Think Bigger

Why you should never, ever call yourself an internet marketer

I tweeted this recently and got a ton of confused responses.

pasted image 09

“Aren’t you an internet marketer, Ramit?”


People typically think of an internet marketer as someone who sells an ebook, uses email funnels, and writes long sales pages. They also think of cheesy flashing yellow highlights, fake testimonials, low-quality products, “get rich quick” photos.

Do I write long copy and use an email funnel? Yes.

But our company is not an internet marketing company (our mission: “we build no-BS personal development brands that deliver real results”).

The difference? The “results” part. We actually care about the impact we have and if people find success using our stuff. I want to share three stories about why that matters, why I never, ever call myself an internet marketer — and why I believe you should avoid giving yourself the label, too.

1. Internet marketers brag about their money and lack of effort

Years ago, I took a co-worker to an event filled with internet marketers (mistake #1). As we sat down, I told him, “Watch how people introduce themselves. They’ll talk about two things: how much money they make and how little they work.” He said, “No way. Who talks like that?”

I said: “Just watch.”

True to form, as we went around the table, the introductions went like this. “Hi, I’m Mike, I run a XXXX company. I made $500,000 last year and I work about two days a week. Trying to see if I can cut it down to one! Ha ha ha!”

I stared straight ahead and wondered why I was in that room. I couldn’t wait to leave and take a shower.

I have trouble understanding people whose only goal in life is to make money and work less. If you want to do it, fine — but it’s not why I’m on this planet.

In an episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” Norm MacDonald asked Jerry Seinfeld, “Could you ever be friends with someone whose jokes you don’t like?”

Jerry thought about it for a good 10 seconds, then replied:


If you think about something you truly care about — raising your kids, for example — and you saw someone who simply tried to cut as many corners as possible, could you be friends with them? Could you respect them?

I feel the same way about people who build bad products. I pour my heart and soul into building our products — and so does my team.

We’ve spent YEARS building things that we eventually scrapped because it wasn’t up to our standards. Because we didn’t think that product would be as helpful as it could be (even if it would make us millions of dollars). So when someone slaps together something that’s low-quality, something that they know doesn’t get results, and happily sells it, that offends me.

You can tell this is true since there are virtually 1,000x more blog posts on marketing and conversion and upsells than on creating great products. Especially in internet marketing.

2. They plagiarize

Internet marketers love to steal from others. In fact, there’s an industry term — “swipe file” — that normalizes stealing!

I recently called out Jason Treu, a so-called “executive coach,” for directly plagiarizing me. After I reached out asking him to explain himself, he blocked me on Twitter. Eventually, I decided to send an email about it to a few of my friends. Specifically, around 800,000 of them. From that email:

So some guy ripped off my amazing article from December 2015? I checked and compared the two articles. Yup. Total plagiarism.

This actually happens way more than you know. I hardly ever write about this kind of inside baseball.

I COULD have just shrugged and moved on. But I didn’t. I wanted to call him out by name — and email this to you — because it’s important to stand up for yourself when people take advantage of you.

At some point in life, you’re going to get bullied. Someone is going to try to take advantage of you. I want you to know when to fight back.

Once he realized he was having a very bad day, he deleted the post. Actually, he took down his entire blog and went private on Twitter. Here, you can read the entire email I sent.

Sadly, this is very common. The IM industry is rife with people who openly copy others’ property. Even crazier, many don’t even think there’s anything wrong with it. They shrug and say, “Well, I made a couple edits…it’s fine. Everyone does it.”

Here’s another example.

Original copy from my Dream Job sales page:

pasted image 014


“Swiped” copy in this “foundational” sales page:

pasted image 037

My favorite part is how, later on that page, they talk about “integrity”:

pasted image 024

pasted image 030

This company supposedly teaches “the foundation” of growing a software business.

It is a complete scam.

(And yes, they admitted plagiarizing my material.)

True integrity means you create world-class products with original ideas, techniques, and frameworks, like invisible scripts, barriers, Big Wins, the Briefcase Technique, and the Demand Matrix. It means you have concrete, proven results and offer a money-back guarantee. It means you actively discourage the wrong people from joining your courses (in our case, we prohibit people with credit card debt from joining our flagship courses, which costs us millions of dollars a year). It means you have technical knowledge, like personal finance, psychology, and business. And it means you’re recognized by people who matter. It doesn’t have to be The Today Show, The New York Times, or The Wall Street Journal. But someone who’s used your material and can leave honest reviews of it.

Do I sound too self-righteous for your tastes? I don’t care. I’m personally offended when people copy the craft that I’ve spent over 15 years developing.

This happens over and over. There are some very good people with very good ethics who consider themselves internet marketers — about eight people. In my experience, the other 90% of internet marketers employ questionable ethics and sometimes commit outright fraud.

I can share more stories if you want.

3. They make empty promises

Finally, you can tell a lot about someone by their heroes. If you’re learning from John Doe, the guy selling an ebook about how to make ebooks so you can teach others how to make ebooks…find better heroes.

There are some genuine reasons why you find disproportionately low-quality material in most internet marketing:

  • Low barrier to entry. “I failed at life, so I’m going to become a life coach”
  • Big promises of riches attract get-rich-quick seekers, who then employ increasingly dubious tactics to make money
  • Low industry regulation

Here’s one example — a coach who posts photos like this on her Instagram account.


pasted image 03

What you may not know is that this coach joined our program then went delinquent on her payments to us. When we first contacted her, she wrote, “P.S. I hope you received my previous email, I’m not a person who doesn’t pay back debts.” After we contacted her again, she stopped replying.

Yet she continues to promote her coaching services to others.

I see this more than you can imagine. Do you see how unethical this is? It’s personally offensive that someone with few skills would sell a business coaching program when they can’t even pay their own bills.

The worst part is, most people can’t distinguish between legitimate coaches and the bad ones. In fact, there are a lot of blogs that look more beautiful than ours! How are you supposed to know who to trust?

That’s why I encourage you to be diligent and do your homework. Not just with others — do it with me! Google around, study our successful students, follow me on Twitter/Instagram to see if you agree with (and even like) me. If you don’t, you should unsubscribe!

That’s the difference between internet marketers and the rest of us. An internet marketer doesn’t welcome transparency. They don’t care who is giving them money. And they don’t actually care if you implement their material or not. Internet marketers just want to do the least amount of work for the most amount of money. And they’ll plagiarize, swindle, and lie to get there.

I’ll never associate myself with people who do that. And neither should you.

You Might Also Like

Think Bigger

The hidden hypocrisy of wanting “more”

If you could have anything in the world, what would it be? Turns out it’s harder to answer this than you’d think.

Think Bigger

How to make big money from tiny lists

Four entrepreneurs share stories of running successful business launches with small email lists. Find out how they did it.

Think Bigger

Product launches: What makes a successful launch anyway?

Breaking a revenue goal isn’t always indicative of a successful product launch. Here’s how to measure “success” in your product launch plan.

There Are 73 Comments


Hi Ramit,

I totally agree with what you said in this blog post.

But how can you call , “The foundation” a scam.If you are mentioning about foundation by Dane Maxwell, which is about starting a Saas business, I don’t think you are right.

I have gone through some of their material and it is really good. They have so many case studies of successful students and they are featured in mixergy and so many other top blogs.What proof you have, to prove that they are a scam? I don’t necessarly agree or disagree with you in this case and you have more resources than me to find out truth about something online.But just because you are successful doesn’t mean that you can call out others as a scam unless you have verifiable proof to back it up.

I hope you publish this comment and give a reply, unlike others who run with their tail between their legs when they see comments like mine.

Arkamitra Roy

Didn’t Ramit just point out the near verbatim messaging on their website?

Ramit Sethi

I think this is a better question for you: Why would you trust anyone who willfully plagiarizes someone’s entire sales page?

As for proof, I have quite a bit, including screenshots and email conversations. Have a nice day.

How about calling onself a “Digital Marketer” ?
Thanks Ramit. Your type is rare on the internet. Your products are so useful that you can even use it in real life physical businesses.

This summarizes why I pivoted my business idea from online courses to providing services: I want to have an impact. For me, it seems like my best option is to go out and do the work I can do for other companies while building a business that can scale, grow, and help more people than I could on my own.

Building great courses that have a big impact is HARD. You’ve done a great job of it, Ramit. I can’t say the same for a lot of others out there – it’s been hit or miss, mostly miss, when I’ve purchases other people’s courses.

Thankfully we don’t all have to get great at this one thing. There are other options. You’re right, the key is not being another internet marketer who wants to have as much free time as possible to post lifestyle pics on Instagram all day long.

Ramit Sethi

You tell me. What are the pros/cons? How could you find the answer to your own question?

With all due respect, I have to disagree with you. Are there internet marketers like the ones you described in your post? Absolutely. And I agree with everything you said about them. But not all internet marketers are like that. I would say that anyone who primarily sells online rather than offline is an internet marketer. That includes you and me. But we don’t behave that way or have those goals.

Also, the concept of a swipe file – as originally conceived – is a great one. It’s meant for one to study copy that’s worked really well and then *emulate* it, not copy it, for your own marketing.

You may be right to not call yourself an internet marketer and not recommend that others do given the reputation that the types you described have given that title. But I do not think it’s fair to color everyone who markets online and calls themselves internet marketers with the brush you used.

Ramit Sethi

Hi Peggy, thanks for your comment. I respect your view. I just happen to disagree after running a blog for over 13 years, selling digital products, and seeing many examples of exactly what I’ve named in this post happen over and over again. I agree it’s risky to paint an entire industry with a broad brush, but when you’ve repeated bad-faith actions over and over again, it becomes undeniable.

I’ve called out other predatory industries including MLMs and Big Banks. On the other hand, there are some incredible industries that truly help people that I’ve publicly supported.

I hope this helps clarify. I completely understand if you still disagree with me, but I wanted to recognize your comment and respond to it. Thanks again.

Re: Why would you trust anyone who willfully plagiarizes someone’s entire sales page?

Because, other things being equal, I don’t care if the copy is original or not. I just care that the product it aims to make me buy can satisfy my needs.

The fact that someone uses someone else’s copy doesn’t strongly correlate with a bad product.

&, as far as I can get, a copied copy doesn’t damage the original creator.

I’m willing to change my mind completely, though.

Yep. I call this the hacker mindset. I prefer the “plant, grow, harvest” mindset. If all you do is try to get, get, get…. quick, quick, quick….. you end up with nothing. But our culture tends not to encourage longer-term thinking.

So in conclusion: the difference between you and an internet marketer is that you achieve results, whereas internet marketers don’t. You’re more legitimate, and you really care about the products you put out and the people you impact. However, I don’t really see why that makes you specifically not an internet marketer.

I get that you don’t want to associate yourself with the mass of other people out there on the internet who may or may not be legitimate, but if you think about it, you’re literally marketing your products on the internet – hence the term “internet marketer”. So doesn’t that make you, by definition, an internet marketer?

Or perhaps, you disagree with the definition of “internet marketer”. I’d love to hear your thoughts either way.

Hey Ramit,

100% with you on this.

To continue from your point of always hearing about how ‘I made $500000 in 2 minutes 33 seconds’…do you ever notice how the sales pages of these guys are literally all about that too?

They don’t bother to attempt to emotionally connect with their audience, they sell them a bunch of ‘do these 3 steps and be a millionaire tomorrow’ PROFIT PROFIT PROFIT.

P.S. I loved your ‘Life coach or Winnie the Pooh’ video. Drop the idea of a podcast (seriously the emails are great) and please make more things like this.

sunil bhatia

I completely agree with you about results. Ultimately its the result for which someone pays an expert. If it was just sleazy sales material and then getting people to buy without a result guarantee – then such materials catch the proverbial dust on a hard drive. I have been through many such ebooks and courses and completely agree with you.

My wife and I just started thinking about starting up a Digital Marketing Agency and be on the likes of you and Neil Patel (our heros). But then customers push back and start comparing ourselves with the cheap SEO and other such service providers. I think I finally have an answer. We are certain of our skills and I think instead of selling them these services (which everyone else is selling) – we will start to sell results and stand by our claim.

Thank you for this well-timed post.

Appreciate your work buddy and please write more and inspire us all.

Hi Ramit,

Thank you for your reply.I just can’t believe foundation is a scam, their website is still up
and taking in students.

I think it is better not to trust anyone online.Just implement what is learned and check if it gives
any results.If the results are successful, then keep following that source.

A recurring trait I’ve observed among scammy people and groups is an ability to compartmentalize different areas of one’s life to better allow cognitive dissonance.

And yet, nothing happens in a vacuum (the classic “if he cheats with you, he’ll cheat on you”). So yeah, I absolutely lose trust in a product when I see stolen copy. Values seep into everything a person does.

Interestingly, one of the first questions I ask people before I decide to work with them these days is whether they’ve invested in a product development team. It’s a subtle flag I’ve learned to look for in business, similar to watching how a date speaks to the waiter.

So if you refuse to use the term internet marketer, what do you prefer to call yourself then?

I love the way you have sharpen your personal voice over the last couple of years, and the to the point no BS approach. keep going!

Wow. I’m shocked about The Foundation. I thought they were one of the good guys.

I discovered them because of Pat Flynn… I don’t know what you think of him, but I thought of him as a guy of integrity. I assume you do, since you’ve been on his show.

My point is: Sometimes people can REALLY fool you (i.e., they got on Pat’s show).


Wow Ramit, You mean all those push the big red easy button and drown in cash like Scooge McDuck IM offers are phony? Glad I read this before I tempted to buy that massive Riches in PLR program advertised on the Warrior forum. Doing the math, I just wasn’t sure that $9.97 package, which incidentally was going up to $12.47 in 6 minutes, would get me that lakeside house and lamborghini the guy in the photos had.

Yes it does matter. A) if you are copying from someone, why shouldn’t the people go to the people you are copying? B) if you can’t take the time to write your own copy I doubt your offering is that great. I’ve akways felt that way – it’s all about making more and working less. Thanks Ramit!

I’ve been through The Foundation (and implemented their material) and can tell you with 99% certainty that they are a scam. The other 1% is for the case that they are willfully ignorant about how ineffective their teachings are.

I went through The Foundation in March 2015. I’m writing this because people need to know the truth. I’ve been a silent accomplice too long.

Here’s why I believe (after going through The Foundation) that they are a scam. For $5000, you get to:

1) Cold call hundreds of business owners that have zero interest in talking to you about software.

2) Convince them to write you a check for “exclusive early access” to said vaporware (it’s called pre-selling guys! Soooo cool).

3) Get on Upwork to hire a developer for your enterprise level SaaS with your $2500 budget (lol) from the business owners that have faith in you for faith’s sake.

4) Cry to yourself when you realize you can’t afford to make the features you promised them.

5) Have an “oh shit” moment when you see all the other freemium SaaS softwares in 9/10 small business niches out there. Devs, VCs, and investors figured out back in the early 2010s that SaaS was insanely profitable and promptly went to fill every profitable niche under the sun. “We’re Uber for Plumbers/Movers/Beauty Salons/Pet Sitters!”

Heavily funded, investor-backed competition means you won’t be able to charge the $50-200/mo. they promise you in the Foundation.


6) Hand back the pre-sale money to them like an ethical person and silently figure out what you do now.

7) Blame yourself for “not executing well enough” and refuse to ask for a refund on principal. Other people did it earlier and it worked for them, so YOU’RE the problem… right?

8) Run into the founders of The Foundation at a digital marketing event. Realize that neither of them are involved with The Foundation any longer when you ask them what they’ve been working on lately.

9) Silently lose your shit while “thanking” them for creating the course like a good person.

10) Write this post once someone reveals their fraud while shouting at your computer screen “I F***ING KNEW IT!”

I can tell you 100% certainty that no one that I KNEW in my class continued with SaaS. They all pivoted towards copywriting, paid advertising online (like me), or went back to their jobs. SMH.


The Foundation presents outdated material that didn’t work for every person I knew in the March 2015 class (right before they **closed**). Get a job cold calling small businesses for a local SEO/ marketing agency and you’ll learn more than if you took The Foundation. And you’ll be PAID for it.

Rachel Kersten

Ramit, It’s not nice to be a bully, and It’s not appropriate to be mean. You and your editorial team are typically so much classier and always anonymize examples. Please show some leadership and anonymize the screenshots.

I totally agree, Ramit. It’s so hard to tell when you’re starting out. I wrote a really thorough blog post about how my first two business coaches totally ripped me off and why, because of my fear, I was still totally blind to it when it happened the second time (to a clip of $1,500 per month).

Same thing as James, here. I met somebody who knew one of the Foundation guys in college and took the course. She said most of the people who went through it just tried to start their own mini “Foundation” and it turned into a pyramid scheme of sorts. You only get taught how to start the business they ran. 🙁

totally agree. is marketing important? sure. but to cut corners and sell empty promises is irresponsible and reprehensible.

interestingly, this is why i left the fitness industry: +80% of what you see online is pure shit, even from so-called “experts,” “athletic trainers,” and/or “celebrity trainers.”

Hi Ramit, I agree with you that the “IM” and make money online sub-set especially is very shady, but I think there’s much less original copy and concepts out there. Basically every angle for selling self-improvement, biz opportunity and so on have been used countless times before, if you track the history back to the beginning, close to a century ago. Are you going to say you’ve never borrowed some timeless direct response and mail order wisdoms, nearly word for word, like the restaurant advantage starving crowd, which Gary Halpert used, and probably copied from someone before him.

Even the part that IM copied from you is strikingly familiar to the tale of two young men classic Wall Street journal sales letter. So how much original copy is really out there? Once you know the industry and history well enough, and have read widely enough, it all basically sounds exactly the same…


I try to avoid calling myself an “Internet Marketer” outside of an IM forum I’ve been a member of for a long time, and for the same reasons you spell out. Even there, I find myself trying to make the distinction between using the net as a collection of marketing tools, and selling the fantasy of easy online riches.

Outside, in the real world, I won’t identify as an IM because I believe that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it might no be a duck – but that’s the smart way to bet. And I don’t want to be mistaken for a duck.

Ramit, I’m loving how you are making me look in the mirror at this whole ‘life coaching’ thing. I personally hate the term ‘life coach’ because I see so many people in my industry who are shit f*cking coaches and couldn’t hold a judgement free space if their life depended on it.

There is a LOT of positive spin in our industry and just trying to use gratitude for what we already have without actually being willing to look in the mirror at where we have fucked up so we can remedy it is half the problem. I’m a huge fan of being grateful for what I already have, but I’m not a fan of when it’s used to ‘spiritually bypass’ a real problem that we could solve if only we were willing to look in the freakin’ mirror.

There is SO much of what you stand for that is a big fucking HECK YES for me. The entire ‘life coaching’, ‘business coaching’, ‘online coaching’, ‘personal development’ and, as you’ve mentioned, ‘internet marketing’ industry would be better if everyone was willing to sit on your email list for a few months, read every email and look in the mirror and resolve whatever bothers them about what you’ve written.

Thanks for poking and prodding. You’re impacting this woman who is looking in the mirror every time your words trigger me.

Yes Internet marketer sounds scammy. Just like the book titles “Think and grow rich”, “the four hour work week”, or “I will teach you to be rich” 🙂

I’ve self identified as an Internet Marketer for more than a decade AND I agree, there’s a lot of crap and nonsense and outright stealing in the industry.

I’m clapping and hooting approval for this post. I LOVE that you called a spade a spade. I’d go public too if I had tried to solve something privately to no success – actually, I’m pretty sure I HAVE at a few points in time.

Harsh as the message may be for some to take in, it’s truth that needs to be shared.

That’s just bunk. You’re comparing a a copy thief to a poor man stealing a loaf of bread to feed their family. The man stealing bread isn’t turning around to promise he can teach other’s how to run a successful bread store after all.

Ramit Sethi

Check out the video embedded in the post above where I show you how to evaluate a course. Based on the video, what’s your analysis?

Ramit Sethi

If “internet marketing” was a generic term that meant “person who markets stuff on the internet,” then the definition would fit. But the term has a very specific connotation, which anyone in the online marketing industry knows. I mentioned sales funnels and long copy at the top of the post, but there are other ways to define IM. However, without getting into a long and detailed explanation of what IM is or is not, I wrote this for the people who are already familiar with the industry. I want to make sure they have a realistic perspective on this industry, and what building an ethical business is. Thank you for reading.

Ramit Sethi

Agreed. I’ve tried to focus on sharing a long-term view for 13+ years (in personal finance, careers, professional relationships, business, and self development). I love the community we’ve built of similar long-term thinkers.

Ramit Sethi

I appreciate the dialogue, but if you’re beginning your argument from such an ethically compromised position that you cannot see what’s wrong with plagiarizing someone’s work, this discussion is moot. Creating new ideas is hard, expensive, and most importantly, it’s our art. Someone who plagiarizes has demonstrated that they have low integrity. If you think that doesn’t seep into the rest of their business — including the product, which you somehow believe will be ethically isolated from the complete lack of integrity in plagiarizing — then you should examine your own ethical barometer. I wish you the best.

A little off-topic, but when you called out the guy that plagiarized you, aren’t you giving him what he wants? He’s getting free publicity and now people know his name. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Any publicity is good publicity”, which I’m sure applies double when you’re an unsuccessful nobody.

Thank you so much for writing this Ramit. Sometimes it feels like this space is just a big vacuum of marketing… and it can be hard to pick out the bullshitters from the ones who actually care and know what they’re doing.

Great article Ramit. When someone steals something (which is what this is) whether it’s physical or intellectual property, they should be called out, publicised and punished. If I stole a piece of machinery to help me make my business more profitable, its theft so why not when someone steals a piece of your intellectual property? If I was convicted of said theft, I’d also be publicly named and shamed, and rightfully so! If there’s no punishment/retribution then why would anyone stop doing this? What advice do you suggest to people when this (unfortunately but inevitably) happens?

I am 100% with James here. James and I were in the same Foundation class, and also continued to stay in touch for several years afterwards in a mastermind together. Although I have to admit that James made it further in the course that I did, I agree that the material is outdated and no one in our class actually built a SAAS. How’s that for results? And the whole plagiarism thing… how unethical. If I was one of the founders of The Foundation I’m not sure how I’d be able to sleep at night.

On the other hand, I am a ZTL student with Ramit and cannot say enough positive things about him and his material. Ramit is the real deal, and I am a fan for life. Ramit – Thank you for creating world-class material, always operating under strong ethics, and just being an all-around cool dude. I respect and appreciate all of your hard work.

To anyone thinking about joining The Foundation (not sure if they’re even open anymore?) – don’t do it! Look into Ramit’s material and you will be in good hands.

Amen. This is so true. It’s so easy these days to put filter on stuff and tweak things into sounding better than they are, or just simply to steal from others. Authenticity is what this world needs more of. To walk your talk and stand 100% behind what you’re selling. Thanks for your awesome work!

Hi Ramit,

I have no issue with your assessment of internet marketers, and if someone is more interested in effectively scamming its customers and ‘competition’, then I have no time for them either.

It strikes me however that a couple of your recent emails/blog posts have been somewhat at odds with the Tim Ferris model, or at least the model presented in 4hWW. When I finalise my product, I would hope that it and one or two more will more than replace my existing income, allowing me to spend way more time with my kids and a lot less dealing with nitpicking timesheets and ‘i’ crossing.

Is that something you disagree with?


Mihai Sabadac

Hey Ramit,
First of all, thanks for the advices, not just from this article, but from all the emails I receive and the articles you and your team write.
Second, I want you to ask about the courses offered by Anik Singal:
After this “checklist” it’s half / half, I would say…and I’m not sure also about the information about a person that I can find in the Internet, how much can I rely on them.

You’re not generalizing or stereotyping AT ALL.

Here’s another annoying think that internet marketers do:

They create fake controversy and click bait for attention.

You are right to call out those that have copied your crafted message and i get the point you make about Internet Marketers and their questionable integrity.
But I would not call The Foundation Program a scam. I invested in the program and the materials and training were of a high standard both in production value and content. I benefitted greatly from the mentoring, coaching and community support even to this day the connections and friendships I have from being part of that program is priceless.
The ideas in the program inspired me to launch ideas and businesses 2 of which are doing exceptionally well.
Are there terrible products making false promises out there yes too many to count. Is the Foundation program a scam In my experience and that of many others it has spawned countless entrepreneurs that have gone on to building great software and service based businesses around the world.

If only Tim Ferriss didn’t promise making money in short amounts of time… then he wouldn’t be a lowly internet marketer and Ramit could hang out with him.

How did they rip you off, specifically?

No challenge. Just curiosity.

James Smith

Damn, I can’t disagree and I can’t agree either. I learned my lesson this year and dropped out the foundation 4 months in.

I think Dane & Andy are great guys but dang this is deep…..
I was on the verge of destroying my life at 22, that sales letter changed my life, I never got any real results in both the $1k program and the foundation.

It’s a mindset course. It’s teaching you the skillsets that matter.

Even if you build a software company, it still needs traffic.

You can learn how to generate traffic for 1/4 of the price and generate customers way easier.

Ramit, you are one of the rarest people on earth because you say what nobody else wants to. I do it too by calling people out on the carpet, but it isn’t given as much credence when you don’t have a huge platform backing you up.

This kind of behavior you talked about is unacceptable but so commonplace no one bats an eye.

I actually just got off the phone with a leading podcast booking agency. They set up an introductory call to discuss if their services were right for me. She called five minutes late, then immediately told me she had another call in 10 minutes so this had to be quick. Then she proceeded to “uh huh” me to death with a condescending attitude and complete disrespect for what I had to say. She also asked a question I already answered. I was appalled because I would NEVER treat a potential client like this. Based on this short interaction, I wouldn’t pay them a dime.

This utter unprofessionalism and disregard is everywhere. You’re so right in that it’s up you and you ALONE to do your due diligence in checking someone out, no matter how big or successful their business seems.

If a “professional” doesn’t respect you, they won’t respect you any more if you give them money. Actions speak way louder than words or inspirational Instagram posts.

I totally agree. These people bragging about how little they work, are offensive to me too. I’ve worked all my life — over 50 years now. Have I wasted my life on adding value to my profession and community? Just think. I could have been on vacation for most of those years — acording to these arrogant pups!

Taylor Welch

The video is great, all sound principles… we just met with Jay (who he referenced in the video) at his office in Redondo Beach. The only thing (IMO) is posting full first and last names on marketing material can sometimes leave the client / customer exposed and they’ll be constantly messaged or harassed on FB or emailed etc.

I love using full first and last names when you can but the “social” set up we have (using Facebook) can a bit violating if the person is getting hit up by hundreds of people asking for their opinions — especially if you’re running lots of traffic.

My only 2 cents 😉

I think the awesome thing about this article is it’ll (hopefully) clean up some of the industry. There is a special place in hell for people who rip off and steal the blood, sweat, tears and investments of another persons work and pass it off as their own.

Yes the name internet marketer has a terrible stigma, comparable to a telemarketer. Careful what you call yourself and your business. Good article and good point.

Melanie Van Orden

Andy and Dane, you are either clueless or think you can pull the wool over everyone’s eyes by posting this “apology.” You made money off of your plagiarism and delayed taking it down until Ramit threatened legal action. (I know because I was working for Ramit at the time and saw it all happen from the inside.) And now your “apology” is attempting to spin things to make Ramit look unreasonable. You have proven, yet again, why you are not to be trusted. If you don’t understand why what you just posted is a spin game and not an “apology,” then there may be no hope for you to be able to reform. If you want to get in a battle with Ramit, don’t come off looking like fools by saying you are “apologizing.”

Melanie – In Ramit’s article, he references Jason, who copied Ramit last month and then blocked him on Twitter.

Next he references us and calls us a scam.

We had friends reaching out, thinking this happened this month.

We apologized to Ramit 4 years ago when this happened.

And we apologized a year later, again. Both were sincere. And still are.

None of this makes our mistake ‘right.’

We fucked up. It’s embarrassing and humiliating. As it should be.

Our post felt important to share so our friends know this happened in 2013 and how we responded.

Melanie Van Orden

Andy/Dane – Let’s examine your sincere apology. You cast aspersions on Ramit for not responding to your attempts to apologize publicly 4 years ago. Why would you need Ramit’s permission to publicly apologize? Ramit hadn’t done anything wrong. You could’ve come clean publicly, apologized, and left it at that. But you wouldn’t do it because Ramit refused to respond to you. I wonder why? Maybe because the only reason you would’ve been willing to publicly apologize is if Ramit would’ve absolved/forgiven you first. That way you could squirm out of the vast majority of the negative repercussions of what you did. It speaks volumes that you failed to apologize publicly at the time and are blaming Ramit’s lack of response as the reason why you didn’t. You wanted to benefit from your theft and then save face after the fact. Not truly “apologize.” I’m sure Ramit could see your true motives from 100 miles away when you belatedly sent your “apologies.” You were just trying to use him again to save your own behinds. I’m not surprised that he didn’t respond to you, because you had already shown that you weren’t truly sincere. Actions speak louder than words.

Oh my goodness you snowflakes are so painfully naive. Of course The Foundation is going to tread lightly with a public apology — you were threatening legal action. We live in realville, dummies. From a legal perspective (since YOU took it there), Dane had nothing to gain from spilling his guts and praying for mercy. Ramit wouldn’t even return his emails; obviously extending grace wasn’t on the table. Ironically, now that you crossed the line into libel with your “it’s a scam” declaration, they have legal firepower back at you and your internet marketing company. The Foundation was an outstanding experience. The people who stuck with it — even though it was really hard (duh… starting a business is really hard) — are some of the most amazing people I know. And despite what someone said up there in the comments, there are bazillions of niche SaaS businesses out there waiting for you to build them. Another thing, I think it’s hilarious that Ramit’s mission is “…no-BS personal development brands blah blah blah…” when the “No B.S.” part was directly stolen from Dan Kennedy! Pot… Kettle… Black… etc.

I think this is where you get in to the grey area of online marketing/internet marketing/demand generation /etc.

Many work using the same tools, and they are just “names” but most businesses would never hire an internet marketer, they hire an online marketer.

Melanie van orden

Ramit already had screen shots and an admission of guilt in their email communication with him. A public apology wouldn’t have changed how guilty they would look in a court of law. They already admitted it to him in writing. (See their screenshots of their own email communications with him on their blog post.) It would have spoken volumes about their true intentions about making it right, though.

I don’t have any experience with the course materials made by the Foundation, but I don’t doubt that there are people who have benefitted from them. But who really wants to trust people who would plagiarize and then behave as Andy and Dane have about this time and again? I don’t think they realized how manipulative and disengenuous their “apology” blog post was. Liars are often good at convincing themselves that they are honest people (or that they have reformed when their actions show they really haven’t).

Thank you, Ramit, your emails have been brilliant for the last few months. This one hit the nail on the head about internet marketers. One thing you forgot was the machismo/my dick’s bigger than your dick mentality. Honestly, this online marketer stuff is full of male posturing.

And also, what’s with this obsession with working abroad, or being mobile, or working a 3-hour week. Successful businesses don’t run on a 3-hour week. I love my job running a website (spelling for adults – it’s a global business. I write books, make online courses – I’ve found my calling after years of trying so much stuff. And it takes hours of work to improve my products and make new products – which I love doing, and I get stressed if I’m away from it for more than a day. So thank you for calling these shysters out.

Love the book – Your Move The Underdog’s Guide…

Keep up the great work, and honesty,

Terrific! it makes me remember at all those scamers I met 9 years ago – and all the products I buyed that were more promises than anything else – and in the Latinamerican market is kinda worst

Thx 4 the post Ramit!

Greetings from Paraguay!

I was thinking to myself the other day, “I wonder if Ramit is for real, he’s never even posted a picture of himself in front of a luxury sports car”. I kind of hoped you’d have a shot of yourself in front of the car you gave your mum.

Matthew Holderman

It’s funny because Ramit uses Cal Newport’s work pretty extensively as well as other “gurus.” Every internet guru uses the material of the other popular gurus. Anytime a guru releases a new book the other gurus help promote it etc. Whether its Lewis Howes or Tim Ferris or Sean Croxton or whoever. The guru-verse has hit its peak right now and conflicts between gurus will start to flare up more often I think.

That’s why I always recommend looking at people who have a very narrow focus and who have a contrarian view of things, so you’re at least getting some info that is ultimately different, even if it is incorrect. Like when Cal Newport said that people shouldn’t follow their passion and every guru including Ramit immediately picked up on that. Speaking as someone who didn’t follow their passion and went straight for the money out of college, I can tell you that follow your passion isn’t terrible advice. Always remember the Mark Twain quote about reassessing your position anytime you find yourself on the side of the majority.

Thanks for the comment, Matthew. I’ve been talking about developing excellence, not passion, for many years. By the way, Cal and I are friends and I have tremendous respect for his work — and I link to it frequently. He’s gone into exhaustive detail about passion and I have nothing but great things to say about his body of work.

I think people should consider diverse sources. Some of them may differ from each other, and that’s a good thing. Thanks for reading.

Comments are closed.