Should IM be like Barclays Bank?

26 replies
Hi,

This morning I was listening to an interview with the guy running Barclays Bank. They have just released their yearly profit information and they were down about 5 Billion from last year, mainly because they have had to put massive amounts in reserve to pay compensation for mis-selling of financial products to people who didn't need them.

When asked if he thought that his bank should sell a product to someone who didn't need it he replied that they absolutely should not and that he would have a big problem with anyone he thought was doing that.

He also announced some major restructuring, bonus reductions and that they'll be making a lot of people redundant as they close down sections of their business where the 'problem' activities had been happening before.

I've had many conversations with IMer over the years about what type of products we as IMers should sell and what our responsibility is for whether those products actually help anyone or not and I've been surprised at just how many people in IM have no interest in whether the products they sell actually help anyone. It seems that how much money they make, what their conversion statistics are, and how many JV partners they can get are all way more important than the concept of whether their customers need or will benefit from what they are selling.

Should we be more like Barclays and be cleaning up our house?
#bank #barclays
  • Profile picture of the author neilshearing
    I think a product in IM or any other field should always help people, or not be sold.

    Perhaps I'm old-school...?
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by neilshearing View Post

      I think a product in IM or any other field should always help people, or not be sold.

      Perhaps I'm old-school...?
      Hey Neil!

      It's great to see you still around.

      I hope things are well for you and the family.

      Andy
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      While I agree in principle, the reality can be a lot more cloudy.

      Of course, at the far extreme end, we can all recognise out and out scams. They are the 'products' that take your money and offer nothing positive in return. They should be weeded out and exposed.

      At the other extreme are products that are clearly produced with the primary intention of helping people, and which everyone agrees offer superb value. They should be applauded and held up as shining beacons.

      But in between are a plethora of products that polarise their audiences.

      Should we condemn an ebook because it only covers basic stuff that we ourselves already know? It might be useless and a waste of money to us, but to a complete newbie it might be the very spark that gets them started.

      Many products - including a lot of WSOs - are branded as useless when in fact the critic is merely saying they didn't, or wouldn't (or more likely couldn't be bothered to) follow their advice. Does that make them bad products or the critic a bad student?

      Selling someone an insurance they don't need is not the same as selling them a business method they won't put into practice.

      I buy a lot of products to review for my newsletter and end up feeling able to recommend very few: perhaps only one or two in ten. That doesn't necessarily mean the other eight or nine are scams or even bad. It just means that they don't quite measure up to the quality standard I have set.

      Over the years, despite having bought literally hundreds of Internet marketing products, I have only ever asked for two or three refunds from products that I considered to be unfit for purpose.

      Importantly, I got my refunds instantly and without question in all cases. I don't know what the current percentage is, but I'd bet that 95% of Internet marketing products do offer an easy refund route. Even when a guarantee isn't offered (several of my own products fall into this category), most vendors will be accomodating. So I find it hard to call 'scam' when I can get my money back on even the lousiest product in minutes.

      I am not suggesting that Andy is wrong, and I completely understand where he is coming from. It is just that I think the question is far from being black and white.

      Is buying an ebook that offers a no questions asked refund for any reason the same as buying insurance you don't need that offers no future recourse (apart from legal) the same thing? I think not.

      One of our big problems in Internet marketing is that a little too much is written about how 'everything is a scam' and how the sharks are waiting to take your arm and leg, and way too little is spend genuinely praising people who create the best (but often unsung) products.

      Like Andy Henry himself.

      Maybe by applauding those who are at the top end of product creation we can raise the bar on the rest by example.

      Martin
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        While I agree in principle, the reality can be a lot more cloudy.

        Martin
        Hey Martin,

        You're right I'm sure.

        I had a discussion with Bob Puddy a few years ago along similar lines and the analogy he used (which I think is a good one) was of an exercise bike. You can sell someone an exercise bike but if they hang their clothes on it and get fat because they don't use it - that's not really your problem.

        While you may genuinely want to help them get fit, lose weight etc. and the bike might be the perfect thing - if they don't use it, they won't get the benefit and could say "exercise bikes don't work".

        I think that's a fair analogy to some IM sales situations.
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        • Profile picture of the author Hesaidblissfully
          Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

          I had a discussion with Bob Puddy a few years ago along similar lines and the analogy he used (which I think is a good one) was of an exercise bike. You can sell someone an exercise bike but if they hang their clothes on it and get fat because they don't use it - that's not really your problem.

          While you may genuinely want to help them get fit, lose weight etc. and the bike might be the perfect thing - if they don't use it, they won't get the benefit and could say "exercise bikes don't work".

          I think that's a fair analogy to some IM sales situations.
          The difference between the analogy above and how a lot of IM products are sold is that most exercise bikes aren't promising you'll lose 30 pounds in 2 months, working out just 5 minutes a day.

          It's the promise of specific results in the advertising, and the fact that as an info product seller, you usually have no way of ensuring the buyer gets any specific result that causes dissatisfaction.

          Your products should do what you say they're going to do, or else you shouldn't be selling them. If you can't guarantee a specific result for the buyer, then your advertising should reflect that.

          To me, a "good" product is simply one that does what it says on the tin.
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      • Profile picture of the author shane_k
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post


        Should we condemn an ebook because it only covers basic stuff that we ourselves already know? It might be useless and a waste of money to us, but to a complete newbie it might be the very spark that gets them started.
        I wish more IMers would take a moment and really understand what you wrote above.

        I hear so much on this forum about "rehashed content"

        I mean what exactly does that mean?

        I think this mentality of calling something "rehashed content" is a bad mentality because that is going to cause that IMer to constantly go looking for new information.

        As if new information is the thing that is going to give them that edge.

        I think if more IMers started to truly define what "rehashed content" meant to them, or even ask themselves, "what is the different between rehashed content and the basics?"

        The reason I ask this is because you would never go into a golf shop and hire a coach, then when that golf coach is standing there watching your swing and gives you advice, you would never look at them and say, "oh that is rehashed content, I already read that/heard that from someone else. You are scamming me, I want my money back."


        It's only in the IM world that I heard that phrase "rehashed content"

        Pretty much every single ebook or course that I have bought followed the same basic principles, and I would never call it rehashed content.

        I always just saw it as the basic principles, basic skills that I needed to learn.

        I mean if you buy 5 ebooks and they all mention building a list, is it better to slam the author and call that rehashed content or is it better to look at that and understand that, that is one of the basics/fundamentals that people build their business on?

        anyway, sorry to detract from the thread, just liked what you said and had to comment on it.
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        • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
          Originally Posted by shane_k View Post

          I wish more IMers would take a moment and really understand what you wrote above.

          I hear so much on this forum about "rehashed content"

          I mean what exactly does that mean?

          I think this mentality of calling something "rehashed content" is a bad mentality because that is going to cause that IMer to constantly go looking for new information.

          As if new information is the thing that is going to give them that edge.

          I think if more IMers started to truly define what "rehashed content" meant to them, or even ask themselves, "what is the different between rehashed content and the basics?"

          The reason I ask this is because you would never go into a golf shop and hire a coach, then when that golf coach is standing there watching your swing and gives you advice, you would never look at them and say, "oh that is rehashed content, I already read that/heard that from someone else. You are scamming me, I want my money back."


          It's only in the IM world that I heard that phrase "rehashed content"

          Pretty much every single ebook or course that I have bought followed the same basic principles, and I would never call it rehashed content.

          I always just saw it as the basic principles, basic skills that I needed to learn.

          I mean if you buy 5 ebooks and they all mention building a list, is it better to slam the author and call that rehashed content or is it better to look at that and understand that, that is one of the basics/fundamentals that people build their business on?

          anyway, sorry to detract from the thread, just liked what you said and had to comment on it.

          While I understand your point, when 95% of them are promising something new, never before seen, super secret, only found here, etc... and then just delivers the same thing everyone else is talking about... Well that is rehashed content in my book.

          I'm not against teaching the basics or more efficient ways to do the basics, but don't promise something revolutionary only to deliver an ebook that was rewritten from 2-3 other ebooks.
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        • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
          Originally Posted by shane_k View Post

          I hear so much on this forum about "rehashed content"

          I mean what exactly does that mean?

          I think this mentality of calling something "rehashed content" is a bad mentality because that is going to cause that IMer to constantly go looking for new information.

          As if new information is the thing that is going to give them that edge.

          I think if more IMers started to truly define what "rehashed content" meant to them, or even ask themselves, "what is the different between rehashed content and the basics?"
          Since you asked. The reason people so often talk about rehashed content is - because there is an army of newbie IMers who have no experience or value to share in this niche, so rather than create any - they buy other people's product, change the wording, call it a new product and then throw it up with a hyped-up sales page.

          You may say "well, what's so bad about that" and while at a stretch of the imagination I could concede that it may have got the same content/ideas in front someone who never read the original authors version, it adds no value to what was already available and comes from a place of zero experience.

          I have no problem whatsoever from reading the same ideas/concepts from 5 different people - if what they're sharing is based on their own experience and knowledge.

          If I buy 5 products and 4 of them are copies of the first one written by people who have zero experience and are just saying what they read in the first persons product - THAT I do have a problem with.

          That's what's so bad about "rehashed" stuff.
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    • Profile picture of the author James Gould
      Originally Posted by neilshearing View Post

      I think a product in IM or any other field should always help people, or not be sold.

      Perhaps I'm old-school...?
      No that's exactly the right frame of mind.

      Products should be sold as a solution, not cause an issue.

      I'm guessing you're talking about PPI Andy, and I had no idea Barclays (as a single institution) had been hit so hard...

      Jamie.
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      • Profile picture of the author butters
        I don't think help would be the word I use but something more along the lines of it having a positive affect on ones life. There are many products I have bought (Not just talking IM products, talking about selling online in general) that haven't helped me one bit but have supplied me with amusement. Other products I have bought were comical and gave me a short term laugh, like a DVD for example. I believe products shouldn't be there to cause you hassle, rip you off and poorly made, they should be there for you to enjoy. It is our job as sellers to actually provide this to our customers, weed out the crap and supply something that is quality which they can use and enjoy.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anish
    I COMPLETELY agree. For instance, half of the WSOs seem to be rehashed content and people still go in there, put money in like it's a casino and hope to hit jackpot. Then again, then again and again.

    All these marketers sing songs of "quality content" but at the end of the day, all they (at least most) care about is exciting people up with sales pages, building their list size, getting more sales. For the same reason, I have a strong aversion to Clickbank. What do these "info product creators" do? "Slap up" (what an overrated phrase) PLR content or pay a $2/hr outsourcer to rewrite articles and compile them. And in the sales page, they say crap like "THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE FOREVER" and what not. I'm still amazed at how most of them are so unoriginal.
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    • Profile picture of the author KenJ
      Originally Posted by Anish View Post

      I COMPLETELY agree. For instance, half of the WSOs seem to be rehashed content and people still go in there, put money in like it's a casino and hope to hit jackpot. Then again, then again and again.

      .
      I have two WSO's purchased in the last year that are about how to run a WSO. Both of them say you should rehash existing WSO's. That is their methodology. They proclaim that this is the quickest way to make money on the warrior forum.
      So there are probably quite a few rehashed WSO's out there.
      For myself I still can't think of anything original to provide in a WSO. I don't want to be a copy cat so I will not do one.
      Yet!

      KenJ
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    Should we be more like Barclays and be cleaning up our house?
    I think that we should be even better than Barclays and
    lead our business by guiding principles that make it impossible
    to sell customers products or services that don't offer them
    real value in the first place.

    Sure, it's dandy that Barclays are cleaning up part of the mess
    that they had a responsibility in creating, BUT, if their business
    was run right they wouldn't need to.

    I run my business by very simple principles like fairness, treating
    people how I like to be treated and offering intense value.

    Dedicated to mutual success,

    Shaun
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I wouldn't give Barclays any credit for housecleaning. One scandal after another, department of justice criminal investigation, etc. And I imagine that it is much the same with Internet Marketers who put profit above all else... they will as long as they can.


    Mr. Jenkins took over as CEO last summer, replacing Robert Diamond who left amid allegations the bank had manipulated a key global interest rate known as Libor. Barclays paid more than $500-million to regulators to settle the allegations and other banks have paid penalties as well.

    Barclays has been caught up in several other scandals, including allegations it improperly sold insurance products across Britain to small businesses and that it misled investors about a $5-billion investment it received from Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyanin in 2008 that spared the bank from receiving a government bailout.

    The bank also disclosed Tuesday that it is under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice into “whether the group’s relationships with third parties who assist Barclays to win or retain business are compliant with the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.” Bank officials declined to elaborate.

    .... The tax-planning division, known as Structured Capital Markets, had come under close scrutiny because much of its work involved helping clients avoid paying tax.
    New Barclays CEO launches major overhaul, to slash 3,700 jobs - The Globe and Mail
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    • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      I wouldn't give Barclays any credit for housecleaning. One scandal after another, department of justice criminal investigation, etc. And I imagine that it is much the same with Internet Marketers who put profit above all else... they will as long as they can.
      If that's the case then don't we (as Martin already said) have some responsibility to help our niche reputation by acknowledging the state of affairs and giving prominence to the good guys so that people know who they're dealing with and have the choice to go for the get-rich-quick scammers by choice rather than because they can't tell the difference?

      It's easy to just criticise the bad guys and talk about the problems, but shouldn't we also try to be part of the solution?
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
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        Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

        If that's the case then don't we (as Martin already said) have some responsibility to help our niche reputation by acknowledging the state of affairs and giving prominence to the good guys so that people know who they're dealing with and have the choice to go for the get-rich-quick scammers by choice rather than because they can't tell the difference?

        It's easy to just criticise the bad guys and talk about the problems, but shouldn't we also try to be part of the solution?
        Many people here already do that. On any discussion here about ethics there are a surprising number of people who opt for ethics over profit. There's always going to be scammers as long as it's profitable, but this forum has no shortage of marketers with ethics.
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        • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
          Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

          Many people here already do that. On any discussion here about ethics there are a surprising number of people who opt for ethics over profit. There's always going to be scammers as long as it's profitable, but this forum has no shortage of marketers with ethics.
          No doubt about that.
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  • Profile picture of the author FreshAndThemes
    I remember hearing a quote many years back when i first started designing.

    "Even though quality cannot be defined, you know what quality is"

    (A google search says its from an American Philospher Robert M. Pirsig but i think it was someone else...)

    Anyway I happen to agree with the sentiments. We all know the guys that put in effort and we notice their work-rate. But what we notice more is "Quality".

    Something that has taken time, something that has real weight and value and something that in principle can be as relevant now as when it was released. Releasing information that helps no one in the short term may make you a quick buck but in the long term does nothing to help you build a foundation to spring board off of.

    Just my two cents. Thanks OP great discussion!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Galt
    "Should we be more like Barclays and be cleaning up our house?"

    This already happens naturally, doesn't it? Bad products get buried in vitriol and/or litigated into extinction. Good products are raved about, and prosper.
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  • You can sell someone an exercise bike but if they hang their clothes on it and get fat because they don't use it - that's not really your problem.
    That is my approach too: our responsability is to provide quality products and market them truthfully, but we are not responsible for whatever use the customer will make of our product. I dont believe in customer hand holding - a customer should be responsible for his own purchasing decissions.
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  • Profile picture of the author isaacsmithjones
    Barclays is a company, who can basically act as one entity...

    IM is an industry. So it's harder for us to all "get together" to clean up.

    You're always going to get some people trying to sell snake oil (in basically any industry). So in my eyes, the best you can do as an ethical internet marketer is create and recommend the truly valuable solutions, and help to identify and point out the rip-offs.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Having worked in the past for one of the largest U.S. banks for about 8 years, I can tell you that banking, much like the IM world, will never be cleaned up. There are things that go on in banking that still make me sick to this day.

    It would be nice if we could clean things up, but I cannot imagine how.

    I work in SEO. It is probably the most muddy subset of IM outside of the "make money online" niche.

    People are constantly reading some stupid 3-page WSO that tells them they can start an SEO business. Then they go out destroying the rankings of real businesses, with no accountability of their actions. There are those selling "PR 7, 8, and 9" links, which are nothing more than completely worthless profile links on high PR domains. There are fools selling .edu and .gov links convincing people who do not know any better that they have some magical ranking powers.

    I could go on and on about the garbage in the SEO industry; a lot of it, unfortunately, originating from forums like this.

    How do you clean that up?

    Really, you cannot. All you can do is try to do things the right way yourself and teach others to do the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I think that I err too much on the other side. Sometimes
    I want to be so sure that I'm giving value that I give
    too much for the price.

    And I hear it all the time from my customers. But that
    the kind of complaints I want to hear.

    After working with several business owners over the
    years I can tell you that many people are more interested
    in the bottom line than value given.

    Interestingly, they are the ones who seems to be making
    the money, and the nice guy comes in last.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author MartinPlatt
    Originally Posted by Andyhenry View Post

    Hi,

    This morning I was listening to an interview with the guy running Barclays Bank. They have just released their yearly profit information and they were down about 5 Billion from last year, mainly because they have had to put massive amounts in reserve to pay compensation for mis-selling of financial products to people who didn't need them.

    When asked if he thought that his bank should sell a product to someone who didn't need it he replied that they absolutely should not and that he would have a big problem with anyone he thought was doing that.

    He also announced some major restructuring, bonus reductions and that they'll be making a lot of people redundant as they close down sections of their business where the 'problem' activities had been happening before.

    I've had many conversations with IMer over the years about what type of products we as IMers should sell and what our responsibility is for whether those products actually help anyone or not and I've been surprised at just how many people in IM have no interest in whether the products they sell actually help anyone. It seems that how much money they make, what their conversion statistics are, and how many JV partners they can get are all way more important than the concept of whether their customers need or will benefit from what they are selling.

    Should we be more like Barclays and be cleaning up our house?
    An interesting thought.

    Products should be helpful and useful to the people that buy them. Fitness for purpose and all that.

    The difference I think is that with a Bank, you go in for advice, and if someone was to sell you something that you don't need that's wrong. In this case there wouldn't be anything wrong with the product.

    As an internet marketer, it is slightly different - you can list benefits, features and appeal to a persons need, but it is their choice in the end. The case of product quality is a different one, and one I agree should not be let to go on. That said, vendors of poor products probably wouldn't last long with high refund rates, and a poor reputation... Think Karma would get to them long before the witch hunt starts...
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  • Profile picture of the author DonDraper
    this has already been happening with clickbank, paypal, and many merchant account providers.

    compared to 5 years ago, it is much harder to sell any "make money" type product. Once you reach any sort of serious volume you start getting accounts frozen, "compliance" departments calling you, etc..

    I have a few clickbank products that are in the red zone right now just because of my liberal return policies. so I think its all happening right now

    the Internet used to be the wild west, but its getting more and more controlled and civilized every day. what will be the next frontier?
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  • Profile picture of the author TomBuck
    Just got screwed from Barclays. So can see how they are 5 Bil down. So in my personal opinion no I.M. should not be like Barclays although I do like your idea about paying people back due to the massive hype every product has nowadays.
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