Forget Flogs...Say Hello to SPAMAZINES!

53 replies
Thought you saw enough with the Rhodes post on Flogs?

Check out the new trend my wife just emailed me.
I'm calling it a "Spamazine"...unless someone else has a better term.

(Even I thought it was real until I saw the Affiliate link)

Edit: The site has changed! .
For the record, here's what the old page looked like:

#affiliate marketing #cpa landing page #farticles #flogs #flogssay #forget #scams #spamazines
  • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve Diamond
      How in heaven's name does that site have an Alexa rank of 11,255? That's just wrong!

      According to Yahoo Site Explorer, the site has one page and five inlinks. Alexa shows quite a bit of traffic starting on May 25. Either they're gaming Alexa, buying junk traffic, or both.
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      • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
        Originally Posted by Steve Diamond View Post

        How in heaven's name does that site have an Alexa rank of 11,255? That's just wrong!

        According to Yahoo Site Explorer, the site has one page and five inlinks. Alexa shows quite a bit of traffic starting on May 25. Either they're gaming Alexa, buying junk traffic, or both.
        Alexa rank means nothings - it's easily abused to give false data.
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        nothing to see here.

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  • Profile picture of the author MichaelHiles
    Comments conveniently closed due to spam.... rofl...
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  • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
    nice looking advertorial. probably converts pretty well compared to the flog?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    It immediately hits you with Social Proof from CNN, AOL and others.
    Then it drops your guard with the mom and child.
    The "advertisements" actually add to the magazine look.
    The copy itself it written from a neutral editorial viewpoint which helps with the overall image.
    Then they top it off with "success stories" at the bottom.
    Meanwhile, every outgoing link is for Easy Google Profits.

    In my opinion, this is converting.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
    "Photographs or images are depiction of individuals and payment methods." Love it. So, in other words, they have no ACTUAL people who can offer testimonials saying that this method works, so they have to use fake pictures and fake testimonials. I wonder why?

    And now if you'll excuse me, I am going to follow some very promising leads into "making ten thousand dollars a week stuffing envelopes". As soon as I cash that check from that Nigerian prince. Hey, does Nigeria even have a monarchy? Oh well, never mind, he seems like a very nice and trustworthy man.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    I love the comment - "comments close due to spam."

    That was priceless...

    Welcome to snn - spam news network!
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    • Profile picture of the author Tony Dean
      Nigeria did have prince's at one time, I think some like to keep to old traditions.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Taylor
    This style could actually produce good results if used as a landing page.

    Before you scoff at this particular example, maybe we could all set up a version to run against our control landing pages in a split test to see which converts better...
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    • Profile picture of the author Minisite Nerd
      Originally Posted by Michael Taylor View Post

      This style could actually produce good results if used as a landing page.

      Before you scoff at this particular example, maybe we could all set up a version to run against our control landing pages in a split test to see which converts better...

      That's what I've been saying too...

      Instead of running and screaming "SCAM!", as marketers we need to learn from this. Take what seems to work and apply elements of it to your marketing.

      I don't have a problem with these really....especially when they put - "This publication is an article advertisement for Easy Google Profit." - right at the top of the page.

      No offense, but anyone with about half a brain realizes this isn't a real news article in about 2.7 seconds.....at the most.

      The actual advertising used here isn't a problem here with me....however if they are scamming people with these continuity programs and credit card charges these people can never cancel like many of these offers are....well...that is a problem.

      Advertorials like this have been around for DECADES in newspapers and magazines, so it's not like this is an earth-shattering idea. Just someone smart enough to finally take a proven technique from the past and apply it to the internet. Something to be learned from there as well, I think.....
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Minisite Nerd View Post

        That's what I've been saying too...

        Instead of running and screaming "SCAM!", as marketers we need to learn from this. Take what seems to work and apply elements of it to your marketing.

        I don't have a problem with these really....especially when they put - "This publication is an article advertisement for Easy Google Profit." - right at the top of the page.

        No offense, but anyone with about half a brain realizes this isn't a real news article in about 2.7 seconds.....at the most.

        The actual advertising used here isn't a problem here with me....however if they are scamming people with these continuity programs and credit card charges these people can never cancel like many of these offers are....well...that is a problem.

        Advertorials like this have been around for DECADES in newspapers and magazines, so it's not like this is an earth-shattering idea. Just someone smart enough to finally take a proven technique from the past and apply it to the internet. Something to be learned from there as well, I think.....
        I agree ... looks great, probably converts well. As long as it's not one of the programs that charge your credit card monthly before you realize what is happening ... good for them. I like it better than the fake blog model.
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        • Profile picture of the author Minisite Nerd
          Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

          I agree ... looks great, probably converts well. As long as it's not one of the programs that charge your credit card monthly before you realize what is happening ... good for them. I like it better than the fake blog model.

          Another reason they seem to work is they are promoted using PPC on other real news sites. So when someone clicks on the ad, it can feel like they are going from one news site to another.

          At least that's one thing I noticed....personally as soon as I saw it I realized it was an ad.
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        • Profile picture of the author Minisite Nerd
          Originally Posted by Richard Odell View Post

          I love the format that they have used (its not the first one that I have seen but it si the most convincing so far).

          If you run through the "eligibility forms " :rolleyes: with a lot of gobbledygook you hit the final payment page. If you look at the small print at the bottom, its charging about $1.95 for the first payment and around $69 each month there after.

          Yet throughout the whole process they conveniently avoid telling you in detail what you are actually getting. :confused: Nothing except a lot of scraped facts about Google using all the network logos.

          Apart from the front page - the rest of it smells a little off.

          -Rich

          Edit: They quote this on the front page...

          "Step 2:
          Post Links given to you by Google

          Step 3:
          Deposit the check Google sends you!"

          It sounds a little like an adsense course?

          I'm with you Richard....most of these sites stink of scam....and many flat out are. But the way they are using this type of landing page with PPC from other news sites is really a great little marketing idea.
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          • Profile picture of the author John Blaisdale
            I can definitely see this becoming a new trend among PPC marketers. However, I worry that many people will create pages as deceptive as this one or even more deceptive. Hopefully, there will be just as many marketers who see the true potential of this landing page format and take advantage of it in a legitimate manner.

            Anyhow, this landing page format is definitely working quite well for the site in to original post.
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            • Profile picture of the author Kevin AKA Hubcap
              This is very similar to advetorials in magazines.
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              • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
                Originally Posted by Kevin AKA Hubcap View Post

                This is very similar to advetorials in magazines.
                Yes, it is.

                And from what I recall, Advertorials converted so well, they were forced to display "advertisement" in the header because consumers actually thought it was a magazine article.

                This format had me and my wife convinced (maybe because my wife emailed it to me thus lowering my defense). If it worked on my sceptic butt, I can only imagine how it's converting with non-marketers.
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            • Profile picture of the author Michael Taylor
              Originally Posted by John Blaisdale View Post

              I worry that many people will create pages as deceptive as this one or even more deceptive.
              John, what's deceptive about this page? Does the news-like style bother you? Or the actual content itself?
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        • Profile picture of the author AffiliateMax
          Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

          I agree ... looks great, probably converts well. As long as it's not one of the programs that charge your credit card monthly before you realize what is happening ... good for them.
          But that's exactly what it is for - as is the case with most of the 'bizopp' offers from the CPA networks.

          The monthly charges are only mentioned in the terms and conditions (seperate page) and are not mentioned on the offer page at all. When people find out and try to cancel, emails go unanswered or are returned as undeliverable, the only alternative is to phone whereby they are put through call centre hell - hung up on, put on hold for ever in the hope they will go away or told that the service has been cancelled only for the billing to continue regardless. Often they are signed up for 1 or 2 other sites as well also with ongoing monthly charges and which have to be cancelled seperately.
          A search on Google shows lots of complaints along these lines:
          Google search for Easy Google Profit scam
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      • Profile picture of the author linguistics
        Originally Posted by Minisite Nerd View Post

        That's what I've been saying too...

        Instead of running and screaming "SCAM!", as marketers we need to learn from this. Take what seems to work and apply elements of it to your marketing.

        I don't have a problem with these really....especially when they put - "This publication is an article advertisement for Easy Google Profit." - right at the top of the page.

        No offense, but anyone with about half a brain realizes this isn't a real news article in about 2.7 seconds.....at the most.

        The actual advertising used here isn't a problem here with me....however if they are scamming people with these continuity programs and credit card charges these people can never cancel like many of these offers are....well...that is a problem.

        Advertorials like this have been around for DECADES in newspapers and magazines, so it's not like this is an earth-shattering idea. Just someone smart enough to finally take a proven technique from the past and apply it to the internet. Something to be learned from there as well, I think.....
        I fail to see how it is a scam on continuity when right there in LARGE letters, large on my screen at least, it says that YOU WILL BE BILLED 39.95, PLUS 9.95 AND ANOTHER 7.95 IF YOU DO NOT CANCEL WITHIN 7 DAYS...how is that scamming? Anyone with any sense would not use their actual credit card, maybe use a pre-paid card or something. But, anytime someone writes, in your face, we are taking your money, and you call it a scam, i find that kind of unfair.
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        • Profile picture of the author AffiliateMax
          Originally Posted by linguistics View Post

          I fail to see how it is a scam on continuity when right there in LARGE letters, large on my screen at least, it says that YOU WILL BE BILLED 39.95, PLUS 9.95 AND ANOTHER 7.95 IF YOU DO NOT CANCEL WITHIN 7 DAYS...how is that scamming? Anyone with any sense would not use their actual credit card, maybe use a pre-paid card or something. But, anytime someone writes, in your face, we are taking your money, and you call it a scam, i find that kind of unfair.
          I assume you are referring to the site mentioned by the person who started this thread?

          In which case, bear in mind that the site is now very different to how it looked when this thread was started. Perhaps the owner of the flog /farticle site got a letter from the FTC about compliance, perhaps their url was widely published, or whatever - who knows.
          But the way it looks now is not how it looked before. If you want to see some screenshots of how it looked before there are screenshots of it and other similar fake news sites at the following blogs:

          JayWeintraub.com - Internet Advertising Analysis and Commentary: The Perfect Storm - Part 1

          I Caught Kevin Hoeffer Barbecuing at Costco
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  • Profile picture of the author Ron Killian
    Given the example though, what about the legalities, seems to be posing as the newspaper to me?
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    Is this legal? Can someone do this and stay safe?
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    • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
      Originally Posted by Richard Odell View Post

      Not to the extent that they have taken it, but certainly learn from the first page.

      -Rich
      Oh I am learning every bit of it! The trust is insane. If a wannabe marketer as me went there with my mouse cursor... i imagine non-webby people.

      I will test this method on a cross-test in some days in a non-IM niche.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Taylor
      Originally Posted by Fernando Veloso View Post

      Is this legal? Can someone do this and stay safe?
      Not speaking of the offer itself, but of the style...how could a news style be unlawful? It's just a publishing format. There are no officially sanctioned presses in the U.S., so what authority can say your website can or cannot appear to be a news article?

      Or is that not what you were questioning?
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Adamson
    The comments are of course 100% bogus. That is why they are closed. Someone got their first check from Google in 2 weeks? ($2800 no less! LOL) Google Adsense pays 45 days in arrears, ie. you get paid mid-April for February's turnover. Sadly, this is one case where lying works. But I tend to agree with the assessment that there is a lot to be learned. This stuff is not new. It has been successfully used in print for decades. Read guys like Michel Fortin and they will often pull out ads from the 1940's as examples.

    The lesson I get from this is to spend more attention on what has worked offline in the past and apply it online.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
    The test is always this:

    "What is the net impression on a reasonable consumer"

    In this case, you've got completely bullshit proof elements and thus the entire offer immediately rendered deceptive, regardless of the quality of the deliverable or lack thereof.

    But let's remove that from the equation for second.

    And let's swap out the fakery of the officious sounding newspaper title with an equally compelling but niche publication type title...

    Trout Fisherman's Almanac
    Mama Kelley's Quilters Monthly

    And let's substitute the bullshit proof elements with verifiably true and accurate testimonials as we all use (right?!).

    My take is that they're flying too close to the flame... by a lot.

    But the baby isn't going out with the bath water. There's something here worth testing, big time.

    I dig the way the layout looks.

    Best,

    Brian

    P. S. For the flame-resistant (or those who believe they are) please don't mistake getting away with it today with getting away with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
    I looked at the first page. My thought is that if the FTC were looking at the page they would consider it misleading in that even though they have the line at the top under the headline that this is an advertisement.. that notice blends in to well with the page and I am sure easily overlooked which obviously is by design and that alone could cause an issue or warning.

    With links to Terms of Service and Privacy Policies for websites you are suppose to have those links stand out clear and be placed near where people would be looking such as subscribe form for newsletter, testimonials and earnings claim notices. The links can't be made to blend in so they are not noticed, they have to blatantly be there and obvious. With the advertisement notice I am not sure it stands out enough, if you were not looking for it you wouldn't really see it especially if you just scan the page which many people would do.

    I don't know but if they made that statement more blatant, showed it alone and clear so it does not blend in with the rest of the page there is no way that fault could be found they did not notify people this was an ad. Yes it is there now but my point is, it blends into the page and is specifically designed to. FTC I believe has issues with that, notices should be blatant and stick out from my understanding and to me that notice does not.

    The overall ad from a marketing standpoint looks good but I can't know how it stands from a legal point of view or how or if the FTC would have an issue or not.


    - Terry
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    • Profile picture of the author Terry Crim
      I didn't read the page in my last post I just looked at the layout. This is an interesting way to layout the marketing offer BUT like others have posted, I agree that this is a misleading ad and the parent company as well as this affiliate could both end up in hot water.

      EDIT: That is if they get turned in or FTC henchmen that patrol the internet happen to come across it.

      There is no way this is not misleading.

      Step 1: Get "product name", only pay the $1.00 for shipping.

      So if there is any other fees other than that dollar my guess is this affiliate is going to get hit from attorney generals, FTC and both the affiliate and the parent company are going to wind up in court. Not to mention would add more fuel to the fire for legislating and regulating the internet which would do more harm than good.

      Good marketing setup there but is misleading.

      I wouldn't advise anyone to test this exact ad as is but there are many elements worth testing. Will anything happen here with this ad? I don't know, I mean from FTC or legal standpoint. It is similar to ads of old and the infomercials and spot ads on TV that take obama or other government officials giving a speach and just showing the section relevant to their product OR the ads that are layed out in a talk show format similar to Larry King. This is resemblance of those type of ads.

      I have no problem with the ad itself but they could change a few things to make it not so misleading, though it probably would drop conversion.


      - Terry
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Taylor
      Originally Posted by Terry Crim View Post

      My thought is that if the FTC were looking at the page they would consider it misleading in that even though they have the line at the top under the headline that this is an advertisement.. that notice blends in to well with the page and I am sure easily overlooked which obviously is by design and that alone could cause an issue or warning.
      What law requires any advertising to have such a label? News publications do that so their readers know the difference between true editorial material and advertising.

      If I were designing landing pages in this style, I would in no way include that label...unless, that is, someone can produce chapter and verse of the law regarding such disclosure.
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      • Profile picture of the author psresearch
        Originally Posted by Michael Taylor View Post

        What law requires any advertising to have such a label? News publications do that so their readers know the difference between true editorial material and advertising.

        If I were designing landing pages in this style, I would in no way include that label...unless, that is, someone can produce chapter and verse of the law regarding such disclosure.
        In essence the FTC has always required the disclosure. A careful reading of the FTC's policy statement on deception would indicate that:
        FTC POLICY STATEMENT ON DECEPTION

        However, that being said, having provided research to the FTC and talked extensively to one of the senior litigators there the "net impression" to consumers in many instances takes into account the target demographic which is set out in part 2 of the statement:

        "Second, we examine the practice from the perspective of a consumer acting reasonably in the circumstances. If the representation or practice affects or is directed primarily to a particular group, the Commission examines reasonableness from the perspective of that group."

        No matter what new guidelines come out, if you want to understand how the FTC thinks about deception, start with their policy statement.

        Now, more recently the FTC has more specifically said that they WILL be going after bloggers (and most likely any site owner) that does not disclose any form of compensation (this goes WAY beyond the original discussion about this two years ago).

        From the real ;-) Washington Post:
        "But they would need to think twice if, for instance, they praise parenting books they've just read and include links to buy them at a retailer like Amazon.com Inc.

        That's because the guidelines also would cover the broader and common practice of affiliate marketing, in which bloggers and other sites get a commission when someone clicks on a link that leads to a purchase at a retailer. In such cases, merchants also would be responsible for actions by their sales agents - including a network of bloggers."

        Washington Post article link:
        FTC plans to monitor blogs for claims, payments

        Brian Clark of CopyBlogger just did a good article about it here:
        Affiliate Marketing Disclosure

        And just to be clear, Peter Kafka of All Things Digital said in his article on the matter:

        "So I called up Rich Cleland, the assistant director in the FTC's division of advertising practices who was quoted in the AP story about the move, to make sure he hadn't been misquoted. Did the FTC really want to spend time making sure that people who make a five cent commission on the sale of a 99 cent MP3 spell out that relationship to their readers? Answer: Yes. Yes, they do."

        His full article is here:
        Adding an Amazon or Apple Affiliate Link to Your Blog the Feds Want to Know

        Now in my opinion this all is just going to tilt the playing field way into the scammers' favor, because:

        1) AG's are very politically motivated so they are less likely to go after really shrewd scammers than easier "marks".
        2) I don't know if the same is true for the FTC, but I suspect at some level it is.

        One last thing - alot of the fake news sites are NOT putting an advertisement disclaimer on them.
        PLUS, most them that do have "Advertisements" on the right which makes it seem like the main area is NOT an advertisment.
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  • Profile picture of the author indexphp
    Wow! For everybody in this thread who has never seen these, you obviously haven't been an affiliate marketer for very long... and you definitely haven't peeked into the CPA world.

    FYI, his alexa is so high because he BUYS traffic. There are tons of places to buy traffic, not just Google.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brian Robinson
    Originally Posted by BlueSquares View Post

    I'm calling it a "Spamazine"...unless someone else has a better term.
    Back in the day there was a "magazine" called Computer Shopper... 1.25" thick and 99% ads... and the 1% that weren't ads were advertorials.

    God bless Zeos, Central Point Software and Hayes Modems... the backbone of US publishing in the 1990s.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jon Alexander
    wonder why they didn't geo-target it - I've seen that page like 100 times and it has always geotargeted to my ISP's locale.
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  • Profile picture of the author CBSnooper
    That page will be converting in spades. It looks so convincing.

    I wanted to see what the other pages were like (if there were any) so went to the root and got the Apache default test page. Another example of Michael Franklyns post: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ite-world.html
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    • Profile picture of the author JimmyD
      I agree that this will be converting like crazy. I think they use adwords ads that look like torn pieces from a newspaper. I also think this offer is from the same stable as **** and Green Tea, i.e. small shipping fee then large credit card charges. The adverts at the right all lead to Golden Lounge Casino!
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  • Profile picture of the author Brad Gosse
    Yeah infomercials have used this format in their commercials for years. We all know we are not watching some random news program called Amazing Discoveries, but the format and presentation is familiar enough to make us trust more on a subconscious level.

    I am working on a few landing pages like this right now. (without the BS logos and phony testimonials of course)
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    • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
      Originally Posted by Brad Gosse View Post

      (without the BS logos and phony testimonials of course)
      is using the logos illegal even if its true?

      I see a lot affiliates use logos, but is it illegal or can you "cover" yourself with the right terms/conditions/clause?
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      • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
        Originally Posted by MaskedMarketer View Post

        is using the logos illegal even if its true?

        I see a lot affiliates use logos, but is it illegal or can you "cover" yourself with the right terms/conditions/clause?
        I saw a different approach to the use of TV logos a few days ago: they had the logos (as seens on tv) but they presented real tv sites transcripts. The target was weight loss i think...

        Something like this:

        CNN
        "weight loss pills are selling like hot cakes
        cause they work so well bla bla bal"

        ABC
        "weight loss products are very good
        and bla bla bla"

        So, they used these to gain trust - even when they presented just a few lines on text, of a article that didn't talked about the product, you know?

        But the trust is there.
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        • Profile picture of the author MaskedMarketer
          Thanks for the response Fernando.

          I dont see anything wrong with using the logos if its not illegal. I guess thats my question. Many people do it, but is it legal?

          Supposedly the AG is already rounding up people using Oprah for credibility in the flogs.

          And I dont think the guy is lying about "As Seen On" AOL, CNN, ect...

          Because he is probably advertising on every one of those sites.
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          • Profile picture of the author Alothere
            I think its illegal and its only a matter of time before these guys get busted on this....
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            • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
              Lol...

              At the top of the page under the subtitle Jobs:
              It says,
              Posted by Anthony on March 15th, 2009
              and has the authors picture.

              Then at the bottom of the page in the comments there is the same
              Picture and the guy is named Stephen???

              Run very, very fast!
              Have a Great Day!
              Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author Instructor
    Is there anywhere to get some templates like the ones he uses?
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  • Profile picture of the author raymagnetic
    I have no problem with the ad itself. If you're buying something online that promises to make you money you should definitely read the fine print before you purchase.

    As the saying goes, "you can not con an honest man." People looking to make a quick buck are usually the ones who fall victim to the scams the most.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kael41
    This template has been one of the hidden "gems" of the underscene now for a while, and yes, it DOES convert. It's all psychology my friends....
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  • Profile picture of the author Jesus Perez
    The site has changed.
    For the record, here's what the old page looked like:

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