SBI!ers, like life itself, are very much a case of "slow-steady-sure wins the race." Too many solopreneurs think that the prize goes to the "Get Rich Quick" ("GRQ") hare. Do YOU know a single person who actually GOT Rich Quick? No, while the hare flits from one "biz-opp" to another, the steady, persistent tortoise RULES. Have a success to share, a failure you need help with? Share it, and solve it here!

Moderator: Antoinette from Bedford

#1381735 by Mary from Mico
Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:18 am
Hi Patricia,

Thank you for posting. I think I would be in your shoes, too.

Mary
#1381745 by A J from Somewhere Hot
Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:52 am
I read Carl's reasons for considering leaving. Seems to me that it mainly comes down to one thing... the tool set available with WP is superior over what you can do with SBI, for somebody that is geared towards selling. SBI on the other hand is geared toward informational. Selling products, creating lists, funnels, hosting stores and so on... well, it's just not something SBI makes particularly easy. Not compared to installing a plugin with one click then changing a few settings. So I understand the reasoning.

And I also see that once somebody is at a point when their monetization and traffic is advanced as far as Carl's has then SBI might no longer be the right choice. The help and tips and "all in one" type of thing just isn't needed as much by Carl now... things like ease of setting up stores, automation of various aspects, using php etc. might become more important. As you can see in my sig, I create WP designs, so I do know a little bit about how WP works and what you can and can't do with it. :wink: And you can do a heck of a lot, BUT you need to know to use it well. I know Carl has advanced to the point where he would use it well. :D

There can be any number of completely legitimate reasons for choosing to use WP over a standard SBI site, and they don't necessarily mean you think any less of SBI, just that it's better for your particular purpose. My web design site is a perfect example. Much as I love SBI, WP was definitely the right choice for me with that particular website.

*I need to use a .com.au domain name, not possible with SBI. To quality for one of those you need a registered Aus business name, so over here they are seen as essential for any online business.
*I can't really promote specializing in WP design and not be using it for my own website.
*I have to be able to put demonstrations of various WP functionality on my site, like woocommerce.

So that is how I feel, somebody can love all that SBI is and stands for, and be a huge fan (like myself) but still realize that there are times SBI just isn't the right choice. That's how it is with my design site, and I can see that is how it is for Carl as well. Sometimes our needs are different, or exceed what SBI is able to deliver. In particular, for any e-business that is more slanted towards sales rather than informational. There can be times where integrating a secure and professional online store like woocommerce or Magento becomes your priority. It doesn't mean that you don't still appreciate SBI, just that your needs might be better met with WP and the plugins, backend access, and functionality that WP can provide.

Anyway, hope things go well for you Carl, if you decide you need to move on. For somebody just getting started, or with little knowledge or experience of creating websites (or e-businesses), then for sure, SBI offers them the best chance of succeeding. I'm sure Carl won't argue about that. But... that's not Carl, he is well past that point, and for his particular circumstances, all the things that "keep us safe and on the right track" could start to become limitations. That could include things like no access to the backend or installing server side scripts. So I do understand! Sometimes, you needs could progress to the point where you need more (or just different) things than you can get with SBI. At that point, you have outgrown SBI and need to leave the nest. It just happens sometimes.

Cheers, AJ
#1381746 by Paul from Mollymook Beach, NSW
Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:19 am
Patricia from edible-landscape-design.com wrote:Well, this is interesting.

I am in the process of moving a large, established WP site (started Nov. 2015) to SBI.

Why?

Because I don't have the time to mess with all the various plug-ins to get my WP site to work. I don't have time for the constant maintenance a WP site requires.

And most of all, I was coming close to paying what I would be paying here for a lot less functionality and service.

So take that as you will. :)

This is possibly one of the most under-rated, hidden (and often under-promoted) values of SBI!.

Apart form the WA's of the world, the lie that WP is free (or super cheap) for someone wanting to build an online business is just totally misleading. I haven't yet found an all in one service with comparable support and functionality. There will always be someone like Carl that may outgrow SBI and that has always been an acknowledged fact but the invisibles (like no bandwidth charges) do get forgotten. Only recently I registered a non- .com address with another host and ended up with a spam attack. Why? Because the free built-in privacy option wasn't built in and I so took it for granted, I forgot.

My wife even has a 10 page site hosted with SBI! Why? Well, Patricia has pretty well summed it up...

Paul
#1381784 by ken-admin
Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:15 pm
Perfectly said, AJ...

https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?p=1381745#p1381745

There ARE times when the occasional person simply needs more. But the reason is not about the sitebuilder itself...

There's no magic in ANY sitebuilder. When you see the studies comparing SBIers vs WA users, you'll be impressed. Most folks who start with WP struggle as much as every other solopreneur, for all the same reasons.

And if you don't reach a certain level of success, well, you won't ever have to worry about "I've outgrown" anything. ;-)

SBI! for WP was meant to fill the gap - WP users fail at high rates, too. Some folks simply become convinced that they MUST start with the use of WP. So we provided a WP version. And on that note...

Good post, too by Paul and Patricia (Patricia is quoted in Paul's post at https://forums.sitesell.com/viewtopic.php?p=1381746#p1381746 ). I've read for 10 years now how "WP has become so much easier to use." That's always written by skilled users. It's just not that easy to use, let alone manage the issues mentioned in the above post.

That, too, is meant to be helped by SBI! for WP. Focus on what matters, suggest ideal set of plugins, etc.

--

But really, none of that matters. Most solopreneur success is not about the sitebuilder. It's about the process and really, the philosophy that provides some folks with such a strong foundation that their ambitions and innate abilites are woken up to take off from there.

Some folks forget all that they initially learned at SBI!. Others send us private letters thanking us profusely, leaving quietly. Regardless, we know our stats and it's a joy to have been a part of getting them to a level from which they will go on to become a bigger business than they could have envisioned at first.

--

So WP or not, even if you use SBI! for WP, there comes a time where a solopreneur finally settles on one of three directions...

1) Keep the monetization and business (site, social media, etc.) simple. Most folks start with goals that stay the same or may grow somewhat bigger than first foreseen, but that don't outgrow SBI!. Maybe they add an e-book. But fundamentally, they keep it simple and "solo."

Outcome - No need to ever leave SBI!.

2) Keep upping the income by moving up the "monetization food chain." My most familiar example has been Nori's shift from passive (AdSense and affiliate) to semi-passive (finder's fees and sponsorships) to her own product (Anguilla Card).

Along the way, her site has had a few design overhauls, which will be true for every online business. As you grow and the times change, you upgrade your site design, add a feature here and there, all do-able through SBI!.

Deepening her branding through social has both driven Card sales AND opened strong avenues/connections to major players, acquisition inquiries, etc. Opportunities abound - or she could become a Caribbean surf bum and leverage to [Domain Private]. Or she could do both (with staff managing Anguilla). Her life is hers.

This is what I'd call a "business-in-transition." It's getting farther from a "website that generates traffic" to a more rounded business with some staff and management, building connections, making deals with influencers. At this point, the solopreneur is self-learning having gone beyond the topics that we cover.

Back to monetization... As I said,she could push this as far as she likes, including buying smaller hotels with low vacancies and turning them around through her brand. THAT involves stafff, training, etc. You are becoming an entrepreneur.

Outcome - No need to ever leave SBI!, but you can come close. Even if she owned a chain of three, 10-unit hotels, her SBI! site and social presence could drive sales to her "Hotel" site, all under a unified brand. Or, at some point, she could very well say "this would all be better tied under a single branded website."

And that brings us to the final point...

3) Need to leave: At some point, for whatever reason, and AJ says it well, you simply have specialized needs that outpace what BB2 was meant to do. You need to pull it all together under a sophisticated HTML in-house person or with someone who really knows WP, like AJ.

Be very sure you need to do that. You should be able to state the benefits and be confident that risks are minimized. Done well and for the right reasons, you'll be off and running as a full-fledged entrepreneur, owning 100% of your biz, beholden to no VC money.

--

They're all great destinations. I doubt that any SBIer EVER started as "a #3." :-) But we're so very happy to play a role at every level of success.

All the best,
Ken

P.S. Oh yes, do I need to mention that I doubt if Wealthy Affiliate, despite all those fake reviews, has produced even a single non-"make money-niche" success story at level #3, no more than a few at #2 (if any) and a very small percentage of what SBI! has enabled at level #1? 🤔 That's the story we need to get out to folks who are just like you, to help them find a REAL home that does enable folks to succeed.
#1382221 by ken-admin
Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:35 pm
ken-admin wrote:I hear you, Dee. I've always been open and transparent, though, and this important point is not the time for me to change. It's a personal thing.

Competitors and IEDs have long CHANGED what I say openly to serve their agenda. Unless I work completely outside of the forums, creating secret groups to do whatever... ugh, I'll stop that sentence now.

That's just not me or the way I want to do business. Instead...

I see this conversation as a Litmus test. We have an incredible group of SBIers, loads of folks with the values that I value. In a world of GRQ and "I wish," you roll up your sleeves and work with passion towards whatever goal it is that you want to achieve.

We see the results. So I love what we do here. So does every SiteSeller.

If it's reciprocated, if SBIers appreciate and are loyal and work with us for the next 6 months, putting up REAL reviews about actual experiences, we'll be fine on that front.



On the 2nd front...

The studies are mind-boggling,
should open a lot of eyes regarding the very small benefit provided to solopreneurs by a massive industry targeted towards them.


And finally, the influencers...

Two influencers are ready to start supporting what we do.
Remember, unlike the "old school super-affiliates" (who "get the game" and work it), most don't realize what an ugly game that "old school net marketing/MMO" has become, or that most people fail. They don't know that most of the solo's they reach are failing, even while enjoying their high-quality/advanced posts.

They know the whole MMO arena smells wrong, though, so they steer away from anything that even sounds like "MMO." And that's where WE need to not only differentiate our message (we do), but PROVE the type of results that we get, and even more...

The studies will PROVE that most folks lured into the Internet by the publicity of "survivor" stories of success are headed toward sadness.

When Allan Gardyne first promoted SBI! as the best product for affiliates (its original positioning), many other next-tier affiliate marketers took note. It exploded from there. We simply need to re-build a new, even stronger case...

SBI! is the best and only product of its kind that enables online success.


--

I believe that we CAN turnaround the best product that truly enables solopreneurs to succeed, however EACH person defines "success".

Image
You can see how differently Carl and Harvey "see" SBI! through their own lens, both creating successes per their own definitions. With C T P M properly executed, you can grow your business to whatever level you want.

As I said, there have been other highly successful "Why I left" emails. They have usually needed "bigger business" features that most will never need here. The tones are usually upbeat with a little sadness to them.

Some focus more negatively, on the work of transferring a site rather than on how they had finally SERIOUSLY succeeded. More are deeply grateful.

No matter what, it's a little bittersweet, sort of like watching a strong young bird leave the nest, but at the end of the day I'm happy because I know we have touched a life in an important way and we are sure they will continue to do well.

Impacting lives in a significant way is SBI!'s highest-order mission.
Image

--

Given all that...

A freedom-and-success enabling product like SBI! should be able to find the hungry audience that really needs it IF...

1) the scammers can be flooded out (reviews) and if

2) the studies wow the "good guy" influencers and if

3) the "good guy" influencers understand that SBI! is more vital and important than ever to SOME of their audience (the 50-80% who are solopreneurs), everyone wins.


If SBIer loyalty just isn't here to support us, or worse if too many folks want to leave now without even trying to help, I'll have my answer. One or two here or there are only examples for the conversation.

It's what the majority decides that wins this plan (I hope!).

So should I have been secret about this? Edited it out of existence? Heck no - it won't CHANGE the future, only accelerate it.

I know that this is NOT the way most companies work. If you do ANY reading at all, notice usually goes like this, "sorry, closed." Or the more responsible ones announce to please download and move all within 6 weeks."


The Boil-down..

If you can support this plan for 6 months, we can likely come back stronger than ever. That's a bet worth making.


Both growth and loss in this type of business take on patterns of self-reinforcing positive feedback loops, Allan Gardyne being a good example. Good reviews (and we're already in much better shape than we were), the studies and finally the influencers can turn this around quickly.


But still, some will worry - what if?...

If it does not turn around, I would NEVER shut the doors "tomorrow." Everyone would have at least 6 months, and it could even be indefinitely if income from those (who simply want to stay and do their thing) covers minimal expenses.

So there's WIN-WIN-WIN upside to support this with no downside risk.

Image[color=gray]
A couple of points...

1) if you are wondering should you recommend SBI! to someone? Absolutely!...

NOW is the best time to do that!

This could be the start of that voyage to SBIsland, in which case it's all good, better than ever. Or...

THIS will have been THE LAST TIME those folks will ever have a chance to learn how to do it right.
It's far easier to move a site with all the winning basics by a well-trained solopreneur, than it is for most to figure out how to succeed without it.


2) If you are wondering whether to stay, there's just no downside.

Carl worried about moving his 9 year-old 5,000 page, high-traffic site now because it'll only have more pages if he waits 6 months. The extra hosting fees alone for his traffic will ultimately cost substantially more than the cost of moving.

It's a disappointing answer because another 100 pages in a transition process is trivial. Yes, there's some work to switch over to WordPress, but we're talking about someone generating nearly $20,000 per month now and with a fair-sized staff, it sounds like.

There are probably 20,000 Carl's out there who have failed or are barely subsisting at places like WA. If there's ONE in all of WA, I'd be amazed.

Those folks would give their eye teeth to have that problem. Each person, though, decides for him/herself in the present. Whether the past matters is up to you.

--

Closing on the question of a need for an editor, per Carl's suggestion...

An editor might have steered you away from talking about closing SBI (which is what triggered my thoughts of leaving).


No, that's NOT the job of an editor. I do admire how you've put together a publishing team of editors, photog's and writers and make it all work so well, Carl. Truly amazing, you've pushed your WDW business to what could become a highly valuable business.

That's perfect for someone in the publishing business.

Sure, we DO edit the AG and HQ articles.

But if I had to have an editor be handy if I want to make a post on this Saturday morning with multiple go-back-and-forths, it would ruin the REALness (and timeliness) of what I want to say.

Mostly, though, an editor does not decide IF and HOW you want to communicate a really important message to individuals who I regard as far more than "customers." [b]I wanted to lay out all the cards, explaining the need for fake reviews.

Your response to a call to action was "I'd better bail now because I don't trust Ken's 2nd window." That's what I hear through your words. And that's OK because I'll go back to what I said up top...

This conversation in these forums is a Litmus test to see how SBIers think about us, if they'll support the plan and create reviews (without us all having to work like it's some secret society).

I'm really hoping that SBIers rally around this plan and create REAL reviews to knock out all the fabricated fakes that are designed to sell a product that generates near-zero success. It's "the anti-SBI!."

If you are IN, please see the URLs (Cheat Sheet is quickest) in my sig.

All the best,
Ken
#1387650 by Mike from England
Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:10 pm
Heck SBI is worth the monthly cost just for the mailout manager. If I were using Aweber, I'd be paying $149 per month for the number of subs I have. No thanks.

I also think the site builder is one of the best out there. There are some subtle features in BB2 that others overlook.

The only thing I'd like from SBI is larger file storage (for audio, video and large images). That would be the iceing on an already very delicious cake.

I can understand people wanting to move if they require more complex functionality. But those questioning SBI's value for money either can't do simple maths or are talking out of their **profanity auto removed**.
#1387664 by Wendy C (EelKat) from La Puente
Mon Dec 04, 2017 4:03 am

I find it interesting that you are leaving SBI to go to WP.

I in fact left WP for SBI.

My WP site, which has 300k+ email subscribers, started crashing around 6,000 pages. Once it reached 9,000 pages it struggled desperately to stay online. WP does not have the bandwidth or the server capabilities to handle a 10k page, graphic heavy, site with 14,000+ images, and 2,000+ videos, and 300k+ daily traffic.

Since moving to SBI I've not had a single crash, not one second of downtime, no bandwidth issues, no video playback issues, and heck... I've tripled the amount of dancing banana's and glitter sheep gifs my site is known for.

In my case, I'm not using SBI for a business, but rather as a website for my business, so income I make from my SBI site is not a driving force for me.

Yes, WP did have a lot of nice flashy apps and widgets that SBI doesn't offer, but, what good are the apps and widgets when the WP server can't keep my site online long enough for visitors to use said apps and widgets?

WP is good if you want a plain, blank, black text on white background site, with no illustrations, no photos, no moving gifs, and no videos embedded. But I'm an author and an artist, and my site largely is there to showcase my novels, my paintings, and my photography..and WP ain't got the server power to host a site like mine.

That's why I like SBI... it can handle a site like mine. It's had a few hiccups... but in every case, support was right on top of it and had the issue fixed in a few days, sometimes a few hours, and did so without my site going offline. That's a big plus for me after struggling with monthly downtime issues on WP for 9 long years.

Dee from Cape Cod wrote:
Eric wrote:
ken-admin wrote:... the message I took from Dee's post was that being open and transparent to the world at large was allowing the likes of WA to use information gained from that transparency against SBI.

Yes, Eric, that's my concern. Since the other day, when I discovered how our forums were being used against us, I've had the awful feeling that we're all feeding the vultures.

It would be one thing if our forums were still private, as they used to be. But they're not. And try as I might, I can't conceive of anything good that can come from putting what (IMHO) should be private, internal SBI communications out there for public consumption.

But that horse is already out of the barn, as they say. Ken has his reasons for doing things the way he does. So, I'll just carry on building my site/business, supporting Ken in his efforts going forward ... and trusting that Ken's instincts - and his plan - are on target. Onward and upward!! :)

Best Regards,

Dee


Yes... this was the thing I had mentioned on the request for reviews thread a few months back... the fact that I had NOT written a review and couldn't see any reason to do so, specifically BECAUSE the request to do so was posted on the forum.

If I had written a review BEFORE the request (which I in fact had done a few years back) then that is one thing, because it was me writing a review of my own free will. But I've seen the WA reviews... not just about SBI either... WA reviews every web host in a bad light making it bluntly obvious that the reviews are fake.

If you go through the About pages on my site, you fins in addition to the typical FTC compliance, ToS, disclaimers, etc, there are 2 other pages not commonly used by others: "Media Statements" and "Endorsements". As a public figure (I'm am author) I am often approached by companies ask me to make endorsements for them. This is something I have long refused to do. Sure others can make more money by smiling and holding a product for 5 seconds and be in some ad. But what happens when that product goes south for whatever reason?

In the 1970s every actor wanted to be on Camel or Virginia Slims ads. Tobacco got a bad rap in the 1980s and suddenly every actor who ever endorsed those products was without a job. No one would hire them. They endorsed the "in" product when it was "in" and went that product got a bad rap, they got dragged down with it.

Look at Marion Zimmer Bradley. Biggest name in Fantasy fiction. She supported a man in his endeavors. Then he goes to prison for child rape. And what happened to her career? No publisher would touch her manuscripts after that.

Sure, writing a review for a company may not seem like a big deal... but it is. It really is.

You want a comparision closer to home... how about another webhost then:

Who here remembers Squidoo?

Do you know what happened to Squidoo?

Fastest rising webhost out there. King of web hosting for nearly a decade... then POOF... gone over night... do you know why?

Squidoo ran on a pay-share system. They added AdSense ads to all the sites, they kept 50% of the revenue and you kept 50% of it. Traffic to your site, you got 50% of

Seth Godin sold the company in 2012. The new owners, 2 women, decided they wanted to keep more then 50%, so they changed the system... only the top 100 most trafficed pages, would recieve pay... and only 10%. ALL the ad revenue from ALL 2million+ pages was pooled together... those 2 women kept 90% and the remaining 10% was divided to the top 100 pages.

Very few people had pages in the Top 100. 20 of the Top 100 pages were mine. I suddenly overnight was getting 1/5th of the 10% of Squidoo.

That last exactly one month... when one day I woke up to find ALL of my top 100 pages DELETED off of Squidoo....

or so I thought...

until a week later... one of my fans sent me an emaill, asking:

"Bonny claims she built this car, but I'm pretty sure this is your car, did she just steal your content?"

THIS car:

ImageImage

Sure enough, ALL 20 of my deleted top 100 pages, were now moved to Bonnie's account. Bonnie, owner of Squidoo... STOLE my top money making Squidoo pages. The Lord Sesshomaru CosPlay, Amphibious Aliens, On Being Homeless, On Being An Adult With Autism. The Dazzling Razzberry aka The Autism Awareness Car (see above), and Publishing Methods... the articles that EVERYONE knew were mine, heavily illustrated with my own art, and photos of me, my cas, and the tarp I lived under for 9 years, details of my personal life... STOLEN and the new owner of Squidoo claiming was hers!

I checked with Fluffernutter, Jaguar Julie, Squid Pirate and the other top 100s... all their pages had been deleted as well, and when they checked, they'd all been moved to Bonnie's account as well! We were stunned! ALL top 100 pages were stolen from ALL their creators and were now ALL displaying on Bonnie's account... meaning Bonnie was now earning the full 100% of all income from Squidoo.

Squidoo's top 100, banded together in a lawsuit against Bonnie and Dawn, owners of Squido... 4 months later Squidoo was gone. They deleted the ENTIRE website, to avoid going to court on plagerisim charges.

That's what happened to Squidoo.

Squidoo... the company you used to see me promoting from the rooftops, because Squidoo is the webhost that took me from a hobby webbuilder to being able to live full time off my online income.

I wrote tons of reviews glorifying Squido in it's heydays wen Seth Godin ran it. I drove thousand's of people to join Squidoo.

And then Seth Godin retired and sold the company... and the new owners were scam artists who stole other's people's content and drove it to the ground.

THAT, is why I don't write reviews for companies anymore. THAT is why I no longer do endorsements and media statements. I used to. And I promoted Squidoo more then any other company. I loved Squidoo. I loved it so much I became one of it's forum moderators. Even those of us who worked for Squidoo were shocked and horrified with what the new owners did, and how quickly it destroyed the company.

I don't want to get tangled up in a mess like that again.

Yes, I love SBI. But I also loved Squidoo... and look what happened there. I trust Ken Evoy and SBI, but I also trusted Seth Godin and Squidoo.

It's a case of once bitten, twice shy.

I have my own career to look out for. My own family. And I can't put them at risk, for the sake of reviews for a company, that I have no control over and therefor can not guarantee something will not happen to in the future.
Now take all of that and combine it with this point here:

Dee from Cape Cod wrote:
Eric wrote:
ken-admin wrote:... the message I took from Dee's post was that being open and transparent to the world at large was allowing the likes of WA to use information gained from that transparency against SBI.

Yes, Eric, that's my concern. Since the other day, when I discovered how our forums were being used against us, I've had the awful feeling that we're all feeding the vultures.

It would be one thing if our forums were still private, as they used to be. But they're not. And try as I might, I can't conceive of anything good that can come from putting what (IMHO) should be private, internal SBI communications out there for public consumption.


Yes, the public can see that Ken is actively recruiting people asking for reviews...

And the public can see that.

So how does that reflect on us... those of us who had previously written reviews before this request went out?

It comes off looking like we only wrote those reviews because we were told to do so.

And that gives off a bad vibe...

people who want to take SBI down (which WA obviously does and are making no secret about that fact) now have added fuel to their fire. They can now head to the forums and say: "See? Look that that! SBI reviews are fake! See? They only write reviews because that's what they are told to do. Being good little sheeples writing reviews for SBI"

Keep in mind here, that I am an author and reviews are part of my career. We authors RELY on reviews from readers to help sell our books.

And then people like John Locke come along.

If you are anyone who reads a lot, or watches Survivor, or is in the publishing industry, you know who John Locke is and what he did... for the rest of you... here's what he did:

He was a struggle author. Self-published. Couldn't sell many books. Ended up on a reality TV show. Survivor. and WON. Now... he didn't need the money, so he decided instead of spending it, he was going to invest it in his failing writing career.

In less then a month, he was New York Times #1 bestseller.

On the heels of Amanda Hocking he stunned the publishing world, by being the 2nd person to become "A Kindle Millionaire".

How?

Why?

He didn't sell a single book.

No.

He hired a man. A computer hacker. To write 1 million fake reviews, and post them all on Amazon on his books.

That's what he did with the money he won on the Survivor reality show. He paid a hacker, to hack Amazon, create 1 million FAKE Amazon accounts, and post 1 million FAKE reviews on his books.

For a few months, he was on every TV talk show. Because NO ONE in self-publishing history had ever sold a million copies of their book. NO ONE. EVER. And he did it, in one week.

And then, BECAUSE of the 1 million FAKE reviews, suddenly he had sales. A lot of them. Within 30 days of posting those 1 million fake reviews, he earned $3million dollars.

And set of every Amazon red flag... Amazon started researching... and they saw it.

Amazon sued John Locke, and New York Times sued the hacker and John Locke. The hacker went to prison and John Locke had to pay insane amounts of fines.

And then, in June 2015 Amazon did the unthinkable... because of what John Locke did, Amazon rewrote their algorithm, to track author's ispns, match it to FB, and then... DELETE every review on every book, written by anyone on their FaceBook account.

In the blink of an eye, books that had thousands of REAL, HONEST reviews from fans who followed the author on FaceBook... vanished. Millions of book reviews were deleted off of millions of self-pubbed books, June 2015. In some cases the books themselves and or the author's accounts were deleted.

Self published authors, promote their books on FaceBook to their fans who follow their FaceBook pages... but thanks to scam artist John Locke, today, Amazon tracks the authors' ispns, matches to their FB accounts, cross references it with the ispn of their followers, and deletes any review that authors fans wrote, because according to Amazon, if they follow you on FB they are relatives.

THAT's the power of a fake review. The long term side effects we are now seeing because one author decided to game the system.

In 2010 to 2013, it was easy to sell self-pubbed books, because it was easy to get reviews. But since John Locke's fake review scam and Amazon's 2015 response to it, now ALL self published authors struggle to get book sales, because it's next to impossible for any book review to get approved by Amazon, due to so many self pubbed authors relying on their FB fans to buy their books.

Which again, brings us back to this...

Dee from Cape Cod wrote:
Eric wrote:
ken-admin wrote:... the message I took from Dee's post was that being open and transparent to the world at large was allowing the likes of WA to use information gained from that transparency against SBI.

Yes, Eric, that's my concern. Since the other day, when I discovered how our forums were being used against us, I've had the awful feeling that we're all feeding the vultures.

It would be one thing if our forums were still private, as they used to be. But they're not. And try as I might, I can't conceive of anything good that can come from putting what (IMHO) should be private, internal SBI communications out there for public consumption.


As per Amazon's very detailed blog post on the matter of fake reviews... if the author ASKS the reader for a review and Amazon can prove it, the review is classified as fake.

And so, by Amazon's standards on reviews, if Ken asks for a review,, any review resulting from that, no matter how honest, is still deemed as fake, because the reviewer wrote it by request instead of deciding of their own volition to do so.

As Dee and Eric state, no, it's not bad that Ken asked for reviews, no it's not bad that people are writing reviews at his request, but in the long run, I can't see how it'll be anything but bad, because people like WA are going to use that as fuel...

The issue here is, yes, WA is writing fake reviews, HOWEVER... they are NOT publicly asking people to do so!

And so when people search for info on WA, they are not going to find any posts made by WA asking for members to write reviews.

On the other hand, when people search for SBI, they can, do, will, and are finding Ken's posts asking members to write reviews, and so, while his intentions are good, they will be used against him, and in fact, they already are!

Which is why, as I had said before on one of the review request threads... I don't feel comfortable, writing a review when I'm approached by the person seeking said review. Not SBI or any one else.

I used to be one of Amazon's top reviews. I used to have a review blog that I reviewed, books, movies, and products on. And I stopped doing it because people started coming to me asking for reviews. I did it with books I had read, movies I had watched, products I had used... no one was asking for those reviews. I don't mind writing reviews for things I've used and they helped me... but when people say: "Here's I'll give you a free bottle of my product if you give me a 5 star review on Amazon"... I'm not comfortable with that. I am not comfortable with someone asking me to give them a review. It makes me feel like I'm being pushed into a corner and forced to give a good review. Maybe I like their product and would in fact want to give it a good review, but what if I don't? How can I write a poor or even a bad review of their product, when they came to me requesting a review? It puts me in an uncomfortable position and doesn't allow me to write a fully unbiased review, knowing that they are expecting the review.

So, in the end, while I love SBI, and I do actually talk about it quite a lot on my site, (I've over 100 pages in my series on "Web Building For Authors Using SBI"), but still I do shy away from writing an actual review and I worry about WA's long term backlash that will no doubt come as a result of the request for 500 reviews to be written.

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