Google Money Tree Gets Rooted Out Of Texas
Hello, Affiliate Marketing

Google Money Tree Gets Rooted Out Of Texas

So you’ve heard the news? Google Money Tree – one of 2008’s most popular Biz-Opp offers – has hit the headlines under a barrage of threats from the Texas Attorney General.

It turns out the popular get-rich-quick Google scheme is what we knew it was all along…a waste of money. The sort of offer you’d have to be blind, deaf, dumb and plain stupid to sign up to. No offence, Mum.

Not only have the Google Money Tree founders misled their customers with purposefully hidden small print, but they’ve also failed to actually send the damn kit to some of them. Now it turns out that Attorney Greg Abbott is baying for blood, and it might just be YOUR Adwords campaign he’s ready to pounce on.

Have a read over the public press statement below.

Infusion Media Inc.’s ‘GoogleMoneyTree’ uses high profile name to deceive out-of-work Internet users

AUSTIN – Attorney General Greg Abbott today charged two Utah-based defendants with operating a fraudulent work-at-home scheme. The state’s enforcement action names Infusion Media Inc. and Jonathan D. Eborn, whose “GoogleMoneyTree.com” promised six-figure earnings for conducting specialized Google and Yahoo Internet searches.

According to investigators, the defendants promised big payouts in order to convince Web users to spend $3.88 on shipping and handling for a “free kit” that supposedly would show them how to make money from home. Those who purchased the kit were later surprised to discover they were being charged $72 a month by the defendants.

Internet users encountered the defendants’ Google and Facebook advertisements, which linked to blogs that were created to promote their work-at-home offer. The blogs included “testimonials” that touted their products and led viewers to believe that previously unemployed users were earning high salaries conducting Internet searches. According to the blogs, interested parties need only acquire a “free kit,” which was available through GoogleMoneyTree’s “sign-up” page.

Individuals who requested the kit were required to provide substantial personal information, including their name, address, telephone number, email address, and credit card payment information, which was supposed to be used to pay the $3.88 “shipping and handling” fee. Customers believed they were only obligated to pay the “refundable” processing fee and were not aware there would be additional charges to their credit cards.

According to the state’s enforcement action, GoogleMoneyTree failed to clearly inform purchasers that they had been enrolled in monthly memberships and had only seven days to cancel their trial membership. Purchasers who failed to cancel within seven days were automatically charged $72 on their credit card statements each month. In addition to the unexpected credit card charges, customer complaints obtained by state investigators indicate that GoogleMoneyTree failed to actually send the “free kit” and refused to honor customer refunds.

The state is seeking an injunction, civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as well as restitution for purchasers. Texans who believe they have been misled by similar business practices may file complaints with the Office of the Attorney General toll-free at (800) 252-8011 or file complaints online at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.

So what does this mean for rebill Biz-opps? Not a fucking lot, I’d imagine. The affiliates will blame the networks (promoting what’s in front of us). The networks will blame the merchants (not our fault it’s a scam). The merchant will blame the retarded customers for not reading the small print. Expect a rumbling of industry conversation while various affiliates with highly perched morals withdraw their rebill offers for fear of a lawsuit landing on their doorstep.

I expect this to last all of about ten minutes before people accept that the rebill offer is as old as marketing and a perfectly valid selling mechanism.

If anything, the injunction will serve to frighten a few affiliates out of the market and make it a more lucrative place to be for the rest of us.

I was a fan of the Google Money Tree offer while it lasted. It wasn’t my most profitable Google campaign but it still converted at around 11% and made me a couple of hundred dollars a day.

There will be those who take the moral ground and insist that it’s about time these shady rebill offers were stamped out.

Personally, I think they can go fuck themselves. If the terms are stated clearly, and if the merchant delivers what it says it’s going to deliver – that’s fair game in my eyes. Burden be on the naive retard who actually expects popping a few Acai Berry pills to save his waistband.

I don’t have a personal attachment to anything that I sell. When you’re in affiliate marketing, your customers are as faceless as your employers. There’ll always be another Google Money Tree lurking in the campaign listings. But are you going to order a trial copy of every last product you promote? I didn’t think so.

Promising customers the chance to earn money from home is no shadier than telling some 40 year old virgin that he can get laid tonight on such-and-such dot com. Marketing thrives on the best case scenario, not the reality of the situation.

As for affiliates getting legally challenged for unknowingly promoting the scam offer – give me a fucking break. I’m tempted to go set up an ultra targeted Adwords campaign selling the Google Money Tree to only Texas just to cream a deserted market.

Absolutely nothing will come of these baseless threats. The affiliate is safe. Those Money Tree founders might have some explaining to do though…

UPDATE: To clarify, because I’m sick of hearing about it! Yes, I did advertise Google Money Tree money at one point. I pulled the offer as soon as I found out the owners weren’t delivering the actual product and had been avoiding customer complaints. I don’t like being associated with scam products any more than the next guy. Any affiliate who continued to advertise GMT after it was revealed how they weren’t even delivering a product, should take a step back and re-evaluate what he wants to get out of this business.

We all know these are cheap shitty rebills that aren’t gonna make you rich overnight. We don’t know that they’re scams though. That’s a completely different ball game. There are lines to be drawn and if you’re worried about promoting a product that happens to be a scam, get in touch with your affiliate manager first. They will usually have a good idea of how reputable it is.

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Hello, Affiliate Marketing

So this is Finch Sells, another voice in a crowded space.

Here, you can expect a blog about making money online via the love-it or hate-it industry that is…affiliate marketing. A lot of people ask me what exactly is affiliate marketing. How can I afford to give up my day job in the middle of a recession?

Well, I don’t want to explain how I got started or what my day-to-day work involves. The information is out there if you want to know. Affiliate marketing can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. But it basically comes down to this: you make money or you don’t.

I don’t want to preach the basics or explain the difference between an EPC and a CPC. These pages are gonna be aimed at those of you who already have half a clue what you’re doing.

Even if you’re active in the usual affiliate marketing circles, it’s unlikely you’ll have heard of me.

Young Affiliate Mistake No #1: Spend too much time talking, not enough time doing.

You soon realize you’ve achieved sweet jack all except for warming your desk chair. Hey, that sounds a lot like my 2007.

Organic “natural search” occupied my agenda back then. It was essentially donkey work. I spent endless days link building and far too many nights at the computer screen crafting expert-review websites when the only thing expert was my ability to type utter bullshit and make it look believable. Not only did I realize that the money rewards were tight, but I got no satisfaction from pretending to care about the latest herbal mix diet some middle aged housewife had been saving a lifetime to try.

Certainly not enough satisfaction to justify a couple of Adsense clicks and a sprinkling of dollars and cents for my troubles. The money funded my morning coffee but not much else.

So I realized pretty quickly that my time was more wisely invested in the work that was actually going to pay my rent, improve my opportunities and save me from redundancy peril. I read some great resources. Most of you will be familiar with them, and if you’re not, go get familiar with them – Nicky Cakes, Blue Hat SEO, Slightly Shady, Seocracy – I turned what was blind theory in to PPC campaigns.

Guess what? A little blind theory can go a long way if you’re not a complete retard. Those campaigns are bank-rolling my wages while I craft the art of creative layabout. A creative layabout who can’t wait for his first summer of self-employed freedom.

You won’t find me on Wicked Fire (yet), I’ve never been to an affiliate summit and I was thankfully banned from Digital Point long before I had chance to enter the same brain-dead coma as it’s average poster. So why show my face when it’s all going so well?

…To sell you my new Clickbank ebook, right?

Come on, guys. With this endless fountain of knowledge, you could be sunning yourself on a yacht with a crowd of supermodel shag buddies hired just to cash your cheques. That shit’s only gonna cost you some shipping and handling now, a rebill in the morning, and the smell of regret in the future. So what are you waiting for?

Not quite.

I thought I’d offer some creative advice in exchange for the pittance of an occasional affiliate link click (bling bling) and the widening of my networking horizons. You might find this page useful, you probably won’t. If you’re anything like me, you’ve learnt that the best way to learn affiliate marketing is to get your hands dirty with the real deal.

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