It never ceases to amaze us how many people get sucked into the American style Internet scams. There are so many of these shady ‘companies’ it beggars belief. If it wasn’t for knowing these things exist BECAUSE they would be really rather comical.
We can only assume that there are always vulnerable, willing newbies, still with notions (based on articles they have read about the Silicon Valley success stories of the past) that the Internet has made many millionaires in the heady .com boom. It still does. But nowadays it takes imagination and originality to really come up with something new and lucrative.
We stumbled across this one last night and haven’t laughing since, it’s called Smart Money Websites. It’s hilarious, and in the usual style of these thing full of absurd claims and ludicrous ‘I love’ you testimonials like this…
“I absolutely LOVE Smart Money Websites. For the first time in my life I’ve been able to do my own websites, squeeze pages, record audio, split test, Oh my gosh it’s all so easy….”
This ‘business’ was started by a “Wayne van Dyke” who claims to be a venture capitalist, supposedly involved with highly profitable technology start ups.
1. A search on Wayne van Dyke leads only to stories about Dick van Dyke thus burying him if it is his real identity in Google (we suspect so you don’t find the truth!).
2. If he’s so damned smart why doesn’t he name his past successes.
In the usual hard sell direct marketing style, the text of this ‘site’ if you can call it that, has lots of repetition, lots of numbers ($50,000 is the favourite), and lots of buttons to suck you into the $1 trail.
So, what are they selling. Well, that’s our point, it’s not really clear. It’s either an MLM (Multi Level Marketing) sell this same business onto others idea, or they are selling pre-build affiliate marketing site. But lets be honest, who cares what they are selling. it’s the way they are selling it that is just plain wrong. They prey on the ill informed.
Here’s some numbers for you – apparently in their view this is the yearly cost of a website.
How to make your first $50K (home study course) – $297
(Reality: Chances are completely worthless if their site is anything to go by!)
Hosting – $240
(Reality: $83.40 if you use someone like Hostmonster)
Site Builder – $250
(Reality: FREE, assuming they mean a basic site building package as is often bundled with hosting accounts, but they are not clear)
Email Autoresponder – $200
(Reality: FREE with any sensible hosting plan)
Split Testing – $249
(Reality: FREE, but, creating similar gateway pages runs the risk of getting you banned from Google, and is no substitute for a little common sense)
Squeeze Page Generator – $480
(Reality: FREE, but, again considered as spam by search engines)
Ad-Tracking – $199
Webstats – $348
(Reality: FREE with any hosting plan, or you can use a service like StatCounter)
Audio – $348
(Reality: FREE, they simply don’t know what they are talking about)
Dashboard – $1200
(Reality : FREE, probably little more than a host’s control panel or a well designed Admin panel within a custom site which would have been purchased with the build)
Webmaster @$50/hr. x 400 hrs – $20,000
(This is our favourite, the sites we build for people don’t often take more than a few hours – if any – to look after. If you look at our client list you’ll see that if that this was the case we’d be semi-retired now! Yes, it does cost to build a quality site, but a good web design company should be delivering you, at this level, a site you can completely manage and maintain yourself)
Here’s the good news, you only get to pay them $647 a year for all this! The only thing missing from this to truly convince us that this was a scam was a photo of the founder on a Hawaiian beach with a cocktail in hand just to show how they are enjoying spending your money. As the old saying goes, “if it sounds to good to be true – it probably is”.
We did send them a polite (okay, polite is stretching the truth a bit) email to ask what they were ACTUALLY selling, but needless to say have not as yet got a response…