In the afternoon session of the storesonline workshop, we were taught five strategies to help us succeed in our online business.
The first was on the use of joint ventures. Bascially, a joint venture is a collaboration where two partners cooperate to earn money. For example, person A might have a product but no traffic while person B might have traffic that is relevant to person A’s product. So person B sends traffic to person A and they share the profits.
Kory did not really go in depth into this strategy but he shared one of his methods of doing JVs. Basically, it was to search the search engines for a particular keyword and then go a few pages deep in the search to find a partner to do JVs with.
This was a decent strategy but his next step of this strategy spoilt it all. He told us that we could simply duplicate the entire site (with minor changes), get it to the top ten of the search engines and start making money! He made is sound very easy but it doesn’t take a genius to realise straight away that:
1) We will get into potential copyright issues.
2) Duplicate sites are not favoured by search engines and hence do not rank well.
3) It takes good quality (and relevant) inbound links to rank well search engines. If an existing site (with established links) can’t rank well, what more about a new site?
He then showed us his tax site where he’s using this strategy. I can’t find his exact site now but it looks something like this. Apparently, many people had already copied his idea. But seriously, would you buy from a site like that? For that matter, would it even rank well for relevant tax keywords?
You need to build trust in order to sell anything online!
Strategy two was about search engine optimization. He gave us a few rules for getting our websites ranked well. Keywords appearing in url, titles, descriptions, etc. Pretty basic but useful stuff.
There was a demonstration of a storesonline tool that was able to analyse the top ranked (on search engines) sites and provide a comprehensive report. We were told that with this tool, we could use the report to copy what they did and get our sites ranked in the top ten listings. Would this work? Go figure.
The third strategy was not on how to make money, but on how to save money by buying cheap items on ebay. The gist of it was that there were some ebay sellers who had typo errors in their item title and description. These items had no bidders because no one could find them. Thus, we would be able to buy them cheaply. To find those words commonly typed wrongly, you can make use of fat fingers.
While there could be a couple of really blur people, my opinion is that the majority of sellers on ebay are quite experienced. Some sellers might have purposely mis-spelled their item listings to reach more buyers. As for why they would sell their items cheaply, I’m sure you will be able to figure it that out. But this idea is still worth a shot as we can use it to find items that has less competitive bidding.
The fourth strategy was on the use of vertical portals. Essentially it meant having multiple websites with different products down the product chain.
The fifth strategy was on the use of affiliate programs for selling products. Having an affiliate program is a must have if you are selling any of your own products. This one is a no brainer.
The guaranteed method to get your website on the first page of a search engine within three days turned out to be using pay per click advertising (as expected). There was a very brief introduction about using ppc on overture and some using tips like bidding on non main stream words and mis-spelled words.
Overall, the workshop provided a fair bit of content but some people might be misled by some of their strategies which wouldn’t work. They made it sound very easy and many people were tempted to just jump right into it by buying their software and hosting.
I wouldn’t call the storesonline product a outright scam but at the price they were selling, it was definitely a rip-off. There are defintely better alternatives around.
For example, Sitesell provides more than what Storesonline was providing for less than 10% of the price and has most of the things that you need to get started online. It is something that I would recommend if you want to build a profitable website. For more details on the different alternatives available to you, please read my article Building Your Website.
Furthermore, the top few results in the search engines about storesonline were mostly complaints (too numerous) about their prices and customer service. There was even a website setup for people to re-sell (or get rid of) their multiple sites purchased from storesonline. Not to mention the multiple name changes of the company. This is surely a red flag.
If you found this storesonline review useful and feel your friends might benefit from it, please do tell them about it.