It’s True: Not Every Sales Page Is a Scam

We’ve taken some heat for being too general, for being quick to condemn something as a scam just because a Web site is trying to sell you something. This post tries to set the record straight.

Just because someone tries to sell you something, it doesn’t mean they’re scammers. Our posts focus on how to identify scams, and maybe we haven’t been as careful as we could be about what we mean. For instance, we gave you 10 Commandments to avoid online scams. We exposed the sales page so that you can easily spot one, especially when it’s posing as a job offer.

We should have been more specific. The problem is not in the tactics the scammers use, but in the product they sell using those tactics and the unethical, misleading ways they use them.

Many sites online use the same tactics to offer legitimate products or opportunities. For example, if you look at our store, you’ll see a sales page that is not hugely different from the sales pages we trash in our posts (except that ours is less obnoxious). Our sales page and one like are both trying to sell you something. The difference is that our claims are 100% honest, we don’t misrepresent anything, and our product is decent.

We’d hate to see you lose out on some good opportunities or good products because our posts have made you overly suspicious of anything that ends with a “Buy Now” button.

So we’re going to look at two sites side by side. One of them is legitimate, which means it offers a good product and makes honest claims, and the other is what we consider a “scam”—its product sucks and the claims are absurd and misleading.

Is It a Scam or a Legitimate Offer?

So. Is that site you’re considering sending money to one that stinks of rotten fish? Or is it offering a good product that could help you supplement your income? It’s really not hard to tell, especially when you look a good one and a bad one side by side.

We’ll compare two sales pages: Build a Niche Store (BANS) and International Data Entry at Home Institute (IDEHI). You can view their presell pages at

The sites use similar, common marketing tactics, but it’s very clear which site is using the tactics ethically—because the product does what the page claims—and which one is leading you down a primrose path toward the cesspool at the bottom of the hill.

BANS Sales Page Features

  • The page is easy on the eyes.
    It does not use any surf-hindering tactics like pop-ups or animated gifs. It is displayed as a simple, static page.
  • The page gives you specific details.
    From the very beginning, you know exactly what you’ll be doing if you make a purchase: you will use the software to create your own “niche” store that sells items from eBay. Your money comes from affiliate commissions. There are no vague statements about the type of work you will be doing or where the money comes from.
  • The page makes no guarantees of income.
    You might work for weeks or even months on building your niche stores and still make zero money.
  • The page gives you no gimmicky attempts to pressure you into buying right now.
    The software isn’t going anywhere, so you could come back next week or next month and buy it.
  • The price stays the same.
    The software has been the same price since it’s been released and there is no talk of increasing it.
  • There are no flashy testimonials or cheesy stock photos of wealth.
    Any picture used is entirely relevant to the content around it.

In short, the BANS page equips you to make a rational decision, not an emotional one.

IDEHI Sales Page Features

  • The viewing experience sucks.
    Where do I even start?? As soon as you arrive at the page, you’re greeted with an obtrusive video clip in the bottom right corner. Navigating away from the page brings three tricky pop-up options and launches a fake chat window. That smell you’re smelling? It’s scam.
  • The page gives no details.
    I read over 4,500 words before the page started to describe the type of work I would be doing. Even after the “description,” most people would still be quite unsure as to what the hell they will be doing once they cough up nearly $200.
  • The page makes absurd claims about earnings.
    “If you want to fill out 14 forms for an hour-and-a-half to two hours a day, you can make $100,800 a year, a six-figure salary!” Puh-leeze. The “forms” are affiliate marketing ads, and they don’t tell you that you have to get tons of people to see your ad, that someone will have to click on one of your ads AND THEN make a purchase before you get paid. Half truth=lie.
  • The page includes lots of high pressure sales gimmicks.
    I mean, come on! The first line of the page is that there are only two spots remaining! Directly below that is a counter that is counting down from 2 hours and 56 minutes before this opportunity passes you by forever. But come back tomorrow and there will still be two slots remaining, and the clock will have started over.
  • The page threatens an imminent price increase.
    It claims that the price will go from $197 to $550 at any minute. In addition to the $353 price increase, they will be tacking on a $30 shipping and handling fee for the delivery of digital items.
  • The page includes tons of bullshit testimonials.
    From what I gathered, this program has changed hundreds of lives and turned regular people, just like me, into instant millionaires. I too can own a mansion, Bentley, yacht, and private jet. No way to verify the testimonials, because real names are not used. (Contrast that with the testimonials at Blog Mastermind, where you can see real names and faces of real people you can contact.)

In contrast to the BANS page, this one tells you nothing you need to know to make a rational decision and instead pressures you into making an emotional decision right now.

Two pages, each using similar strategies (including the dreaded yellow highlighter!). Of course there are legitimate, ethical uses of these strategies, but I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty easy to tell when the legitimate tactics are being used badly.

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Join the Discussion

  • hello

    I was wondering if you guys have heard of Alvin Phang. He is the creater of and he has a lot of good content on his blog, but he also promotes and sells products using the same tactics and flashy pages as the scam sites. I am wondering if he sells products of real value, or if they are just scams like everything else. For instance, one of his products is – Just trying to figure out if this is any good or not. Thanks

    • Joe

      I have not heard of Phang or his atomicblogging program. I looked at the sales page and it has some endorsements by people who know what they’re talking about (like John Chow and Yaro Starak). The interview with Yaro appears to be a pretty big part of his product. Do you know about Yaro’s free Become a Blogger videos? At least, I think they’re free. You might want to start there and see if blogging is for you.

      Then, if you still want to check out, drop me an email at joe [at] ivetriedthat[dot]com. I might pay half of the cost for you to buy it if you agree to write a review for us to publish here. Good luck.


    You’re welcome Joe!

    Again I applaud you for being able to grow and adjust. Most people don’t.

  • Joe

    Thanks for the support. You make some excellent points.

    Our audience is primarily from search engines, and the search terms they use and the questions they ask in email lead me to believe that they are also primarily novices to the niche. Our generalizations are written for that type of “newbie” audience,

    However, as your comment shows, that description is not true of everyone, and I would hate to think that our posts and scam callouts could inhibit someone’s learning curve. So we’ll be more careful about distinctions from now on.

    Live and learn.


    Great post Joe!

    I read your blog a lot and I appreciate what you’re doing. I think we need more work at home sites being real about these so called opportunities (rebate processing, data entry, typing, etc. ). But I have to admit there have been times I’ve been thrown back by your generalizations and the liberal usage of the word scam.

    I think this post really does a great job of clarification. Yes, there are a lot of scams out there but making over-generalizations isn’t necessarily being solution oriented either. As you’ve pointed out it, the practice of labeling nearly everything a scam will cause people to view legitimate companies that are providing real value via their products and services to be lumped in with the scum of the earth.

    So I’m happy you’re big enough to provide better clarification as to what to look for in terms of sales pages. Because the fact of the matter is just because someone is selling you a work at home related product doesn’t mean it’s a scam. There are other factors that need to be considered and I think you’ve definitely touched upon some of it here in this post.

    By the way I can totally relate to your situation where you’ve been accused of being a scam as well. It always amazes me when people make those claims when it’s folks like us providing free content that is designed to help people avoid the crap out there.
    Are we perfect and get it right all the time? Of course not. We’re only human however we still give it the “good old college try”.

    But then we’re expected to do so without earning money via our own products or promoting legitimate affiliate programs. It’s very frustrating sometimes. But I am sure you would agree you receive more positive emails from people thanking you for the value you provide. So I guess it all balances itself out. lol

    In any event, Just wanted to give you a “shout out!” from another fellow blogger on the same mission. Our tactics and view points may vary a bit but overall I’m glad to see there is a great site like fighting the good fight against scams!

    Keep doing what you’re doing and ignore the haters. lol


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