I’m not fond of bragging. Though I can be as prideful as anyone, I just don’t see the point in it. So when I start my post with that title: Why Trust Agents Did So Well, I owe you an explanation fast.
I just finished watching this video, “Scamworld,” which goes with this huge post about bad internet marketing, false schemes, and all kinds of deception. I will first say that I didn’t read the entire post, but that I feel it’s an important one to dig into (so I’ll get it all read in the next few days). The video is a decent way to see the thrust of the concerns raised on the article:
Can’t see the video? Click Here
I very much liked Danny Sullivan’s article talking about it and adding his perspective. I respect and admire Danny a lot, and when he puts his thoughts onto something fiery like the world of internet marketing, I listen.
Why Trust Agents Did So Well
I make the same mistake that most marketers (most PEOPLE) do: I believe that the way I think is the way you think. I believe that you know exactly my motivation and my thinking. I believe that when I tell you that my goal is to help others conduct business in a more relationship-minded way, that you’re thinking, “Chris wants to help me conduct business in a more relationship-minded way.”
When I look at this video, and from what I’ve read in the article, the part that scares me is that there are SO MANY PEOPLE out there selling absolute garbage that says FOLLOW THIS AND YOU WILL BE RICH.
I believe Trust Agents sold so well because Julien and I said this, “be who you really are, connect with a community, learn how to take what you know and can do and make THAT serve you, connect people to each other, practice the art of being human, and band together to make your goals happen.”
I Love Making Money. I Love Business. I Am Not Rich. And I Didn’t Get Rich Quick.
I haven’t made millions for myself yet. I’ve helped clients and my companies do reasonably well. I think money is wonderful. It helps me eat food. It buys clothes for my kids. I have a really fun electric guitar and I drive a Camaro. I also get to give to charities that matter like Skip1 and Invisible People. I will never apologize for believing that money makes my life better.
I love business. I love helping companies grow. I love seeing companies and individuals do better at what they want to do. It’s the best feeling in the world to believe that something I’ve said helps someone else grow their business and feed their families.
I am not rich. I live in a 955 square foot loft in a very small town. My television (which is plugged into a Wii and a Blu Ray player) is about 26″ across, I think. I own one car. Most of my clothes come from the Men’s Wearhouse and Target. I eat well. I won’t deny that (as if my belly would suggest otherwise).
I didn’t get rich quick. Maybe some day after a few more years of working, I can get rich quick. That’d be cool. Like, you know, after 20 years of doing what I do, seeing a check with six zeroes once would be really cool. But that’s not what I do.
Trust Is So Fragile
When people debate where to spend their money, seeing a video like the Scamworld video and then reading some of the accompanying mega article and commentary just makes me feel so sad for people. People have to try and evaluate who is trying to rip them off. Everyone has a kind of “eyebrow raised and one foot ready to retreat” stance online, and it comes from all these kinds of experiences. It’s no wonder that people ask me some of the questions they do or assume some of the beliefs they have about me, about this space, about the potential to build business.
Even hearing the people use the term “affiliate marketing” in the video reminds me why so many people still have a very negative view of affiliate marketing: because there are still some people out there who abuse its potential and who use it for nefarious purposes. As a user of affiliate marketing programs for three years, I can tell you that I understand why people get tempted to go for it and make a gazillion dollars just pushing links to make cash. It just never seemed right for me and my business pursuits. If I’m going to sell you something, it’s because I believe it is an amazing product or service and I believe it’s going to benefit you.
Do you know that people still stop me in airports or at conferences and tell me that they bought this suitcase (affiliate link, naturally) based on my video review and on the word of others like Mitch Joel? That’s gratifying, because it’s a really great product, and I’m glad so many people have benefited from that video review and Mitch’s advice.
The Cult of Information vs The Agents of Trust
What’s most important from the Scamworld article and video isn’t that you get it. I’m going to assume something: you GET it. You know this isn’t how to get rich. What I believe, however, is that if you watch the video, and you listen to the woman on the phone being pressured into giving away $1000 for some program that will make her millions, I can imagine one of two things: you’ve done that and felt the sting before, or someone you know (most likely are related to) is about to fall into this because they didn’t know better. And that is the scariest part of the puzzle. It’s not whether you’re clever or not. It’s whether you can help those who might accidentally buy some kind of “you can make money starting TOMORROW” program from someone that’s less than reliable.
As an agent of trust (you’ve just been sworn in), it’s important to spread that gospel: that one doesn’t get rich overnight, and if they do, it’s related to someone else’s suffering most often. Money grown organically is money you can feel happy about. And if you’re not committed to the success of your customers and clients, then you’re on the wrong tack and likely headed for stormy weather.
I don’t agree with every single sentence in the article, and I don’t think that everyone the article singles out are evil or whatever. I think that the overall message and caution and concern should be that too many people are out there falling prey to the notion that you don’t have to work hard and you don’t have to build relationships of value to earn money.
Here, where’d this soapbox come from?