It’s weird, I know, but I enjoy spam e-mails. They provide insights into the human psyche, revealing what people want and fear, and how other people try to exploit those desires and fears. I have a throwaway e-mail address that I use for signing up to things that will get me spammed. It is a free and easy way to study humanity.
We are now in the Age of the Memeocene in which things are oversimplified and vapid. It is an age in which society recognizes simplistic imitation more than substance. Not surprisingly, the snake oil merchants have adapted to the times. What they sell and how they sell it has adapted to exploit our age of pretending to solve problems with empty platitudes.
The most resent trend in the spam I have been getting (your results may vary) are what I call “Multi-Spam Marketing” scams.
The Multi-Spam Marketing (MSM) spam are all basically the same. They feature one posing, bleached-toothed person after another shouting “I WILL MAKE YOU RICH!” and “NO, I WILL MAKE YOU RICHER!” They all promise to help you earn 6 or 7 figures because they (of course) have earned 6 or 7 figures. Their stories are similar. Each was a ridiculously successful money-maker for some famous corporation. They quit that gravy train because they figured out the secret of how to make it rich on the Web earning passive income by selling “experiences.” (More on that in a minute.) Now they want to help make YOU rich!” All you need to do is subscribe to their e-mail newsletter.
Now, call me a cynic, but if any of these people had found the secret to making 6 or 7 figures in passive income, they would not be telling ANYONE much less openly advertising to tell the secret to anyone willing to pay. The other oddity is that there is not a product being sold here. They are selling online “experiences.” That is why this is Multi-Spam Marketing not the Multi-Level Marketing of old. In MLM, you bought product and tried to resell that product at a profit. There was an actual tangible product, such as Avon cosmetics, Tupperware food storage, Amway this and that, and so on. In MSM the product is more nebulous.
The MSM gimmick is that making money is not about products anymore, because Amazon, eBay, and other such sites have the market cornered on selling products. The new get rich quick scheme is to sell an “experience” to your customers. This isn’t completely daft. The bricks-and-mortar retail world has realized that to compete with the online retailers, it has to offer customers an experience. If you don’t, then bloggers write poems about how empty is your mall. So the MSM purveyors want to convince you that you can sell an experience and make money. Convince is the operative word, because the MSM salesperson wants to get your e-mail address so he or she can send you constant “motivational” or “uplifting” messages to convince you that you can sell experiences.
What the MSM spammers are selling is spam itself. The spam comes in the guise of a formula cloaked in a suggestion of expertise. These bleached-toothed persons of whom you have never heard sell themselves as the experts on making money. They fill your inbox with breathless tales of how they have helped people just like you come to understand their potential to sell themselves. They tell you how you too can learn to feel good about yourself and start to sell yourself to make money. But you need to buy their Web seminars and subscribe to their e-mail lists and in various ways stay in constant contact with them.
The MSM spammers don’t sell many books. Books are so 20th century. Books are product. This is the 21st century. Experiences are the thing now: videos, online chats, Webinars. They want to fill your Inbox every day with experiences. You need to experience the bleached-toothed experts’ sales pitches and feel-good inspiration on how you can be just like them. They are the 21st century version of the snake oil salesmen.
That is what it all comes down to: they are trying to convince you to become one of them or at least similar to them. If you subscribe to their e-mail lists you quickly learn that the multi-spam marketers are grooming you to be a spammer. They call it “selling your story” or “selling your gift.” They are teaching you in their spam and virtual hand holding how to write effective spam to convince others that you have a “special gift” for which they will pay you money to hear more about.
On what your “special gift” is, the multi-spam merchants are incredibly vague. But the multi-spammers, through multiple spam, will help you find it. Just send them several thousand dollars for a year’s worth of coaching (spam). Seriously, the price tags of the multi-spammers’ services range between $4,000-$8,000 a year (if you take the discount of paying a year in advance). The promise is that after a year or so of this coaching you will be able to spam others and have them send you thousands of dollars to share your “special gift” with them. No product is involved other than e-mails, Web seminars, and the occasional e-book.
Now, I am all about finding your calling. There is no greater blessing than knowing who you are and what you have to offer to others. I am also not against the idea of someone earning money by helping others find their calling. There is, however, something about blending new age fluff with get-rich-quick marketing hype that seems to go against genuine self-discovery. Could someone be helped by spending their life savings on online coaching? Perhaps. To me at least, that’s a tough sell. I suspect a program of self-reflection and meditation, all free, will yield better results. If your calling is to be a writer, or a life coach, or whatever, learn by doing. Better than buying snake oil.
Excellent post! Keep up the good writing.