The 10 Online Snake Oil Salesman Commandments

Yes, today we’re all over online snake oil salesman! Maybe you’ve noticed that I quite enjoy writing posts touching upon the dark side of online business, or more precisely, the dark side of online business education. In other words, I love to stumble upon some hip new douchebag marketer techniques, also known as online snake oil salesmen practices (in memory of the idols from back in the day in the wild west).

Anyway, I’ve decided to compile these 10 commandments of an online snake oil salesman. This post was not written for pure entertainment though. Each commandment presents a common practice done by real people who call themselves marketers. This whole post is a warning sign – whenever you see someone using a technique described here, they may indeed be a snake oil salesman.

Warning. This is a reverse tutorial. I actually don’t want you to take part in anything I’m describing in this post.

1. Thou shalt employ crack-head price lowering

I love this technique. Here’s how it plays out:

  1. You come to a sales page and see an offer.
  2. The offer isn’t that impressive so you decide to leave.
  3. As soon as you hover your mouse over the “x” button a pop-up appears with a new deal and a slightly lower price.
  4. You still don’t want a part in this so you click the “x” button to close the window, but…another window appears with one more discount.
  5. That’s a “no” again.
  6. Another window appears; this time trying to convince you to subscribe to an email list.
  7. And the craze continues for a couple more steps…

I’m sure you’ve seen those sales pages a number of times. The offers just keep returning like a crack-head who needs some drug money, hence the name.


2. Thou shalt get on board every product launch in thy niche

Everybody knows this. To make serious money, you have to promote everything there is in your niche to promote. Period. And I mean, jump on any crappy product launch out there. Promote the big guys as well as the wannabe snake oil salesmen. In a word, everything.

The best way to do it? Your email list.

3. Thou shalt send only promotional emails

That one’s obvious. These days, no one has time to produce their own original newsletter content, so the only way out of this is to send promotion, exclusively. But here’s the kicker, you don’t even need to write those promotional emails yourself. Every launch or affiliate product will come with a set of pre-written email templates that you can use successfully.

Those templates are deceptive as hell, by the way. They promise one thing, only to send the reader to a webpage where the only thing they can do is buy some crap product.

Here’s an example of such an email:


4. Thou shalt spam

Contrary to a common belief, spam is extremely profitable. I’m sure you can buy a list of email addresses off Craigslist to get started… And let’s face it, emails are not the craziest thing you can get on Craigslist.

5. Thou shalt use boiler rooms to sell stuff

Believe it or not, Alec Baldwin is not the only one involved in the boiler room business. (The Boiler Room – movie starring Alec Baldwin, for which he won an Oscar despite being in the movie for only 7 minutes!)

There’s a really big number of marketers using modern boiler rooms as part of their so-called business. The procedure is this: they get some email addresses, sell them to an “agency” (= a boiler room), and then they begin calling people up, targeting senior citizens specifically and offering them all kinds of BS.

6. Thou shalt use sales videos that are supposed “to go down soon”

Hey, this video will go down! Seriously, you guys!


I don’t know what’s the deal with this, but for some reason, more and more people believe that the only thing they have to do at the beginning of a sales video is to say something like:

Hey, you need to act fast because I’m only testing this offer and this video will go down soon. Heck, it may not even be online the next time you visit this page.

Oh really? Really? There’s not one time when I saw a video promised to go down that actually went down.

7. Thou shalt always quote the exact amount of money you’ve made

Does this sound familiar to you:

Here’s how I made exactly $16,456.37 and how you can do the same.

You obviously have to quote the size of your wallet to the nearest cent, otherwise people won’t believe that you’re for real.


8. Thou shalt align yourself with genuine experts

There’s no simpler way to distract someone and pretend you’re not an online snake oil salesman than to align yourself with genuine experts. All it takes is quoting a legitimate study here, mentioning a well recognized name there, or better yet, lying about knowing someone credible personally, and it’s a home run. For instance, one of the lamest ways of doing this is to use a fake “as seen on” block on your sales page. Like these.

9. Thou shalt publish only fake product reviews

Fake product reviews are those that have been written without actually putting your hands on the product. Such reviews are written purely from the promotional material that’s available for the product, and are designed to show the product in the best light possible. Fake flaws are another common thing in this department (flaws that are very insignificant and have no impact on the overall impression of the product).

10. Thou shalt steal content and say it’s yours

Stealing content is way too easy these days. What you do is take an article published anywhere on the web, and I do mean anywhere, and then put it through a translator, to say, Spanish. Then, to English again, and voila! You have a shiny new piece of content that’s slightly reworded and much more unreadable than the original. Now, the trick is to publish this piece on as many spam blogs as you can, and pointing all links back to your money site – the one with your constant promotion and fake promises.

{Reality check}

There we have it, my 10 online snake oil salesman commandments. I’m really amazed at how many people actually try to do business online using the techniques and tactics described above.

I know that apparently they do work and can bring big profits, but come on… Is annoying 95 percent of your audience really THE way to do business online?

Again, this was a reverse tutorial, which means that I don’t want you to do anything that was described in this post. This is just a warning sign of sorts, so you can have your finger on the pulse and notice any suspicious figure who tries to trick you into buying some snake oil.

One comment

  1. Lynell Bumpas

    Lynell Bumpas

    God, I hate salesmen who practice these tactics. Unbelievable.

Comments are closed.