Have you noticed all of the advertisements on the Internet from
“gurus” and people who have “made it” with their Internet business?
You know the ones, they tell you how in demand they are. They tell you
how they get several thousand dollars for each seminar they give. They
tell you how they’ve made hundreds of thousands of dollars online. And
they tell you they’ll give you their secrets and formulas for the
“ridiculously low price of $99.95”!
These characters are all really slick. Their one page web site is
designed to draw you in, convince you, and take your hard earned
money. Some of them are written really well and the product is very
tempting to buy. But does a little doubt linger somewhere at the back
of your mind? Is there something holding you back but you just can’t
quite put your finger on it? There might be a valid reason for that.
Let’s travel through history a bit and see if we can figure out why
you get those tiny doubts….
Orson Wells. Heard of him? War of the Worlds. Heard of that? I think
almost anyone in the U.S. knows both names, but for amusement I’ll
summarize the story. The War of the Worlds was a fiction radio story.
I think it was broadcast in the 1940’s or 1950’s era but I don’t
remember the exact date. This story happened to be science fiction,
and happened to involve aliens landing on Earth and starting a war.
Now the story was put on in full production mode — just like the
fiction movies you see on TV today with professional actors. The only
problem is, many people tuned into the radio show while it was in
progress, and they had no idea it was a fictional story! Panic and
Jump to the 1960’s era. Did you know there was a book that was put on
to best seller lists, even though the book didn’t actually exist? Yep.
A radio DJ cooked up a plot to “fool” some people. He arranged to have
listeners go to bookstores and request a specific book. The book
didn’t actually exist, and this was part of the prank. To his and his
listener’s surprise: Their requests for this book stirred up interest
across the world. People were talking about the book everywhere —
reviews were even written about it! And soon enough it showed up on a
bestseller list. But the book did not even exist. The non-existent
book was called “I’ Libertine”, and due to the furor created from the
prank, the radio DJ went on to write a real book by that name later in
Now let’s jump ahead about 30 years. In the 1990’s, some of you may
remember computer communities called a “BBS”. BBS stands for bulletin
board system, and back then this was a computer that you dialed in to.
Once connected, you could download files, chat with other members and
play games. The public Internet was not available back then, so this
was as close as you could get. One BBS was having a difficult time
getting itself off the ground. They had one major competitor, and they
couldn’t seem to win customers away from that competitor. So the
owners decided to entice the customers. The customers were almost 100%
male back then, and one thing they were all looking for was a friendly
female. So one of the owners of the new BBS — a man — took on a BBS
personality of a female. They set up a charade basically, with all the
trimmings. This man would pretend to be female and chat with all the
guys on the competitor’s BBS. During the chats, “she” would make sure
they all understood that she could be found more often on this other,
newer BBS. So, if they wanted to talk to her more, they would have to
go over there. And they did.
Jump ahead to the later 90’s and the Internet is just coming into play
as a business medium. I’m personally aware of several companies which
made themselves appear much larger than they were. How? Primarily by
putting up pictures of their “office” building on their company
website. The pictures they put up however, weren’t actually their
offices. They were in an apartment, or basement in reality. But the
pictures showed gorgeous, upscale office buildings. They made
themselves look much bigger and successful than they actually were.
And today we have thousands of one page websites which tout the
accomplishments of their owners. These websites make many claims and
sometimes those claims are hard to believe.
You see, there really are consultants in this world who make several
thousands of dollars for seminar presentations. But those consultants
usually have a corporate style, polished website. You can tell as soon
as you get there that they’ve spared no expense in getting the site
professionally done. You’ll find links on the site too — links to
corporate and/or consultant information, links to additional
resources, links to recent and upcoming seminars. There are links to
their books too of course, and sometimes these links lead to Amazon or
the publisher’s site. If the book is electronically published, you can
even buy it right on site. The point is though: there is detailed
information there, not just sales hype. In short, there is supporting
evidence that they are who they say they are.
History shows us that people can be fooled into thinking the world is
coming to an end just from a radio show. History shows us that people
will believe a book is wonderful even when they’ve never actually seen
it themselves. History has shown us that what you think you see or
hear is not actually what you’ve seen or heard.
So, when you land on one of those slick, one page sales hype Web
sites. Before you spend your hard earned money, stop and think a bit.
Is the person behind the site more likely telling the whole truth —
or skewing it in a way that will make you believe what they want you
About the Author
Kathy has been a successful freelance writer and small business owner
since 1997. Find her Palm Pilot articles and reviews at
http://www.PalmPilotFiles.com, Cool gadget articles and reviews at
http://www.TheGadgetFiles.com, and book reviews at