Who Do You Trust for Online Business Advice?

Who Do You Trust for Online Business Advice?

Reader Comments (73)

  1. Down with the scorpions. May everyone hold up their cans of Raid and unite as one. I’m glad that it’s finally time for the little guy to get some recognition.

    I think that there will always be a place in marketing for the scorpions as long as there are people alive, but the internet has become the great equalizer and it’s the honest ones that won’t get caught with their pants down when the smoke clears.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  2. There’s a certain personality type that just prefers anonymous, black hat, sort of bad boy rebel stuff. And I agree, they’ll always be there. Just the nature of the thing.

    Because I’ve been online so long, it’s been fascinating for me to see how much less anonymous it’s become. Now on the Internet, everyone knows you’re a dog.

  3. Hey Sonia,

    If you’re genuine and down to earth with people, AND you’re focused on being profitable, then you have all the ingredients for a successful long-term online business.

    (the only way to not get big-win results with those types of fresh, 100% organic ingredients is to poison your stew with lack-of-hard-work and no-motivation)

    (wow, that’s a lot of food metaphors)

    Proud newbie member of the Third Tribe here *raises hand*

    Looking forward to seeing what you have cooked up (oh man, with the food metaphors again).


  4. I can’t tell you how refreshing it’s been watching all this. The scorpions will mock (it’s their nature) and you can’t save the frogs (ditto).

    It’s not just internet marketing that’s being transformed–the business of marketing as a whole is fundamentally shifting. I have seen the eyes of the traditional marketer lately, and they are full of fear.

    Which is good. Fear will help them make the changes they need to survive. I worry about the ones who aren’t scared enough.

    Curious as always to see what’s next. 🙂

  5. I think if you really enjoy helping people and do your best to help your readers, the money will come. I do really enjoy writing and blogging, and I am getting a following although the money is far from there yet. You know we all have to pay our dues, and I’ve got to tell you that it helps me as much as it helps others to write good stuff. What could be better?

  6. I just have to say that you, Sonia, really are wonderful. Working with you so far, I’ve been able to see the brilliant words you wrote above in action. You are helpful, intuitive, smart. Your focus is on making everything GOOD for everyone – readers, writers, and by default, this site.

    Thank you for all that you do…can’t wait to see what you’re cooking up!

  7. Julie is really making me blush. Thank you.

    @KatFrench, interesting. I definitely see the offline world looking to online, and social media in particular, and realizing they need to catch up fast. But some of the most fundamental principles (permisson, conversation, speed) are so alien to them.

  8. Love the idea of a third way, although there have always been a bunch of us who’ve taken that approach. I count myself among them… the folks here, Darren, Mark Silver, Molly Gordon, Chris Garrett – it’s actually quite a long list… and none of them have ever promised me $1000 a day with no effort… that’s scorpion talk.

  9. When you’ve always tried to be customer service oriented it’s hard to believe that anyone would try to take shortcuts, especially when they are only cutting themselves off short…but, that’s the way the old cookie crumbles, sorry OLeg, couldn’t help myself, had to add one more food metaphor! 🙂

  10. One thing you notice about the scorpions is their focus on always marketing to *new* prospects in contrast to the appoach taken by everyone mentioned in this post who is dedicated to giving value, building trust and creating long term relationships.

  11. This post got me all FIRED UP! I am so ready for the next wave to come in!

    I actually had a convo about this this past weekend – I was watching a DVD from an internet marketing conference and made some side comment like “what a scam artist!” in response to the speaker. My boyfriend asked why I was watching (and taking notes) if the guy was a scam artist. I told him that unfortunately ethics and intelligence are two different characteristics. Honestly I’m sick of having to take the smart marketing ideas and weed out all the sleaze. More resources teaching ethical, honest EFFECTIVE marketing are hugely needed right now and I’m thrilled to see that you guys are introducing just that.

  12. As a health care provider on the cutting edge of the move toward integrative medicine, I need to get the word out. But it needs to go out in a way that is consonant with what I do and how I do it.

    Thanks for acknowledging the Third Tribe, Sonia. You tapped the same list that I came up with, professionals who have provided meaningful, supportive, effective leadership we can all be proud of.

  13. What about if you take the scorpion half-way across the river and leave him there? Prey becomes predator, and your existence is safer.

  14. To me, if you’re too ashamed to put your real name on your site or when you leave comments on other blogs, then I’m not going to read you. All of the folks that have been mentioned here use their name. They take pride in what they’re doing and offering to others. And I appreciate that. Thank you!

  15. Great post. Really inspiring. What I enjoy most about blogging is indeed the real relationships you build up with people. The popularity of social networking has added a valuable extra dimension to the blogosphere.

  16. I’ve created a website for snowboard instructors across the world and i’m working furiously to get it going. It’s true that a blog is a lot of work.

    I’m an avid reader of Copyblogger. I’ve been reading lots of David Risleys stuff recently. I spend lots of time reading and lots of time writing.

    This post reminded me of a thought i’ve got going on at the moment. I need someone to help me, i think i’ve found the right person, but i’m having trouble trusting someone else. Thats what I was thinking when reading this.

    If I was going to get someone else on board, how should I approach it? I’ve put A LOT of time into creating everything and i’m very cautious about involving someone else. Am I being unreasonable? Am I in a scarcity mindset?

    This got me thinking for sure. Thanks as always.

  17. I’m a strong believer in the Third Tribe – information is powerful, and those who can offer real value should be heard above the din of the scorpions. We just need someone to show us how to do it. Try not to let this one sell out so fast, mmK?

  18. I’m glad you mentioned that the notion of a Third Tribe is the old way of doing business. Old way, as in, really old way.

    The techniques you describe in this post and other posts relating to this subject may be fairly new to internet marketing, but they are the same techniques that have been used in bricks & mortar businesses for hundreds of years, by savvy business men and women.

    This is an inspiring post and a topic that needs more exposure.

    As for the scorpions, you know what they say. If you’re bit once it’s the scorpions fault. If you’re bit twice, it’s your fault:-)

  19. I was just thinking this morning about how tired I am of being sprayed by endless emails from this one particular internet marketer (his key product rhymes with “Glass Patrol”).

    Why don’t I quit getting his offers? Because he sometimes hits me with a brain bending tip that informs me. I would love to get the same information without the slime.

    On the flip side smart people like Seth Godin are purposely obtuse. Godin will deliver a brilliant metaphor but won’t tell you the underlining principle is the Black Scholes equation.

    I hope this new course can deliver the best of both worlds.

  20. Nice post!
    You are right when you say that the road to success is not easy and fast.Anyone who promotes that, distracts others from the most important thing they need to focus and that thing is building a relationships with others.Many do not realize that if people don’t believe in you, success will not come.

  21. Maybe the Third Tribe can support the Center for the Recovery of Atrocious Product Purchases, or C.R.A.P.P.

    Let’s help the new (and better) information get out there before anyone else buys a crappy outdated information product from another ‘guru’.

    Remember – THERE’S NO HOPE as DOPES!!!

  22. Every time you all put something new out there for us to invest in, my debit card screams at me.

    Seriously, I can’t wait to see Third Tribe. I was one of the first to jump on Teaching Sells and that was one of the best investments I made in my future. I am sure Third Tribe will kick ass too. Can’t wait!!!

  23. If everyone on the internet doesn’t yet know you’re a dog (or a scorpion!), they soon will thanks to the advent of social networking!

    Take the high road. Sometimes it’s the only way to avoid getting flooded with garbage or washed away in “grey areas”.

  24. Sonia… I’m excited… Is Teaching Sells opening back up?
    I was such an idiot for not keeping my membership to Teaching Sells… It was hands down the best program out there, and I’m sure it still is.

    We understand the Scorpions… We’ve entered a niche that’s notoriously full of them using the Teaching Sells methodology…

    Just like people mocked and/ or completely dismissed Brian and Tony in the beginning; we’re feeling a little pressure too… actually a lot. I’ve already been booted from a couple of forums… 😉

    But their success is our motivating driver…

  25. G’day Sonia,

    Almost two years ago I decided to make my 30 year old offline business an online business. Since then the scorpions have have almost drowned me.

    I’m still afloat…..just.

    For the last 15 of those 30 years my business was based on direct mail and telemarketing. I agree with Bill’s comments.
    Your “third tribe”approach has been around for a long time. One wonderful book about relationship marketing is “The Power of One to One” by Bryce Courtenay and Ian Kennedy. It was first published in 1995.

    As a relative newbie on the net but an experienced direct marketer, it occurs to me that most of the so called “internet marketers” are old fashioned, hard nosed,foot in the door salespeople. They seem to know little or nothing about marketing. I’d like to start by stopping their rampant abuse of PowerPoint.

    I really look forward to your “third tribe” stuff. Y’know, there’s a huge amount of material on the web about internet selling. There’s precious little about internet marketing.



  26. @Dave, I used gravatar.com to put the picture next to my name. There may be a better service, but that’s the one I found and I like it!

    @Sonia, I love your use of stories in your posts. Also, I’ve been learning so much from your “Content Class” newsletters. Thanks!

  27. I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to read this. For years I was on a search. When I started I found lots of scorpions. I found some good folks too but they weren’t much further along than I was and I had a lot of skills they didn’t or couldn’t use. I was careful and only spent money on total crap once. I did buy a few books that were okay. I started believing that I could use the tools but in a way that was honest. I kept learning and then something happened. I started. I started doing. At first I just did to do. I wanted to be good. I didn’t want to sell at all. I just wanted to do good and I have been for the last year. Now I’m starting to see how I can use some of my good, my good will, my good knowledge, and my good action to do more good and begin to make profit. Oh and along the way I’ve found an incredible community of folks who are doing the same thing.

  28. Sonia, you are a true Third Tribe member. Great value in the post and a product pitch in the end (almost 🙂 ). The third tribe way is the best way to do business online, without a doubt.

    I think, there are some genuine folks among the first tribe too and not all of them are scorpions. But sooner or later, they’ll have to do away with the hard sales pitch method and be more transparent and value relationships more than the sales copy. The end of the first tribe is near. 🙂

  29. Sonia, thought you’d like to know I started reading this through email, got half-way through the second paragraph and said myself, “Oh, this is Sonia.” Talk to you soon, coach.

  30. Long live the third tribe. After spending three and a half years trying to build my business with scorpions (and having the semi-feast/serious-famine bank account to prove it), I finally got my head on straight mid last year. This is a great bit of synchronicity for my 2010 plans. I’m looking forward to it!

  31. You are absolutely right. Many people want to provide quality information, but at a price that is only beneficial for themselves. I have stepped away from numerous blogs, despite how known the names are behind them. I’ve come to realize that some blogs out there, some of the well known ones, maybe they were started with great intentions, but now they are merely commercials put in the form of words for their visitors. Who would want to watch (or read in this case) a channel (or blog in this case) that only contained commercials? I know I wouldn’t. This is what you have to watch out for, many people are advertising things they don’t truly believe in.

  32. I think all those scorpions only work so far and so long. Experience presents a twice-shy client looking for the real McCoy…… no Bull Spit please, I’m human and just don’t feel like making $5000 overnight!

    What I want is real people who care and deliver; those I can form meaningful relationships with.

    To answer your question Sonia, I trust the Third Tribe.

  33. It’s so refreshing to see people who value honesty and transparency all working together. So many who say they have the readers’ interest at heart are really only concerned about their own bank accounts.

    Thanks Sonia – you’re definitely one of the good guys (gals). Can’t wait to see more!

  34. I had to learn this lesson the hard way *rubs her sting mark*. I was roped in hook line and sinker by one of the so called “gurus” out there who took my $2,500 and ran!

  35. In business, as well as in life generally, I tend to put a lot of trust people, if I think that they seem trustworthy and sympathetic. It has worked so far. I tell myself that if one day I do get stung, I’ll learn my lesson then. Risky? Maybe, but it feels good to trust people.

    This frog signed up for the newsletter btw. Thanks.

  36. Yea for the folks who have their values and their brains linked together in their work. No thanks to beasts who swear the answer lies in a $37 buy that becomes continuous upgrade for life.

    What you’ve been putting together is awesome and solid.

    Can’t wait for the rest to come through.

  37. @Steve, heh, cool. 🙂

    @Hashim, it’s funny, I direct all of Glass Patrol’s emails into a folder, and then I confess I never, ever read it. Which is not to say I haven’t learned from him. Like Laura R., I’ve spent a lot of time studying scorpions. 🙂

    @Melani, how awful! Ouch.

    @Morten, it’s funny, because I’m the same. I think trust is much smarter than cynicism. But it has to be open-eyed trust.

    @Liz, so nice to see ya here!

  38. I have been writing about this for quite awhile now on my blog. I started working as a Online Marketing Consultant. Then, because I was ashamed of the company I seemed to find myself lumped with, I changed to Ethical Online Marketing. Ages ago I wrote a blog post called “You will not make a million dollars from this blog post”

    There is a big disservice being done to many people who go to these guys (and gals) that want to sell them the instant answer to success when we all know it takes a variety of components, mixed in with a strategy and marketing plan that is suited for your company and your company only, add to time and hard work, to find success.

  39. Nice post. I guess I don’t understand why, if you have good content, you would need to follow any marketing advice whatsoever. Okay, maybe newbees need an introduction to the world of social media, RSS, PPC and affiliate programs, but I’ve never come across any marketing advice that wasn’t something I would have sensibly done on my own initiative, other than the outright spammy techniques and the steps further down river where the scorpions are poising to sting.

  40. @Brad, you might think so, and with a good relationship you can be a fairly boneheaded salesperson, but you still benefit a lot from decent copywriting — mainly to be sure you’re clearly communicating what you’ve got and how it benefits people. I thought Dean Rieck’s post here on Zen Copywriting last week did a great job of laying that out.

  41. The one hit wonders are becoming a thing of the past. even though, scorpions, like flea bitten dogs will be around for a while. There are too many marketers that ascribe to the PT Barnum message, “there’s a sucker born every minute”

    Relationship marketing and continuity is the future. only become valuable when we create value. Long live the tribe. Thanks for another great post.

  42. @Sonia – I see what you mean for hiring a good writer, graphic artist, etc. I just don’t see the logic in following someone purely in “marketing”, which is sometimes as nebulous of a skill as it sounds.

  43. I’m new two the whole social media phenomena. How ever by following smart and honest people I’m learning a lot. Copy Blogger is one of my favorites. I found him through twitter because his name showed up as one of the most influential social media folks. If you have any suggestions, that could help me, I would appreciate it as I am starting my real estate vlog. thank you.

  44. G’day Brad,
    I understand. I ran a business for 13 years before I found something that enabled me to grasp the esoteric secrets of marketing. And it was a finance consultant, not a marketing expert who led me to it.
    As a first step, try to read “the 22 Immutable Laws Of Marketing” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.
    Hope this helps


  45. Oh! Nice information. I am so tired of scorpions who keeps instigating me for employing shortcuts. I am a new blogger. You can check my blog and suggest interesting points to improve my site. You can even mail me at piedpiper3409@gmail.com.



  46. Okay, who are the scorpions?

    I learn and buy from Brian, Sonia, Naomi, Seth Godin, Chris Brogan and Ramit Sethi. And pretty much rely only on them for any remarkable business advice.

    I just don’t know who I should stay away from.

  47. @Prabu, the thing I’d watch out for is anyone who promises you nearly instant results with nearly no work.

    A lot of the internet marketing crowd has the “business opportunity” customer as its primary market, which is folks who have the dream of starting a business but often haven’t yet developed the discipline and persistence to carry a serious business model through to launch. They tend to be looking for “push-button” systems, looking at their sites as “ATMs,” etc. It’s all language that emphasizes how *unlike* real business their “system” is. Bad sign.

    The other answer is, If you like those guys, you’ll see the scorpion’s marketing and say, “Ew.”

  48. @Leon, I checked out a couple pages and reviews on Amazon. Honestly I am not sure if I will read it, but thanks for suggesting it.

  49. Hi,

    the story of the Scorpion and The Frog is a great story I didn’t know about it before. the story explain the human reality or rather the facts of Marketers on the Internet.

    we shouldn’t trust anyone on internet.

    by the way great post I really liked it.

  50. Great post. Love the metaphor.

    The idea that anything is easy and anyone who promotes it should instantly throw up red flags. Especially at first. Even if you do arrive at a point where generating income, or finding the success you strive for becomes easier, it is never just easy. It will always require great effort, commitment, and perseverance in the beginning.

    Once you achieve the success you want, it is important to remember to work to maintain it, or you just might find that it disappeared many times faster than it came about.

    Look forward to finding out what the newsletter has in store for us who are in the early stages of our online endeavors.

  51. At work they joke about everyone thinking they work in the marketing department. It goes without saying that the proper people need to be on a company’s marketing team in order to ensure its success – not everyone has the knowledge and talent for it. However, with the large role that social media (and the online channel in general) plays in today’s market place, I believe that the once limited title of “marketing team” is expanding to include more of the “other” employees. We all can – and do- now play an active role in marketing. It is important that these “others” realize the role they play and how to be a member of the Third Tribe. I look forward to exploring your site more and reading future articles.

    An “other” and fledgling member of the Third Tribe

  52. It’s just a shame that the “scorpions” were the most visible. I’ve been quietly beavering away delivering excellent results at reasonable rates to my clients since 1998. Time to start shouting it from the roof tops maybe because the good guys can’t get the business unless they let people know where to find them:)

    Exciting plans afoot at copyblogger, I’ll be looking forward to your next newsletter.

  53. I’ve been stung by a few scorpions in my search for success online. Fortunately, I haven’t had the finances for the bigger ones to get me (or my wallet).

    Now, I operated under the credo that “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” And this has led me to find some brilliant mentors and guides.

    Oh, and to answer the question you posed at the beginning of the article, yes, I have heard that story before.

  54. Inspiring story, definitely.

    I have signed up now. Actually embarrassed that I haven’t done it before. Anyway, I like the way you characterize Darren. It is so true!

    Take care – hope for more to come!

  55. I never heard about the third tribe, until now. Just signed up for your newsletter as well.

    Now, I’ve heard the story about the scorpion and I have met a few of them. My problem is, how do you spot a scorpion?

    You mention a few people we can trust, and obviously we can trust you, but most of us meet a lot of people online, people that will help us and be our co-workers. It would be great to have a list of things to look for in order to spot a scorpion. But on the other hand, that might be what your third tribe project is about 😀

    – Jens

  56. It’s easy to spot the phonies. Anyone claiming you can make lot’s of money with little or no effort in a short time, just by buying their product/service/formula/plan.

    Marketing, real marketing, starts with a strategy and a plan. Guess what, only you can do that because only you know your goals and desires (someone can help guide you.)

    Sonia, I understand what you are saying about off-line marketers not understanding the concepts of social permission-based online, but I also see that many online persons who don’t have real marketing fundamentals focus on their specialty (blog, web design, SEO, email marketing, etc.) but not many of us focus on the full picture. You can’t just pick one of these things and hope for success.

    I had a client quit on me because she wanted me to drive large amounts of traffic to her site to sell her book, but her site was awful, confusing and terribly laid out. All it did everywhere is talk about her. When I tried to show her that she needed to fix it before anyone would find anything of value there, she quit.

    As I’ve always said, owning a business is hard work, if your not in it for the long haul, best to go get a job.

  57. @Lynda, yep, I’ve had a client or two who looked a lot like that. And I agree, it seems like most bloggers don’t have a clear vision of the path to purchase for their customers, so there are often big potholes in that path.

    @Jens, it isn’t always easy, to be sure. And I don’t think that every person with an ugly sales letter is an untrustworthy person. But I *have* seen too many people lose time, money, and creative energy trying to chase down systems that claim to make everything “push-button” simple. As Lynda says, it’s not push button simple. And cookie cutter answers can only get you very basic results.

    A “real” business (I realize that’s an awfully condescending way to put it!) comes from creatively applying solutions to a series of problems, most of which you didn’t see coming. If you want to push buttons to make money, get a job in a factory.

  58. There are so many experts out there that it’s hard to trust all of them. usually for writing concerns, I read copyblogger. I also read Jack Humphrey’s blog often.

  59. This explains what I thought was just a personality conflict with certain marketing professionals. I thought I was the artist and they were the hardened business pros teaching me how to be hard nosed.
    It turns out I need to be a frog, in my natural habitat, and refuse to listen to the scorpions who just want to seek and destroy.

  60. @MD, the first thing you should do with such people is tell them to read their David Ogilvy. Great, effective advertising needs art and hard nosed strategy.

    The second thing you should do is smack them in the head with a shovel.

    In my, as always, excruciatingly humble opinion.

  61. I just love to read copyblogger and Problogger because they are so genuine. These two blogs definitely teaches us the art of writing. Recently I wrote something about Darren Rowse in my blog. I think you guys will love it because we all love him so much.



  62. Darren is one of the genuinely nicest people I’ve ever done business with! Just a sweet, classy guy.

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