Do Gimmicks Trump Product Value?

excessive product launchesReaction To My Previous Article

I recently posted about my new direction, and specifically my disillusionment about the avalanche of courses being launched, with all marketers trying to beat “best sales bonus” syndrome. That article has provoked an interesting reaction from an online friend.

She had already written a longer article on a similar theme and considered publishing it on her own blog, then decided not to. She showed it to me and wondered if I would be interested in publishing it as a guest article. It so closely mirrors what I've been feeling that I jumped at the chance.

Here's her article….

Do Gimmicks Trump Product Value?

In recent weeks, I have been watching the countless product launches from many different trusted marketers. No one can observe the direction in the marketplace without becoming concerned that the customers are being trained to demand more. Maybe poor product quality is possible because of the countless efforts to win sales at all costs, by offering their “best sales bonus” ever. I am wondering if we realize how much the direction has evolved in a short period of time.

Original Approach…

  • Fair-Priced Front-end
  • Up-sells Added Value
  • Reasonable Commission Split
  • Bonuses Were Very Rare

Not that long ago, customers could trust that a sales page was offering value as it described the contents of the product. Solutions were offered to people who were encountering problems in various business areas. Sales were made because the information product described would answer questions and teach the customer how to complete tasks creatively.

Every step through the sales funnel provided more value to the customer who was willing to pay for additional value. Affiliates knew that more sales were possible throughout the funnel because the customers would spend money for the solutions they sought.

Evolved Into . . .

  • Low-Priced Front-end
  • Upsells Ignored
  • 100% Commissions on the Front-end
  • Modest Bonus

Customers stopped responding to the straight-forward approach of selling great products. Marketers began to lower the prices on the front-end product to build interest in the marketplace. Cheaper products were expected to have more content and offer more value than the previous versions. Creating products required expertise that excluded many marketers. Affiliate marketing took on more importance since the customers no longer sought the up-sells in the sales funnel. Affiliates wanted to earn more without having to convince the customers to buy the up-sells. The bonus offers on the webpage set the affiliate marketers apart from competitors.

Has Become . . .

  • Ridiculously Low-Priced Front-end
  • Up-sells Overlooked
  • 100% Commissions Across the Funnel
  • Massive Bonuses Required

In some of the recent launches, everyone watching is amazed at the amount of churn required to create interest in the product. Customers are holding tightly to a few dollars until a marketer comes along with “the most amazing bonus I have ever offered”. Immediate sales have been replaced with waiting for the best sales bonus that causes the customer to finally spend a pittance.

Multiple purchases are encouraged to take advantage of bonuses from more than one marketer.

Customers Learn Quickly

A few years back, customers of a major software company attempted to demand more support. A shift had occurred where the customer was not hiring expertise to administer their advanced computer systems. Fortunately, the software company recognized the trend and addressed support contract agreements before the idea could run its course. Every customer was given a complete contract review and sold the appropriate level of support, which would match their staff capability. Imagine the customers' surprise, or maybe shock, when the software company required the customer to upgrade the next year's support contract!

In a recent product launch, I received a support ticket with these statements, “Either I get what I purchased or I do not. Your problem now.” I conducted some research and found that this customer had, in fact, downloaded the product file FIVE times. I asked her to check her hard-drive for the files. I never heard back from her. Now, what kind of challenges are arising because customers have taken the helm?

Where Does This End?

Will customers have the opportunity to change the course of the entire industry?

Or is it too late?

Observing the evolution of product sales will not correct the issue. Maybe we have reached the point where all products will have to be given away for free. I sincerely hope this is not the case since every facet of sales requires money. I wonder if the momentum can be harnessed to set a direction that benefits the people who have great product ideas. Technology requires training that attracts new customers to the marketplace each day. What will they find when they arrive?

“Once you create a loyal customer base, it's tough for a competitor to take that away.”
~ Joe Mansueto

Thanks to my friend for her contribution.

My Experience

I mentioned in my earlier post how thin I had found the content in one particular course I had bought. I really wondered that it was deemed fit to publish as a paid product, but it was just a few dollars and the author was a newcomer, so I didn't ask for a refund.

At the other end of the spectrum I have paid decent money for courses that I have yet to “open”. It's crazy – on my part – to buy so much, but as my guest author says, “We are trained to want more and more”.

So I have unsubscribed from all but one of these “duplicate products/find the best bonus” lists, and I won't be buying such products again unless I already know the author(s) well. For instance, Sue and Dan Worthington have never disappointed me.

Before I consider buying anything else, I'm going to revisit the course and products I've bought and extract full value from them.

GoneFullCircleBut more to the point, this trend has been one of the reasons I have changed direction and reverted to my roots with Network Marketing.

The company I am working with has built a team that contains friends trying to help each other, not enemies constantly trying to do the next marketer down. When we build our team, each one of us benefits.

Contact me on Facebook if this sounds a better way to work, and I'll add you to our group to look at some videos before you make up your mind.

What are YOUR thoughts?

Have you felt the same vicious competition for bonuses?

Yes, you're building your list when you give away 100% commission, but if everyone is promoting the same products to the same lists, is there any point?

Are you still inspired to spend hours producing and promoting your own products for tiny returns, and against such overwhelming competition of “me-too” products?

Please comment and let me know your thoughts about “best sales bonus” syndrome…

Please share

I left it too late to plan for a financially secure retirement. Don't make my mistake. Start building an extra income with a part-time (or full-time) business online. Think you don't have time? Can't afford the start-up cost? Can't meet sales targets? Contact me for free advice (no obligation) on the best fit for your circumstances.

Jenni Ryan - July 19, 2015

Great post Joy! I too have been guilty of buying courses and products i have not been through entirely. we are so hungry to learn more and every course seems like the one we need and we don’t get time to go through them all. I liked your post it was well written.

    Joy - July 19, 2015

    Hi Jenni

    Nice to know I’m not the only one! But what I have seen in the last few months has just been so silly I want no more part of it.

    It will do me no harm, and probably a lot of good, to just settle down and focus on implementing what I have learned and elected to learn without trying to consume more knowledge before implementing previous strategies.

    Glad you like the post and can relate to it. My guest author will be pleased.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Joy

Mary Sloane - July 19, 2015


I bought a product just recently for the bonuses.. not sure I’ll ever use the product although it certainly is decent software.

But I knew this whole thing was screwed when I went to search for “Bonuses for “X” (product of the day) and I found someone with 400,000 bonuses and someone else with 390,000 and someone else with 366.000 then when I tried to link to the product that was for sale, the link didn’t work! They’ve messed themselves up with the same bonuses attached to so many different products, the links don’t even work!

Ha Ha on them

So now I look for small useful bonuses from someone I really like and know, and whose opinion on the product I can trust. I am also looking for something I need, not something they are trying to convince me I need.

So I am not interested in playing the standard affiliate game anymore although I thought it might be interesting at one time, but no longer in the IM niche.

There are a lot of other niches where this nonsense is not happening!

I am puzzled why wouldn’t your friend want her name used Joy?

    Joy - July 20, 2015

    Hi Mary

    WOW – you certainly found an extreme example there! How ridiculous, but what a laugh that they had done all that work and not thought to test that their link worked.

    Sometimes I have even shut down a sales page because of overwhelm from all the bonuses.
    Like you, I now prefer to buy from people I know. This has just got completely out of hand.

    But you’re right, there are plenty of other niches that this stupidity hasn’t spread to.

    I guess my friend has connections and friends that she doesn’t want to offend!

    Have a great week, Joy

Deborah Ten Brink - July 20, 2015

Hello Joy:

I am working on a product right now. This was a timely post for me. I had no idea that this was the latest trend. It’s hard enough to make an income online without attitudes like this (basically wanting a great deal for almost nothing).

I will have to look into this further! Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

Best wishes with your online endeavors!


    Joy - July 20, 2015

    Hi Deborah

    While I would never wish to stifle any-one’s creativity, it’s now more important than ever to check the competition, and to use sites such as http://muncheye.com/ to look as far ahead as possible and see what similar products are being launched that will compete with your own.

    Maybe also look at the platform on which the products are being launched – and choose one that’s not as crowded (remembering to stay VAT compliant – even if you’re not in the EU!!)

    Having wasted a lot of time and money on a product launch of my own I certainly have no wish to throw mud / money at this particular wall any more!

    Mary made some very good points in her comment above. I do hope your product is in a niche that hasn’t been infected with this silliness.

    Good luck with your product and I’ll look forward to seeing it – probably on PAC, which has a much healthier approach to affiliate marketing.

    Have a great week, Joy

Kathryn Maclean - July 22, 2015

Hi Joy, that’s a very good post on marketing as it was and as it is now.
I do agree that affiliate marketing has gone crazy. With so much as you mentioned. I can think of several marketers who are just machines now ….
I have stopped buying. Now looking at my hard drive full of things I paid a small fortune for.

Good to use sites such as “http://muncheye.com/ to look as far ahead as possible and see what similar products are being launched that will compete with your own”

I am working on building my business the old fashioned way with loyal customers… “Once you create a loyal customer base, it’s tough for a competitor to take that away.”
~ Joe Mansueto Thanks for the post Visited from PAC Rotator

    Joy - July 23, 2015

    Hi Kathryn

    I’m glad you agree about this – yes, a machine… that’s a very good analogy.

    I suppose there will always be newcomers to the market-place who will carry on buying all these new products, but they’ll probably soon get to the stage, like me, of having bought more “stuff” than I’ve used. Time to call a halt for me.

    Yes, you’re right – the old-fashioned way seems to have come back into fashion!

    Thanks for your thoughts. Joy

Theodore Nwangene - July 22, 2015

I can really relate to this Joy,
The bonuses marketers offers these days on their products is quite overwhelming and intimidating. Sometimes, the bonus will even be more handy than the product itself.

Its incentive anyway and most of them sells their products just because of the bonus alone.

I guess its the trending formula now as i know many people who are doing it and I’ve also purchased a lot of products in the past because of this.

To me, its not bad though, provided its helping you to make sales and provided that your main product is worth it too.

This is my first time on your site and i like what I’m seeing. Will surely be back 🙂

    Joy - July 23, 2015

    Hi Theodore,

    It’s true, there are some useful bonuses and products. I just feel the whole thing has gone mad because everyone seems to be promoting the same product to each other! It’s a game that I don’t plan to play, so if they’re happy and selling products who am I to criticize? As you say, everyone seems to be following the same formula, so I can only assume it’s working.

    Welcome to my blog, I am so pleased you found me and I hope you will find plenty of helpful information here:-)


    Thanks for

      Theodore Nwangene - July 23, 2015

      Thanks for your response Joy,
      I’m very happy to be here and yes, you’ve got loads of awesome stuffs here :),

      I’m loving it

Rachit - July 23, 2015

Hi Joy,

Another awesome article.

I’ve been in the facebook group you added and learning quite a number of things with time,

Thanks for sharing.

    Joy - July 24, 2015

    Hi Rachit

    Glad you enjoyed the article. It’s one of the prime reasons why I am returning to networking marketing. The Facebook group will have explained the business to you in more detail, and although I confess it took me a little while before I understood it completely I get more impressed by it every day.

    Have a great weekend. Joy

Uttoran Sen - July 25, 2015

Hey Joy,

This is exactly what I was thinking too about the product launches that keeps happening everyday. I guess launching such a product / tutorial or guide is pretty easy, all you have to do is – including the following chapters that says – do blog comments, write great posts and share yours and others stuff on the social media … the same old thing, but you can’t complain as it does work – wrap it into a product and start selling?

In the past I have bought many courses and while most of them were all right they hardly taught me something that I already did not know. However yes, there are things that we know but do not apply – perhaps some of those courses did motivated me to take the action – for which am much thankful.

Personally, I don’t like informational courses. It is far to easy to say – do this, do that – get results! I don’t like to charge for it. Rather why not offer it as a service and actually provide the results. Many would avoid this, why work when teaching sells more. But a service is far more track-able and you can show results with stats.

Uttoran Sen,

    Joy - July 26, 2015

    Hi Uttoran,

    I’m certainly not the only one to have been bored and irritated by this trend. It’s too easy to produce the content, a little harder to dress it up in a fancy website, but still do-able.

    Funny experience… I went to one of these day-long events where Guru#10 explained her strategy and was selling her course at (say) $297. It sounded amazing and I was ready to buy, then she went on to say how she’d put the course together in an afternoon by using content found on Google. That was the most valuable lesson that day, and I put my credit card away 🙂

    You’re right – all but the most inaccurate courses would work if the purchaser worked too!

    A service at the same priced that produced results would be much more valuable for most people who, let’s face it, have neither the time nor the expertise to do what some people find so easy to achieve.

    If successful, I’m sure it would generate repeat orders too. But guess what – I’m not sure we’ll see that happening…. teaching the theory of online marketing is far easier than actually doing it!

    Let’s hope someone implements your idea, Joy

Dexter Roona - July 26, 2015

I do like a gimmick, it’s what sells it to me but there has to be value at the end.

    Joy - July 26, 2015

    Hi Dexter,

    That’s a fair point about how a sale is made, but you’ve hit the nail on the head about there being value in the product/bonus.

    So many of these bonuses are just cobbled together purely to be “bigger and better” than the rest.

    I think Mary Sloane, in the comments, must hold the record for finding the most ridiculous number of bonuses: 400,000! You might say that means there would be “something for everyone” but who on earth has time to look through 400,000 bonuses to see how useful they are. I certainly don’t. In fact I often AVOID these mega-bonuses so I don’t get side-tracked!

    But yes, one really useful bonus that complements the product CAN sway the sale for me.

    Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Joy

      Dexter Roona - July 28, 2015

      yes it gets silly and people do fall into the trap, i know i have….. if the real product is not enough to make you buy then just don’t buy even with bonuses …. on another note thanks for joining Tsu a sent a few friends to welcome you… let me know if you need help
      regards Dexter

        Joy - July 28, 2015

        Hi Dexter,

        I’m being a LOT more careful about what I buy these days.

        Thanks for the welcome to Tsu – it looks as if it will be very helpful in my marketing.

        Best wishes, Joy

Donna Merrill - July 26, 2015

Hi Joy,

I don’t like to purchase a product because of bonuses. It gets me too crazy. If I want information on a specific thing, I look for that. Indeed, I have purchased many products for learning curves and studied them well.

Some came with bonuses, but I never opened them hmmm….

Guess I like things straight forward, simple and up front. Just tell me what is in the product, don’t give me a blind sale and I’ll buy it.

As for free stuff…one only will attract those who want stuff for free, so no, I don’t like that game either.

It’s a mad mad marketplace out there, but I do try to stay focused and pick and choose wisely.


    Joy - July 27, 2015

    Hi Donna,

    Like you, I much prefer a simple approach. All this “product-fest” has achieved is for me to unsubscribe from the lists of those involved in it – bar a couple of trusted contacts. Sounds like that “trusted community” thing again 🙂

    Good point about the freebie seekers. Having tried to do things “on the cheap” in the past, I’ve now realized I need to invest in better quality resources.

    I know I should focus more; working on it!

    Thanks for dropping by, Joy

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