Fact-Check Before You Leap

If you are like me, you are always wanting to find a way to make money online doing what we do best, but it’s not easy and really, few people are making a go of it. Online behaviors (adblocking, incognito browsing, no tracking apps, etc.) are also changing quickly which makes “old” ways of doing things, virtually obsolete.

I would love to earn a living online through my creative writing, and one day, I might…I don’t require a lot of money to live. But, I am not the customer, work-from-home advertisers are looking for. You see, I love to fact check, and nothing is worse than a fact checker for these types of opportunities. My advice, if you are wanting to work from home, is to become a fact checker.

Now, there are all kinds of passive streams of income that can be earned online, and all of them very legitimately. One of the most popular are affiliate links. When people click on your affiliate link, you can earn a commission when they buy something from that site. Unless of course, your visitor uses apps (like I do) to block affiliate ads and links. Yes, I am a horrible person for denying someone a commission just because I may have visited their site two weeks earlier.

Almost all online money making opportunities rely on getting people to your website. Whether it is a complete website, web page, or company-provided landing page, you need traffic to your ad. This is the point of this piece and also a prime way to scam people into buying things. 

One of the most popular things to sell is what I like to call “How I —.” Now, these sites offer products, usually an ebook and online “course”, that will share with you the “secrets” to making money in your sleep by driving traffic to your site. Some of the price tags for these secrets reach into the thousands of dollars.

The setup for these sites are usually quite similar. They will show you a screenshot of all the money they earned in x amount of days from all their websites (you are always recommended to have more than one), then they will tell you that they are in the top few pages of Google, and how this (extra) ebook can help get your site into the top results, and they will sweeten the deal by telling you all about one of their own websites that uses the system they are trying to sell you.

Like any sales pitch, they are telling you want you want to hear – it’s easy, any one can do it, people are earning money, and they will show you how to do it too.

This is why you need to be a fact-checker. Many of the claims they make are emotional or subjective – what is easy to one, may not be easy to all. These claims are also very hard to prove or disprove. However, there is one claim almost all of these programs use that is easily proved or disproved – the ranking and performance of their example website.

This is the Internet Age after all and there are websites that only track other websites.

Now, I am not going to mention the site by name or the “drive traffic to your site and make money in your sleep” article because I do not wish to further their venture. However, the ad for their $99 program states that their example website: reaches over one million people a month, is on the front page of Google search results, and makes thousands of dollars per month (as proven through screen shots of pending payments).

A good fact-checker will see that two of these can be checked on Alexa, which is a free website dedicated to website traffic analysis and statistics. I must admit that the data are estimated, but there are several stats that, even in rough estimate, can help determine if a claim is true of false.

Claim one: It reaches over one million people a month.
Fact: The website peaked at 600,000 then fell to below 50,000 two months later.

Claim two: It is on the front page of Google search results.
Fact: Current global ranking 560,000+. Google accounts for 56% of incoming traffic; however, the website is (as was recommended in the original pitch) highly targeted to a popular topic. A quick search of that topic revealed that the website in question is NOT on the first page of search results.

This post is not about whether this person pushed the truth when they wrote their sales pitch. It is about the fact-checking that is advised with all these programs. If you use Alexa to do a brief search into the pitch, there are three pieces of data that are important to look at: Bounce rate, daily page views per visitor, and time spent on site. There is also a fourth bit of information that I will discuss in a moment, but first back to the top three.

Bounce rate is the amount of people who go to the page advertised then leave your site without going to other pages. In the example I am using, their bounce rate is 79%. That means 79% of visitors are not finding what they were looking for. This is supported by the number of page views (1.50) and time spent on the site (2:01 mins).  

So, looking at these numbers, it means that the majority of visitors to the site, land on the page, look at it, then leave. If you are familiar with old methods to “drive traffic to your site,” this may look familiar, and you’d be right. This site is using a traffic generator to boost numbers.

How do we know these visitors are “fake” visitors? Well, for one, the length of time spent on the site. Traffic generators come in all forms, but a popular one is another “work from home” opportunity where people get paid to surf the Internet. Well, selected sites that have either paid or exchanged to have their site “visited.”

I mentioned a fourth bit of information to look for when fact-checking – the “sites linking in” information. One thing about search engines, is they keep track of incoming and outgoing links to create the giant web we like to surf down. This site in question has as of today, sixteen incoming links. The sales pitch I found that started all this, and fifteen traffic/list sites. 

So, what does all this mean? For $99 you learn how to create a website (or get one through joining an affiliate program under them), list that site on surfing (traffic exchange) sites, and watch the money roll if (for them, not for you). Although, if you want to sell the $99 program too, there is an affiliate opportunity there as well.

No matter what opportunity you are wanting to do…become a fact-checker and try to verify all their claims before turning over money, time, or effort, to make money in your sleep.

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6 thoughts on “Fact-Check Before You Leap

  1. What a great post, Teresa! Very useful. That’s a fact I don’t even have to check. 😊 As a scientific journalist, I have to check facts all the time. It is time demanding but I don’t like to be taken for a fool. I have trouble understanding how people can believe certain messages. I often say to my children: “If it is too good to be true, it is probably not true!”

    Liked by 1 person

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