doubt. But where do you personally strike the healthy balance?

    Any ideas or opinions?

    Or what would you do if you got a shot at a once in a blue moon opportunity - but it had little or no track record?
    Hey Roy,
    Yeah being around in the business world for some time now I am skeptical about these Once in a Lifetime Opportunities that come along.

    I hear this phrase often and honestly it is a turn off to me.

    The fact is there are hundreds of Opportunities that are plainly stated for ALL of us to see in this Forum that will make you over 1 million dollars.

    So to me the Once in a Lifetime Opportunities are right here at Warrior.
    ( I know that sounds corny but it is the truth )
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

    Being too skeptical can cost you many untapped opportunities. But being too gullible can cost you precious time and money. How do you strike that fine balance between the two?
    Along with doing all your due diligence and background check, the easy rule is that
    you must expect that we are most often compensated for the amount of work we
    do. Anything of value takes effort. So if the offer involves little work but huge
    rewards then you're most likely being duped.

    We don't always get get a fair return on the work we do but a fair return always
    follows from fair amount of work.

    Now you may also be called to exchange value for value--such as in an
    investment program. In this case you are using your money (work) to
    make more money BUT the RISK is also higher along with the "little work".

    Life is an incredible balancing act. That's why I like to think that the harder
    I work the "luckier" I get.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      Along with doing all your due diligence and background check, the easy rule is that
      you must expect that we are most often compensated for the amount of work we
      do. Anything of value takes effort. So if the offer involves little work but huge
      rewards then you're most likely being duped.

      We don't always get get a fair return on the work we do but a fair return always
      follows from fair amount of work.

      Now you may also be called to exchange value for value--such as in an
      investment program. In this case you are using your money (work) to
      make more money BUT the RISK is also higher along with the "little work".

      Life is an incredible balancing act. That's why I like to think that the harder
      I work the "luckier" I get.

      -Ray Edwards
      I agree, there's nothing wrong with being sceptical, but only to a certain degree. If you're too sceptical, it will result in doing nothing, and then you obviously will never see results.

      Sometimes it's even good if you're a little non-sceptical (if it doesn't require a big investment ofcourse). By investing your time in trying things you'll see better results in the long run, because you learn from your mistakes if you're a smart person.
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      • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
        I've been around long enough to see some of these "once in a lifetime breakthroughs" three or four times. I've learned to trust my gut, sometimes more than my brain.

        Do I miss some opportunities?

        Maybe.

        But I sleep pretty well at night.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    A more close to home example of what I think the OP is trying to ask:

    You sell some things through email/BBS in the marketing area 20 years ago. If Allen Says gave you a chance for a 50/50 partnership in his fledgling Warrior Forum for $2,000/$5,000/$10,000/$20,000 cash would you invest in it as a way to spread your own influence and products?

    Mark

    PS For those that don't know, the forum was recently sold for $3,200,000.
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    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

      A more close to home example of what I think the OP is trying to ask:

      You sell some things through email/BBS in the marketing area 20 years ago. If Allen Says gave you a chance for a 50/50 partnership in his fledgling Warrior Forum for $2,000/$5,000/$10,000/$20,000 cash would you invest in it as a way to spread your own influence and products?

      Mark

      PS For those that don't know, the forum was recently sold for $3,200,000.
      Bingo! Excellent example, I only wish I'd thought of it. But then again that's why you make the big bucks.

      Note: I'd bet the Farm someone had a chance to buy in, but they didn't. Never thought it'd amount to anything would be my guess.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve B
        Hindsight is 20/20. You can't say that a partnership with Allen would be a no-brainer "yes." You might have spent 20 years of your life in total misery working 15 hour days, lost your wife and children, and be a total physical wreck. Sure that's stretching the point, but so is the example you're using because it is not real life and no one knew back then what would happen in 20 years.

        Personally, I think Frank Donovan has the answer . . . business issues and decisions are faced every day by the successful business man/woman who uses all the resources he has at the moment to make the tough decisions.

        For me personally, I don't want to be either too skeptical or too gullible as both choices suggest the person is overly (too) one way or the other. That's never a good thing in my book.

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
          Originally Posted by Steve B View Post


          For me personally, I don't want to be either too skeptical or too gullible as both choices suggest the person is overly (too) one way or the other. That's never a good thing in my book.

          Steve
          I agree Steve, either choice can hurt you. But my question is how do you personally get and/or maintain that balance ... consistently. That's what I'm looking for.
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          • Profile picture of the author VmaNx
            Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

            I agree Steve, either choice can hurt you. But my question is how do you personally get and/or maintain that balance ... consistently. That's what I'm looking for.

            Simple. Accept the fact that this is a business and every single business in existence has experienced losses at some point or another. Skepticism is an illusion. If you even have to question something because of doubt, ask yourself "is this really worth my time and money?" The easy way is to get rid of the balance completely. Instead you need to dedicate the time and money you are spending on stuff that isnt working into your MAIN business. Too me this just sounds like a fancy way of saying "Shiny object syndrome".
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          • Profile picture of the author Steve B
            Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

            how do you personally get and/or maintain that balance ... consistently. That's what I'm looking for.

            I think balance is a skill you develop by being consistent, alert, and thoughtful about every decision you make for your business. You avoid extremes, extraneous matters that don't help your business progress, and you certainly give careful thought to whether a decision will aid you in achieving business goals or if it will detract from your planned course of action.

            Being gullible is a character trait that I wouldn't want. A little skepticism, on the other hand, can actually be a good thing as it will cause you to purposefully think about the validity of claims and the wisdom of certain actions or plans.

            Still, the bottom line for me, is that you develop and hone all your business skills by doing and experiencing the daily execution and you try to never veer too far to the left or right.

            Steve
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            • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
              Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

              Being gullible is a character trait that I wouldn't want. A little skepticism, on the other hand, can actually be a good thing as it will cause you to purposefully think about the validity of claims and the wisdom of certain actions or plans.
              Good point Steve. I think the word is "Trusting." Being more trusting can be a good thing IMO.
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              • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
                Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

                Good point Steve. I think the word is "Trusting." Being more trusting can be a good thing IMO.
                I notice you didn't qualify that, was that on purpose? You said "Being more trusting can be a good thing". Period?
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                • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
                  Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

                  I notice you didn't qualify that, was that on purpose? You said "Being more trusting can be a good thing". Period?
                  No. When a person is too far on the "sceptical side." We've all met people that think anything to do with making money online is a "scam." Those people (in my opinion) are at a disadvantage compared to a more trusting person. Of course there are people who are too trusting and that has its problems as well.
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                  • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
                    Originally Posted by Jonathan 2.0 View Post

                    No. When a person is too far on the "sceptical side." We've all met people that think anything to do with making money online is a "scam." Those people (in my opinion) are at a disadvantage compared to a more trusting person. Of course there are people who are too trusting and that has its problems as well.
                    Yes, that's what I'm looking for, people's (your) opinion on how "you" maintain that balance. For example, your mental approach, attitude, personal philosophy, plan of action or personal experience.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Jonathan 2.0
                      Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

                      For example, your mental approach, attitude, personal philosophy, plan of action or personal experience.
                      Buying from people I trust.

                      For instance there are some Marketers who I would buy anything from. Because I know they're the real deal. I trust their recommendations as well. As for building that trust I think the most important component for me would be seeing them (or their customers) on video. (I know that's not a 100% sound reason for trusting a person however that's what works for me.)

                      HTH. : )
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                • Profile picture of the author kilgore
                  Originally Posted by The Niche Man View Post

                  I notice you didn't qualify that, was that on purpose? You said "Being more trusting can be a good thing". Period?
                  I wonder if part of the confusion about the original question was that there are other people like me who had a hard time relating because we're in niches where scamming isn't really a problem. As I mentioned, every day I have all sorts of people trying to get me to buy things, promote their projects or companies or whatever else. Some of their offers would add value to my business, most frankly would not.

                  But I wouldn't describe these people as scammers. They aren't using deception to sell; there are no high-pressure sales tactics; there are no garish, overly-wordy sales pages with outrageous claims, LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS, bold text and exclamation points!!!!!!!! That stuff just isn't part of my day-to-day life. So for me, trust is easy.

                  But I can certainly understand how those in the MMO niche can find it challenging. One (of the many, many) reasons I avoid anything to do with that niche as much as possible.
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                  • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
                    Originally Posted by kilgore View Post

                    I wonder if part of the confusion about the original question was that there are other people like me who had a hard time relating because we're in niches where scamming isn't really a problem. As I mentioned, every day I have all sorts of people trying to get me to buy things, promote their projects or companies or whatever else. Some of their offers would add value to my business, most frankly would not.

                    But I wouldn't describe these people as scammers. They aren't using deception to sell; there are no high-pressure sales tactics; there are no garish, overly-wordy sales pages with outrageous claims, LOTS OF CAPITAL LETTERS, bold text and exclamation points!!!!!!!! That stuff just isn't part of my day-to-day life. So for me, trust is easy.

                    But I can certainly understand how those in the MMO niche can find it challenging. One (of the many, many) reasons I avoid anything to do with that niche as much as possible.
                    I can understand your point of not being able to relate to the question as much. Especially because of being in a business where you deal with the same people and/or low key marketing.

                    That's why I prefaced the question with Internet Marketers as the first words. Although the issue isn't exclusive to I.M as Frank said in an earlier post, it's one of the top industries where it's almost a part of the culture.

                    For example it's regarded much like the penny stocks, bonds, real estate, forex trading, Muti-level marketing and others. At least the MMO segment.

                    Unfortunately, anything that's has the tag of sexy, fast money potential, passive income, etc. - has scam residual thoughts mixed in. In fact, it's even assumed until proven otherwise.
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