As you know over the last couple of days I have been promoting Internet Selling For Newbies and yesterday I asked if you thought Omar was right about the rant he had when someone said the offer wasn’t free because he had to pay shipping to have the product delivered to his home. I have posted that email here just in case you missed it.

I received a ton of responses and this prompted me to contact Omar to see if he would mind me writing up a blog post about this. Omar then got back to me with the response below.

*** Omar’s Email Start ***

Hi John,

Here are my thoughts…

We have all been burned at one time or another by some sort of “hidden charge” or fine print forced continuity option thingy.

We get very angry, we feel deceived, we feel robbed. In reality the truth of the matter is that most times we simply failed to read carefully. I am no exception to this, it has happened to me several times before. We always see those legal links at the bottom of pages and the “click here to agree” radio buttons but we do act impulsively without taking the time to examine the offer.

Then a month later we see a second charge and NOW we yell “bloody murder”. It’s happened to us all, myself included.

Many marketers out there know that most people just don’t read the page carefully. Bad marketers take advantage of that fact and they impose “silent add on’s” to orders that are easily overlooked by the consumer who’s just excited about getting his/her new product.

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a lot of this in our Internet Marketing community. Marketers use all sorts of merchant accounts that require consumers to enter their credit card details directly into the website they are purchasing from.

This puts the marketer in a unique vantage point. Once he/she stores that data. Billing, re-billing and the like can be easily tagged on to a checkout process known as a “session id”.

The methods of marketing we use today of upsells, downsells, add on options, suggested products and the like… works very well. These methods are used by companies, like Amazon, eBay, Walmart and many other commerce giants. They are not illegal or unethical in any way.

However – these prudent methods have been tarnished by  unethical marketers and hence our subscribers are now very skeptical when they see more than one offer on a website.  They say… “Ohh No – he’s trying to sell me something else, quick -get off this site!” LOL

That’s like going to McDonalds and canceling your order all together simply because the cashiers asks if you’d like to add a Large soda for 39 cents extra, or if you’d like to super-size your order.  Why are we perfectly comfortable with those upsells but not those we see on websites?

In my opinion the answer is this…  FEAR.  We have been burned in the past and we are afraid of making a bad decision that can’t be easily undone. You see, if they screw up my order at McDonalds I can just walk right up to the counter and tell them to get it right or demand my money back. But online, you have to send emails, create support tickets and hope to hear back from a human.

The fear of re-living this experience precludes us from taking the actions we want to with regards of purchasing a product online. I totally understand that fear, I have experienced it myself and I will not criticize anyone for it.

My rant was about a selfish person that wanted me to do everything for him. He was looking for a hand out not a head start. He wasn’t willing to invest in shipping and he implied that I am a bad marketer because I wouldn’t pay it for him. It is a mentality that I will never agree with. But the “forced continuity fear” is something all together different and it is something that I do completely resonate with.

Mike and I have gone through great lengths to implement a secure alternative. Here’s what’s different about

#1 We ask that the customer pay for s/h of the CD-Rom and we don’t inflate the cost of shipping. 9.97 is exactly what the fulfillment company charges us per unit to produce, package and ship a CD domestically. (more for international due to postage and customs charge)

#2 We offer an optional 30 Day FREE trial of MDC magazine on the order page. This trial can be easily removed by pressing one button that says “REMOVE FROM CART”

#3 WE USE PAYPAL. (this is key) You see by us using PayPal we are actually empowering the consumer with a huge and powerful advocate. Unlike a regular merchant account. One can easily log into their PayPal account and manage payments and subscriptions and see exactly what has been charged. The customers payment details are stored by PAYPAL not by us. THAT IS HUGE.

#4 The customer has to review and approve their order items a total of FOUR times in the checkout process. Twice on our site and twice on their PayPal account page. Each time their entire order is listed and they can remove anything they may have “accidentally” selected.

Noticed I put “accidentally” in quotes.. I’m not being facetious but we all know that there are many consumers that will intentionally order things and later claim they were scammed. The axe swings both ways.

Rest assured,

We are amongst the first marketers in our community to implement the new PayPal API technology that streamlines all of this additional security and peace of mind for the consumer. We are very proud to do this and we hope to pave the way for other marketers to do the same in the future.

In conclusion I will call upon everyone to always read the contents of any offer before you make a purchase. That is just good, prudent business sense. I call upon all marketers to not hide behind a support desk, we put our email, physical address and phone number right on our website. We make it easy and we even  encourage you to contact us before you make a purchase if something appears unclear. Last but not least we make it easy for YOU to control the outcome by using the worlds most trusted payment system as an added layer of protection and security, PayPal.


Omar Martin

*** Omar’s Email End ***

I think Omar has pretty much summed up his thoughts and I once again have to agree. The truth is so many bad marketers have made this kind of offer seem bad but I’d love to hear what you think.

BTW, the offer for Internet Selling For Newbies is here, please make sure you check the offer out before commenting.

    46 replies to "Is It Really Free?"

    • Denise

      Hi John

      As I mentioned to you I guess some people are at where they are at. The issue is I still feel really sorry for them as I just wish they could “get it”.I have spent 000’s over the years and am just starting to see results ( my own fault for procrastination! though that is another story)

      Recently I had something similar to Omar it is frustrating and I am learning to just move on from it. The challenge with some “newbies” is that there is so much hype that you can make a million overnight sitting in your underpants. I am sorry overnight success is a load of b…….

      Most overnight success comes after application, Working on your thoughts , adding value and trusting .generally this takes a year or so in my humble experience.

      Rant over and keep up the Good work


      • I agree with you Denise. There’s no such thing as overnight success. You really need to work hard for it, sustain the momentum, and continue working on it before you can finally see the results.

        Kind regards,


    • Pierre Trudel

      Hi John, I think he was wrong to rant.We have so many offers everyday on the net and just to pay shipping would make many of us broke.Which one do we choose?We do not know the sender from a “hole in the wall”. I have ordered and paid shipping for a lot of useless crap in the past and I am leery of any offer I see.
      If it is free, is it really?I think many can get cd produced in volume and if you get 5000 times just shipping, well do you see what I mean.
      Any offer should be made very clear and never assume that everyone knows how hard you have worked to get it done or not.If it is free,it is.If it is not,then don’t say it is.
      Just an opinion,
      food for thought,


    • Todd Fetters

      I think he was in his right to rant about the response he received from a subscriber. But on another side, it is very difficult to know who to trust with so much being thrown at you. The key is to do the research and look for the right combination of mentors that fit your personality and style that you can follow in their footsteps.
      I would rather deal with someone that is honest and not afraid to voice his opinion. It helps show he is passionate about what he is offering even if it isn’t the best for all subscribers. The best thing about the internet is that it is VERY easy to delete what you don’t like.

    • Sue Schlaiffer

      Hi John,
      Of course Omar has a right to feel angry about the person who stated that it was not free if he had to pay shipping. The time, effort and the work that went into creating the whole cd was being given freely and Omar only wanted his out of pocket costs to be covered. I think that the problem today is that too many offers have a hidden catch and we are always on the look out for them. So when there is a genuine offer people are still suspicious, and we have those few bad marketers out there to blame for this because unfortunatley everyone becomes tarred with the same brush! Also there is no pleasing some people and they will still complain even when there is nothing to complain about. I think this person probably now feels a little silly for making the comment as I have read so many positive comments which way out number it.

    • Henry Neff

      Been there – done it to myself too many times to count. Pierre is right if we accepted every offer and just paid shipping & handling we would go broke.

      Here is the problem – handling. Shipping a CD costs less than $3.00 – yet many times the S&H cost is anywhere from $6.95 to $14.95 or more.

      I think Omar was simply venting his frustration with many black hat marketers. It really is the readers responsibility to decide which offers to accept and which ones to reject.

      Unfortunately, too many people still buy into the idea of overnight success. I did it at my kitchen table in my underwear in just 5 minutes a day. Baloney. It takes work, knowledge, know-how and unfortunately, in most cases money.

      If Omar’s email was a personal attck then he was wrong. If it was simply a vent based on frustration with himself then I applaud him for getting it off his chest.


    • Glen

      HI John,

      I totally endorse your comments.

      I’ve experienced exactly what you have gone through with a product of mine.

      By the way, can you tell where I can read up on PayPal’s API that you made mention of in your post?



    • Phill @ Ebooks Alive!

      If I’ve got to part with any money whatsoever then technically it’s not free. This is actually an upcoming problem within Supermarkets within the UK.

      The UK powers that be (probably being told to do so by the European Union) are currently wording a sales act that will stop the B.O.G.O.F.(Buy One, Get One Free.) which is widely used.

      Again the point is valid, if it costs anything to get the free thing then overall its not free.

      I fully understand the marketing angle behind these methods, but to the letter of the written word it is incorrect and new ways must be found that mean exactly the same thing.


    • Ron Barrett


      Good post…

      Did Omar have the ‘right’ to rant? Absolutely!

      The people who received that email (and I was one of them) are people that signed up to receive information from him and I would venture to say that a good majority of them signed up because he was offering some good, valuable information.

      Here’s the more important question(s) to be answered:

      What did they do with that information?

      Were they thinking that ‘this’ was finally the answer that they had been looking for and they could finally make some cash online like they’ve been promised by others along the way?

      To be honest, I don’t know what they did with the information but my guess is they did the same thing that 85-95% of the people ‘working’ online did with it…


      As you know, creating a business online does take some work. It doesn’t take a LOT of work, but it does require some action and motivation.

      As Denise mentioned there are too many ‘marketers’ out there parroting the ‘easy button’ and leading newcomers to believe they can make their fortune overnight. Simply not true.

      Is the $9.97 REALLY going to break you?

      If so, you really need to rethink what you are trying to accomplish online and probably go back to working your day job. Forget about being successful online because it just ain’t gonna happen.

      Want a real business? Go slap down $50-150k for a franchise and then go work harder than you are right now. But beware, you’re gonna have to manage inventory, employees, vendors, etc…

      Or you can just spend $10, get a cd in the mail, listen, take action, a rake in a few extra bucks. Easy peasy.

      Take care John.

    • David Clark

      I checked it out, got to the Paypal page and it said in the small print the following:
      When you authorise payment on the Internet Selling For Newbies dba Higher Level Strategies, LLC website, you also authorise and instruct PayPal to transfer to Internet Selling For Newbies dba Higher Level Strategies, LLC amount(s) from your PayPal account for amounts you owe Internet Selling For Newbies dba Higher Level Strategies, LLC as communicated to you by Internet Selling For Newbies dba Higher Level Strategies, LLC.

      That sounds like an open chequebook to take money from my account in the future.
      N0 WAY.

      David Clark
      Get a free Email Marketing Magician EBook at

      • Omar Martin


        You just said yourself that you read that on PAYPAL’s website. That is THEIR disclaimer it is there for ANY product you purchase with Paypal not just mine. Are you saying that you will never shop with Paypal again?

        How can you assume that Paypal will let me take money from your account whenever I want. Are you serious?

        Also, I clicked on your name and I see that you are actually using Paypal to sell YOUR own product where you charge $10 for shipping to the US and behold…

        The same security statement from Paypal on your checkout page as there is on mine…. Here’s a screen shot of your page:


    • Brian Ripley

      Hi John,
      Did Omar have a right to rant? He has a right to do whatever he wants.
      Was he wise to rant at customers or potential customers? No he wasn’t.
      Ranting at people you want to buy from you is a bad idea.

      He must know that, he has made more money than the rest of us put together.He didn’t do that by irritating potential customers.
      Lighten up, Omar. Put it down to experience.
      I remember many years ago when people were criticizing Liberace. His reply “I cried all the way to the bank”

    • Ranting is communicating. Way better than the silence a vendor sometimes gets and has to guess what happended

    • Hi John,

      Yes Omar was right to feel aggrieved by his subscribers comment. I don’t think some people realize a good deal when one is staring them right in the face. I’m sure if this bloke actually sat back and thought about what he was getting for the mere s&h costs he would see how ridiculous his remarks were.

      But like Omar said, even if he had got in his car and hand delivered it to him, he still probably wouldn’t have used it…you just can’t win sometimes 🙂


    • Charlie Meyer

      My thoughts on many of these “free” cds is, If you want to give the information away, then put it on a web page where I can truly get it for free. If “I” want to save it to a CD, then I will. If I listen (or watch) for 10 minutes and decide that it’s not for me (whether the actual material is good or not), I can simply delete it. $10 saved, hard drive space saved, environment saved (throwing away the CD).

      Giving out my physical mailing address means more junk mail in the future.


      • The Book of Wealth

        My sentiments exactly Charlie…we are living in a digital age afterall…are we not?

        I also agree with Robert Hughes below that “FREE” should mean free, although it seems that the vast majority of free offerers feel that it is perfectly permissible to exclude S&H from their “FREE” offer.

        For me, the issue is parting with personal sensitive information such as home address and credit card details. Whilst I am not suggesting for one minute that Omar and Mike are not trustworthy, it does inevitably give rise to the possibility of re-billing if you do not delete the free subscription option.

        Ultimately, this is a marketing ploy in order to obtain monthly subscribers for the MDC magazine and, whilst I note that Omar says this subscription can be deleted from the order, wouldn’t it be more ethical to leave it as an optional “add on” so that a conscious decision to take up the offer is undertaken?

        I am also disappointed that John Thornhill has not delved too deeply into the issue of Omar and Mike shipping a “FREE” CD for 9.97 when it could far more easily be supplied as a truly FREE download!

        Jovial John (NOT Thornhill!!)

    • clint

      I agree with Omar and am happy to see that he took the time to chime in and to be straight forward with his charges. I am absolutely sick of the little tricks marketers use to try to make a buck. How much do I hate it? I am sick right now as I type this and I haven’t commented on a blog in about 6 months.

      The other day I watched a video (with no video controls, by the way) from someone I respected. At the end he had a 5 minute timer start to run and mentioned something about “if you take advantage of this in the next 5 minutes… blah blah.” What a joke! Then there was supposed to be another time constraint, but I found out that was a gimmick too.

      So, I didn’t spend my $ with him and removed myself from his lists after over 6 years. In fact, I’ve removed myself from over 20 lists recently due to this kind ofcrap. I just won’t tolerate it any more.

      • Pierre Trudel

        You reflect what many of us think but refuse to say publicly.
        Thanks for being straight forward.
        Thee Quest For Perfect Health

    • Robert Hughes

      Hi, John

      I gotta play devil’s advocate here.

      First, let me say I am a fan of both Omar and Mike. Their products are nothing less than stellar.

      But, the issue I see is not the product. I am not exactly sure what the customer wrote to Omar, but if he didn’t want the product he probably should have just closed the page and moved on.

      I got e-mails from both on the same CD, and I passed on the offer myself because it didn’t fit into the system I am presently working on. My choice.

      However, I do have issue, just as the other customer, with the fact that it IS NOT a FREE offer!

      Websters Collegiate Dictionary defines “FREE” as being “without cost or charge”.

      That is not saying I want it all done for me or anything of the sort. I have no problem with what he is asking. It is about what he is “SAYING”!

      And, it is not just Omar. Dozens of marketers are using this same strategy daily, and many to good results.

      Omar is simply the one that opened up this dialogue when he responded publicly.

      It is simply the principle of the fact that we are bombarded more and more daily from marketers who are pushing their marketing strategies beyond a line of what I call decency.

      Again, I am referring to the OFFER, NOT THE PRODUCT! This is not an issue of whether the product is worth the S/H or not. I don’t even feel the S/H is really to outrageous.

      However, on the sales page, the word “FREE” is used 4 times before ANY mention of the S/H. And if you noticed the main headline, it states -“Yours FREE… No Strings”. Well, there IS a string. it is the shipping.

      Yes, the shipping charge is very clear at the order button, BELOW THE FOLD, but not above the fold where we are trained to get the consumers attention!

      I am afraid we have gotten so caught up in trying to get the public’s attention, that we are forgetting they are the one’s who make us or break us!

      I am seeing this more and more in e-mails such as “My e-mails must not be going through, so I just wanted to re-send this”, or “Your order confirmation enclosed” when I never ordered ANYTHING.

      And I am talking about e-mails from top-notch marketers here, not just fly-by-night spammers!.

      This along with lines such as “I just got off the phone with my GOOD BUDDY so-and-so”, but from 10 different marketers, or the canned e-mails that every guru seems to forget to personalize, is starting to build a level of distrust among the general public of even the A-list marketers.

      And often times, the word “FREE” is thrown in on a squeeze page to grab the readers attention and action, then when they opt-in, they find they have to PAY! This only results in oftentimes immediate un-subscription.

      My point is, all we want as the little guy is some transparency and honesty. If I want your product I will buy it. If not, so be it.

      And, yes, this same tactic is going on daily offline as well as online.

      Does it work? Sure it does, or they wouldn’t keep doing it.

      But, don’t get bent out of shape when someone calls our hand because one of our slightly gray-hat marketing techniques or tactics is a little less than transparent and offends someone.

      Again, John, it’s an issue with THE OFFER, not the PRODUCT!

      With that said, again, I am a fan of Omar, and his work is great.

      So, I’m just offering my opinion here about the topic, NOT THE MARKETER!

      Thanks for the space,

      • Robert Hughes

        Hi, John

        Just a quick addendum to my post.

        Let us not forget that Omar just went through the month of June giving away ENTIRELY FREE content ALL MONTH LONG! NO STRINGS except your name and e-mail.

        And this was quality content!

        There were 20 videos plus additional resources that he “GAVE” freely to his customers, and at great expense of time to himself!

        And, these were not outsourced videos either. Omar took the time to make each one HIMSELF!

        Kudos, Omar!

        Again, my response was simply about the topic, and not the MARKETER. It just happens he was the one (out of hundreds that could have) that decided to open this dialogue.

        And to some interesting debate, I must add. Could we call this BRAIN-STORMING?!!! 😉

        Have a great day!


        • John Thornhill

          That is very true Robert, this is why Omar has become so successful, because he cares about his subscribers. He has also gone out of his way to make his latest offer as transparent as possible.

          Let’s not forget he also agreed to let me post about his offer on this blog and start an open discussion and I think that says it all…


    • Gaz

      Hi John,
      I totaly agree with Robert Hughes on this issue.
      Why not just do things the opposite way round by selling the product for $10 & having free shipping? Im sure that he would shift just as many cds doing it this way round without any complaints.
      If Omar truelly wanted to give this product away free then surely as Charlie suggested he could of sent people to a link on his website.
      Just my two penny worth

    • Jeffrey

      Many interesting comments and perspectives regarding this.

      I would bet that, somewhere, in a marketing class, video,website, or book, it is a well know principal that people don’t read every word. When was the last time you saw a landing / squeeze page that was not “several” pages long? Not to mentioned many of them are designed to get you to buy before you get to the bottom of the page.

      It is also known that a certain percentage of buyers will forget or be too busy to cancel within the 30 days. Two, three, or more months will go by… If the web logs show the customer never logged on during this time would the marketer refund all the monthly fees?

      In my experience, many professional marketers purposely take advantage of both of these in order to make money knowing their customer will not receive any value.

      I wonder if this may be why they put those free 30 days in the original offer. Why not send them a separate email offer for the free 30 day newsletter after they receive the product? Aren’t they going to send the customer marketing emails anyway?

      In many an offer I have seen, it is unclear about the reoccurring charges. I believe this is by design as every aspect of a marketing campaign or product sale is considered.

      I no longer accept offers that include a free 30 day membership or newsletter or whatever.

      Also, I agree that $9.95 for shipping and handling is twice what it needs to be. If they need to know where they can do it for $4.20 per CD/DVD, I am putting together a course called “How To Get Rich In The Fulfillment Business”. It will only cost (wait for it), $97. Considering a marketer can save %50 of his fulfillment costs, or make $200 an hour on “shipping and handling” by paying someone $10 an hour to enter addresses on a web page, its a win for everybody.

      Its amazing how the desire to be rich can be cloaked in “marketing”. And don’t we all know what I mean by “cloaked”?

      I feel for the average guy who has lost his job and is trying to provide for his family and his future and will lose money he cannot afford to lose.

      No Worries,


      • Robert ODonnell

        Jeff, You are a great example of those of us who has been there and done that. Thanks Robert ODonnell

    • Daniel Sumner

      Do I think Omar was wrong to rant? No of course not. Do I think Omar was wrong to rant in public? Yes I do, to me this is a little unprofessional. I have dealt with rants and customer complaints enough until they came out of my ears in the past, and none of them were made public. In my opinion we just address the problem and move on to the next one.

      Will Omar’s rant gain him more subscribers and signups? Of course it will. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Check out the thread here and all the responses John has in his inbox. People just love a debate! So is it unprofessional or just marketing?

      I think Omar’s squeeze page could have been worded a little better in the case of the free CD. It does promote the CD as being completely free, however once again this is a marketing technique to get you to the payment process which is indeed as Omar explains is a completely legitimate process, to which the visitor should read the terms before submitting payment.

      It is a hard situation for Omar to be in however don’t think the cost of shipping is unfair. For the price of this info and what he provides you with is easily worth it. Asking for shipping also stops bogus orders from people who just have too much time on their hands.

      The bottom line for me would be to word the squeeze page a little better to stop the confusion and stop the complaints. It also can’t be helped if guys don’t read the terms and complain, this will always be a problem and will never be completely eliminated no matter what you do to stop it. It happens in every business.

      Good post Omar and John. Some good comments as well 🙂

    • Bob Steinburg

      Some very interesting comments from both sides of the argument but I want to point something out I don’t think anyone has noticed.

      Both John and Omar have came out in the open about this and let us air our views. How many other marketers would do that?

      Well done for being so honest guys.

    • Robert ODonnell

      Hey Guys,
      Nice to see this published…Finally! This was a worse problem a few years ago thanks to unscrupulous marketers who offered their hidden membership sites in VERY fine print.

      You had to find a phone number to cancel and then the stall tactics came from a New Yorker who sounded like a casino bouncer.

      Even if I like a product (I’ve been here since 1995) I search high and low for the “hook”. This has left a bitter taste with me for years and limits the marketers I follow to a very select group.

      BT Barnum comes to mind. “A sucker is born every minute” and to teach this by big name Guru’s turns me and most people off.

      A lot off this stuff is perfectly legal. Is it Moral? I would not do it. I treasure my sleep at night.

      This type of marketing has been around since I can remember (in the 1950’s). Heralded as copywriting specialists. Too bad again.

      However, refreshing to see this article guys…Thanks!
      Bob O. Multi-profit-Website- owner

    • Edson

      Hi John,

      If I was Omar, I also would of been upset only for the simple fact nothing is Free in the world and if people dont understand it, they should start looking for a new job…it does not matter if you see the word Free…nothing is Free not even clean air…

      People need to take a few minutes and wonder why they shop where they shop, they eat where they eat..they buy what they buy…

      Local marketing as well as internet marketing both use the word “FREE” as a ploy to get customers attention..its just part of the game.

      Next time you are driving in your car and you see or hear the word Free, stop and ask yourself what are they trying to sell or upsell you…

      oh by the way check out my website as I’m offering a free article marketing CD…All you have to do is “Buy one Get one FREE”…LOL Just kidding but you get my drift..

      wow it turned into a rant LOL


      Edson Buchanan

    • Omar Martin

      My Fellow Marketers,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to express your opinions here. And thank you John for creating this post on your blog.
      I have read every single comment and I am grateful for the input.

      It wasn’t too long ago that I was a newbie myself and I have always loved to partake in discussions like this. I wish more marketers were willing to do it but you know how that goes…

      I understand every single persons point of view here and I agree with nearly all of you. Everyone here has expressed their opinions courteously and professionally, that tells me that I am speaking with an educated group of marketers and consumers. I am more than happy to partake 🙂

      No one wants to be tricked that’s the bottom line. I trust that you can all see how I’ve tried to position my product to convert (sell well) without “Tricking” my subscribers. I cherish my subscribers.

      I have learned many things about marketing over the last few years and it all started right here on this blog as you know I am a student of John’s. John always taught me to give away VALUE no matter how much it hurts. This philosophy has paid off greatly for me as it will for you as well I’m sure.

      Did you know that studies have shown when people buy a “how to” course online approx 70% of them will never even open it when it arrives. Out of the other 30% only a hand full will ever make it past the first phase. These are people with a vested financial interest in the product.

      Those numbers are even less when the product is given totally free. Over 90% of those that download the free product will just bookmark it or save it to their hard drive with the intent to come back to it later but they never do. I’ve learned that when you give a man a free fish you cripple him. But when you make him take a vested interest in fishing as you show him, you are empowering him for life. You won’t all agree with that, but that’s how I feel, and that’s what John did for me.

      John’s coaching wasn’t free, I had to scrape together the fee to join but because of that I worked very hard at it and today he calls me his most successful student ever. That means the world to me. Would I be where I am if he had just given it to me? That’s a thought provoking question isn’t it?

      Today, John offers a Trial of his coaching for $4.95 with the option of continuing at full price.. Sound familiar?
      My research has shown me that this process is simply more beneficial for both the student and the teacher. I have embraced the concept.

      You ask, “Why ship the Cd” why not just put up a free web page and then let people decide? Why pay a small fee for shipping up front? ..and why $9.97 for shipping/handling isn’t that a bit much?” Well. here are my answers to those questions…

      Take it as a marketing lesson if you will, or just dismiss it completely. The reality is this method has helped me build a VERY lucrative online business with thousands upon thousands of happy customers and subscribers.

      #1 Why ship the Cd? There is a plethora of marketing value in having a physical item vs a digital one. Its like an author doing a book signing… I’m sure you’d agree that a physical BOOK has much greater perceived value than an PDF ebook. The same hods tru for a Cd-Rom. Another reason for the physical Cd is for your businesses longevity. A physical Cd that requires a shipping fee serves as a deterrent of tire kickers and scammers. Digital items quickly find there way into forums and the videos are almost instantly posted on Youtube by dozens of people. Its nearly impossible to control this and it kills the long term success of your product.

      #2 Why pay a shipping fee and why $9.97 isn’t that too much? I must be blunt here, if $9.97 feels like too much to pay for 5 hours of video training and pages of text resources then you are not ready to build a business of your own. I have paid 10 times that amount just to see the sales process of a marketer. As a matter of fact, I’m sure that if I ask John for free access to one of his products he would gladly give it to me. BUT instead I actually pay for it just to see and learn from his sales process. To me.. it’s worth the $9,97 just to learn how a 6 figure marketer is positioning his products. But that is not the main reason to charge for shipping…

      From a marketing stand point, charging a small fee up front holds many purposes including “buyer mindset” you are conditioning the visitor to invest in you. This pays huge dividends in future marketing tactics as you develop a list of buyers and not just freebie seekers. Plus, as I mentioned earlier this segments your visitors. It separates the serious entrepreneurs from the potential scammers. I know that does not apply to the good people reading this thread, it may sound harsh or hard to read but it is true, those people are out there and you will have to deal with them in your business.

      #3 Why not charge less for shipping then? This is simple mathematics that I’m sure you can appreciate as a business owner. I did not just pull $9.97 out of a hat. I had to do the math. Someone above stated that I could have ordered 5000 Cd’s instead of just 800 from my fulfillment company and gotten a much better deal and then passed on the savings to the customer. He is correct. Ordering 5000 Cds pre printed in bulk would have cost about $4.21 each (huge savings) But do the math. Now I’d have to invest $21,000 dollars into fulfillment (before the launch) instead of just $8000. Then I get stuck with an extra 4000 units that I have to try to move over the course of the next year. This would totally wreck the overall profit margin of the entire project. Not to mention I would now have to may monthly fee to store 4000 Cds or make room in my house (not gonna happen)

      I could go on and on about the adverse affects of improper product positioning in an online offer. Perhaps many of you are not quite at that stage yet in your business and this post has opened your eyes to a few of the snags and pitfalls that you should try to avoid. Planning a product launch of this magnitude takes months of careful planning and testing. One wrong move can be disastrous and put you in debt and out of business. How many people could I continue to help if that were to happen to me?

      Sure, we all wish EVERYTHING was free on the internet (including shipping), but if that was the case there would be no opportunity for entrepreneurs like yourself to build businesses and better the lives of others. I love my subscribers, all 32,621 of them and I provide as much free content as I can, as often as I can. But lets make no mistake about this… I got into business to make money and help people in the process, not just to build a big list or start a charity. Again, I truly hope that doesn’t sound harsh because I am not being mean. I am being truthful, I got into business to provide a better future for my family as I’m sure you have also. I never intended to start a charity or a not-for-profit organization.

      Positioning my products the way that I do is ethical, legal, and beneficial to everyone involved. Regardless of those facts, there will always be people that poke holes at even the best of intentions, that’s just life. I think Daniel Sumner summed it up best when he mentions that this very thread is helping to grow my business. He is correct. There is no such thing as bad press. There is only press. 2 years ago I could only hope to have marketers to the likes of John Thornhill write blog posts about me… and here I am. And so will you. Just another reason for positioning a product a certain way.

      I thank those of you that have read this entire comment post as I know it was a bit long. (I’m a bit of a rambler as you know)… again, I truly hope that you take my statements as they were intended. I have nothing but good intentions, and well wishes for you all.

      To your continued success,

      Omar Martin

      • Mac

        Omar, by reading your #2 I have to ask myself: How comes that we now talk about a relationship between the value of the training and the shipping fee?
        “..if $9.97 feels like too much to pay for 5 hours of video training and pages of text resource…” are we really talking about getting something for “FREE”?

        And in general: even in IM the use of the word “free” should mean no costs, no charges. If there is a shipping charge, it should be stated up front, like many marketers do. And than the whole thing is not free.

        By reading your offer and your posts at this side, some questions pop up in my min :

        1) If you want to empower the customer by using PayPal, do you have in mind that one important aspect of using PayPal is to protect the customers privacy?
        So, even is you need a shipping address to send the CD, why do you ask for a phone number? You do already have their e-mail address to get in touch with them.

        2) You do request your “customers” to create an affiliate name, which is one of the required fields they have to fill in. Can you really call that “no strings…”

        3) Why ship the CD when 13 more videos are available with immediate access on the internet? Even if the idea of holding on to a physical product is very appealing, at least to me.

        4) Why do you have to rant about the fact, that most people don’t do anything with the given information? Whether it is paid or free. Whatever they want to do, it is their decision.

        5) And this last question, which should have been the first: why did you have to bring this up to the open? It is hard to imagine that your potential client/customer will feel good about it.

        Just my two penny worth

        • Omar Martin

          Hi Mac,

          Thanks for your questions, they are all good and valid. I applaud you for taking the time to pick the page apart and ask your questions. That is exactly the way I learned to build effective sales pages myself. The answer to most of these questions will probably sound like a marketing lesson. That is the way these answers are intended, for you and others to learn why this works. And rest assured, it does work and it works honestly and ethically.

          In no way am I responding to defend my position. My position is solid, its legal, it works and it generates a lucrative income for not just me but countless others, including ecommerce giants. At the risk of sounding arrogant I will say this and I truly hope that you receive it with the humble and honest intentions that I am saying it… I assure you that those marketers poking holes at free plus shipping, one dollar trials, optional continuity, lead capture and the like do not have websites generating 6 figures a year on autopilot like those of us that do endorse and ethically implement these tactics. By nature, we fear what we do not understand.

          I mentioned that if someone “FEELS” that $9.97 is too much for what they are getting then they are not ready to build a business. We all know that a business requires investment whether on tools or on shipping or whatever the case. It is my opinion, that those that sincerely feel offended by a $9.97 shipping fee to receive this sort of a physical tool then you. As for correlating the shipping cost with the content well thats just trivial…

          Would we be having this conversation if the page headline read “Shipped FREE Right To Your Door” (Just pay $9.97 for the CD)
          Maybe that would make some people “feel” better but it would’nt sell very well… being it that I am a marketer and not a counselor I opted for the current headline instead.

          The phrase “No Strings” means there are no forced attachements. Absolutely nothing is forced upon you in the purchase process. You have the option to add or remove several items but NOTHING is forced. Your Cd comes with “No Strings Attached”

          Asking for an affiliate name is simply smart marketing. This empowers your customers to promote your products should they so choose and that is good for both you and the customer. Viral marketing 101. I have NEVER had a single subscriber complain about being given an affiliate link to the product they just purchased.

          Shipping the Cd in physical form has multiple advantages for both the consumer and the marketer. It is a principle that most successful info product marketers have adopted. Among others the benefits include.. “Thud Factor.” As I mentioned above, a buyer feels more passionate about a physical item than a digital one this leads to Increased desire for the product, Increased perceived value, Increased buyer retention, Increase participation in the program, Decreased cancellations and refunds, Decreased theft and copyright infringement and an overall greater long-term success of the site.

          I feel it is important to address the fact that most people do nothing with the product because its not all about money for me Mac. You see if I only cared about the money… then I wouldn’t even be selling products in this niche would I. No, I actually want to help people achieve what I’ve been able to achieve. Therefor, testing, researching and studying the behavior of my target market demographic is a necessity. Do you have any idea how many people Apple employed to study the behavior and usage of Iphone buyers before a launch? Their studies affect everything from the phones design, to the way it is packaged Everything. Knowing that the majority of people do nothing with a “How To” product enables me to design it better, to encourage them to take action.

          The reason I brought this to the open is quite simple. Would we have met if I hadn’t? We are in MARKETING Mac, I am a marketer, I do anything and everything that I can to build relationships and bring traffic to my websites. I sell things on the internet ethically and honestly, I support my customers, I give them options and I make it easy for them to change their minds. They in turn support me. Sharing my feelings about 1 nameless person and inviting others to partake in the conversation displays that I run a transparent business. I have nothing to hide.

          Not everyone will agree with me Mac. Thats perfectly fine. It is impossible to hurt my feelings. I’ve had more doors slammed in my face than most can shake a stick at (You can learn how here:

          SW3=N Some will, some wont, so what… NEXT. I will never be able to please everyone, none of us will. Thats just life. I can tell you are an eductaed guy. I choose to align myself with like minded individuals and I’m sure you do as well. I will continue to help others and teach them how to build fruitful online businesses as John has done for me. Those that agree are the ones I will continue to help. Those that don’t will unsubscribe.

          Once again I thank you for your questions and I hope that my responses have given you a more in-depth look into my marketing. If you have any further questions feel free to email me or call my office at 866-205-3389 (Est Time) and I’ll be more than happy to discuss this further with you.

          Best of success,
          Omar Martin

    • Jacinta Dean

      Hi John,

      WOW! I am a little lost for words. You have definitely opened up a debate of discussion, that is for sure.

      Some of the comments are incredibly passionate.

      I do believe Omar had the right to rant even if you could say it was a little unprofessional so to speak. However in saying that I do believe Omar is very curious as to what people think about the situation and that is why he has allowed you to do this.

      I personally have not looked at the sales page and therefore can not comment on there. However what I can mention is that this does occur offline just as much as online! Everyone wants something for free if they can get it and will argue accordingly.

      When my husband was working in the building industry quite a few years ago we were forever getting phone calls from friends and family wanting love jobs! They figured because they knew us they could get it for free! My hubby went to school to learn his trade and therefore his time is valued. I don’t understand why people will expect things for free just because they know you.

      Another example, when I was traveling as a spray tanning training rep. The amount of salons that wanted me to go back for free to teach them spray tanning of give them solution for free. Some salons tried to take advantage and called to have me go out there 3 times just to be sure before they buy, however really they just wanted free spray tans! I was never paid for my time as I was on commission. I learned the hard way!

      In my travels online I have found the same type of things occurring.

      I do believe some of the marketers do need to shy away a little from the aggressive marketing tactics. It really is giving the Guru’s a very bad name. The sad thing is that these aggressive tactics as well as miss leading tactics and causing most people to be desensitized to the marketing. I think that is why they are getting more and more aggressive and misleading. A bit of a vicious circle!

      Have you noticed the shock tactic headlines some of the Guru’s have been using lately?


      Just my 2 cents!


      Jacinta 😀

    • Jim

      If there is someone I hate more than a Tory politician it’s a dishonest salesman.
      To promote something as FREE and then charge $10 s&h is dishonest.
      Nuff said

      • Omar Martin

        I agree Jim. I dont like politicians or dishonest salesman either.
        Had I promoted the shipping as being free and then forced the charge upon you it would have been dishonest. BUT…
        since the CD= Free
        and the S/H= 9.97
        Everything is nice and clear.

        Thanks for your input.

    • Gavo

      Its either free or its not, if it costs you something then its not free, its not free, let me explain, eg…….. “enter your email and get free report on how a broke loser made 6 mill every 3mins overnight in his kegs with no effort”
      even this is wrong, technicaly its a trade, your trading something they want (email) for something you want (the report),which is great, its absolutely fine, but just because you didnt pay with money doesnt make it free….
      I am on quite a few marketers lists, mostly now im with just the ones that (i think!) realise the value of having me as a subscriber, i do buy a lot of stuff from them, not everything they send lol, however i do read the stuff that arrives in my inbox, and the ones im still subscribed too only ever seem to send me relevant or interesting info, they are almost always upfront, believe me im fine with them earning a commision for sending me something they thought might help me, or intrest me if i buy it, i find john thornhill a breath of fresh air in his approach, never once feeling mislead into something, to the point where he actually warns you first if he is about to suggest you buy something lol.. I mean come on we arent daft us lot, we know you marketers are a helpful lot, we know your checking more stuff out per day than i could in a week, and if you find something good among the dross we know/expect you will tell us, we know you need to earn at the same time, same as any business, it has to bring money in, you cant do it all for free, otherwise you would be off back to your day job within days..
      Omars rant is misplaced, the offer is probably fairly see thru to most, im not saying its not good value, im sure it probably is but ive no idea as ive not read it, nor will i, nor had i heard of Omar until john sent me the vid of Omar telling everyone how rich he was now.. For me he has blown it, the pitch just felt misleading, it seemed to me like this “heres your free product” just give me your email and address plus 10x times the going rate for postage oh and il need a handling fee too.. come on man
      People arent daft, dont treat them as such, either give it away for “free” or dont, All just my opinion of course.
      ps i dont want to seem pedantic here but john sent me a email, rightly proud of his” most succesful student”, but when i watched his pitch for the newbies product he never mentioned john once, in fact he went as far as to say he never had a mentor….. odd

      • Omar Martin


        Thanks for your input, I give more credit to John being my mentor than I’ve ever heard any marketer do. EVER. As a matter of fact, every time I speak on stage I talk about how John has helped me.

        Lets be realistic, I currently have over 4o websites selling products, did you expect me to mention John in every sales video?

        Thanks again,

    • Robert Deveau

      People who are afraid because they might be charged for something that they didn’t want are approaching it from a completely wrong perspective.

      We ought to be looking at it not as consumers, but as marketers. I often buy more products than I really need just so I can see the marketing involved. I want to see how other marketers are structuring their offers and what up-sells they’re offering and even what the pages look like.

      This is how I learn marketing. I don’t know how others learn it.

    • Dave Nicholson

      Hey Guys,

      Just wanted to have my say on this subject as I think a lot of people have been here, myself included!

      Firstly, I want to start off by saying ISFN is an excellent product, even if Omar and Mike were to charge big bucks for it!

      I personally think that if you are being offered a ‘digital’ product for free, then yeah, it’s totally free, nothing extra at all to pay.

      However, in this case it’s a ‘physical’ and a ‘digital’ product, so I think that if anybody orders a ‘physical’ product online, then they should expect some sort of P&P charge, no matter what is said on the sales page.

      I have personally had a few problems getting physical products to people in the past, ironically, Omar and Mike were 2 of them! 🙂
      So I know that packaging and shipping products is a real pain!

      Now I’m not saying that delivery charges don’t need to be displayed up front, because I think they do. I’m just trying to say that if you ever see a physical product for sale online then you should just assume it comes with a P&P charge, if it doesn’t then that’s a bonus! 🙂

      In the case of ISFN, I think that if there was a big ‘ONLY PAY $10 FOR SHIPPING’ slapped on the top of the page, then people would probably still complain, and say smth like “why are you only charging this amount for hours of top quality training? What’s the catch?”

      Maybe some kind of middle ground is what’s needed, or some better wording, but hey, nobody’s perfect!

      So I guess I’m just trying to say always expect to pay P&P for a physical product and there should be no problem. 🙂



      • Omar Martin

        Dave, you are 100% correct!

        Even if I were to put 2 GIANT buttons on the page that say YES (add this) – and NO (remove this) (and I mean GIANT BIG BUTTONS!)… there would still be people to say it was unclear and I want my money back. Then, there will be others sat say they were insulted by the size of the button.. LOL


    • Dawn Kay

      Was Omar right to be upset???? Yes anyone would be.

      Was Omar right to get angry in public??? No definitely not.

      It should of stayed private between the two of them. You are always going to have customers that find fault in even the most perfect product – you can’t please everyone and some people just like complaining.


      I’ve just taken a look at the salespage and do think it it is a little missleading as it does say Free – no strings attatched when there obviously is strings attatched.

      Wouldn’t it of been better if it was clearly stated right at the top so everyone could see it

      Free……. and all you need to pay is the postage and packing.

      Dawn Kay

    • Nancy

      While I had no problem with paying s&h for the cd, my problem was the marketing strategy of putting other “free” offers in MY cart that I would have to take out if I didn’t want it. And if I missed them for some reason, I would have to pay for them later. I love offers, but let me decide which ones I want and add them myself. I am not going to purchase from someone that I don’t feel safe buying from. Another internet marketer burned me once using this strategy. He sent me a newsletter and I was charged for it later because I did not see a box that was checked for me automatically. It was not worth $35 per month. I called and asked for it to be cancelled. It says you can cancel at any time. Obviously not! It was supposed to have been taken care of, but I had to call the next month because I was charged again. I was told that my card had been refunded but it wasn’t and I never got a refund and had to pay for two months of something I did not want. BAD marketing. He lost me as a customer forever. I would never use this strategy on my customers even if big companies have used it in the past. It is not an excuse to use it. It is just sneaky and loses trust. One could argue that I should have read everything thoroughly but even if I had seen it, I still don’t like it and will not purchase from or recommend anyone who uses it. I almost bought the cd and thought it was likely a great product, but did not because I saw this strategy being used. I automatically assumed that somehow I would be burned once again even if I took those items out of the cart. I know that these marketers are using that marketer’s strategies that I had a bad experience with because they automatically sent my name to his mailing list, and I had to delete him once again and my experience with him was unpleasant. I do not want to be on his list. I think others should be made aware of the experience that I had when I purchased a “FREE” cd in the past with these offers. I think you should ultimately let the customer decide what he does and does not want to try for free without sneaking things in there. Notice that I have done the marketer who burned me a favor buy not mentioning his name. I hope he will change his way of doing business in the future.


    • Patti

      You know, no matter HOW he would have positioned it, someone would have been upset. Because there are always people who want everything FREE and then do nothing with it anyway!! When you make a commitment to something and it hits your wallet, you are more apt to do something with it. Chances are someone actually purchased the product they MIGHT do something with it. Why not move on and do something productive, we’re talking $9.95!!

      I am glad it was addressed here because there is nothing being hidden..

    • Ed

      Hey John,

      I think the situation with Omar is quite simply getting more and more common place, you see people as you say want it on a plate and the proof is in the pudding!

      In other words by the sheer complaint alone, means they want to be spoon fed, man I wouldn`t even want em on my lists!

      Ands that is quite simply it, I am only starting out with a meager business compared to people like yourself, but even I could gladly do without them!

      Great post as usual John….Ed.

    • Eamon Diamond

      I also agree with Robert Hughes below that “FREE” should mean free, although it seems that the vast majority of free offerers feel that it is perfectly permissible to exclude S&H from their “FREE” offer.

    • Jim Nariel

      I dont really agree for Omar to rant. The free element was surely the content and not postage and packaging

      I think its fair to charge postage and packing if the fee is a fair price and if you know about it up front and you know you are getting free content

    • John Pugh

      Hi John, and to Everyone reading.
      Just like to put on the record that two years ago I myself was able to download the original free ebook Internet Marketing for Newbies,(No video classroom then, only a printable ebook in PDF). I found it to be a wealth of information from Recommended Hosting, to Software applications. Now at the time I was doing self research on how to become involved in the business. Now the guy who has become annoyed, and seems to have a angry nature, as he says it’s not free because of the P&P. Needs to ask himself what he wants ? Does he want to learn ? If so then he can do a lot, and lot of self research into how to become an Internet Marketer. As Omar says, and as I know the product it sure does ‘give you a head start’ in understanding what, where, and how. I know I did and began, and did suffer from Infomation overload. That much as Omar says, then later fear sets in. Hey, I only purchased one product. All my others were free products just for giving my email. Now the guy in question since the comlaint has probably given up trying to learn about internet marketing, or he may of seen the light and found and subscribed to a good mentor. Either way, I’m with Omar, some people don’t want a head start, they are looking for a hand out.
      Free product, only pay for P&P, it’s a ‘No Brainer’. Well me it took me one year and eight months to get back on route with the business. Now five weeks, since I took my step of faith into JT’s Masterclass, and enjoying every week. Also thanks to Mike Filsaime, for the free down load of the original, ‘Internet Marketing for Newbies’. It was a gold mine of free info. Best Regards, John Pugh.

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