“I need internet marketing help” help-wanted ads

By , August 5, 2009

Lately, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of very vague ads seeking “internet marketing help,” without defining the purpose of the marketing effort.  Sometimes I respond, just to ask what it’s about.

(1) Most often, these are “multi-level marketing” schemes or affiliate programs.  The MLM folks are seeking “applicants” to “buy in” to a business opportunity.  The “affiliate program” advertisers are sometimes other affiliates seeking “referral commissions,” but more often it’s the merchant seeking new “affiliates” who will be encouraged to invest resources into promoting the merchant’s web site in exchange for the promise of sales commissions.  Usually, the merchant web sites are awful; more often than not, it’s clear that the merchant hasn’t properly set up “affiliate tracking” so there’s little chance they’ll ever pay.

(2) Quite often, these are folks who have “an idea,” sometimes not even a web site or a business plan.  The “idea” is rarely original, and the “advertiser” rarely has any legitimate business experience.

(3) Sometimes these “advertisers” are actually fishing for “investments” — they want applicants to become “partners” in the business (usually a hypothetical business which is not well-defined).

(4) Far too often, these “advertisers” turn out to be “web publishers” seeking help selling advertising or getting sponsorships.  It’s an “advertising sales” job, not marketing work at all.

(5) Sometimes, the “advertiser” turns out to be an “affiliate” of a “get paid to read ads” company — usually the offer is described as “advertisement review” but it’s just an opportunity to sign up with a sleazy company that promises a few pennies each time you click on an email ad.  (They’re selling advertising to merchants, and falsely claiming that your clicks are legitimate customers. You’ll get paid exactly what you deserve for participating in a fraudulent scheme: they’ll never pay you a penny.)

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