There are many times when, on the Net, we are exposed to Intenet scams. Here's some help on how
to recognise and avoid such scams and frauds. Scambusters is the prime source of such advice..

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How to avoid being ripped off by Internet scams

Make money with Ads by Google

By Audri and Jim Lanford

There are many times when, on the Net, we are exposed to Intenet scams. Here's some help on how to recognise and avoid such scams and frauds. Scambusters is the prime source of such advice..

When we gave an Internet seminar, we discovered something very disturbing: the attendees had heard lots of information about the Internet, some of which was correct, some close to correct, and much of it was dead-wrong!

But they had no way of knowing what information fit into which category!

And some of these half-truths and misinformation they had heard could quickly kill all of their Internet efforts!

In other words, "a little information can be a very dangerous thing."

And as we talked to other business owners, we realized that these seminar participants were in the same boat as everyone else: they were confused, didn't know who to trust, and were getting ripped off in record numbers by misinformation, hype and scams about Internet marketing.

And that's why we created our free electronic newsletter (or zine) called Internet ScamBusters! We just got so incredibly angry watching hundreds of companes get blatantly wrong information and baseless hype trying to learn how to use the Internet to successfully promote their businesses. Even worse, many have gotten ripped off and burned badly.

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Usually, the companies and consultants who were wasting our colleagues and customers money were not bad people: most of this waste was unintentional. However, just as most ad agencies intentionally waste their clients' money with institutional advertising (advertising that produces awards but not results), these consultants and Internet companies were creating Internet marketing that simply did not produce measurable results!

So we started publishing Internet ScamBusters! to help protect you from getting ripped off by all the scams, hype, and misinformation about using the Internet to promote your business or professional services. It will also help you avoid the aggravation that comes from scams and swindles that are common traps for businesses trying to use the Internet to promote their products and services. Readers tell me this information has saved them tens of thousands of dollars!

In this article, we'll talk about one scam you're likely to encounter. In fact, this scam is described in issue #2 of Internet ScamBusters!

If you want to learn from other people's mistakes and avoid making these painful mistakes yourself, read on to find out what others have done wrong and how you can beat them at their own game!

SCAM: You Can Make Millions By Sending Out 'Bulk' Email

Let's start out by defining "bulk email." Bulk email is promoted as the electronic equivalent of direct mail, where you can send your electronic message to a large number of recipients via email on the Internet.

Proponents of bulk email say that there are huge advantages to using bulk email for your marketing. They point out that the costs of bulk email are almost trivial compared to the costs of sending out direct mail. And they say that it is much faster than other forms of marketing and advertising: recipients get your message almost instantly, rather than having to wait days, weeks or months. Some claim that the response rate can be higher than other forms of advertising. They often promise that bulk email "assures a 100% readership." And finally, they point out that it is "environmentally friendly" since no paper is used."

And there are many people who will tell you that sending out bulk email is the road to riches. After all, they claim that since the cost of sending out your email is virtually zero, you can reach hundreds of thousands - or millions - of potential prospects for free. And since some of these prospects will be interested in your offer, you can make millions of dollars by sending out this bulk email.

No way!

Here's an example of this scam: In a recent, otherwise reasonably good on-line marketing article we requested, the author writes "what follows below are 10 ideas I have found essential when marketing on-line." Number 3 is "Send Bulk Email." The author writes:

"Bulk email is an excellent avenue to put your advertising message right into the hands of consumers. In fact, it is the only way I know of to do what I call "Active" advertising on-line."

Here's an additional example from recent promotions we received:

After you capture "the name and email address of each lead you can follow up and close the sale. Soon you will accumulate email addresses and you can mass mail to them or remail to them for free or even sell those lists just like any other lists of prospects."

What are the consequences of sending bulk email? At best you alienate the people you want to reach. At worst, you can create some very serious problems for yourself and your business!

Let's look at a few of the reasons that this advice is so far off-base.

  1. Many people on the Internet hate getting unsolicited email (sometimes called "umail"). They feel very strongly about this. They believe that unsolicited email violates "netiquette," the rules for being a good net citizen. Enraging and completely turning off a significant proportion of your prospects is not a good marketing strategy!

  2. It just plain doesn't work. There are countless examples of companies who have sent out bulk email, and not only did they not get the results they hoped for, they also ruined their Internet reputations for other Internet promotions, and had numerous other problems as a result (see the examples below).

    There are a number of spam blackluists, which are aimed at publicizing offensive behavior with the hope that people who learn about it will punish the offenders. An example is the Mail Abuse Prevention System.

    You don't want to get on these lists! (Many product boycotts have started with lists such as these. You can read about companies who have been successfully boycotted, as well as their apologies to the Internet community. You can even learn about how some companies were considered so offensive that they "were forced to make contributions to charities or build large home page data sets for social agencies.")

  3. Some of these people who become enraged will do more than simply not buy your products. If they are polite, they may just email your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and ask that your account be closed. (An ISP is a company that rents connections to the Internet so you can access the Internet.) One complaint won't cause an ISP to close your account - several hundred probably will. Or they may request that your Web pages be removed from access to the Internet.

    It is very difficult to conduct a successful Internet marketing campaign without email or a Web site!

    If they are not polite, they may "flame" you, which means they send nasty or derisive email. Often, flaming involves sending hundreds, or even thousands of these hate messages. (If you're flamed, don't respond negatively. It will only make the situation worse.)

    Or the enraged person may send you thousands of "mail bombs," which are very large files which are attached to email. Mail bombs are designed to overwhelm the computer sites where the offenders have their email accounts so that the offenders lose their access to the Internet.

    If that's not enough, these people can get seriously nasty. For example, they may find out your social security number and credit card numbers, post them on a bulletin board or somewhere on the Internet, and suggest that people use them to "get even" with you.

    In other words, they may do things to make your life quite miserable.

    Needless to say: Don't send bulk email!

  4. Many users will filter out email from people or companies that offend them with "bozo filters," which are part of most common email programs. Bozo filters allow users to automatically delete email that comes from the email address of someone that the user considers a "bozo" and doesn't want to be bothered with. If you're defined as a "bozo" by the recipients of your email, they won't even see other email you send them - your email immediately will go into the electronic trash. People who send unsolicited email are often automatically considered "bozos."

    Quite obviously, there are much better ways to achieve the results you are seeking.

    Conclusion...don't send unsolicited email. And don't rent, buy or email someone else's email mailing list. Ever!

By avoiding this and other scams you will read about in Internet ScamBusters!, you can protect yourself as you use the Internet to promote your business or professional services. After reading Internet ScamBusters!, you'll know more than 90% of all business owners about how to avoid the scams and swindles that are so common when businesses use the Internet to promote their products and services.

If you'd like to learn more about Internet scams, you can subscribe for FREE to Internet Scambusters! Just send an email to scambusters@svr.com and type "subscribe" in the subject field. Or visit our Web site

We welcome your feedback. Please send any questions, comments, stories about bad experiences, or words of wisdom to help others NOT get ripped off to comments@ajl.com (anonymity guaranteed).


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