By definition, a scam is a dishonest scheme and/or fraud. These can come through websites, social media and email.
This makes navigating the internet, for either personal or business reasons, a bit treacherous. There are many types of scams and more are constantly being created.
Did you ever ask yourself why there are so many apparent scams being created? It is because there is money to be made in the explosive growth of the internet. This environment, which encourages the disreputable, is also an opportunity for the honest and reputable to start and grow value-driven businesses.
This makes it particularly challenging for those of us who have embraced affiliate marketing as a business. We need to sift through the illegal, unethical and misleading opportunities to find sources of help in our quest for success.
Certainly, dishonest schemes and websites are discovered when promises or commitments are not met. We usually discover these after the damage has been done — normally the loss of our money.
Other times, the scam does not involve the direct stealing of our money, but a failure to deliver a product or service of any value. Of course, this leaves us angry, cynical and skeptical — as it should.
So how is one to differentiate between a scam website and one with legitimate value?
I honestly do not believe there is a foolproof way. Once due diligence has been given in evaluating an opportunity, one has to determine how many opportunities to forego in order to remain absolutely ‘safe.’
What is due diligence?
For me, I do the following:
- Search the internet for news on an organization or website. Do this search with a multitude of varied searches by using different keywords so that you do not get only paid or fabricated reviews.
- Check out reviews of the website. Careful on this one. I normally give more value to the negative ones. This lets me know if a customer complaint is legitimate or just ‘sour grapes.’
- I will almost never bite if payment is demanded before any information is shared.
- I never purchase anything when the decision has to be made immediately.
- Though not always possible, word of mouth from friends can be helpful. This one is tricky as well, as each person has their own biases when offering their opinions.
Multi-level and Network Marketing
Many become skeptical when multi-level or network marketing is part of an opportunity. These methods of marketing are both ethical and legal. They are alternative methods of marketing and work well when education of the consumer is important in the sales process. In reality, the only difference is that network marketers are paid instead of the more traditional advertising mediums (newspapers, TV and radio.) Network or multi-level marketing opportunities can be very profitable for the diligent, hard-working marketer.
Pyramid schemes on the other hand are illegal and fraudulent. They do not supply investments or sale of products or services and are limited – those at the effectual bottom of the pyramid are left holding the bag and lose their money.
Trust your gut feeling.
Let me give you an example of a work at home opportunity that I rejected.
I believed, after exercising my due diligence, that the opportunity was legitimate. This at home job was writing papers or articles for a contracted price.
I enjoy writing and thought this might be a way to earn some extra money. As I looked at a possible assignment, it appeared that a student may have been paying to have me do their school paper for them.
This was not illegal for me, but certainly was not a way that I wanted to earn my living.
Legitimacy of Affiliate Marketing
I came to the determination that affiliate marketing was a legitimate way to earn money at home online. It is not for the faint of heart nor for those who want ‘something for nothing.’
It is work that allows a person to sell products and promote content that they can stand behind.
Still, I was a bit clueless on how to proceed. I was grateful to find an organization that could provide the training and encouragement for me to take on this challenging opportunity.
If you would like to know more, go to my ‘getting started‘ menu item.
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