Apologies. Yes, he is registered and this is his profile.
Apologies for skipping out. My absence was mostly down to the previous events here but probably not for the reason speculated. It was simply a case of spending hours over a bank holiday debating something that ultimately didn't matter, then thinking to myself "I've got businesses to run and a first child on the way (which I'm both nervous and excited about!) - Life's too short to do anything but that which matters".
It wasn't that my interactions here didn't matter - I've had some great and enjoyable debate - it was simply a case of prioritizing where I spent my time and avoiding things that didn't contribute to the bottom line. Whilst I would love to defend every negative point raised, it wasn't productive to do so and the income would continue regardless so it didn't really make sense.
I've only skimmed the last few posts, but I'll try and set a few things straight.
1) Internet Tycoon is far from being a miss. We treat it as a business which means taking feedback and making changes and tracking and testing along the way. Here's an explanation of what we've done, what we've learnt and where we're at for anyone that's interested.
a) We started split testing a few different sales pages in the early days. The original one (the 'too salesy' version) won but only because the other versions at the time were not that great. I didn't realise this straight away.
b) We took feedback on board, including the 'sales page rage' on this forum. Regardless of people's views and other comments that I may disagree with, I'll take everything on board and process the information. If it makes sense I'll give it a split test.
There were two takeaways - 1) The $1 trial could give the wrong impression to people who didn't share the same opinion that it was a transparent way to show people what was in there without commitment whilst limiting the amount of idiots / timewasters / spam. It was also only meant to be an intro offer whilst we were new. 2) The sales page needed to be toned down in sales hype to balance sales with credibility.
Interestingly, the salesy version still out performs the less salesy version but only marginally as the test went on for a longer period. The less salesy version has the added benefit of more credibility so we ran with it - here I learnt it's not always about the numbers.
3.html is a split test on website optimiser with no trial but a 7 day no quibble money back guarantee. So far, this works well and the refund rate is less than 5%, but I've got several other improvements planned for a few months down the line which naturally, we'll split test first.
c) The forum is far from being the warrior forum but the comments made earlier about no posts in however many weeks aren't correct.
At first, I was concerned because only a single figure % of members were actually using the forum and as far as forums go, yes it is quiet. But then it was a case of realising that people continued renewing their membership because they found value in the tools and the content. The forum is there if people want to ask questions, but if they don't then that's ok. Our interest is in providing value which will be different things to different people.
I also take Kay's comments on board - Simple press is horrible software and I'm sure the delay in moderating posts doesn't help stimulate lively discussion. Forums are a difficult thing to get right and I'm still far from mastering it! Having said that, I'm a terrible moderator, but thankfully the other moderators are much better than I am.
d) Deal Trojan had bugs in it and this pissed people off. We fixed them and so far, no support tickets relating to bugs (only ones about lack of tutorials). I'm sure there will be minor issues we haven't found yet - that's the nature of software, but when it happens we'll deal with it.
e) I believe in feedback and iteration and have built several successful businesses on this principle and none of them were right on the first 'release'.
The main points we took away from speaking with both active users and those who didn't continue their subscription was
i) The wasn't enough on the practical side of exactly what you do to find, buy and develop.
ii) The weren't any training videos for the software tools
iii) We originally thought it was outside of our scope but realised people wanted more information on linkbuilding, seo and getting traffic to the properties they own.
We're in the process of adding 23 new videos and 18 guides in response to the above. The ones released so far have been well received. I'll be releasing a transcript of one the videos the FlipFilter blog soon so people can judge the new content on its own merits (without the bias of being a member) and give me feedback.
2) I believe Kenny's point about the forum not suffering fools is a fair one; it's the reason why I would endorse this forum and not the Warrior Forum for example so I don't think you should see that as a negative.
3) Clinton - there's no bad vibes here. The link wasn't removed it was moved - we had to clean up that section (including making all the links no follow to avoid 'negative seoing' people by mistake as it appeared on every page in the site!). We now have a link to Forums and Marketplaces where this forum appears near the top of the page with a glowing endorsement.
4) I own dealtrojan.com and I think dealtrojan.co.uk. Oddly, I bought it originally as a backup in case I didn't manage to complete the deal to buy Dealnerd.com which was my first choice for another project.
5) There have been no affiliate mailouts to date except for a friend of Kenny's who mentioned it to his list. If you've received an email it may be to do with DomainSamurai which is linked to Kenny's Domain Face.
Our strategy with this, as with any other online business is to do an initial launch with our own resources to a) get feedback on how to make the product better and b) generate income whilst we make these changes.
We intend to launch fully (affiliates, media buys and display) later on this year when we've address the content gaps identified in 1e). In the interim, we have a nice steady signup flow from FlipFilter, Kenny's blog and word of mouth / referrals. If you know me then you'll appreciate everything I do is about gradual but continued improvement based on feedback.
I appreciate that not everyone will like the course - TooBe - I'm sorry it wasn't for you.
My job is to provide value for the people who appreciate what's there - our paying members, and not worry about those who don't. I'm not ignoring the comments here - believe or not, I do take the valid stuff on board, but getting stuck in to each one can be a little like fighting a forest fire in another country. We continue to generate income regardless of what happens on this forum.
If I'm not back immediately to answer any replies to this please don't take it the wrong way. I like engaging online, but sometimes get carried away - this 1,200 word post is a testament, so I have to limit myself and the time I spend on forums.
Useful update Justin, but having had a look at the sales letter the essential problem still remains.
There does not seem to be any evidence of the kinds of website deals you are doing, on a day to day basis or any success of a more general kind. The reader has to take it on trust that it is possible to build and develop a portfolio of sites, in todays market, without even a hint of the costs involved, success rates possible, time involved, development opportunity types and which are working well at present, and as a result the sales letter comes over as hype. It is all about the features (what the course is) - not the proof of what it can do for the reader. I think sales letters which are not sales letters which show evidence of the opportunity , deals done, success rates and so on are not only far more plausible, they engage the reader more too. It is not just the features vs benefits vs proof argument from copywriting - it is the fact that getting people to read is about telling a story.
Speaking for myself - and I suspect a proportion of the audience - if the evidence was there you are succeeding in todays markets, I would have happily parted with the $99. maybe even more on a punt , to get insights on what rules you are using and the tools you use to achieve that success. Without that evidence , I assume it wil be same old stuff as on numerous other flipping courses, which despite the lowly $ to me is still expensive because of the cost of the time I have to spend wading through the videos.
The difference is in the provenance . I want to learn from those who can prove they are making money practising what they preach: motivated by the "I would like to know how they did that"
Thanks for the feedback.
I wouldn't agree that people doubt whether or not I'm succeeding but if they do then that's ok too. I guess it's part self belief, in that both myself and Kenny know who were are and what we do.
I think if you're genuine and you lead a happy comfortable existence, then it ultimately doesn't matter if the public doubt what you do - at the end of the day, perception is important, but actually having is more important to me. Also, I tend to cringe whenever people try to sell me something and brag about their own pursuits first. It stands to reason that I could be a bazillionaire who has inherited most of his wealth and only manages to be successful doing this because I've got enough cash flow to cover my failures where most people would have given up.
Instead we chose the route of telling people what the site is about and offering them a no quibble money back guarantee. Inside, on interviews, at seminars or on blog posts I've never been shy about talking about what I do or how I make an income - I just choose a suitable time and place and the sales page of a product wasn't that.
That said I appreciate social proof is always a good thing. I'll add it to the list of things to potentially split test when we get time.
The trouble is there is no real clue in the sales letter to the outsider how much investment they will need to do this or any expectation of the returns, or the investment in time needed to get sensible returns. Or how well the best perform to see how "hard" or "easy" it is to become a "tycoon"
I suspect when you buy most things - take a property or any investment, you are most interested in the historic performance of that kind of property, or take a new outsourcer - whether they can prove they have done that type of work well in the past.
Anyway, is just my thoughts, and how I pick the things I buy. I suspect I am not the only one.
I appreciate that, and my comment about potentially split testing it wasn't a dismissive one - I genuinely think it's worth a look.
Everyone's costs will be different, success rates will be based on skill levels, and what is currently working will continually change, which is a distinct benefit to membership in a forum such as this. I don't engage in investing advice here in the states, even with a solid click-wrap disclaimer, because the cost of professional liability insurance (for errors and omissions) is substantial and something I don't want to pay (at the moment).
Statements of earnings must be avoided at all costs (for business opportunities, not for business earnings).
My time is also valuable, but I submit that learning what not to do is just as valuable as learning what to do. You wouldn't very well take this course as gospel, and go into it blind, without fully testing it for yourself first, would you? Why would you trust the 'evidence' without understanding the process? Even with illegal claims of success levels, your time spent may still be a waste. As a matter of fact, I filter offers by claims of income, as anyone making such claims is violating the law and not someone I would ever trust.Originally Posted by mikeb
Once you reach a certain level of understanding, you can read posts here on EP, and be able to determine whether the member knows what they are doing or doesn't have a clue. Those members here with experience in a field can tell, when reading a post, whether or not what the other member is suggesting will work or not. I've read a dozen (probably more) books on flipping. Some were very valuable, some were junk, and I learned useful, actionable knowledge from both types.
It puts a bar on earnings claims that are not demonstrably representative.
A world of difference. FTC just stop you selling courses that do not work for most who try them - "work" being defined by the claims you make for it.
A clear defence to an FTC investigation is the results of a set of guineapigs who are representative of your target market for whom it did work. If most who try it make money doing it, as far as I am aware FTC have no qualms at all with you sharing that information.
As far as I am aware - the tycoon course is not in essence being sold to members of EP as the prime market, it is being sold to average joe, and it has to work self standing for most of those who take it. and the better judgement of some of the people here is not really relevant.
The essential claim is already made that internet tycoon will teach the followers "to build a portfolio of profitable websites".
ie - a claim the taker will make money. No "if" "but" or "maybe" in that claim.
Literally nothing is made to support the tlaim, which is why the letter seems thin and hypey. The best sales letters tell a story, which is why they do not seem like sales letters - So if in this case, some free information video shows where siteswere found, why it was bought, the potential for development identified and realized is far more powerful.
95% of courses out there are rehashed ,lukewarm and a waste of valuable time. Most courses are written by people who find it easier to make money selling how than doing it, which is why they choose to sell it, not do it. The ones worth listening to are those who do something successfully as a day job, because it is only by doing it they keep ahead of a changing game. Which is why for example most of the courses on PPC are worse than useless: including some of the assumed gurus in that field. Because it is knowing the tricks that give you the edge that make the difference in competitive markets, not the basics of playing the game.
Anyway...the question was regards the sales letter. It does not do much to offer credibility or examples which to me is why it seems thin.
That will be my last comment on it.
I am not trying to be negative. I was just trying to give Justin a flavour of how it looks to some who read it, . That is valuable feedback surely. most readers will not tell you why they did not buy. or why they did not give it a trial ..all you will know is they did not buy it.
Last edited by mikeb; June 21st, 2012 at 7:16 PM.
Many congratulations, Justin!and a first child on the way (which I'm both nervous and excited about!)