In Flipping Blog Scams MMO Niche is Full of Jerks, Garry Conn takes on the scams associated with Make Money Online Niches (MMON) and reselling domain names and sites:
It takes a lot to get me upset; however, when I witness people within the MMO niche that act like a bunch of middle school kids making fun of the ugly girl who dropped her books in the hall it pisses me off and without a doubt shows me the true colors of many of the individuals out here. Not only do these people scam, take money and trick their readers but now they make fun of them when they get the courage to step foot into the MMO arena.
While Garry is talking about the quick flipping of MMON blogs, where people buy good named domains, launch it with a nice blog, manipulate the stats, then resell it leading the buyer on.
Over the past year I have seen quite a few blogs in the Make Money Online Niche get sold to newbies who are inspired to make something happen within this business of Internet marketing and blog monetization. Unfortunately, I am starting to see a trend in the behaviors of flipping MMO blogs and I am not very happy with it or the people behind it at all.
I caught wind of some events that took place recently, well actually two separate transactions that I was absolutely not pleased with. Beware folks, the days of getting scammed out of $19.95 for a crappy and useless eBook are over. Guys and Gals, welcome to the wonderful era of domain name flipping.
It is a shady and sneaky business and it shows its ass even more in the MMO niche. It seems that scamming people out of a $20 dollar bill for an eBook just isn’t quite good enough these days. Now we have little maggot MMO slime balls buy domains, launch a blog, run it for a few months while manipulating the statistics and then put it up for sale in SitePoint for an individual to purchase it who is lead to believe the site is the best thing in the world.
While some of his own claims are over the top, his post is representative of the feelings and experiences of many get-rich schemes out there in the web and blogosphere.
As we continue to explore the many blog scams that are making bloggers look bad, and actually hurting the economy, it’s time to get upset at the bullies who are giving us a bad name.
When a Blog Turns Bad
James Mowery of Performancing wrote Blog Networks: Great Work Opportunities or Worthless Scams? and asked if some blog networks were legit or scams?
Well, some of these sites put on a great first impression. They look like great places to work. Sleek designs, flashy graphics, and text from other members contributing. They are all getting paid for their hard work, right?
Many of these sites state that “you will be paid for your content” and similar. However, there are catches: for one, there is no guarantee they will actually feature your work, and I’ve seen sites that claim the rights to your content even if they don’t feature it (they essentially get your content for free without pay); next, these sites usually determine how much you will be paid on an article by article basis, and this just doesn’t seem right as the writer should set the rate; finally, many of these sites don’t have a chance of making it to the big time and won’t promote your brand in the process.
In my recent article series on How to Hire a Professional Blogger For Your Business and Blogging Jobs: How Much is Blogging Worth?, I wrote about how little bloggers are paid in relationship to the actual time and effort to produce blog content. It is so easy to get caught up in the “exposure” a blog network might bring to your own blog, reputation, and business, but most of the time the return on your investment is little or none.
Many start out with great intentions, then turn to the dark side as they start blogging for bucks and turning their multiple blogger blogs and blog networks into sweat factories in order to keep up with the need to drive traffic their way.
If you are considering joining a blog network, research them thoroughly. Honestly, if a blog network or blog is paying their bloggers below minimum wage, asking them to grind out blog posts for $10 a post – if it looks like a scam, acts like a scam, and pays like a scam, what would you call it?
Blog networks are actually in the minority for scam blogs. It’s the single blog that can do the most harm with their snake oil sales pitch, and work-at-home folks are often the target.
Scam Blogs Kill Work-from-Home Dreams and You Pay for Their Crimes
There are many scams out there directed towards the work-at-home get-rich-quick dreamers. So many so, Kristy Pruitt started the The Work at Home Scam Blog. She offers tips and advice to help you learn about the various scams and be more aware.
In Work at Home Scams on the Rise, she writes:
It’s no surprise that so many people are becoming interested in working at home. With gas prices obscenely high, and the economy on seriously shaky ground, who wouldn’t like to cut the daily commute out of the budget? I’ve read on forums about people who are buying $250 worth of gas a week just to go to work. That’s terrible.
The thing is, with all of this interest in working from home comes an increase in scams. According to this video from KTVK 3TV in Phoenix, the BBB took nearly twice as many complaints about work at home scams during the second quarter of 2008 as they did the first quarter. Maybe part of that has been due to an increase in the number of people who are looking for home jobs, but you know the scammers have got to be loving the fresh prospects and redoubling their efforts.
For a long time, email has been used for phishing scams, but now blogs are becoming the billboard for bad business techniques. In February, 2008, US Maine Senator Olympia Snowe wrote on The Hill’s Congress Blog about the The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008 saying:
The Anti-Phishing Consumer Protection Act of 2008 (S. 2661) would prohibit the solicitation of a consumer’s personal information through the use of emails, instant messages, and misleading websites that trick recipients into divulging their information for the purpose of identity theft. The legislation would also prohibit related abuses, such as the practice of using fraudulent or misleading domain names, by defining them as deceptive practices under the FTC Act.
Phishing and other online fraud activities directly undermine the vital trust of online consumers. In a world that is growing more dependent on technology, we need to take every step possible to make the Internet safer and more reliable. This begins with restoring the trust and consumer confidence that has been eroded by the prevalence of deceptive emails and websites that are defrauding the American people.
According to the post, online fraud and phishing scams have “increased more than 3.5 million Americans (a 57% increase from last year) falling victim to phishing schemes and online identity theft throughout the past year. This came at a significant cost of $3.2 billion dollars.”
The US government has been struggling with how to protect its citizens from website, email, and blog scans such as fake IRS and consumer sites spoofing, thus collecting private and personal information such as credit cards and bank access. They want to ensure the integrity of domain name registration overseen by the US Federal Trade Commission to make it illegal for a registrant to give false or misleading identifying contact information in a WHOIS database when registering a domain name.
A recent article in Business Week called “Is That Business Legitimate or a Scam?” reports that the Federal Trade Commission is coming up with regulations for home-based business opportunities that require investments under USD $500 due to the growing number of scams. The rule would require sellers meeting those requirements to disclose information to potential buyers similar to franchises in the hopes of preventing more abuse. With more and more Internet-based business opportunties and get-rich-quick schemes promising “big profits for easy work” and the growing unemployment lines with the downturn in the economy, something has to be done.
The Internet is littered with offers for home-based business opportunities that promise big profits for easy work. But many of these offers, which range from envelope stuffing to medical billing, are really scams that prey on people’s aspirations to work for themselves.
…The average business opportunity scam runs for 12 to 18 months, ropes in 100 to 150 people, and takes a total of $3 million, Webster says. The FTC has taken about 240 civil actions against business-opportunity sellers since 1990, according to Vaca. The government also prosecutes a handful of cases under criminal law when repeat offenders are involved. But many home-based business scammers are never caught or punished. When victims lose money, they’re often reluctant to report the fraud. Instead, they blame themselves for their losses. “One of the things that’s tough about business-opportunity frauds is a lot of people have a hard time recognizing that they’ve been scammed. Everybody wants to live the American dream,” Vaca says.
In the next article in this series, I’ll look at how to spot a scam blog. If you’ve uncovered or been a victim of a scam blog, let’s hear your tips and recommendations on how to spot and stop a scam blog.