Recently Markus Allen contacted me to take a look at some data he had put together about StomperNet – which ultimately he turned into a video.
I’ll make no bones about it. I was a member of the original StomperNet for about 10 months and there were things about it I loved, things about it I found disappointing, and things about it that just made me scratch my head in disbelief.
Here’s the video Markus Allen put together:
While I don’t always agree with Markus Allen’s tactics or conclusions, he does often get interesting data that deserve further scrutiny.
I do feel like he too often Markus publishes his conclusions before connecting the dots, using statements like “99% sure” that he later confirms were wrong.
The problem with this approach is it makes it too easy to label someone off as “just another conspiracy theorist” even if they have useful data and/or information to contribute. In fact Markus’ self-professed interest in conspiracies drove me crazy enough to stop talking to him for nearly two years, although I had my own issues at the time that also contributed to that break.
Phrases like “conspiracy theorist” can be dangerous labels as they CAN be used to disrupt or stop the flow of data and information. Markus Allen doesn’t consider what he puts out to be conspiracy theories – he considers them to be conspiracy FACTS. Whether or not you agree will require you to examine his evidence.
Now the rest of this is NOT meant to be an attack on Markus although I could see someone thinking that. It’s meant to give people a framework for pulling out potentially useful data from sources that they might just “write-off” as “nonsense”.
One big issue I have with some of Markus’ conclusions has to do with what I consider to be him blurring the line between judgments and facts, such as when he states that “the coverup is wide and massive”. What exactly does that mean? In my opinion there would need to be a lot more data points to come to a conclusion like that and the words “wide” and “massive” would need to be defined (although there would be cases where it would be obvious from the datapoints where they wouldn’t need to be).
It’s important to always separate the following aspects in research:
- Feelings (which can lead to making “judgments” about connections amongst data instead of deriving “information” from the data).
- Information (derived by making valid connections among the data).
I’ll be commenting more about Markus’ video later.
- You can read Markus’ post about StomperNet here
- Mike Swanson of MarketingMoneyOnline.com has provided a transcript of the video here
- Willie Crawford on Markus Allen – Absolutely Brilliant, but Controversial
- SaltyDroid – StomperNet:: We’ll Pay You Later
The following section contains my reflections about my experience with StomperNet:
Let’s talk about the original $797/month StomperNet price point first.
Was it worth $797/month? I don’t know. Maybe. Probably not for ME at the time.I was nowhere organized enough to be able to use the ridiculously large amount of information at the time.
That doesn’t mean there wasn’t $797/month worth of value there, but the more I think about it paying $797/month for a huge All-in-one membership doesn’t really seem to make much sense at all for several reasons.
The only way it would really make sense that I can see is if you had ONE PERSON dedicated to each area that StomperNet covered – analytics, linkbuilding, usability, development platforms, etc. that was able to LOGIN to the StomperNet portal.
I did learn a lot of valuable lessons about team building and outsourcing at StomperNet, but it seems like they could have made it easier for a person to actually use those lessons by having a different login system (maybe allowing “priveleges” to be assigned and allocating x-amount of “privileges” per member).
Maybe I’m wrong, but my understanding that only ONE person was allowed access (I think they made exceptions for a couple teams of two that I recall).
But aside from value, where did the $797 price point come from? Obviously, I have no real idea, but StomperNet did what likely would have been a pretty expensive full-time staff and faculty AND had affiliate commissions to pay.
Can StomperNet help newbies?
One thing that bugged me about the original StomperNet was how many newbies I talked to at the first live event who just had no idea at all what was going on. I’m not saying that was StomperNet’s fault, but it might have been useful for them to have some sort of screening process.
Apparently this time around, they’ve hired someone specifically for helping the newbies. I don’t know anything about that person, though.
And they’ve lowered the price to $199/month.
Personally, I think MOST people JUST starting out should NOT be paying $199/month for a membership. I know there are some people who it could make sense for, but my belief is that most people would be MUCH better off learning the BARE-BONES fundamentals of online business in easy markets BEFORE they try to add on to their knowledge base. There are numerous products they could pick up for under $50.00 to teach them that.
What happened to the state-of-the-art linkbuilding system?
Another thing that bugged me about the original StomperNet was that there was a lot of hype around a state-of-the-art linkbuilding system. Now it’s possible that I was so disorganized at the time that I completely missed them finally getting it off the ground into a workable system.
But last I recall there were a lot of problems with the linkbuilding system. Again, I could be wrong about that.
Also I had the sense that Dan Thies and Jerry West weren’t crazy about the idea of a “linkbuilding” system – although it was just a “sense”…I don’t remember anything definitive.
The BIG problem with an expensive ALL-IN-ONE membership
Actually, speaking about Dan Thies and Jerry West brings up another BIG problem with expensive ALL-IN-ONE memberships…and the SOLUTION to the problem solves the multiple-access problem discussed at the beginning of the post.
I probably learned the most valuable information from Dan Thies in StomperNet, followed by Jerry West. But many of the other teachers I just didn’t click with.
That doesn’t mean those teachers had bad information. They didn’t. Their information was perfectly fine. I just didn’t resonate with them very well.
So wouldn’t it make MORE sense for someone to determine which experts they want to help them in various areas of their business and contract with them individually OR join their membership dedicated to that specific area?
It seemed like several of the products StomperNet “pitched” were of questionable value
First of all, I’ll admit that I didn’t BUY the third-party products that StomperNet recommended, but I knew people who did AND I understand that IF a product is good then the value a person gets out of the product really depends on the PERSON and not the product.
However, that being said, I have to question StomperNet’s promotion of at least four products that I can recall:
The first was PipeLine profits run by Brock Felt
I’m going to start with some forum posts and blog comments I’ve found about PipeLine profits. But keeping in mind that forum posts and blog comments often only represent a small subset of product buyers, I’ll follow up with some additional offerings from Brock Felt that may lend more credibility to that smaller subset.
- Pipeline Profits Experience discussed at WarriorForum
- Whatever became of Pipeline Profits?
- Pipeline Profits – a Co-Registration Success Story
- Pipeline Profits – my prelimary viewpoint (Eric Holmlund)
One observation about Neil Shearing’s and Eric Holmlund’s comments is that it seems like like they possibly overlooked an important part of the Pipeline Profits “teaser” presentation – which was to work with a co-reg company that would pop leads into a server controlled by the co-reg company and then offer those leads an incentive to optin (or even double-optin) to an autoresponder series run through a more mainstream autoresponder.
I’m not defending Pipeline Profits, but I think it’s important to get all the facts right (that goes for me too – if I make a mistake, I’m happy to be called out on it).
The second was The Arbitrage Conspiracy by Aymen (I had put wrong owner initially as Mark pointed out in comments).
I warned the readers at WorkAtHomeTruth NOT to buy the Arbitrage Conspiracy here, although I got a bit wishy-washy about it over time. If I were to do it all over again, I would have just said point-blank don’t buy it.
The third was the recommendation of Mike Filsaime’s AffiliateJump
AffiliateJump was arguable one of the dumbest product ideas I’ve seen in a long time. It includes the alarming and – from what I’ve witnessed and experienced – incorrect message that getting accepted into CPA networks can often be impossible for them.
And this comment on AffiliateJump’s 100% approval rate makes a great point:
“The thing that concerns me is the “100% approval” rate, there is a reason CPA networks verify every single application they get. There is a MASSIVE amount of fraud in the CPA industry.”
And according to one post AffiliateJump was subletting offers from other affiliate networks – which if true – would explain the 100% approval rate, BUT it would also mean that as an affiliate you can almost certainly find better payouts using something like OfferVault.com or ODigger.com.
And if you’ve ever done an serious amount of PPC advertising and wondered “how can this guy afford to bid up to those positions” it SOMETIMES comes down to “they are getting paid a heck of a lot more than you for the SAME offer”…although it CAN also mean that they are just a hell of a lot better at PPC than you.
Also, I’d be curious about this “question” posted in the WarriorForum:
“Email opt-ins are the biggest problem. Nada in terms of walking away with the “list”. I saw nothing that even reported list details or segregated sales from email followup sales. Wonder what happens if an opt-in I produce at my expense buys after I cancel my account. (Not a question.)”
The fourth was Shawn Casey’s presentation at one of the StomperNet live events
There seems to be a close association between Jeff Paul and Shawn Casey. Shawn Casey gives a testimonial on one of Jeff Paul’s infomercials (which in my opinion is presented a bit oddly) and at one point included Jeff Paul’s materials in the free version of his “Business-in-a-Box”. And while certainly someone isn’t necessarily “guilty by association” the recent FTC filings against against Jeff Paul here make me incredibly reluctant to ever consider sending anyone Shawn Casey’s direction. Although I guess we don’t need the FTC to point out to us that Jeff Paul’s infomercial’s are ridiculous.
Note: Shawn Casey is used as a testimonial for the Stomper999.com site.
On the other hand there were some spectacular presentations and guests at some of the StomperNet live events
Once again, I want to point out that there many aspects of StomperNet that I loved – the live events were one of them. They really didn’t resemble the usual “pitch-fest” and had numerous high quality speakers, including ones from places like:
- Jared Spool from User Interface Engineering – especially his presentation on Designing for the Scent of Information
- Nielsen’s presentation on Eye-Tracking studies
Stomper999 sales page lists new benefits:
While the Stomper999 touts an impressive list of perks and benefits, there are some things you may want to get answers to if you are considering joining StomperNet at the new price, such as:
- Are you getting FULL access to TrafficGeyser? The Stomper999 sales page says you are getting a $27.00 value out of TrafficGeyser, but TrafficGeyser itself sells for $99.00/month.
- Is their ArticleQast link network merely a rebranding of an existing link network that you may already have a subscription, too? I can think of one article network – MyArticleNetwork that originally boasted 10,000+ sites and was rapidly adding more that sells for $47.00/month.
- How will the 3rd-party products they promote be screened? In my opinion, many of the 3rd-party products that StomperNet promoted were of extremely questionable value.
An interesting closing statement from the creators of ZamDoo – one of the best PPC reverse-engineering tools to hit the market:
This is a bit off-topic, but somewhat related to some of the points Markus talks about in his StomperNet video.
I’ve always found the following statement from the creators of Zamdoo interesting – interesting enough that I think it’s worth revisiting from time to time. Here’s what they said:
“”Dear Customers, Friends and Supporters:
Back in June 2006, Jeff and I decided to take a departure from our “comfort zone” of developing media sites, and took the plunge into Internet Marketing toolkits with the development of ZamDoo.com. As many of you will recall from our initial outreach to the community, our forums, our 500+ person beta test, our shock at the way competitors treated their customers, and our eventual launch – we did things differently, and we treated our customers the way we’d always wanted to be treated ourselves.
As a result, it is with both a touch of nostalgia and sincere pride that we announce today that we’ll be closing down both the ZamDoo.com and ZamDooReports.com offerings on August 15th. All existing customers will no longer be billed for your access, and we will no longer be taking any new subscriptions or signups. If you were due to be billed between now and August 15th, you won’t be – and all existing members will enjoy their access until that time.
ZamDoo.com and ZamDooReports.com were both very good businesses to us, and taught us a lot about an industry that we knew very little about prior to entering. The fact of the matter is that the sites we build have all fallen outside this vertical, and by entering the IM space, we were entering uncharted territory for us. The marketing tactics, customer relations, quality of products, and customer attitudes are very different from “traditional” online consumer spaces, and frankly Jeff and I weren’t as “at home” in IM as we have been with our other products.””
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