Time Wasting Reports

by Justin Jordan 14 replies
Rant Ahead.

As a habit, I download any kind of free ebook that sounds like it might be interesting. Signing up for a list is easy enough, and I can always ignore it or unsubscribe.

That said, in the last week I've gotten not one but two reports that were four pages long, and that includes the over. I'm dubious that any report of such a short length will have a nugget of info that I can really use, but I think it's possible. If I wanted to install a plug in, that might be the right length.

But these had no real content. They were well written from a technical standpoint, and I suspect whoever wrote them could write a pretty good report. But there was seriously no information in these.

The overall effect being that in spite of them being free, I somehow feel like I should get my money back. It's pretty much guaranteed that I won't buy anything from them or the list owner who sent me their link.

Seriously, newbies - a report like these two is worse than nothing. You'd have been better off just asking me to sign up for your list.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #reports #time #wasting
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  • Profile picture of the author Takuya Hikichi
    Originally Posted by Justin Jordan View Post

    The overall effect being that in spite of them being free, I somehow feel like I should get my money back.
    I can sense what you're feeling.

    You're probably feeling this way because your time spent in reading the free report actually cost you opportunity, which is more valuable than money sometimes -- money can be replaced, but time won't. It wasted your time and opportunity of doing something more productive.

    Have you ever heard a lecture or speech where everyone in attendance said it was "unprepared"? It there were 10 people listened to the delivery for 60 min, the speaker didn't just waste 1hr of time, but 10hrs of everyone's time.

    Personally, I enjoy reading reports shorter than 30 pages, then the author builds great case. Someone writing a different/interesting view of a conventional wisdom, or content thought provoking that refreshes my thinking on an existing idea -- it would want to make me hear more from the person.
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    • Profile picture of the author LizTomey
      I think it was John Reese (might have been Jonathan Mizel) that said something a long the lines of...

      You could charge $1M for a one page ebook if a $1M secret was in it.

      In other words don't judge a book by how many pages it has.

      You're doing right by downloading and reading all the free info you can get your hands on. Don't discard something though just because it's only a few pages.

      I could sit down with you right now, talk to you about your business, and give you a 1 page plan that could create an entire income for you.

      Just my two cents, and like I said... Good on you for educating yourself.

      Liz
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      • Profile picture of the author Mike McBride
        Originally Posted by LizTomey View Post


        You're doing right by downloading and reading all the free info you can get your hands on. Don't discard something though just because it's only a few pages.

        Liz
        Liz, you're missing Justin's point - there was NO useful information in these small reports.

        I know where he's coming from, because I've seen this myself. In fact, I've pretty much stopped downloading these "free reports," because they're not only cost-free, but value-free as well.

        The problem, I believe, stems from the fact that so many newcomers (and others) have been told to produce these free reports and give them away to build a list. Unfortunately, they have little or no experience or knowledge to share, so consequently they produce reports that, well, have little or no knowledge in them - and many of them are incredibly poorly written as well.

        I'm not throwing the baby out with the bathwater here - I'll still download and read a free report, depending on the author and the subject. If they have a track record, like you, then sure, I might give it a whirl. If it's on a subject I would like to learn about and promises good info, such as Justin's example of installing a plug-in, then I'll take a shot. But the days of willy-nilly downloading something because it's "free" are long gone for me.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ross Charette
          I'm very new here but this is my take: it pays to get all the information you can. It does not take long to look over a report; if it's a long one and does not get your attention you don't have to finish it. Worst case scenario is still good, add it your 'don't do this' list.

          If you are inexperienced and something does not go well, bring it to the WF and learn from it.

          As far as junk and treasure goes, I would value what others may not. I know I have a lot to learn but the more I learn, the smarter I get

          Cheers
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    • Profile picture of the author dave.
      Originally Posted by Takuya Hikichi View Post

      I can sense what you're feeling.

      Personally, I enjoy reading reports shorter than 30 pages, then the author builds great case. Someone writing a different/interesting view of a conventional wisdom, or content thought provoking that refreshes my thinking on an existing idea -- it would want to make me hear more from the person.
      Yes, reading 10-20 pages pure information (or a step-by-step guide) is fun, but I also download 2 pages long eBooks with a one page long graphic and with a second page full of affiliate links. I just don't understand how such a marketer would like to build credibility...
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  • Profile picture of the author LizTomey
    Yep... I don't think you should download something because it's free, I'm just pointing out as I said... Not to judge a book by how many pages it has.
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      I could be wrong but I sense that the real lesson here for those new to writing short info products is to focus on information of value to the audience you're targeting. Try to give away a few nuggets of info that will be useful from newcomer to intermediate levels.
      That's exactly it.

      It's not that reports need to be (or should be) long to worthwhile, but they do need to be worthwhile.

      These people want to sell to me, but if they can't provide me with a feeling of value for a free product, how can they expect me to buy something from them? I don't expect much from a free report, but I do expect something.
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      • Profile picture of the author ExRat
        Hi,

        Here's the answer -

        I'm very new here but this is my take: it pays to get all the information you can. It does not take long to look over a report; if it's a long one and does not get your attention you don't have to finish it. Worst case scenario is still good, add it your 'don't do this' list.

        If you are inexperienced and something does not go well, bring it to the WF and learn from it.

        As far as junk and treasure goes, I would value what others may not. I know I have a lot to learn but the more I learn, the smarter I get
        I hope you don't think I'm picking on you at all Ross - you provided the answer but it didn't seem to get picked up on by others.

        Mike touched upon it too - when you download something that's not very good, perhaps it is a newbie who hasn't much to offer at that point, but offers what they have. They are probably hoping that experienced warriors don't download it, but grateful newbies do.

        But they can't put a disclaimer saying, "if you have a clue, don't download this, it will waste your time" - because that's bad salesmanship and will result in no downloads or opt-ins.

        Justin -

        These people want to sell to me
        I'm sure they wouldn't turn down your money but they might not be targetting you. They might be targetting others but there is no way of telling you without harming their business - so they let you work it out for yourself.

        What's better - that they do nothing, or that they do this, sign up some newbies who like their stuff and may go on to buy from their emails?

        No-one's at fault or to blame here - it's just the way it is. But if you think about it, the people who are doing this (and perhaps they realise their free ebook isn't the greatest) have precisely the sort of guts and 'nothing's gonna stop me' attitude that will take them far in this business.

        There's many an experienced IMer that could benefit from having the same type of 'get up and go/ready,fire aim' philosophy.




        If you think you might be one of them - ask yourself, "is the free report I offer to my list much better?"
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        • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
          It sounds like you are just more advanced than the reader those reports were aimed at.

          Just because you already knew what was in there doesn't mean others did, too.

          It's hard to write a report (ebook, presentation, etc.) that can serve all levels of reader, without boring the more advanced ones or leaving the beginners behind.

          Anyway, I can't imagine it took too long to read 4 pages.
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          • Profile picture of the author Mike McBride
            Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

            It sounds like you are just more advanced than the reader those reports were aimed at.

            Just because you already knew what was in there doesn't mean others did, too.

            It's hard to write a report (ebook, presentation, etc.) that can serve all levels of reader, without boring the more advanced ones or leaving the beginners behind.

            Anyway, I can't imagine it took too long to read 4 pages.
            That's certainly a valid point. On the flip side, I've downloaded a number of these "free reports" that have been nothing but thinly disguised promos for products with NO educational value to anyone on any level, except perhaps as examples of how NOT to write a report.

            I keep going back to those posts that basically say to download all the info you can get your hands on. Then I think of all those admonitions from folks who keep saying, "Do something -take action!" Well, if you keep downloading and reading all these damn reports just to find a useful nugget among all the drivel, when are you going to have time to actually do something?

            Some of the best advice I ever gleaned from this forum was this: find a successful person doing something you'd like to do, learn their plan (through a course or plan or ebook or, if you're lucky, through observation or working with/for them), and then put that plan into action. Once you've mastered that - or found it doesn't work for you - then move on to your next plan or project. Focus, focus, focus - and WORK!
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            • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
              You got a free report that was nothing but a thinly disguised promo?

              I'm shocked to hear that sort of thing is happening!

              Next thing you know, people will try to get us on their list just to sell us stuff!
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              • Profile picture of the author Mike McBride
                Originally Posted by Chris Lockwood View Post

                You got a free report that was nothing but a thinly disguised promo?

                I'm shocked to hear that sort of thing is happening!

                Next thing you know, people will try to get us on their list just to sell us stuff!
                OH MY GOD! Please don't tell me that someone would try to do that to us - what is this world coming to?

                Chris, you and I and probably the majority of people in this forum understand the purpose of giving away free reports. The problem is in the execution. I expect and accept that there is a reason for offering the giveaway; I simply expect and prefer that there be a little meat in the bowl, not just a clear broth with no nutritional value.

                That's where the problem comes in - too many people have no clue how to offer any value in their freebie. So if one downloads something and finds nothing of value or interest, what incentive do they have to buy something from the provider, or follow their endorsement of a product, or even stay on their list for that matter? That's the point I'm trying to make here.
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                • Profile picture of the author Ross Charette
                  ExRat
                  No worries I'm glad you read it.

                  Bottom line to me is: value is perceived. If a million people rave about something I don't like, I still won't like it.

                  Thanks
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                  Ross Charette
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        • Profile picture of the author Justin Jordan
          Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

          Hi,


          What's better - that they do nothing, or that they do this, sign up some newbies who like their stuff and may go on to buy from their emails?
          The ones I'm thinking of really do have nothing of value in them - I can't even see them being of use to newbies. I could be wrong, obviously, but in these cases they've destroyed their credibility with me. So I'm not sure me knowing about them in a negative context is actually better than me not knowing about them at all.

          The sad thing is that I suspect the people who wrote the report are capable of better. I'm dubious about the constant advice to create a report, do this and do that when your skills aren't up to it.

          Then again, it's a big internet, and it might not matter.
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