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SCAMS
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Friends In Business
& Scams 101


Cash In On the Internet Revolution!
Become an Internet Consultant

 
and make $$MILLIONS$$ peddling worthless storefronts
in our state-of-the-art, high-traffic mall


I won't say there aren't some legitimate companies offering positions as "Internet Consultants."  I'm sure there are.  But I would venture to guess that these companies are NOT hawking their "opportunity" on the seminar circuit or charging their "Consultants" the price of a brand-new-six-person-spa-with-a-deck to train them.

But I'm the first to admit I could be wrong.

You see, internet malls get customers (the businesses who place their virtual storefronts there) by selling them on the need to be located in "a high-traffic mall."  But the truth is, it makes absolutely no difference how much traffic the mall gets.  People don't go to a mall on the internet to browse like they go to their local mall.  At the local mall, you might be heading for Sears to buy a weed whacker, and on the way you stop at the shoe store to check out their two-for-one sale, and you have to dash into the bookstore to see what new paperbacks they've got, and everyone knows it's impossible to pass the cinnamon rolls without stopping.

An internet mall is NOTHING LIKE THIS.  If someone is looking for collectible angels, they'll type "angels" into a search engine.  You're in luck!!  The stores on both sides of you sell angels!  They can't miss you!

Sure they can.... and they will.

They'll click into the stores that have angels and right back out to the search engine.  They'll never know about you and your store.... nor will they care.

And "high traffic"??? Many of these places conveniently forget to tell you that they total up the hits to ALL the stores in their mall.  Separately, each store may be getting 100 hits a month, but if it's a big enough mall, that might add up to 100,000 hits a month.... and that's probably the number they're bragging about to their potential "consultants" (and the number you'll be expected to brag about to your potential customers).

Before we start talking about selling mall space as "an opportunity," you might enjoy an article called Internet Malls by Audri & Jim Lanford.  (Like most of our links, this one will open a second browser window, so you can look around all you like without getting lost; just close the window when you're ready to come back here.)

The concept of "Where do they make their profit, the product or the opportunity?" is very important here.  Read on for my personal experience....

I paid $495 to become an internet consultant for a wonderful new site two years ago.  I was going to sell home pages, coupons, and classified ads.  I opened up the impressive-looking "business in a box" and found an 18-page booklet inside.  If I wanted to learn more, I had to go to the training in Florida for a mere $1,695.00.  I was hopping mad, but I wasn't online yet, so what did I know?  When I got online a few weeks later and checked out the site, I found it was tiny and grossly overpriced.  Even as a "newbie," I could see that maintenance was shaky, at best.  (At that time, all the coupons had expired!  Last time I checked, I guess they gave up, because the Coupon Zone was gone without a trace.)  Even now, there are hardly any stores in the mall.... and do you know why?  Neither do I, but I suspect it's because they're so busy selling the "opportunity" and "training" their consultants that they don't have time to sell the sites. 

So here we have this pathetic, dinky little site, and they're still up, so I assume that means suckers like me are STILL paying for that silly little 18-page booklet and the "advanced training."  There's just one thing I can't figure out:  If all these consultants are becoming independently wealthy selling these storefronts that "sell themselves".... well, excuse me for asking, but

BUT WHERE THE HELL ARE ALL THE STORES??

What if I had come home, logged onto the internet, and checked out this stupid site BEFORE I signed up as a "consultant"?  Do you suppose I would have gone through with it?  Of course not!  I would still have that $495.... but it was a "seminar special" you know.  Take it or leave it.  If you don't buy it tonight, the price will skyrocket!  I'd be willing to bet that not one person who bought into this particular "opportunity" bothered to check it out BEFORE they pulled out their credit card.

And have you ever noticed that the V.I.P. invitations you get in the mail make a big deal out of the fact that "if you're smart," you'll jump on the bandwagon EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE A COMPUTER??  Of course!!  Because the people who DO have a computer and ARE on the internet already are much less likely to fall for it.  (Why didn't I think of that???)

A few months ago, I went to a free seminar put on by a really-big-mall -- one that a lot of people have actually heard of!  For three hours, they sold us on the idea of becoming internet consultants.  It would only cost me $2,995.00 to attend the required one-day workshop. 

HUH??

How much can it cost to put on a one-day workshop??  Would I be the only one there?  "A private workshop just for me??" I squealed. 

And they want me to believe their profit comes from the sale of mall space???  Don't get me started laughing again, I'm afraid I'll bust a gut!

And then there's the other big one I just went to just a couple of months ago.  It was endorsed by a well-known magazine.  I knew from experience it was probably another farce, but considering the endorsement, I figured I should at least go and check it out. 

Well.... they wanted $2,995 for training -- and after I got my training, I could give them an additional $4,995 to have one of their regional directors come and take me and four other people all over town making sales calls for three days.  Obviously that's an awful lot of money.... but get this.... "Last month alone, EIGHT HUNDRED BUSINESSES contacted us -- we didn't contact them, they came to US! -- asking us to PLEASE help them get set up in our mall."

When I got home and checked out the mall, imagine my surprise when I started doing the math.  All those people banging on their door begging to be let in.... all those SUCCESSFUL consultants....

BUT WHERE THE HELL WERE ALL THE STORES?

It just didn't add up.

Could it be that most of their consultants just did a rotten job and weren't very good at selling stores?  Well sure it could.  I mean, there were some stores, I have to admit.  Then I did some checking.

Can you guess who owned nearly all the stores??

THEIR OWN DEALERS!!  BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

I was hard pressed to find any really successful internet businesses in that mall, but there were tons of those "professional" sites the dealers got for free (if you call $2,995.00 free).  The problem is, they all looked so.... so.... well, crummy.

The mall was spectacular.  The sites stunk.

Oh, and one other thing:  Every one of these MallBuzzards will tell you about a company called Hot-Hot-Hot, and a 16-year-old named Matt.... how they went from kitchen-table operations to giants almost overnight when they got on the internet.  What they forget to tell you is that these two.... and the virtual florist they all like to talk about.... are the exception, not the rule.  And that their rise to the top had absolutely NOTHING to with them or their "high-traffic, state-of-the-art mall."

If they told you that, you might not buy their "workshop."

And if you don't buy their workshop, they've got nothing, because that's where they make all their money.  That, and whatever fees they collect from their dealers every month (it's the old don't-tell-the-dealer-he's-really-the-customer routine).

SO WHAT'S THE SOLUTION?

Put all these scammers out of business.  Then put them in storage in a nice maximum security prison "offshore" (that's where some of them like to put their money so it's safe when the Feds come).

But since we don't have the power to do that, we have to settle for protecting ourselves the best we can.  How to do that?  Well, if you must go to the seminar....

Go WITHOUT your credit card.

And GO HOME without talking to any of the guys wearing blue blazers.

If it's on the level, if they have nothing to lose by letting you check out the truth of what they're telling you....

If it's legitimate, next week, or next month, or even next YEAR will be soon enough to make a decision.  They won't want you to make a snap decision.  They'll encourage you to do your homework so you know exactly what you're getting into.

How do you get to the truth?

Contact the "consultants" you find listed on any of these sites.... the people who can sell you a storefront in the mall.  Make it perfectly clear that there is no way they can benefit financially by lying to you, because you aren't going to buy a storefront from them.  Then ask them if they've achieved financial independence yet.  Ask them how fast their storefronts are selling.  Ask them how they feel about ripping off local businesses. 

Usually people who have been robbed will be MORE than happy to talk to you.

I have a good friend who bought into one called WIMALL, and it's the same old story.  I have no personal experience with them, but this kind of runaround is SO typical of expensive "opportunities."  I know this man to be hard working and highly ethical, and although I have no proof that he's telling the truth, I have no reason to doubt his story....

"I bought the WIMALL 'business opportunity' at a seminar hosted by The Home Business Group on April 16, 1997.  Now, I will share with you MY experience and give you MY opinion but you must draw your OWN conclusion.  When I 'bought in,' the price of the storefront was $495.  It has since gone up to $595.  I paid $60 for each of the months of May through August to remain an 'active' storefront owner.   I have spent hundreds of dollars in advertising.  In early August I received a phone call from my 'up-line' that WIMALL was going to make 'lots of money for you (me);' all I was required to do was send $60 and provide a list of 20 people I thought would be 'prospective storefront owners' and WIMALL would do the rest of the work for me.  I faxed the list on August 6th and billed the $60 to my credit card.  By mid September I had not heard any word from my 'up-line' so I e-mailed her.  No response.  I e-mailed again (about a week later) and finally received a phone call from her.  She apologized, saying she had been out of town.  I asked her if she had contacted my 'prospective storefront owners.'  She said, 'You must do that.'  I said, 'You told me you would be doing the contact work, that all I needed to do was supply a list of 20 prospects.'  She said, 'All we do is send them a letter and an audio tape -- you must do the follow-up.'  I said, 'What does the letter say and what tape do they get?'  She said, 'The tape is the same one that you got in your storefront kit.  Did you not get your copy of the letter we sent out?'  I said, 'No -- I haven't received anything.  When was it sent out?'  She said, 'Oh, it went out a few days ago.  I'll send you a copy.'  Within three or four days I received a copy of a 'form letter' that supposedly was sent to the 20 prospects.  Now get this:  I received a letter DATED October 10, 1997, stating that 'Your prospects will be receiving their audio tape and letter shortly.'  (Remember that back in the latter part of September I was told that the letters had already been mailed.)  The letter goes on to say that I must contact the prospects.  I must contact WI's Customer Service Dept. to arrange a conference call between a WI Sales Representative, the INTERESTED prospects and myself.  The letter goes on to say that I will be assessed a $40 processing fee for EACH storefront sale.  (Ten storefront sales equals $400 for WI Marketplace.)    As of this date I still don't know if my 20 prospects have received their letters or not.  Oh, by the way, my earnings to date with this storefront is ZERO dollars (in spite of the money I've spent in advertising).  WI's earnings from ME is $250 for the storefront ($250 instead of $495 because I purchased it at the seminar) and $240 for the four months (May through August) to remain an 'active' storefront owner. "

So you see?  The "biz op" made money on this distributor even though not ONE SINGLE PRODUCT had been sold!  That's what I'm talking about when I say they have NO reason to support you because they make money WHETHER OR NOT you succeed!

Sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt:

" I also ordered a video tape from WI Mall on August 6th via the internet.  Promised delivery was ONE week.  I called WI Customer Service the middle of September to find out why I hadn't received it.  They were SURPRISED (maybe!!!) that I hadn't received it.  I did receive it about a week later.  Another thing -- I have received TWO 'high pressure' phone calls to buy stock.  The 'pitch' is that business is booming and the price of the shares is 'going up' very shortly, and they want their storefront owners to be in on the 'ground floor' in getting these shares at the current low price per share.  I DECLINED!!  MY opinion is:  Internet malls are HIGHLY over-rated!!  Also, the prices of their products are not all that fantastic.  And -- product shipping delays of 2 to 4 weeks is unreasonable in my opinion."  Russ C.

Russ's story (which he will happily verify) is a perfect example of buying a "business opportunity" and finding yourself being hit for more money.... and more money.... and still more money.  You're already in -- and they "want to help you succeed," right?.... (because when you succeed they succeed, gag me with a spoon).... so you buy it.... again -- and again -- and again.... until you have no money left to buy it with. 

Now zero in on the sentence:  "The letter goes on to say that I will be assessed a $40 processing fee for EACH storefront sale." Whoa, doggy! I thought they made their profit on those storefront sales.  So why does their distributor have to pay them too?  (Since this was written, WIMALL made off with the cash.)

Legitimate companies will focus their efforts on helping YOU -- their distributor -- sell -- (of all things!) -- Their Product or Service -- to -- (can you guess?) -- CUSTOMERS!

What a unique concept!

They don't call and ask you to give them more money!

They don't even make you buy the stuff "for personal use"!

If they do, then watch out!  You're in the clutches of a company that makes its profit by ripping off its own distributors.

It's a dead give-away when they get very fatherly-looking and say, "We don't succeed (dramatic pause) unless you succeed."

Take me back to the Scams 101 Index!

Listen to MaaMaw!     

Are you an Internet Marketing Wannabe?  Have you tried slogging through truckloads of how-to information and found the whole thing so overwhelming you can't quite bring yourself to actually DO anything?  Help is on the way!

There's a new course that really pulls it all together, condensing years of money-making experience into a wonderful step-by-step, hand-holding, checklist-style, kick-in-the-pants teaching format.  If you have a shred of motivation, you'll be amazed to find yourself actually (gasp!) moving forward.

                                                    So pack up those tired old excuses and check it out . . . . .


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PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS!  Research all business opportunities thoroughly, and never blow off other people's bad experiences.  Ask around (and listen!).  The Scams101 Message Board is a good place to start.  What's that?  You've found a Biz Op and you're wondering if it's endorsed by FIB?...  Not unless it's listed in MaaMaw's Magnificent Toolbox.





Me & Katie
HERE'S WHERE TO FIND ME:

  Lesley Fountain                          Click Here to Send an Email
  P. O. Box 542                                  Phone:  (707) 682-0303
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 Some days I get so many calls that email is my only hope of responding
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SCAMS
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