Make Money Online Ebooks – Are They All Scams?

June 5, 2008 - Written by Gyutae Park  

Do you buy ebooks on how to make money online? There are thousands of such products that pop up almost daily, mainly because they work and sell fast. People want direct information to solve their problems without having to dig through articles or figure things out for themselves. In general, people out there are lazy and are looking for quick fixes to get ahead (but not readers like you of course).

Some ebooks in the Internet marketing niche are great (like SEOBook), some are just summaries of information already available for free on the Internet, and some are complete garbage. Regardless of the quality of an ebook, marketers make money off of them because there will always be “suckers” who buy into marketing ploys and naively believe that simply buying a book will reveal the secrets of Internet riches.

These ebooks are effective because they are selling a dream. Who doesn’t want to make an easy living online? Unfortunately, what most people don’t realize is that many Internet marketing ebooks are scams coming from people who have no real experience online. In fact, their first real project may be selling an ebook to you!

I have nothing against ebooks themselves. They offer a great format for easy consumption of information online. Unfortunately, the format has become associated with spam mainly because of the tactics used by many marketers.

What do I mean by this?

I don’t know about you but I am TOTALLY turned off by slimy sales letters based on empty promises that most marketers cannot deliver on. The sad truth is that they are so common because they work. Like I said before, there will always be suckers who buy into the hype.

I can’t deny that sales letter marketing is effective and lucrative. But why risk your reputation for short term profits? Focus on creating a quality product that sells itself and the money will come. Rather than creating a 10 page ebook filled with fluff and promoting it via a sales letter with hyped up lies, build something remarkable that provides real value to readers. Your loyal fans go out and promote you free of charge. A testimonial or a 3rd party referral goes a lot further than anything you say about yourself.

Again, I have nothing against ebooks (I even plan on releasing one as well). It’s just that I am irked by some of the shady tactics marketers use to promote useless content.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Have you ever bought a “make money online” ebook and felt you were scammed?

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37 Responses to “Make Money Online Ebooks – Are They All Scams?”

Zac Johnson on June 5th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

SEOBook is a great example of a quality ebook. Unfortunately, so many others suck.

Gyutae Park on June 5th, 2008

Hey Zac, I totally agree with you. There are some great ebooks out there, but most of them are riddled with useless information that can be found anywhere else. The format is fine, it’s the shady marketing I’m against.

Web Success Diva on June 5th, 2008

I’m so glad to run across another person who sees the reality of internet marketing ebooks. There are real, good ebooks out there, but I’ve found (and many of my clients have found) — it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

Maria Reyes-McDavis

Gyutae Park on June 5th, 2008

Hey Maria,
Thanks for the support. I have nothing against paid content – in fact, when used correctly people should want to pay for premium content that can’t be found anywhere else. However, a lot of “internet marketers” are ruining the model because they are taking advantage of people who don’t know better.

wisdom on June 5th, 2008

SEOBook is pretty solid, I have not seen others that are as good. A lot of people don’t want to work to make quality products and would rather have a quick buck.

Gyutae Park on June 5th, 2008

Yep, it’s the sad truth and I don’t think it will change any time soon. It’s understandable I guess – people will run to the money at all cost. However, for me I’d rather provide value with a great product rather than run away with some cash.

Joe on June 5th, 2008

I bought a couple ebooks when I first tried this because I was completely knew to the net and didn’t even know there were blogs and forums that had the same info for free.

Since it was all new to me, I never really felt ripped off. Most ebooks, though, are vague, unrealistic, outdated and never disclose that many of these ideas have a very short shelf life. It is not easy making consistent money online, let alone riches. At least not for me. I can make so much more offline.

Gyutae Park on June 5th, 2008

Hey Joe,
To a newbie, information in IM ebooks might be useful. However, I don’t think it justifies some of the tactics marketers use to promote them. This includes lying about stats or making up fake testimonials.

Joe on June 5th, 2008

I was distracted when I typed that. I bought a couple OF ebooks and was completely NEW.

Mark on June 5th, 2008

About 9 months ago, I wanted to write my own eBook, because I do believe that done properly, and with a good strategy behind it, eBooks can be a great way to bring in new clients, demonstrate your knowledge, your expertise, and create that passive income.

On researching the whole eBook area, what did I find… ebooks on eBooks,eBooks on selling eBooks, eBooks on marketing eBooks, eBooks on how to get rich quick, and so on.. So many eBooks are a total waste of time and space.

But there are some amazing eBooks as well.. The ones that are well written and actually help or solve problems for people.

Ebooks have a place… and that place will continue to increase..



Gyutae Park on June 5th, 2008

Hey Mark,
Like I said, I don’t have any issues with ebooks in themselves. I totally agree with you that they do have their place with opportunities to share a lot of great information.

However, some Internet marketers are ruining ebooks and giving them a bad reputation with scam marketing and less than valuable content.

What happened to the ebook you were planning on writing?

Flimjo on June 5th, 2008

I wouldn’t sweat it. Eventually, the market will weed out the crappy books, and the e-books that remain will actually have decent inforamation in them.

Gyutae Park on June 7th, 2008

The market will weed out the crappy ebooks, but not before many people are scammed or taken advantage of. That’s the way it’ll always be I guess, but I’m just ranting 🙂

Flimjo on June 8th, 2008

Gyutae, you’re right that a bunch of people will get scammed repeatedly, and that’s a sad thing. But is it any different that in the physical, off-line world? People get scammed all the time with fake, how-to-get-rich seminars and videos, and money-making-guides from infomercials. There will always be people out there who will get duped. It’s the right thing to alert them as much as we can. But there’s a limit to what we can do. Hopefully, the market (and the increased knowledge of the consuming public) will root these scammers out!

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Rajaie AlKorani on June 6th, 2008

I’ve subscribed to some websites to get an eBook, but never payed to get one. Why pay when you can find all the information for free on the internet?

Gyutae Park on June 7th, 2008

A lot of times people pay for convenience. Yeah, the same info may be available for free, but a paid ebook provides people with a comprehensive package without having to dig through countless sites.

Collin - Feed Flare on June 6th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Being good at marketing sometimes means even though you know something is crappy you still have to sugar coat it and you can’t blame the marketer for that – thats kind of our job

My best tip I could ever give someone about buying an ebook is to do a search on it first and see how many people talk about it and what kind of reviews there are for it. If you can’t find any information on a book other then the sellers site then chances are its crap (or just really new)

Gyutae Park on June 7th, 2008

Hey Collin,
I don’t think marketing has to be about sugarcoating a crappy product. Why not create something of high quality that sells itself? I think that has a much higher profit potential in the long run and provides value to customers.

I personally would not promote a product unless I actually believed in it.

Real Web on June 6th, 2008

My first look at running a web business was to be an affiliate for someone else’s e-book. The more I stewed over the thought of turning a cheap buck off the shoulders of hard working people the further away from the idea I went.
You are correct when you say it works. I have run the numbers and can assure you it works in the short term. However, I not can a lot of you sleep well at night knowing that you are selling rubbish.

Not all e-books fall into this category … I have downloaded some great technical manuals and even got a few trading ideas from them. It is the fly by night, shade tree book salesman that has very little experience in the subject matter they are peddling that you have to be wary of.

Sorry for rambling and thanks for the post.

Gyutae Park on June 7th, 2008

Thanks for sharing your opinion on this. I definitely agree with you. It all comes down to ethics. Just because a certain tactic is the most profitable, doesn’t mean it’s the best route for marketers. Like you mentioned, I would not promote a product unless I actually felt it would provide value to customers.

I don’t think I would be able to live with myself if I simply sold “rubbish” for the sake of turning a quick buck.

DotDriven on June 7th, 2008

There are a couple decent ebooks out there but if other people are like me, they will buy or download free resources and then many times not even read them. Or if they do read them they will very rarely actually take action. Which I think kind of defines the type of people that buy ebooks…they are looking for “all the answers” in one place and keep thinking that maybe one of them will have all the answers. But if they realized that most of the same information is free all over the place then they could save that money. But then again, because of their nature of just wanting all the answers in one place they are likely not the type to go and find all the information that is out there, even for free. Yeah, that has described me at various points lol.

Personally, I really like, and respect, the way Zac (Johnson) does it. He knows he has great information to offer but doesn’t want to ruin his reputation pushing off an ebook and instead writes his blog content in series in the form of chapters that would be in an ebook. He said he plans to compile them eventually and give it away as and ebook for free too. Sure, he could probably make some decent cash selling that same ebook, even if the content is already on his blog for free, but he realizes the power and revenue potential of giving it away free. Teaching tons of aspiring affiliates is a nice way to build up a huge downline ;). And of course there is the whole respect thing as well so anything he does promote is more likely to be welcomed by his readers. And of course, he comes off as the nice guy he is ;).

lol, don’t mean to talk about you as if you weren’t here Zac, but just a great example of doing it the right way ;).

Gyutae Park on June 7th, 2008

Zac Johnson knows what he is doing and is a great guy who shares a lot of what he does. He’s one of the guys I look up to in the Internet marketing world and I recommend everyone check out his blog if you haven’t already.

Melvin on June 9th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Actually it really varies… for me i am a long time member of the warriorforum and i can testify that there are many high quality ebooks out there.. Honestly gyutae i have really feel mad at myself for sometimes buying a junk ebook. i really fault myself for not knowing and not being able to filter the good from the bad from the worst sometimes…

Gyutae Park on June 10th, 2008

Hey Melvin,
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Most of the time you can’t really tell whether or not an ebook is quality until you actually see for yourself. I think that’s why it’s important to go by user feedback than what marketers try and tell you.

Adam on June 10th, 2008

It really just depends on who the author is. If you haven’t heard of the author the books probably a scam. Respectable authors however, will most likely provide a quality ebook.

Gyutae Park on June 10th, 2008

That’s a good point. It’s a bit unfair to new authors trying to become respectable, but it’s a good way to separate the gems from the scams.

Irish on June 11th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I never take risk. Usually I leave offers which asking for purchase while promising something that unreachable.

Eze on June 15th, 2008

I bought one ebook in my life which was quityourdayjob. It Proved to be the best buy i could have made. Beside that i never did another one. To Much Crap Online.

steaphenmoney on June 16th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

E books are very useful for the improving sales. It gives so many guidelines for getting the more money through simple process or internet process. I believe on this e books it will helpful for us. Thank you for giving this information.

Jason on June 17th, 2008

Damn dude, haven’t visited WTW in a while so I’ve missed some interesting posts 🙂

As a creator of internet marketing products myself, I don’t get the whingefest over them – yes, there are a lot of sh*t ones out there, and yes the standard way of selling I just can’t do (I had to hire a copywriter for my sales page…) but as long as they convert, and they do convert pretty well… people are going to use it.

If you don’t want to get ripped off, only buy from people you trust, and even if you know the person only buy if they are selling through a reputable source. With things like Clickbank, you don’t like the product, get a refund. No need to whine for ages about how Marketer XYZ ripped you off on a product that taught you nothing (this is not aimed at you Gyutae btw, just talking in general).

I’ll not deny that 90% of information in eBooks is available free out there, but remember you are not just paying for convenience (everything in one place…) but also experience, from someone that has tried and tested things (and spent his/her own money) so that you don’t have to. 🙂

Jay on June 20th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

I think you blog too little as it is.

Jordan McClements on June 25th, 2008

The majority of ebooks are absolute rubbish, but there are some good ones..

I think form a marketing perspective they can be very useful if you write a reasonably good one and then give it away in return for an email address….

(I might have a go at this at some stage in the distant future when i get a few spare hours)…

Austin(Cowsgonemadd3) on June 26th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

Yeah like if you go on ebay and look you will find people with like 3 feedback or even 0 saying how they own another account and how they make tons of money on ebay or online. This is just a turnoff as if they really made 100k a month they could care less about making 4 or 5 bucks on a ebook.

Austin(Cowsgonemadd3) on June 26th, 2008 Subscribed to comments via email

A lot of them provide good content but a lot of the times its just the same old same old.

Addy on August 16th, 2009

Keep up the good work with this blog! It’s hard to find decent blogs with good information on them anymore. SO keep it up!

P.Baughman on October 14th, 2010 Subscribed to comments via email

If you were offered a choice: #1, sell an e-book (or 100 e-books across a bunch of similar sites) , $40 a pop, for some 30 or 40 page pamphlet and make 10k a month OR

Option #2, Keep working in the off-line world making an honest but meager salary – and be able to sleep, what would you do?

Is it really that bad to sell a dream to someone? Car salesmen or maybe salesmen in general have the attitude that if they don’t give their money to me, they’ll just walk down the street and give it to someone else.

Is it that hard to live with, selling Crap?

I look at all these e-book schemes and think, “the ones (maybe the only ones) who are really making the money are the people selling the how to e-books”

I look at my pay check at the end of the week and wonder.

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