37 replies
Recently, I have become interested in how different people will perceive a sales pitch. I remember reading a comment on another forum (shame on me) in which someone had commented that a particular site 'looked like a typical scam'. Just out of interest, I took a look at the site and found it to be a fairly normal-ish, Clickbank sales page.

So, it set me wondering what it is about a sales page that causes some people to classify the page as a scam. For our purposes, let's define 'scam' as an attempt to gain money by means of deception.

As we know, ClickBank has been clamping down (quite rightly) on vendors who were using certain tactics such as fake scarcity, using actors to give testimonials, making 'blind offers' where it is unclear what is being purchased and so on.

But, what factors remain that might still flag a pitch as a possible scam in the mind of the prospect?

Personally, I am not fond of the ubiquitous discount offer for leavers i.e. the old 'click cancel to stay on this page for a special offer' routine. I appreciate that some people do it much better than others and that the presence of such a tactic does not make the pitch a scam by any means. It is a personal dislike of mine.

However, I would be very interested to hear the views of other Warriors on this matter. What is it specifically on a sale page that causes you to think 'this is a scam?'
#clickbank #scams
  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    An interesting question indeed.

    I don't see scams everywhere I look, because I guess I don't look for them to be scams.

    But if I see fishy income claims, faked screen shots, unverifiable bull**** claims, etc., then my "scam alert" goes off.

    One such example that I saw was a ClickBank product that said, "Our programming team won the coveted Ebay Automotive Award for Exceptional Software Design"...

    My B.S. Meter peeked in just those few words.

    The only place online that the "coveted award" appeared was in that sales page and its affiliate's pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
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    Originally Posted by Will Edwards View Post

    what factors remain that might still flag a pitch as a possible scam in the mind of the prospect?
    Interesting question, Will.

    I think it's more or less "apparent intention to deceive".

    The sort of things that vendors copy from other vendors assuming that it must work, and people pretending to be copywriters copy from other people pretending to be copywriters assuming that it must work, which in fact most customers see through straight away and by which they're alienated. That's more or less my own description of "scammy stuff on a sales page".

    So, according to that definition, red flags for prospects would include ...

    (a) "Fake imprimatur": the kind of "As seen on MSN, Yahoo, MNBC, Google, Whatever" which prospects with a braincell know is typically a crooked attempt to create an air of authority that isn't actually warranted;

    (b) "Fake urgency": ticking clocks and "You have only until midnight tonight to buy at this price" and all this sort of nonsense which understandably makes so many people walk away;

    (c) "Fake scarcity": things like "only 9 copies remaining" - there are sales pages which have said that for 3 years (while their gravity goes up and down a bit showing that some sales have been made - the customers don't see the gravity but they know they're being lied to, when it's a PDF);

    (d) Other "obvious lies": anything that tells/shows the customer that the vendor's lying to him/her. The overall standard of vendor on ClickBank isn't too high, and some people really are naive enough not to realise that potential customers can ever tell when someone's trying to deceive them, and that that's a bad thing to do when you're trying to sell something to someone.

    It appears that at the moment ClickBank are about to clamp down on all these things (wisely, because most are illegal as well as stupid), which is both enormously welcome and long overdue. Let's wish them every success in doing so. They're actually helping these vendors, who are at the moment losing not only potential customers but potential affiliates, too.
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    • Profile picture of the author dorianjohn425
      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

      Interesting question, Will.

      I think it's more or less "apparent intention to deceive".

      The sort of things that vendors copy from other vendors assuming that it must work, and people pretending to be copywriters copy from other people pretending to be copywriters assuming that it must work, which in fact most customers see through straight away and by which they're alienated. That's more or less my own description of "scammy stuff on a sales page".

      So, according to that definition, red flags for prospects would include ...

      (a) "Fake imprimatur": the kind of "As seen on MSN, Yahoo, MNBC, Google, Whatever" which prospects with a braincell know is typically a crooked attempt to create an air of authority that isn't actually warranted;

      (b) "Fake urgency": ticking clocks and "You have only until midnight tonight to buy at this price" and all this sort of nonsense which understandably makes so many people walk away;

      (c) "Fake scarcity": things like "only 9 copies remaining" - there are sales pages which have said that for 3 years (while their gravity goes up and down a bit showing that some sales have been made - the customers don't see the gravity but they know they're being lied to, when it's a PDF);

      (d) Other "obvious lies": anything that tells/shows the customer that the vendor's lying to him/her. The overall standard of vendor on ClickBank isn't too high, and some people really are naive enough not to realise that potential customers can ever tell when someone's trying to deceive them, and that that's a bad thing to do when you're trying to sell something to someone.

      It appears that at the moment ClickBank are about to clamp down on all these things (wisely, because most are illegal as well as stupid), which is both enormously welcome and long overdue. Let's wish them every success in doing so. They're actually helping these vendors, who are at the moment losing not only potential customers but potential affiliates, too.
      Excellent post Alexa!

      I have viewed a lot of sales videos containing these things you mentioned above. Even as a noob, I felt those vids were really not too good to be true.
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  • Profile picture of the author vineet1997
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      Originally Posted by vineet1997 View Post

      Clickbank is a good affiliate marketing tool.It's is Not recommended from Newbies because they don't get mass traffic.Amazon Associates is a much much better alternate.Or even Ebay affiliates.Try searching for a company(affiliate)which matches your niche.

      Did you even bother to read the original post?
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  • Profile picture of the author andybeveridge
    The ones that set of my alarm bells is the ones that offer a cure to something. I hate the fact that these people offer hope which is false.

    Being a type 2 diabetic I keep getting offered various products in that niche. One that has sprung up a few times is some recently discovered plant deep inside a rain forest that will if taken for x amount of months cure you completely of diabetes.

    It hurts to think that someone who feels ill somewhere in the world is being conned right now.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rick Britton
    all of those video sales pages that ramble on and on about how the sales person is fed up with scams and hype and how they are raking in cash by doing something else... blah blah but never tell you what

    as far as I am concerned they are all scams! at least CB is tightening up on that now and vendors will have to explain what their product does and what you need in order for it to work
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Before I got into IM, I hated and distrusted all traditional Clickbank type, or more commonly referred to as the long sales letter type of pages.

    They instantly set off alarm bells in my head. Big red letters and yellow highlights and a sales page that went on forever was, in my mind, a scam.

    Since I've been in IM and have grown accustomed to them and have purchased stuff that I like from them, that's no longer the case, although there's plenty of them that still do inspire distrust.

    1. Fake scarcity. This offer will increase by a huge amount of money in 2 minutes, or 1 day or whatever. I've gone back to see the same crap there days later.

    2. Fake testimonials. So common that I don't read testimonials.

    3. Guaranteed income claims accompanied by probably fake screenshots

    4. Photos of an estate, hot women and hot cars in header or copy to imply that this is what you'll get if you buy this.

    Those are a few of the major things that scream ... go away, don't buy ... to me, but then I am not in the market for the type of product that is usually being sold on those pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author Suthan M
    now this is an interesting post after so long :-)

    Well, let me share my thoughts:

    1. Written testimonials from the same "gang". You can spot this across industries in CB. I don't trust none of the products that has "glowing testimonials" from this gangs.
    --Sometimes, i prefer USP driven testimonials that is on a clear video with reference (minimum a website address)

    2. Stock photos...

    3. "Stupid" sales page themes that is used repeatedly.. The current one are the "mission impossible", "zeus" , "i am anti-guru".. Before that was some "strippers", "garbageman"

    4. I dont trust a website when there is no address of the owner or contact details..

    Ok, gotta go for dinner.. Gonna come back later and add to this..
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Luxton
      Will,

      I think you'd get a different answer from different nationalities and demographics.

      When I first saw Clickbank sales pages I found them fascinating in a 'train wreck' kind of way. And I talked to quite a few other Brits and they felt the same way.

      However, they seem to work, so . . .


      Martin
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    • Profile picture of the author GMProps
      I have been a "lurker" in IM for many years and have always been curious about the different tactics people use to get you to buy their product. Lately I have seen a trend of the same tactics and formulas being used over and over again. They are always the same, just re-dressed to look different. And they are getting easy to spot.

      My main reasons to leave a sales page:

      1. One button software to solve all your problems.
      2. Clickbank or PayPal accounts showing thousands of dollars raked in per day. Obviously fake. (But how do they do that?)
      3. Paid actors claiming to be the creator of the system. Why does he look familiar? Oh yeah, we saw him on the XYZ Instant Traffic sales page last month claiming to be someone else.
      4. Pictures of fancy cars, houses, vacation spots, happy families, piles of cash; all cliparts available on a $9.95 CD from Wal-Mart.
      And when I am a little unsure of a new offer, I come here and do a search on the product name and read the reviews. This place has saved me from a lot of grief and disappointment. Thanks Warriors!

      Gerry
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      • Profile picture of the author Richard Crooke
        Great question and conversation starter. For me personally, I am tired of the following:

        1. Hearing their sad story or background

        2. Listening to a 15 - 20 minute nonsense video sales page with no real content.

        3. Not seeing the product/software in action or seeing the finished website.

        4. Getting poor customer support service for customers. If they answer, get a comment sorry for the delay, we are overwhelmed with new customers.

        So, what should all product owners do?

        1. Show their product and how it can help others in their sales video.

        2. Provide superior customer service to customers.

        3. Oh, how about provide responses to potential customers like us WF fellows do with our wso's etc....

        While clickbank is cracking down on potential fraudulent activities, I like to seen them work on the sales letter more.
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      • Profile picture of the author Floyd_61
        Originally Posted by GMProps View Post

        Clickbank or PayPal accounts showing thousands of dollars raked in per day. Obviously fake. (But how do they do that?)
        Go to youtube.com and search for "Fake Clickbank". There are lots of videos about that topic.
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    • Profile picture of the author bretski
      Originally Posted by Suthan M View Post


      3. "Stupid" sales page themes that is used repeatedly.. The current one are the "mission impossible", "zeus" , "i am anti-guru".. Before that was some "strippers", "garbageman"...
      Not sure what John Schwartz has to do with this but yeah... the scam alert does go off from time to time when he emails me (KIDDING!)

      The thing that sets me off is people who do sales videos where it is obvious that they are reading a sales copy script, and not well!
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael D Forbes
        Originally Posted by bretski View Post

        Not sure what John Schwartz has to do with this but yeah... the scam alert does go off from time to time when he emails me (KIDDING!)

        The thing that sets me off is people who do sales videos where it is obvious that they are reading a sales copy script, and not well!
        Not scammy enough. Somebody ban the crayon eater from this thread.

        I don't typically think in terms of scamminess or not, but I DO turn back at many of the things that have been mentioned such as "This offer will end in x minutes/seconds/whatever". I have a habit of leaving the browser open til it expires (just to see if it really will expire), and I've yet to see one that does.

        Sales videos with "bucktooth moron millionaires" and things like that...

        I suppose there's an entertainment factor in some of it, but I don't stick around to be entertained, or buy the product.

        It's sad that so many people think they need to resort to insulting peoples intelligence to make a sale. No doubt they have tested and found that there are enough unintelligent people available to make these tactics worthwhile.

        I'm still not sure that junk alone makes something a scam.

        Even though everyone knows the maxim, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" - I think most of us have been lured by the hope that "this one" will prove different.
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        • Profile picture of the author bretski
          Originally Posted by Micheal D Forbes View Post

          Not scammy enough. Somebody ban the crayon eater from this thread.
          I'm not apposed ta eat the Legos
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      • Profile picture of the author Zeus66
        Originally Posted by bretski View Post

        Not sure what John Schwartz has to do with this but yeah... the scam alert does go off from time to time when he emails me (KIDDING!)

        The thing that sets me off is people who do sales videos where it is obvious that they are reading a sales copy script, and not well!
        That's it. I'm suing you. Or maybe just sending the monkeys for a visit. Suing you would probably be easier on you. But seriously, I'm with you guys on this one. I just don't think it'll change... might get worse. This silly crap works on too many people for sellers to stop. It's another reason I like marketing more to my own list than in public these days. Relationship marketing eliminates the need for all that smarmy crap.

        ZEUS HAS SPOKEN.... UM, ZEUS HAS TYPED. Never mind.
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        • Profile picture of the author bretski
          It really is kind of sad because I am sure that some of these products DO hold value and DO work but it has gotten to the point that many vendors think that you have to do all this crap in order to make sales.

          Of course, the garbage products that require to you become a part of their network or use their service in order for stuff to work, like some of this "push button" junk need to be exposed. I am sure that there are still some people who would pay for such a service but with blind sales copy of misleading hype it is difficult to know what a product actually is or whether there is an upsell that is required to make a certain "system" work.

          There are some good products out there though. Hopefully, the weeding process that CB is doing will help those vendors.

          Originally Posted by Zeus66 View Post

          That's it. I'm suing you. Or maybe just sending the monkeys for a visit. Suing you would probably be easier on you. But seriously, I really like Bret and I would never sue him. He's a good guy with an above average intelligence... buy his stuff
          Thank you, John! Pet the monkeys for me... so to speak
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  • Profile picture of the author Celeste Green
    I dislike the sales pages that consist solely of a video (and no way to skip forward or tell how long it will play). I'm referring to the type where the actor plays up his sad story or plays on the viewer's desires (i.e. if you've never made money online my product will solve your problem with one click of a button) but never actually describes what the product/solution he's hocking does. You've got to buy to find out.

    Also, a million expensive upsells after purchasing a low-cost product breaks down the trust factor for me.

    Oh yeah, and if the sales page promises a miracle product/solution – regardless of the niche – but it's only $17.95 I quirk a questioning eyebrow.
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    • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
      Originally Posted by tpw View Post


      One such example that I saw was a ClickBank product that said, "Our programming team won the coveted Ebay Automotive Award for Exceptional Software Design"...

      My B.S. Meter peeked in just those few words.

      The only place online that the "coveted award" appeared was in that sales page and its affiliate's pages.


      Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post



      (c) "Fake scarcity": things like "only 9 copies remaining" - there are sales pages which have said that for 3 years (while their gravity goes up and down a bit showing that some sales have been made - the customers don't see the gravity but they know they're being lied to, when it's a PDF);


      Originally Posted by Suthan M View Post


      1. Written testimonials from the same "gang". You can spot this across industries in CB. I don't trust none of the products that has "glowing testimonials" from this gangs.
      --Sometimes, i prefer USP driven testimonials that is on a clear video with reference (minimum a website address)

      2. Stock photos...


      Originally Posted by GMProps View Post

      [*]Paid actors claiming to be the creator of the system. Why does he look familiar? Oh yeah, we saw him on the XYZ Instant Traffic sales page last month claiming to be someone else.
      [*]Pictures of fancy cars, houses, vacation spots, happy families, piles of cash; all cliparts available on a $9.95 CD from Wal-Mart.



      Unfortunately, I've yet to "see" a review site that points any of these out on their so-called objective reviews of products.

      In fact, I have to pinch myself and adjust my eyes when I do see a review site that has a "do not buy" or "do not recommend" on it, it seems rare to me, when you find it, it is an anomaly of that site, not the norm.

      This includes newsletters that claim to do the same thing.

      Its usually "Everything is a scam" or "Every product is a good buy".


      The 13th Warrior
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      • Profile picture of the author tpw
        Originally Posted by The 13th Warrior View Post

        Unfortunately, I've yet to "see" a review site that points any of these out on their so-called objective reviews of products.

        In fact, I have to pinch myself and adjust my eyes when I do see a review site that has a "do not buy" or "do not recommend" on it, it seems rare to me, when you find it, it is an anomaly of that site, not the norm.

        This includes newsletters that claim to do the same thing.

        Its usually "Everything is a scam" or "Every product is a good buy".


        The 13th Warrior

        I have seen it occasionally, and I have even done it on occasion.

        When I do it, I say, "Not recommended, but if you want to buy it anyway, click here."

        But more often, if I decide that the product is no good or scammy, I simply don't mention it at all.

        Why waste time on a product that you are not going to make money promoting? Why not just move on to promoting the product in which you feel more comfortable promoting?

        For me, it is mostly about using my time in a more productive manner.
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        • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
          Originally Posted by tpw View Post


          But more often, if I decide that the product is no good or scammy, I simply don't mention it at all.

          Why waste time on a product that you are not going to make money promoting? Why not just move on to promoting the product in which you feel more comfortable promoting?

          Yeah, I get that, but to customers, it may appear you are just "churning" out products in front of them to get a sale, customers start to feel like a dairy cow.

          I've seen maybe 4 or 5 people that can just promote very good products, because a 90 percentile of the products they recommend are grand slams out the park, and heres what I mean:

          There are products in fields or niches that a customer do not EVER see themselves getting involved with, but the product is so well made, such clarity, simplicity in teaching and immediately usable , such ease of use that you buy it anyway because it is such a hell of a product, even if you never use it.

          Thats in addition to the list owners trust factor.

          Sure, you won't please all customers all the time, but still....,


          The 13th Warrior
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          • Profile picture of the author tpw
            Originally Posted by The 13th Warrior View Post

            Thats in addition to the list owners trust factor.

            Sure, you won't please all customers all the time, but still....,


            The 13th Warrior

            You are talking about building trust, by slamming a few products.

            I suspect that most people that are on my lists know that I can be very outspoken.

            And they know my tendency to tell it like it is, rather than to tell people what they need to hear to buy what I am selling.

            If you follow me here in the forum, you also know that I occasionally stand opposite the majority. And I am the same with my lists, as I am in the forum.
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            • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
              Originally Posted by tpw View Post


              You are talking about building trust, by slamming a few products.

              Not necessarily.

              That would be just as imbalanced.

              One list owner ,overall , recommended a product, bought the product, and simply pointed out the things in the product to stay clear of, what upsells not to buy or not needed, and made clear to the list that they will not have time to do everything and should not do everything in the product, but that it is good information to use and it is some of the stuff the list owner does.

              Best tip I learned on how to do a review for a customer list or any review.

              Highly credible and smart.

              The 13th Warrior
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              • Profile picture of the author Jacob Hargreave
                You know what I really can't stand when it comes to most sales presentations?


                Just a video and a buy now/optin button.

                Literally just a video an nothing else! Whats makes it so bad is when the video is 45 minutes long and the person speaking has managed to speak the whole time but not say anything about what they are selling.

                Some of them even have ridiculous movie soundtracks. Is that supose to get me ramped up or something? To be honest it makes me want to go watch every fight scene in the Rocky series.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    I think many of the 'Make Money' internet sellers are primarily focused on selling to the extreme newbees...

    These sellers don't care that the shady techniques are overused and are signs to avoid the offer (by more experienced buyers)....

    If the sellers were successful selling an upfront, honest, fully disclosed offer, no upsells, no video, no scarcity, no 'heart-pulling story", no income claims, no testimonials.......then I suppose they would do it.

    I think they mostly copy what appears successful on other make money sites, and that produces more of the same.

    Personally, if I see "This Is Not A Scam" in bold print on the sales page, I prepare for a wallet-ectomy. :-)
    _____
    Bruce
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    • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
      Originally Posted by brucerby View Post


      Personally, if I see "This Is Not A Scam" in bold print on the sales page, I prepare for a wallet-ectomy. :-)
      _____
      Bruce


      Is that the same as a vasectomy or Bi-Lateral Orchiectomy without anesthesia?


      The 13th Warrior
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        I have no problem whatsoever in promoting Clickbank products that have scammy-looking sales pages. Remember, buyers have an unconditional 60-day money back guarantee. In preselling promotions, I often poke fun or make jokes at what my prospects are about to encounter on the sales page, but heavily emphasize the no questions asked money back guarantee. My preselling and Clickbank's guarantee policy are what really sells the product, and are far more effective than any such dubious promotion gimmicks on vendor sales pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author neodarth
    I remember the first time I bought a product on TV a super duper abs 2000 (or something like that from the past century...) When I open the box, it was smaller than the picture, lighter than the picture and it broke the first day... That was a scam.

    When people ask money for poor little Timmy that fell down to a well... that's a scam

    I don't know if can call scam to this CB products because I'm still naive and think that people do things on good will and his only sin is to follow the trend that convert better... but perhaps I can call them tricky or misleading

    Normally when a sales copy focused its efforts on "sell a dream" instead of selling the product, is a big red flag for me.

    To pay X money for a money maker machine that will fill your pockets with money like your personal ATM and is nothing but a wordpress installer with some free plugins on it.

    The incredible super secret software that will bank thounsands a day with a push of a button and is nothing but an rehearsed article submitter.

    Scarcity, urgency, only two copies remain, just four minutes to close! just 400 lucky fellows will be buy! OMG the fear of loss!!!

    earning proof Screenshots (even those with the Click bank certified seal on them), rented mansions, rented cars, rented planes, rented yatch, actor with the french riviera on a blue screen, Gazillionaires, Guru Haters, stripers, coach surfers, marines, short people, tall people, renegade employees, Stolen software, sneaky east european programmers, underground hackers, secret societies, misterious pendrives delivered at your door, dead super affiliate last will, rockbottom stories, rags and new riches, bad craiglist actors, really bad actors!!!...

    Finally Words like auto, push button, 1 click, instant, secret, no work, no experience, no money smell fishy to me...

    And other thing that perhaps is not scammy (er... misleading) but it really get into my nerves... the long video sales letters without the ability to fast forward or rewind... I would hate to be tied spending 20 to 30 minutes watching a video saying the very same thing that appears in the sales copy below... and if you want ot skip it you have to deal with endless exit popup messages!

    Sadly if Clickbank ban these kind of offers they move to Plimus or other affiliate network...

    OK rant off...
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  • Profile picture of the author goozleology
    I can't stand marketers that use the fake scarity. It does work but I hardly end up buying from them again.

    Ed
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    • Profile picture of the author fastimmy
      I use the rule of thumb if it sounds to good to be true it probably is
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Kage
    I always like seeing those Over-Hyped products, and I also like to run away from them when I see them. Over-hyped meaning "sounds to good to be true" because as we all know, it probably is(and I know of some overpriced stuff on clickbank that you could get for free if you search for it).
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  • Profile picture of the author BenKJunya
    Internet scams are no longer new! They have crossed the threshold in our lives.
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  • Profile picture of the author Will Edwards
    Originally Posted by Chris Kent View Post

    Another thing that actually cries scam to many people is a money back guarantee.

    Think about it, many people shop on and offline without a money back guarantee because they have trust already in the vendor.

    Suddenly a vendor talks to you in a strange way and on a long page and finally they guarantee you will be happy or your money back. Actually sets alarm bells ringing for a lot of people and is a red flag for a "scam".
    Hi Chris

    It is a condition of trading on Clickbank though i.e. that you offer the 8 week money back guarantee.

    Will
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  • Profile picture of the author lienadla
    Here are the things that sets off the warnings bells in my head whenever I see a Clickbank sales letter.

    1. Fake screenshots.
    2. Promises that you don't have to work hard to earn.
    3. Those rehashed photos of cars, houses, etc.
    4. Fake sounding name.
    5. Fake urgency, those big countdown timers.
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