Tag Archive | "Scammers"

Online Business and Privacy Risks

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Online Business and Privacy Risks

When it comes to doing business online as an online entrepreneur of any kind (e-commerce site owner, niche site operator, affiliate marketer, etc.) there are some people who have concerns about the privacy and security of their personal information. Of course, there are plenty of online marketers who don’t care too much and actually enjoy sharing the details of their personal life on their marketing related blogs, by plastering pictures of themselves, their family vacation, their pets, their cars (or assorted vehicles that they’re proud of: motorcycles, private airplanes and homemade helicopters, etc).

However, some others may not want to be too open about it and it doesn’t mean that they’re scammers or using unethical marketing methods. Signing up to various online services such as affiliate programs, domain registration, web hosting, etc. often requires sharing personal information in addition to payment and banking details. Unless you use WHOIS Privacy when purchasing a domain, your information (name, address, email, phone) will be visible to anyone that runs a query on a WHOIS search site, plus some WHOIS data aggregators actually make this even simpler, all someone would have to do is to Google the name of your site, or just Google your name and they would usually be able to locate some, if not all of the domains that were registered with your name.

Now some may ask: what is the problem? All legitimate online businesses have a privacy policy, so if you’re not doing anything shady, why hide? There are a couple of perfectly legitimate reasons as to why one may be concerned. Anybody following the news would see that there have been some rather spectacular security breaches in the past few months that targeted several companies that did business online, including, ironically enough, a security consulting firm.

Even though they may have a strongly worded privacy policy (which is often nothing more than a generic “fill in the blanks” template), many small online businesses such as start up affiliate networks or service providers may not have too strong standards of security. Furthermore, you need to remember that when a company you were dealing with goes out of business, their data doesn’t just magically vanish and you don’t really know where it could end up at that point.

There are other perfectly valid reasons to keep online business activities private. Some people who work at a day job may not want their employers to know that they’re running a side business. Webmasters who are involved in building and promoting adult oriented website may not want the entire world to know what kind of online ventures they’re involved with simply by doing a Google search of their name.

With all of this considered, there are some good methods to preserve some privacy and anonymity even as an online entrepreneur. We will see some good strategies on how you can do, no matter what kind of online business your run, in tomorrow’s post.

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User Interaction and Why It Is Important

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User Interaction and Why It Is Important

If you have a website of any kind, then you probably use it to either sell or promote some of your products. One of your main concerns as a webmaster would be how to make the user experience more enjoyable for your website visitors. Also, you are probably looking for ways that you can use to improve your overall search engine ranking for the keywords that your website is targeting. Both of these things can be achieved by allowing user interaction with your website. This is not something unique or radical, in fact many of the world’s biggest websites such as Amazon and eBay follow these tips, so learn from the successful guys and implement them.

  • Allow User Ratings on Your Items

If you sell merchandise, allowing your users to give a rating, usually in terms of stars, can be a very good way to have them interact with your website and give feedback on products and services that you have and that they have used. Unless you deliberately sell junk and don’t really want your customers to come back to your site (well… they might kind of complain and this annoys scammers, you know), then there should be no problem with letting your site visitors rate your products.

  • Allow Comments, Reviews and Testimonials From Users and Encourage them to Participate

This is good for SEO, as it creates unique content which is user generated, so you didn’t really need to take any action in order to put it there anyways. So it saves a lot of effort for you. Are you selling some products? Let buyers post some reviews of them. Many big name shopping sites do that, such as Amazon. Did you post a news article, blog post or made a YouTube video for your website visitors? Let them comment about it and encourage them to leave feedback, by using a call to action such as “What Do You Think of This New Service? Let Us Know Below!”. Monitor your comments to delete spam and obvious trolling or stupidity, but also keep an eye out for visitors that have a question or concern. You can then either respond to them in the comments, or ask them to communicate with you in a private way such as by email or by sending a message through your website.

  • Include Social Media Buttons

This really isn’t complicated at all. All you need to do is include buttons for social media, such as your Twitter and Facebook profiles, or your YouTube channel. You can incorporate these to your website very easily and many large companies and even government agencies now have them on their sites due to the prevalent use of social networking sites. You also don’t have to use the icons provided by the social networking sites, instead you can use custom ones that would better match the layout of your website. Of course, you could always download the trial edition of Photoshop and design the logos yourself too. Social media buttons will allow your visitors to get social with you on various networks that your business participates in.

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Getting the Merchandise for Your E-Commerce Site

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Getting the Merchandise for Your E-Commerce Site

We have seen before some examples of merchandise that you can sell online in your very own e-commerce website. There are literally thousands of choices of niches that you can take part in. Once you have chosen what kind of items that you want to sell, now it will be time for you to actually acquire the merchandise so that you can sell it to your website’s customers. The process here is not so difficult in itself, but you will still need to be aware of a few basic principles of how commerce operates. This will be pretty much the same thing as if you owned a physical store and were acquiring inventory. Here are some tips:

  • If possible, buy locally

By locally, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your distributor must be located in the same city than you, just in the same country. This has several advantages. First of all, it will save you time. Importing products from overseas may take several weeks for your shipment to arrive in certain cases. Domestic shipments are usually much faster. Also, importing large amounts of commercial merchandise will mean that you will need to be aware of regulations regarding imports, paying the necessary customs duties, etc. Buying from a local supplier is also generally safer, as you are less likely to get ripped off than when buying internationally. Of course, there are scammers everywhere, so you would still need to be on your guard.

One disadvantage in buying from a local supplier rather than importing the goods yourself would be that the prices that you pay may be a little bit higher than when buying internationally. But you still can get very good prices depending on the quantity of merchandise that you will be ordering each month. In order to find suppliers for your merchandise, you can do a Google search or look through some online business directories.

  • Choose the right supplier

You will need to be dealing with a supplier that is reliable and honest. Again, the majority of suppliers, whether domestic or foreign, will give you quality merchandise as promised, however you still need to keep your eyes open for the shady ones. Check the supplier’s reputation. If you are buying through a website such as DHGate or Alibaba, these websites have a feedback system similar to eBay, which makes it much easier to check one seller’s reputation.

If you are buying brand name merchandise, make sure that it is actually real and not a replica. This is especially true if you are buying items from a supplier that is located overseas, such as in Asia, where many counterfeit items such as clothing, electronics, etc. are being sold quite openly. Also, it is a good idea to pay with a more secure method of payment such as by credit card or Paypal, which will give you some protection in case you do not receive the items that you have ordered correctly. Avoid sending cash or using services like Western Union whenever possible.


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Selling on eBay: Choosing a Good Drop Shipper: Part 3

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Selling on eBay: Choosing a Good Drop Shipper: Part 3

Now that we have explored some ways to find dropshippers, let’s take a closer look at how you can evaluate a particular supplier to see whether they are legit or not. Here are some of the things to watch out for when you are looking at a dropshipper. These are not conclusive proof that the supplier is just another scammer, but should be seen as red flags telling you to proceed with extreme caution.


  • A recent join date and low amount of feedback from clients


Many dropshipping sites and some online marketing forums have a feedback system that will allow people to leave feedback for each other after completing a transaction. You will also be able to see exactly when somebody became a member of the site.


One thing to watch out for is a member who has recently joined and has no or little feedback on the site. Scammers frequently create new accounts after they begin receiving negatives from clients that they scammed or get banned from the site. Also, don’t let the fact that they’ve completed a few transactions fool you into thinking they must be legit. Some will complete a few transactions successfully at the beginning to build up their “reputation” on the site and then when they see people are starting to trust them, they will simply turn to scamming.


  • Insisting on paying using methods such as Western Union or bank wire


It is true that in some countries where suppliers are based it is not possible or practical to use a payment processor such as PayPal or Moneybookers. However you should be careful about using one that insists on being paid with a method that is not reversible such as by Western Union or Money Gram. Even bank wires are not really safe, as banks in foreign countries will seldom want to help you in the event that you’ve wired a few hundred dollars to a scammer. If possible, make use of escrow facilities that will sometimes be advertised on dropshipping sites. However, here again check to see if the escrow service is legitimate too, as some fake ones have been spotted.


  • Offering items at prices that seem too low


Well if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is. If you see that a supplier is offering merchandise at prices that are far below what others charge for the same item in the same quantity, then you need to ask yourself some serious questions about them. Most probably, the deal is not legitimate and even if they do send something, it may be merchandise that was stolen or is counterfeit.


  • Not providing contact details


If you are going to do some high volume business with a dropshipper, then you should at least have their phone number in case you need to call them if there is a problem with one of your orders. A supplier that doesn’t want to provide one should look instantly suspicious to you.

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Selling on eBay: Choosing a Good Drop Shipper: Part 2

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Selling on eBay: Choosing a Good Drop Shipper: Part 2

Previously, we have seen some tips on how you can test the dropshipper that you intend to use and the fact that it is much better to have more than one dropshipper to do business with. But how do you find a good dropshipper? There are a few ways to do this. Here are some of them:


  • Look through dropshipping websites


There are some website out there such as DH Gate, TradeTang and Alibaba that are a real treasure trove for all kinds of merchandise. Anything like clothing, electronics and jewelry can be found there. The good thing about these sites is that they are mostly aimed at business owners who are looking to acquire merchandise rather than at individual consumers. This means that you can easily find dropshippers or buy merchandise in bulk. This is the good thing. But the bad thing about these sites is that they also contain many scammers who will either rip you off and not send anything, or ship something different than what they advertise.


But there are ways to protect yourself from that. Obviously, you can apply what we covered in the previous article which would be to make a test order first to see if they deliver. But you should also check the seller’s feedback on the site. See how long they have been active and how many positive comments they have from others who have done business with them. Also, look to see whether they have a website and phone number. While this is not a guarantee of safety, it does make it more likely that you will be dealing with a legitimate supplier rather than a scammer. If possible pay with PayPal or a credit card and avoid sending money through Western Union or Money Gram, as these services are preferred by scammers due to the fact that the transaction cannot be reversed.


  • Look at internet marketing forums


Most “make money online” forums will have a section that is dedicated to eBay selling or dropshipping. Check it out to see what others are saying. You may find the contact information for some good suppliers, complete with comments from forum members who have used them and were happy with their transaction. You might even find some members of the forum who are suppliers for a wide variety of merchandise and who can drop ship to your eBay buyers.


Dealing with someone from a forum can be safer than dealing with a seller on Alibaba, as the supplier will often be well known in the forum and have members who can vouch for him. But this is not a guarantee that everything will go well. Don’t forget to use common sense when you are looking for a dropshipper, no matter where you find him. Always try to check their reputation out before you decide to use them as a supplier for your eBay online business. If you are careful, then you will reduce the chances of getting scammed when doing business with one.

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Another Use Of Craigslist for Online Entrepreneurs

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Another Use Of Craigslist for Online Entrepreneurs

Previously, we have explored some ways that you can make some money off Craigslist by promoting an e-commerce site that you own, as well as providing services. These are some great uses of this free classified ads site. However, there are some other ways that you can use it to your advantage as an online entrepreneur. Here are some more ideas:


  • Find Temporary Staff to Help You With Your Projects


While you can definitely do this on internet marketing forums, you can also use Craigslist to build up your virtual team of staff members. There are a few advantages of doing so: first of all, the people who respond to your ad will usually have a genuine interest in earning a bit of money for small, part time jobs and will be less likely to be scammers. By getting some staff members on Craigslist, you will also be “creating jobs” for your local city, even if they are just temporary positions. Also, since these people are local, you are far more likely to find people who understand and can write in proper English, as they will be located in your city.


Let’s say you need some regular blog posts for your business blog. You can hire someone and pay them $10 a day or so to create 2 or 3 blog posts for you. Or, if you need someone who can create simple web pages cheaply, you can hire a web designer for $10 to $15 an hour, instead of paying a professional design firm 10 times that amount. There are many unemployed people or students who are looking for part time job opportunities on Craigslist and who would be quite happy to find a legitimate opportunity to work from home and earn a few extra dollars.


But unfortunately, there are plenty of people who are still spamming MLM offers or some other scam programs on Craigslist. For these reasons, avoid using the words “make money online” or “work from home” in your ad. It will often be seen as spam/scam by viewers and will be flagged down rather quickly. Be as descriptive and professional as possible to avoid this.


Here is an example of a bad ad:


Make money online! Looking for people who can work from home today! Email Bob for more details.


Here is a better one:


We are an online advertising firm looking to hire 2 workers for the creation of promotional content. Must have excellent written English skills. Knowledge of web hosting industry is an asset. Contact Bob @ Acme Inc. if you are interested in this position.


Many people ask if you can still use Craiglist for affiliate offers. The answer is yes, but there are a few things that you should do and other things to be avoided if you want to see any kind of results from this. We will take a look at other uses of Craiglist for online marketing tomorrow.

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Affiliate Programs and CPA Networks: How to Recognize and Stay Away from Scammers

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Affiliate Programs and CPA Networks: How to Recognize and Stay Away from Scammers

Many internet marketers make their money by dealing with affiliate programs or with CPA networks that have various kinds of offers they can push in order to make money. Most of these companies are legitimate and will pay you the earnings that you have made on time, every single time. But there are a couple of bad players in the industry. Here are some ways to spot and avoid them:

  • Do some research first

Before even signing up for a network simply doing a Google search for their name can bring you a lot of information about the company. You will often find blog posts, forum posts and articles that mention them. Read these. See what other internet marketers are saying about them and look at whether the general opinion is positive or negative.

  • Be wary around “start ups” and smaller networks

If a company has not yet established their reputation in the industry, remember that things can go in two ways with them. Either they will grow to become a productive and successful network or they will fold. If it’s the second thing that happens, things are not likely to be pretty. There have been several cases of networks going under and skipping out on tens of thousands of dollars of payments to affiliates. The large majority involved CPA networks which were operating for less than a year.

  • Be careful around networks who seem to approve everyone

While there are some notable exceptions to this, such as Commission Junction and ClickBank, which are very reputable networks, as a general rule you should be quite wary around a network that seems to approve every publisher that applies without giving them a phone call or emailing them to ask them about their marketing methods. While you may think it is convenient, this can cause problems down the road, if large amounts of fraudsters manage to sign up and merchants start dropping the network.

  • Carefully check the terms of any offers that you run and ask questions if necessary

This is especially the case for “trial” or “membership” offers. While you may be offered a good amount for every sign up, some merchants have been known to use underhanded tactics if not enough of the sign ups that you refer have converted to full members on their end. Some may falsely accuse you of sending fraudulent leads or deliberately using bad quality traffic and refuse to pay you. For this reason, it is very important that you check the terms of the offer to see if the merchant has any special requirements with regards to the type of traffic you can send and its productivity.

  • Work with multiple networks and run different offers

It is not a good idea to focus all of your marketing efforts for the month on just one offer or on offers from only one network, no matter how profitable they may seem. Spread out your traffic around several different offers in the niche on different networks. That way, if there is any problem with one of them, you will still be getting paid by the others.

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Finding Legitimate Online Business Opportunities – Part 1

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Finding Legitimate Online Business Opportunities – Part 1

There are various business opportunities that you can take advantage of in the online world and make money from them. Many have allowed people to build successful online businesses and achieve whatever goals they had, whether it was to create a part-time side income or to replace their full time job entirely. Unfortunately, the internet is full of “business opportunity” offers that either don’t deliver on their promises or worse, are run by outright scammers who disappear soon after collecting enough money from unsuspecting people. There are some things that you can do if you want to find some legitimate earning opportunities and being taken for a ride. Keep them in mind before you join any program or online business opportunity.

Research what the opportunity is truly about

What will you be doing to earn money? What products will you be selling, what kinds of offers will you be promoting? Is it physical goods? Is it digital products? These are all questions that you need to ask when checking out a business opportunity. A flashy page with pictures of luxury villas, stacks of money and sports cars can definitely look attractive. In fact, it is a very common marketing tactic in the business opportunity world. Beware of any site that asks you to pay money in order to join “the business of a lifetime” without giving you any clue as to what you will be doing to actually earn money. If you blindly join an opportunity by simply looking at the dollar signs, then you may very well end up with a box full of products that are nearly impossible to re-sell at a profit, or otherwise realize that this is not something that you would have been interested in had you known what their business was actually about.

Check out the company’s reputation

This should really be a given before starting out, but many people are so impressed by the flashy sales page and claims of “this opportunity may not be here tomorrow so join today!!” that they forget to do their due diligence before jumping in. A quick way to start would be to simply Google the name of the company or their website and scan through a few pages of search results. Do you see any complaints being made about them? Do you see any negative reviews? While EVERY company, even giant corporations such as American Express and Microsoft have their detractors and people who weren’t happy with their services, seeing a large number of complaints and warnings about a company is a bad sign.

Also, do not base your decision on a few glowing testimonials or reviews that you found on the first page of Google. These could, and frequently are, fabricated either by the company itself or by affiliates who are promoting them for a quick buck without actually caring about what they are promoting.

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Drop ship internet business

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Drop ship internet business

dropshipDrop ship internet business

A drop ship internet business is great if you don’t want to keep any stock.  Drop shipping basically works like this:

  1. Customer buys a product on your website
  2. You then order the product from your supplier at trade price
  3. Your supplier then delivers the item directly to your customer
  4. You pocket the profit on the order without having to see the product

You need to find a niche, e.g drop shipping electrical items from a seller in a different country could be a good idea.

You need to be very careful when dealing with suppliers in different countries as there are alot of scammers out there. I personally have been caught out on occassions loosing money from fake sellers.  When searching for a seller, do your research on the company and check their reputation among the community they are advertising in.

Another thing to look out for is if the products you will be drop shipping are real and not fakes.  If you are dealing with a seller in China then it is more then certain the items are fake, as this country is the number 1 place to find counterfeit items

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