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Scam?
October 15, 2006 12:34 PM   Subscribe

Can I really make 5, 10, or even $15,000 a month working from home by getting a free video? And why are these so-called millionares willing to give away their "secrets" for free?

Or is it a scam and they are millionares from selling tapes to suckers?
posted by joshuak to Work & Money (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Some of the pyramid scheme type schemes might conceivably make you money if you get in early, but, yeah, of course they're scams.

Please tell me you haven't been stung again?
posted by jack_mo at 12:44 PM on October 15, 2006


Most likely, this is some kind of pyramid scheme scam, in which you will actually in the end be required to sell the video/business opportunity to new suckers rather than actually following whatever "business advice" is contained in said video to make any money. But it's hard to know for sure without more detail. Cockeyed has some good write-ups on various types of pyramid schemes, especially Herbalife, but I can't get a specific link for you because the ISP for the coffee shop I am in considers Cockeyed to have unacceptable content and won't let me look at it. :(
posted by Kwine at 12:48 PM on October 15, 2006


Yes, you can make that kind of money, if you are willing to give up your soul. Through a publication I was writing for, we ordered a couple of book-and-tape systems, only to learn that they were, essentially, instructions on how to set up 1-976 sex chat lines.

You could always offer to split the profits with your suicidal girlfriend and then buy a new PS2 and a smokin' hot car.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:54 PM on October 15, 2006


thanks solid-one-love.
posted by joshuak at 1:04 PM on October 15, 2006


My reaction to all of these infomercial schemes is, "If they could make $15,000 a month, why are they wasting time making an infomercial?"
posted by Rock Steady at 1:12 PM on October 15, 2006


"If they could make $15,000 a month, why are they wasting time making an infomercial?"

To make another $15,000 a month?

I mean, really, that doesn't make much sense. Who puts money in the bank for a few years and then decides "OK, I don't need that investment to make any more money, so I will put it under my mattress now."?

Maybe there are advantages we can't immediately conceive for them to sell their system. Winning poker players sell books on how to play poker in order to increase the number of people playing poker. Without Doyle Brunson's "Super System", we would not have 8-figure first prizes at the World Series of Poker, for example.

Warren Buffett writes books on how to invest, even though the markets are predicated on losses being eaten by the ill-informed,

At its core, your question is "why do people sell information on how to earn money in the way that I earn money?" And it's not a useful question.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:21 PM on October 15, 2006


The work from home stuff you see on TV is pretty much a scam, they will send you some really basic info about how others do work from home and nobody makes money except the guy that sold you the info. The only way to make good money working from home is to develop a skill that transfers well to a home inviro, like the machine shop in my garage.
This usually involves working for someone else for years to learn a trade.
posted by Iron Rat at 1:22 PM on October 15, 2006


Warren Buffett writes books on how to invest

Say what? Point me there, sonny.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:45 PM on October 15, 2006


OK, bad example. Read that as "Many successful investors write books on how to invest."
posted by solid-one-love at 2:05 PM on October 15, 2006


Warren Buffett Speaks: Wit and Wisdom from the World's Greatest Investor on amazon - there's a bunch more as well.
posted by jacalata at 2:08 PM on October 15, 2006


Can I really make 5, 10, or even $15,000 a month working from home by getting a free video?

No. But you might be able to make 5, 10, or even $15000 a month by sending out free videos with a convincing story and a "send me $50 for your starter pack" ad at the end. You take the $50 and send back a packet of papers and junk worth maybe $5, for a profit of $45 minus the cost of the video. Not a bad deal.

I've always thought that the very best self-help get-rich-quick book would have 499 pages full of nonsense, maybe even lorem ipsum. Somewhere among them would be just one page that said, in huge type, "MY WINNING STRATEGY: CONVINCE 50,000 PEOPLE TO BUY YOUR SELF-HELP GET-RICH-QUICK BOOK".
posted by vorfeed at 2:18 PM on October 15, 2006 [1 favorite]


Even if you were to give them the benefit of the doubt, the fact that they're spending time on making and selling the video seems to indicate that selling the video is more profitable than using the method described therein.
posted by winston at 2:39 PM on October 15, 2006


Rob Cockerham has spent a lot of time compiling information about Herbalife a major pyramid scheme "company". Long version: here.

Short version: IT"S A FUCKING SCAM!
posted by folara at 2:48 PM on October 15, 2006


"Even if you were to give them the benefit of the doubt, the fact that they're spending time on making and selling the video seems to indicate that selling the video is more profitable than using the method described therein."

No, it indicates that time spent making the video and spending cash to get it advertised is more profitable than not doing it.

The best answer? These things are often at local libraries (at least ours used to have some). Decide if they're a scam by looking 'em over.
posted by klangklangston at 3:05 PM on October 15, 2006


Re jacalata's comment: cursory inspection shows that despite what Amazon says, that book is by Janet Lowe, and is yet another regurgitation of Buffet's letters to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Buffet does not write books on how to invest, and never has. He does comment on his methods from time to time, and other people repackage those comments into books.

Furthermore, neither Buffet, nor his inspirations Graham and Fisher, ever had a "secret" to "easy money". Their insights are totally based on well-accepted principles, and require the same study and diligence to apply as any other money-making operation.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:27 PM on October 15, 2006


It's very possible that it is some sort of pyramid selling scheme or some variation of that. It is however, also possible that in order to take part in the scheme, you need to sign up to some website for which the distributors of the video earn affiliate revenue. As an example, Ifriends.net used to offer affiliates $70 just for getting a new user to signup.

Lots of people do make lots of money from legitimate schemes and just because the distributor is making money from you, doesn't mean there isn't some value in the video. My sister, for example, makes a few thousand per month on eBay by combining a little nouse with the know-how from a bunch of eBay-selling ebooks she bought from the web. So I am not going to dismiss it altogether.
posted by zaebiz at 3:46 PM on October 15, 2006


Just re-reading my post above, my post does sound a bit like a cleverly disguised sales pitch for some online marketing scheme. Now you can see the problem - some of these schemes do make money but most don't - leaving anyone who says a positive word about any of them exposed to appearing like a shill.

(Note : I am not involved in the promotion of eBay marketing books in any way whatsoever. Neither is my sister.)
posted by zaebiz at 3:52 PM on October 15, 2006


I second reading the stuff about herbalife on cockeyed. It's really enlightening on how most of these schemes work and how the real money is in being a "distributor", not a user.

And Joshua, while we've got your ear, can you tell us what the result of your other questions was (maybe as a followup post in each question)? Did you get your PS2 back? What's happening with your G/F? And, most importantly, did you ever find your pants!?! Enquiring minds want to know!
posted by ranglin at 5:11 PM on October 15, 2006


Good point, i_a_j_s: I just looked for something with Buffet listed as the author. If you want to read something by Buffet, apparently his chairman's letters are interesting, but as far as the point of 'successful people do write about how to be successful', it doesn't seem that Buffet does.
posted by jacalata at 6:00 PM on October 15, 2006


Hm, some good points and unfortunately it's what I expected. Sounds like distribution would be the way to go...or just stay in school and graduate etc...

and in response to ranglin: i didn't get my PS2 (even though I've gotten confirmation from USPS and the prick keeps promising to send it), my GF is fine, and I did find my pants by making rediculous signs!
posted by joshuak at 7:38 PM on October 15, 2006


or just stay in school and graduate

Bingo.

Glad to hear about your pants.
posted by ook at 10:32 PM on October 15, 2006


YAY FOR REDICULOUS SIGNS!
posted by crewshell at 12:42 AM on October 16, 2006


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