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Who Can You Trust In Internet Marketing

Aug 17, 2007
One of the most noteworthy technological developments in our generation is the Internet. With its ongoing growth in both capabilities and access, the online influence on our everyday lives becomes more significant every year. That appears to be even more true for 2007.

Along with the more Fun applications, income opportunities in Internet Marketing have inspired millions of people around the world, hoping to cash in on the new Gold Rush. The potential for online wealth is enormous, if you can believe the claims of those who apparently have achieved some success. However, for every opportunity that seems to work, there are many more that lead only to failure.

It has been said that somewhere between 95 and 99.9% of income opportunities found on the internet are at best antiquated or incomplete and at worst are out and out scams. If true, how does one, especially someone fairly new to working online, know what is a good opportunity vs. one that is a bad opportunity? In other words, How Does One Determine Who Can Be Trusted In Internet Marketing?

On one of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) websites, it is stated that: Trust makes up the essential glue that holds the rapidly expanding online market place together. But how do you gain trust when you normally cannot look into the eyes of the internet merchant, nor can you watch his/her body language or listen to voice inflections, little skills that have often helped when evaluating the trustworthiness of offline businesses.

Although online business presents different challenges, there are several things that can be done to help even an Internet Marketing newbie safely evaluate the millions of opportunities that exist online. Most of these activities are a combination of common sense and wisdom gained by others, including the author of this article. It is much better for you, the reader, to learn through the experience of someone else, than to pay for the same mistakes. Then, performing the relevant due diligence can save you much grief (and money).

The first, and arguably, the most important suggestion, is to avoid any opportunities that promise you the world. We have all seen the ads that Almost guarantee that you will make thousands of dollars a day/week/month/year with little or no experience or effort on your part. Even the Forty-Niners of the California Gold Rush 150 years ago expected that they would have to do Some work to become wealthy.

The second suggestion as you evaluate any opportunity is to understand what work actually is performed (and by whom) and where the money really comes from. Although the merchant is not going to tell you a whole lot about the business until you pay for the opportunity, normally there is enough information to provide clues in how it works (or does not work). If it seems too mysterious, more than likely you should pass on it.

Third, make sure that the offer provides some kind of refund policy of 100% (or more) over at least 30 days. Keep in mind, however, that a written guarantee is not an absolute guarantee; it is always possible that the business in question may be shutdown, go bankrupt, or be located in a foreign country and be unreachable. A written guarantee is but the beginning, without which the offer should be rejected at once.

To further research the online opportunity you have one of the most powerful tools available; the internet itself. The fourth suggestion is therefore to use available resources to search for online information that will help you determine how much the offer can be trusted.

One way to do this is to go to the Google website and type in the name of the product, program, or person. One other thing I usually do is to type Scam? after the name to see directly if there is any implication of it being a scam.

Then take a look at the information that comes up. Are there any negative indications? Quite often with Scam? I find one or more forums with the scam question asked followed by several comments about the value of the opportunity. Keep in mind, however, that everyone with a comment has some kind of bias (point of view).

In such places as forums where you may find discussions about the trustworthiness (or lack) of an opportunity, if you do not personally know the people making the statements, you need to ask yourself another related question: How do I know if I can trust what They are saying about the opportunity ?

If someone gives a very positive comment, they could be very honest and accurate or they may be an affiliate of the program (someone who sells the program to others) who is only interested in making money.

That is not to imply that all affiliates are corrupt (I promote affiliate products myself) but some affiliates know only what is listed in the sales letter and have no direct experience with the product. They therefore, do not really know how good/bad the opportunity actually is themselves.

If the statement is negative, that person could be a direct competitor and would benefit from such an attack. Both kinds of reviews are biased, but in a way different from the bias that is really useful to you.

As I said, all people have their point of view, including you, the reader. If you need help in evaluating the trustworthiness and effectiveness of an income opportunity, theoretically, the best person to hear from is someone who has a similar point of view and background as you, and who has actually used the opportunity in a fashion similar to the way that you would use it.

That person would then have achieved the same kind of level of success (or failure) as you would experience. To find such a person has normally been quite difficult, if not impossible. Until now.

A unique website (RatingsHub) exists which provides evaluations of many Internet Marketing opportunities based on direct experiences of hundreds of Internet Marketers. These individuals have a very broad spectrum of experience; from brand spanking new to well seasoned. To minimize the wrong kind of bias, no affiliate or ad sense links are present on the site.

This free resource exists to help everyone interested in starting a successful online business who seeks first hand knowledge in evaluating online opportunities. Everyone who visits the site is also invited to share as well their experiences with any product, program, or person. This tool may therefore also be useful in researching any Internet Marketing opportunity. Its link is listed in the Author/Bio section.

Another resource that may be useful in evaluating opportunities is Whois.net. By entering the relevant domain name (URL) of the merchant or opportunity, you may receive information about the owner and when the business was started. You may also be provided a physical address or phone number that may be used to contact them.

Another useful resource is the Better Business Bureau (BBB). You may go to their site (bbb.com) and input the appropriate address, phone number, or URL. If the company is known and has been operating long enough, a report may be generated with some useful information. If there have been any complaints made against the company or program they will be listed along with the status of their resolutions. This step has saved me on several occasions.

If the website under review has a BBBonline seal, you may click it to check the companys right to use the seal and review its concise background history. The seal can be used only if the company meets strict BBB and BBBonline standards and its presence would go a long way to indicate the program or company is trustworthy.

If, after you have performed your due diligence, you decide to go ahead and purchase the reviewed opportunity I strongly recommend doing so only under secure conditions. Normally, if instead of http:// in the address window, https:// is displayed along with a picture of a lock in the lower right hand section of the window, it should be secure.

This alone does not mean the program is good, as anyone can use this feature. If this is not indicated, you may want to contact the company to see if other safe payment options are available.

I also suggest paying for it with a credit card (believe it or not). Because of the Fair Credit Billing Act, transactions performed with most credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, or American Express) have fraud protection (zero liability). If you do not receive what you pay for just contact the credit card company and they will likely be able to reverse the charges. You cannot do that with cash or personal checks.

However, to minimize any possible headaches, I also recommend that you use the credit card in an indirect manner. Most internet opportunities today accept payment through PayPal (PayPal.com), a third party processor owned by Ebay. This is a very trustworthy company which securely withdraws money from your credit card and transfers it to the merchant without anyone else (except PayPal) seeing your card information.

For those few opportunities which do not accept PayPal, you can still use your credit card safely by using what one company (Citicard) calls Virtual Credit Card. If you subscribe to this free service, you will load software on your computer desktop which allows you to generate a unique set of credit card numbers for each purchase which is referenced to the actual account.

These numbers are then used to complete the transaction. Each set of numbers can only be used by the original merchant and is valid only until the end of the second month following the transaction, reducing the possibilities of another person using your card.

I have used this on several occasions and it has given me peace of mind. You may need to check with your credit card company to see if they offer this feature.
About the Author
Dave Hikade has been conducting business online since July, 1997. He has evaluated several IM opportunities.
To access the free Internet Marketing opportunity review site, please go to my website which is at:
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