Are you there for your email list?

I do a lot of email marketing, so naturally I end up paying attention to what others are doing with their emails, and how they’re doing it.

Well this morning I received an email from Perry Marshall – a great email, by the way, using the analogy of flying a plane (or crashing it) in regards to Adwords. I won’t get into it, but it was good.

So I quickly wrote back a short reply, and hit send.

A moment later I got an auto reply saying this email isn’t checked, and if I’d like to comment or if I need support, here’s where to go.

Fair enough.

As a customer, I’m efficiently redirected to where his preferred points of contact.

However, what has been lost (on his part) by turning off the most accessible way to contact him or his staff? Speaking for myself, I’m not going to take the time to head over to his site, re-write my comment and post it somewhere. I just delete the mail and move on.

Now, speaking from the other side of the equation, I do use a live email address to send out all my broadcasts; and yes, I dooften receive replies back. Early on, these replies were crucial and instrumental in my gaining an intimate knowledge of my market; their trials and frustrations, and reasons why they did or didn’t buy what I offered.

Now, I don’t solicit the feedback quite as much, but I’m still open to it. And I appreciate it, because it continues to keep my finger on the pulse of the market.

So there’s my thought for the day (or quarter of the year, at this posting rate!). If you’ve got a list, and are using it, I encourage you to be open to communicating with those people. They are people not just names, and communication is a two-way street.

Scamworld: Watch this

As someone who has been on the receiving end of the boiler rooms, the live seminars, the mentoring programs and all the rest of it… never once making making back 5% of what I “invested” I can certify the stuff they’re exposing in this 15 minute video is the real deal.

For me personally, the biggest breakthrough came in my own business when I consciously started shutting out all the ‘gooroos’ and started working on building a business founded on the same fundamentals that have always made businesses work, not on the latest scheme. I did get a mentor, but a personal one that I work with directly – not a ‘program’ – and that has been hugely beneficial, to this day.

In short, what I am saying is if you still look at the Frank Kern’s and the Andy Jenkin’s of this world with rose colored glasses, then you really need to consider what is being put forward in this video. The Internet Marketing industry has a deep vein of corruption in it, and while there are a few honest guys out there, they are few and far between, and far less vocal than the Syndicate.

Enough said, I’ll let the video speak for itself. Please leave your comments – positive OR negative below. I believe it’s important to get the discussion started on this topic.

Once you’re through with the movie, here’s more depth recommended reading.

GoDaddy’s Discount Domain Club… uh, DISCOUNT?

So a while ago, actually September 29th, 2011 to be exact (I just looked up the receipt) a Godaddy salesrep talked me into joining their Discount Domain Club. Previously I had a reseller account that I was using to save some cash on my domain purchases; however I had discovered that simply using coupons on Godaddy got me better deals than I could get as a reseller. Ok, so ditch the reseller account and move all the domains (yes, manually) into my main Godaddy account. While doing that, the rep talked me into the discount domain club. So no, I didn’t just randomly answer one of their sales calls, that indeed would have been a waste of time. I actually had a reason to talk to them (they try to phone me every now and then to upsell me on this or that). After all, I’m well aware they like to use sneaky tactics like slip selling.

Ok, so according to their website, the Discount Domain Club does the following for you:

No need to shop around for the best deal. When you’re a Discount Domain Club member, you know you’re getting the lowest price on popular domains, including .COM, .NET, .ORG and more.

Cool, right? Now there’s no more need for remembering all those coupon codes, I can just toss them out the window now, because I’ll be getting the best deal by not looking around for a better one.

Wrong.

Here’s proof. Let’s start with the receipt showing my purchase of the highly esteemed membership in the Discount Domain Club:

Yeah, sorry, I cut off the bit with the date, because that also included my account into and such, but this covers three years worth of exclusive membership rights to the best domain deals on the planet.

Ok, now let’s see how this plays out in reality:

Today I just renewed a few domains, and as you can see, my initial bill came to $92.30.

Keep in mind my esteemed membership in the Discount Domain Club, which guarantees me the best domain deals, without shopping around or looking for coupon codes right?

Ok, well just because I don’t exactly trust Mr Parsons as far as I can throw an elephant, I sneakily decided to test a generic 10% off coupon I found lying around on the web: chill8. Let’s see what happens:

Woops! Does that show a FIVE DOLLAR DISCOUNT now? Hmm, that’s awfully strange. I thought I was guaranteed the best price without shopping around??!

My cynicism piqued, I decided to try an even better coupon that I like to reserve for special occasions. I define special occasions as ones where Bob Parsons gets to buy more than just one new bullet for his gun as a result of my purchase, but Godaddy defines them as transactions where I’m spending more than $75.

That coupon code is gdbb1901 and Godaddy emails it to me inside of every receipt that I get from them. Strange… you’d think that given I belong to the exclusive Discount Domain Club, there’d be no need to mail me further discounts? I guess that slipped past someone.

Ok, here’s what happens when I apply that baby:

Oooh! Now I’m saving $12.49! So much for the $161.98 I blew on the Discount Domain Club, I sure hope those 6 automated Express Domain Name Appraisals that were included are worth something. I haven’t used one yet, but I bet they’re amazing.

GoDaddy – Home of the Brutal Slip-Sell

I’m coining a new term: slip-sell.

(No, I haven’t done even a tiny amount of research to find if this has been used before. I’ve not heard it before, therefore it is new according to my perception of reality :lol: (and yes, I just used WordPress’s new Emoticons inserter thing – never saw that one before!).

It’s not like a cross-sell, that’s asking the customer to add in a complementary product. It’s not like an up-sell either; that’s asking the customer if they want to upgrade their order to add some extra value.

No, instead it is quite simply sliding something useless into the customer’s order without asking them first.

Sometimes it’s fun to shoot at elephants, so today I’m taking a shot at Godaddy.

First off, let me just say I have quite a few domains with Godaddy, and in fact I have upgraded a two of my accounts to their account level that gives you the best prices on stuff. I forget what they call it, but it costs $170 or something for three years (my recollection is fuzzy, I did it a while ago). Theoretically, having paid for that status guarantees me the absolute best price on anything I order. At least, that is precisely how it was sold to me. Fine… so what happens in practice?

In the screenshot below, you’ll see the line “Special Savings” off my receipt.

This beauty shows up only after I entered a coupon code in my cart. Not sure if the coupon will work for you, but it is gdbb1901, and it works on orders over $75. Apparently it also works on accounts that are already guaranteed the best deal.

Ironically, as soon as I enter the coupon code, they show up this little message saying something to the effect of “Congratulations! You qualify for multiple discounts!” Essentially they’re telling me that “oh, by the way, we noticed that you used a coupon, so we just remembered you’re supposed to get stuff cheap, and we’re adding that deal in for you as well. Pretty swell of us eh?”

My understanding of that account level was that it is meant to function like Wal-Mart: where the lowest price is the law. Instead, apparently it continues to function like Sears: where the highest price is the norm, but keep an eye out for our weekend sale promos because we’ll probably be slashing the price by 60-80% soon.

So okay, as long as we agree to define the relationship in this manner, we can still get along ok.

Then today when I was entering my order, (I was renewing a batch of domains), I specifically selected 1 year on all the renewals. Get into my cart, and they’re showing 2 years. Hmm, sneaky way to grab a double sized order out of me! No problem, I only had to close that browser, delete my cookies and go back into the cart in order to get it working to the point where I could select 1 year again. Minor inconvenience. So far, so good.

At this point, I email my buddy and explain triumphantly that I’ve managed to dodge several of Godaddy’s tricky little tricks. Oh, and don’t get me started on the “Round up for charity” which used to be auto-selected.

I complete the order, and just before I move on to something else, I glance at the receipt.

Spoiler alert: This brings us back to the slip-sell.

I see this line item:

Ah, gotta love the fact that Godaddy has my back! Always helps to have someone back there with a knife handy, what with all the masked thugs running around and all. They’ve kindly added in an SEO package for me! I can’t imagine what $23 worth of SEO gets you these days, but I can’t imagine it is anything more than slipping a handwritten note to one of the summer interns at the mighty Goog telling them they might want to check out this cool site.

So that’s what I’m defining as a slip-sell: slipping in a completely useless item without asking the customer. Kind of like if McDonald’s were to slip in a $5 body mass index evaluation with every order.

As the old saying goes, you can polish a turd, but at the end of the day, it’s still a turd.

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Seth Godin on 2012

I’ve been reading “All Marketers Are Liars” lately, by Seth Godin, so when a friend sent me the following interview with Seth, I watched it with interest:

Basically what he’s saying is that the path forward is not going to be doing more of the same thing everyone else is doing. You have to find a way to add value and become a leader of sorts in your market. To be honest, that was kind of nice to hear, as I think that’s what I’ve been busy with for a couple of years now, but it is a good confirmation and reminder.

Stability doesn’t come from punching the time clock and putting in your 9-5 anymore, and in fact our very notions of what stability is are likely going to change rather dramatically in 2012, unless I’m mistaken.

Oh well, one of the only constants is change right? I say, bring it on.