This blog post is sort of hard to write but I feel I must say what needs to be said so you don’t fall into the same trap I did.

Over the last few months I’ve been suffering from ‘promo overload’ (I just made that name up) and the result of this has been far to many ‘promo’ emails sent to my subscribers. I feel I must warn you about falling into the same trap I fell into as you will kill your business, luckily I have spotted what I was doing wrong and I hope I can prevent you doing the same thing.

The trap is taking on too many promotions and JV requests in the hope that you will receive a ton of promotions in return. I have learned the hard way it’s simply not the way to operate online. Not only does your list become far less responsive but you actually end up promoting some products you may not normally promote. Now don’t get me wrong here, I make sure to review every single product I promote but let’s say some have been ‘borderline’ in the quality department.

However, the biggest mistake I made this year was simply saying ‘yes’ to too many JV requests. When you send promo after promo to your subscribers they lose faith in you, they unsubscribe and your list becomes less responsive. The result of this was some of my emails had a click-through rate of as little as 500 clicks when it wasn’t unusual to previously get 3000+ clicks from a single email.

On top of that it actually got so bad I was struggling to find time to promote my own products, how crazy is that?

I only have myself to blame for this but as of today it’s going to stop. Yes I will continue to promote products but I will be a lot more strict in the selection process, also I’d much rather send 4-5 emails in one week about one product educating my subscribers than sending 4-5 emails promoting 4-5 different products. Not only does this p**s off your subscribers but you earn far less as an affiliate. So from now on while I may mail out 4-5 times when I see a product I truly believe in I wont be doing so many random cold emails.

If you are reading this and are finding it hard to say no to JV requests have a long hard think about what damage you could be doing not only to your reputation as a marketer but to your subscribers by promoting sub-standard products on a daily basis. You are far better off getting behind a product you truly believe will help your subscribers than randomly promoting a ton of different products. Don’t become a marketer who promotes sub standard crap every other day like everyone else, become a marketer who cares about your subscribers needs as in the long run this is the kind of marketer that becomes successful.

That’s the type of marketer I always have been, maybe I lost my way a little over the last few months but as of today that stops. From now on quality will come before any favor I owe anyone and my valuable subscribers needs will come first.

This was a hard post to write but it needed to be said. As always I welcome your comments.

    78 replies to "I’ve Been Suffering From Promo Overload"

    • Val

      Hey John, you are spot on because we trust what you have to say and consider you to be an ethical marketer and coach.

      • I agree with you. I still open John’s emails as I know that he will not send out something that is non-sense. John is still one of the most ethical marketer I know in this generation.



    • Marnie

      Hi John,

      I can honestly say that you are one marketer I DON’T feel bombarded by emails. When I receive something from you I open it each time because I trust your judgment.

      But thanks for the reminder that our subscribers have to come first.


      • Jovial John

        I have to disagree with Marnie and no longer trust you implicitly, as I once did.

        I have all your emails filtered into one folder and, although I didn’t unsubscribe, I did begin to wonder what on earth you were playing at!

        I honestly thought that you were losing your way and that greed was taking over. The emails became far more about selling as opposed to helping. I, for one, did begin to lose faith in you and, for this reason alone, a substantial number of your emails remain unopened.

        I’m not saying this to be controversial but merely to deliver an honest subscriber opinion.

        Kind regards,

        • John Thornhill

          Greed actually has nothing to do with it and actually I have earned a lot less as an affiliate sending one off emails for various products. The problem was I was thinking too much about getting return promos off other marketers. This is possibly where I got greedy.

          However, I always have had and always will have my subscribers interests at heart. Even though I have sent a lot of promos out recently I have still delivered more free content than most marketers and have actually helped Marnie (free of charge) on a personal level. This is perhaps why I still have her as a fan ๐Ÿ™‚

          I just went off the rails a little and I know others are doing the same. Luckily I have now realized this and things will change from today.

        • Skippy

          Since i ride the route of the “Tour de France” to publicize “Disabled/paralympic Sport” i have little access to internet facilities as i cannot carry a laptop with me.
          Any help that Barry Wells or you guys can give me to get greater exposure will be helping those “Athletes”!
          Tried entering “Do follow but i am a “Blogger site” so no luck as yet!
          FRom dec2009 i am learning a few new tricks but need substantial help as all this is new to the 65yo brain even if the leg musciles still think they are 25yo !

          Emails to with VERY Simple instructions can be replicated on all 3 blogs !

        • Omar Martin

          It not about greed, but I can see how it would appear to be that way. Myself in particular… yes I want to help people and I do so every chance I get, BUT, let us not forget that this is A BUSINESS.

          We did not quit our jobs and become an internet marketers to create a charity. We did it to create a profit and support our families.

          I think people forget this at times. I love helping people and I provide tons of free training and tools for my subscribers but some people just want you to give them your “limbs” for free.

          I recently did a FULL month of free daily content, every day I emailed free training and posted it on my blog. No promo’s, no pitch … nothing.

          Have a look for yourself…

          I sacrificed over $10k of monthly affiliate income to have a “Subscriber Appreciation Month”… would you believe that we got a folder full of “HATE MAIL”??

          Yes, over 60 emails from people that were unhappy with the free training- most of them wanted me to do the work for them. It’s amazing… or they would complain that I should do 2 or 3 videos per day instead of just 1. WHATT????

          In the end… you just can’t make everyone happy no matter what you do. The key is to strike a balance. Provide “some” free content while continuing to promote “ethical” offers to support ones family and have a prosperous business.

          That is what works for me. Those that don’t agree can always unsubscribe.

    • Eddy Rush

      Hello John

      Great post there.

      Yes the ‘burn and churn’ method is not really a long term plan for success because you end up in the position of having to recruit new subscribers to replace the ones who have lost faith in you.

      Since I launched my own product in March, my list is growing steadily and I email them once a week with good content, general chit chat and lots of free stuff – I have not done an affiliate promotion as yet and don’t intend to until I have built up a great relationship with them all and I will thoroughly review anything I promote.

      I can already see some good results and the emails I get back form my subscribers prove that they love this way of marketing.

      I also have you to thank for educating me in this way….especially the book recommendation you gave a few weeks ago – The Go Giver.

      I ordered it and read it within a day and now I apply everything in that book to my business.

      It’s such a nicer way of doing business.

      Glad you’ve seen the light and I appreciate your honesty as I’m sure many of your subscribers will.

      Cheers John



    • TomH

      Well, John you pretty much stated why I haven’t clicked on anything much in you email for months. But not just yours, if I get anything more than about once a week, I may scan the subject line (if subject line is not informative – is most often deleted, regardless of who it is from) to see if I wish to continue reading. So many market guru’s subject lines are so meaningless that I delete without reading most of the email received from them.

      Lastly, for those who send email two or three times a day — enough ALREADY!!

      In my opinion, you have raised yourself back up where you belong and not descended into the gutter which I was beginning to fear.

      With respect,


      • John Thornhill

        There are probably a ton of people just like you who have stopped opening marketers emails for various reasons. It’s funny because I sort of knew what I was doing would hurt my business but still did it. Let’s just hope some other marketers see the light like I have.

    • Stuart Turnbull

      Hats of to you, John, for realizing your mistake and also for having the guts and honesty to share it with us.

      Too many marketers fall into this ‘adswap trap’ emailing their lists with other marketer’s squeeze pages day after day.

      Thanks for the warning.

      • John Thornhill

        The adswap trap really can be a trap. While it’s no something I do much myself I do know it is nowhere near as effective as it used to be.

    • Ben Jonson

      It’s all too easy to do John. One thing I hate about marketers (I aim never to be like this), is that some promote anything and everything going just to make money. I’ve been on your list since around 2007 or earlier and I’ve always found you to be someone who doesn’t just promote the hype going on at that moment. But I have noticed more promos coming from your list recently (don’t take that the wrong way) and it’s good to see you’ve chosen to wind things in a little.

      One thing I also like about you is that for a “big marketer” you actually take the time to promote the “smaller guy”, a lot of big marketers are only in this for promoting big marketers and really couldn’t care less about smaller ones. Most of them never even respond to JV emails (despite having promoted them successfully), I think a lot of them have forgotten where they’ve come from and what it’s like to get started online.

      Your different, John, which is why I’m still on your list and enjoyed your masterclass 2009 program.

    • Eruwan Gerry

      Hi John,

      I also fell into the same trap last month.

      Luckily I realized my mistake fast. Otherwise, as you said, my subscribers will lose their faith in me.

      Thanks for sharing this very important lesson to all of us.

    • Omar Martin


      I feel your pain. Many of us are seeing a steady decline in the CTR (click through rates) of our email marketing campaigns. This has been on a downward slope for me in 2010 with CTRs dropping from 3000 to as low as 1000 lately.

      I believe there are several reasons for this in addition to the ones you’ve mentioned. I’ve particularly noticed this decline in the “Internet Marketing” niche. I think it is due to a generalized desensitization of the industry.

      Peoples in-boxes are simply overtaken with promotions on a daily basis. As our industry grows so do the amount of products. I think there are not enough people learning/practicing organic and paid traffic skills. So we end up with a community trying to “force sell” itself.

      Even worse yet, (and I too hate to say this publicly but I will follow suit with you) it has become increasingly difficult for me to get paid affiliate commissions that I am due. In 2009 we closed the books with over 20k in unpaid commissions.

      So many marketers reach out to me on a daily basis and I find myself refusing to promote for them more and more because of a “marginal” product. This combined with the likelihood of not getting paid has lead me to get back to basics.

      I am beginning to focus once again on paid and organic traffic in efforts to replenish my list. I do not believe there will ever be an over-saturation issue in our market. However, I have found, in my own business that it is important to strike a balance between list building and email marketing.

      For the most part, I am only promoting for those JVs whom I know personally, those who provide quality products and who I can trust will pay me my commissions as promised. I am implementing an application process for JVs with a signed contract that lays out the terms of promotion and payment. I will also be reporting those that fail to pay up to the collection agencies and credit bureaus.

      In conclusion, I too am buckling down on my email marketing. I’d rather promote a few products per month and know that my list will continue to respond as well as it becomes easier to keep track of commission payments.

      My compliments on this post.

      Omar Martin

      • Ben Jonson

        I’ve got to be honest Omar, from the perspective of people’s email boxes being blasted with too many emails I completely agree. The problem is that the same product is being promoted by SO MANY marketers when it comes out. In one week a few weeks ago I remember having more than 100 emails in one week for one product, simply because I am on some of the “guru” type lists but it p**sed me off big style and I’m a marketer. The worst thing anyone can do is promote anything and everything, sometimes it’s better for all concerned to say no to a JV.

      • egrifey

        I allow myself to agree with Omar. From John lately getting a lot of emails advertising and joint ventures. Sometimes it’s frustrating when people expect more from the aid. Me, I think that you first need to help the novice to gain a business under your control, and then from him to demand the mutual benefits …. I am also well aware that assistance should be different for everyone.
        I believe that Omar may understand me correctly, was once you had medical practitioner.
        The network of people come to differ in their capabilities. Only dialogue and attention as possible to each can be very helpful …..

    • Graham

      Hi John

      It takes guts to admit to making a mistake….well done. I wish our politicians and executives of large companies and organisations would do the same!!!!!

      Greed and fear can come into play. It’s sometimes a humam trait to get greedy once we find a way of making good money, and then there’s the other side, fear that we’re not going to make any money.

      So John..well done, and thanks for the honesty.

      Speak soon


    • Steve

      Hi John

      Once again you set the tone…now we just need some others to follow your lead.

      The old saying ‘if you throw enough mud at the wall – some will stick’ in email marketing it’s definitely the opposite.

      I’ll take quality over quantity every day.

    • Donald

      Hi John,

      Should be calling you Honest John, because John you are an honest down to earth guy. I did notice more e mails than usual but I didn’t mind, I’m still on the learning process, but it can be annoying when you get an e mail from someone else with the same subject. I’m still daft enough to open and then delete.

      An excellent post, you came out and said what you said. I had that Information Overload, in the end it was doing my head in. Now, I only keep the ones I want to keep, from a few IM I have got to know recently, mostly from this side of the Atlantic.

      Don’t worry John, I won’t unsubscribe, your information is too invaluable. God Bless.



    • Sam Winport

      Hi John,

      Glad you mentioned this. I was thinking about unsubscribing from your list recently because it seemed like you’d changed from your original go giver to just another promo blasting marketer.

      Come back John, all is forgiven. ;o)


    • Pierre Trudel

      Daeling with ethical people is so important.People’s mistrust is at a high point in industry at large.
      The internet business needs to separate the good from the bad and lead by example.
      Thanks for being honest John
      Pierre Trudel
      Thee Quest For Perfect Health

    • Nick BARON

      Hello John,

      You post reflects and confims once again your ethics as a marketer, and I congratulate you for your honesty about your realization.

      Quality over quantity definitely will continue to pay off over the long run. Focusing on adding value to my subscribers rather than obsessively looking at the bottom line, is the secret ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you John for sharing, and for stepping up!

      Best Regards,

      Nick Baron

    • Barry Wells

      Hi John, excellent advice again.

      My list is very small and not very responsive. So i try not to send promo’s out unless it is something i know and trust.

      I found that every time i sent out a promo’ i would have numerous people un-subscribe. Which isn’t good when i’m trying to build the list up, hence me no longer doing it.

      To carry on with your example of honesty: I open every email you send me John and i did notice the amount of promo’s coming out and did sit and wonder about it. I still opened your emails but when i saw it was a promo for someone else i closed it. The thought of un-subscribing never crossed my mind though John, unlike many others that don’t even get their emails opened due to constantly sending out promo after promo. I won’t name names as they’re bigger than me ha ha.

      Thanks again for the lesson John.

      Regards, Barry

      • Daniel Sumner

        Hi Barry,

        Don’t worry about the unsubscribes. What would you rather have 100 responsive subscribers or 1000 freebie seekers? I know what I would rather have.


        • Barry Wells

          That’s a very good point Dan, thanks for pointing it out.

      • Skippy

        back from TDF but had a better time this year as i stayed with so many more “paralympians and their families !

        Tried to install “Do follow” but my site is “Blogger ” so any help on the 3 sites welcomed.

        Will try the 100 blogs in next days !


    • Ray Cox

      Hi John

      You’re spot on with this post! With all the promo’s going on lately I have been unsubscribing from many IM mailing lists almost daily.

      I don’t beieve any self-respecting, hard working marketer has time to waste being distracted by the latest ‘shiny object’.

      I’m slowly culling my ‘whitelist’ down to the honest marketers and you’re definitely on the ‘to be opened’ list. If only the ‘desperate guys’ would follow suit, we in subscriber land wouldn’t be so reluctant to open the plethora of day ‘offers’!

      It’s refreshing to read some honesty for a change!



    • Brian Ripley

      Very timely post John, I am now getting over 50 emails a day from marketers. When a new product comes out, I might get six or seven on that one product.
      I am now dumping the vast majority without opening.
      As usual, you are spotting the trends and reacting to them. Good Post.
      Regards Brian.

    • Mark Terrell

      Hi John,

      Very Honest Mate……..

      The problem is so many IM are obsessed with list size and not quality, they do 2 or 3 jv adswaps a DAY sending so many emails.

      As you said they are sometimes not always the best product for your list.

      I always recommend sending 2 jv emails 2 relationship building e-mails and 1 paid product email a week to keep the balance right once you reach 1k +

      I too have seen my list size go up but clicks go down.

      We should all take note of what you are saying here john

      Thanks Mark

    • Paul Hanna

      Hi John
      I have been following you for a few years now and I have bought some of your products, some from your ebay store (long time ago).

      I agree with what your saying about the over promoting, but I can remember all the great free content you provide.

      Also John can I take this opportunity to say thanks for the FREE Butterfly Videos you gave me value $495.00 ( I think ).

      My point is loyal subscribers and customers will remember how generous you have been and understand at your level the amount of promotions you get involved in, but thanks for this post outlining your understanding.

      keep up the good work

      Paul Hanna…( UK Birmingham )

      • John Thornhill

        Thanks for the kind comments Paul, I appreciate.

    • Richard

      Hi John

      Very well said. A marketer’s credibilty will take a hit with every sub-standard product they promote.

      A while ago I recall you promoted a product related to article marketing. It wasn’t very good at all and I remember at the time being surprised. Surprised because I know from experience that’s not your style.

      I guess the proof is in the open rate and your emails are still one of the few I always read.


      • Zoe

        Well said Richard

        I like your statement: A marketerโ€™s credibilty will take a hit with every sub-standard product they promote

        Summed up this topic precisely


    • Michael Dodden


      Thanks for the honest post.

      I am just setting up my business and have been looking a giveaway events. You sign up and then get bombarded with 4-5 e-mails every day from these people. Again, they are sending e-mails with a different offer on them, but you get the same offers from different marketers.

      I did send an e-mail to a few, but they did not respond. ๐Ÿ™

      I have now learned my lesson and ignore the giveaway events.

      I have been a subscriber on you list since 2006, John and will continue to be.

      I just don’t get how these marketers think this is a great way to get and retain business and who started this idea of keeping the subscribers e-mail boxes filled to the brim..shocking.

      I have just finished clearing down 8000 e-mails, most of which were deleted as they had nonsense in their headlines, like validate your notification, here is your free download link, here is your VIP download link. (These guys are obviously not on each others lists).

      They never give any content, just link after link.

      Anyway, I am following your masterclass and hopefully you should mention this is not the way to build a good relationship with your subscribers.


    • Randy Smith

      Hi John,

      It feels like you’ve been reading my blog (written a week ago)….

      “I canโ€™t believe how many launches Iโ€™ve seen and been invited to promote this last week! โ€“ Itโ€™s hardly any wonder that so many people donโ€™t make any money online! โ€ฆ. Iโ€™ve got next to nothing done myself just from โ€˜spendingโ€™ so much time checking out so many launches.

      So much so that I think Iโ€™ll pass on promoting or even mentioning most of them โ€“ Honestly, there are a plenty of products and courses worth grabbing โ€“ but you donโ€™t need them all!”

      As you can see – it’s not just a case of not wanting to suffer ‘Promo-Overload’ as you so aptly phrase it…. It’s also the time it takes away from ourselves getting things done. As like yourself, I wouldn’t send out a promo for anything I’ve not reviewed myself first!

      Hence why I took the decision not to jump on all the launches lately…. So it really pleases me to see you saying the same ๐Ÿ™‚

      Cos if that’s what you think too – I know I’m on the right track… hehe

      Cheers John ๐Ÿ™‚


      • John Thornhill

        As you probably already know Randy it’s been crazy this year with more and more launches. Sometimes you feel you have to promote something and this is the trap I fell into.

        I guess you saw the light before I did ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Susan

      Hi John –

      Thanks for waking up and writing this. I have been on your list for a long time, a and a MC student for two years but recently considered unsubscribing from your lists because of the sheer number of promos you were promoting – one recently which I had already “been burnt” by.

      I didn’t unsubscribe because I couldn’t shift my belief that you are the real deal and this email/post restores my faith in you. Over the years you’ve earned commissions from me and I’m sure will do so again. Times are tough. People are hurting financially and when they come online, they need to know there are some people they can trust. You are one of the ones I recommend and now will continue to be so.

      • John Thornhill

        I’ll do my very best to repay your loyalty Susan. Wait and see…

    • Jan Weingarten

      Finally, a marketer who sees (albeit a bit after the fact) the light!

      What I haven’t seen anyone mention is your statement that “also Iโ€™d much rather send 4-5 emails in one week about one product educating my subscribers than sending 4-5 emails promoting 4-5 different products”


      It seems that you’re planning to continue sending emails with the same frequency, changing only the content. You seem to think that sending a barrage of email is fine, as long as it’s not for a huge variety of products, and as long as you truly believe in the product.

      Um, no. There’s a breaking point. And many of us have reached it. Enough!

      • John Thornhill

        The frequency of my emails will drop dramatically as I wouldn’t be doing this every week. When I really get behind a product I educate my subscribers about the product, offer bonuses and generally be as up front as I can be, this has rarely resulted in complaints.

    • Hi, John,

      Being newish to all this – I am on loads of lists – initially to “watch/see” but it is easy to get sucked into spending loads of time reading the offers and following the links.

      Yes, I like other commenters have you on my “trusted” list but was beginning to feel bombarded. Yes, I too am realising that I’m, getting the same promotion from several marketers. It’s taken me a while – sometimes only realising it when I sign up for the second time to something ๐Ÿ™

      Thank you for pulling us up short! I really need to get off some of the lists – or at least get back to “watch/see/learn” and not get suckered into following the links.

      Keep chosing the products carefully – we trust you!!


    • Terry Conti

      Hi John, a mailing list is very important to your business. One must be careful how you treat your list. People on your list can opt out as easy as they opted in. Once you are known to have a good list, everyone wants to JV with you. Marketers should be very careful on how they communicate with their subscribers in order to keep them. Terry Conti

    • Sanjay Pande

      Hi John,
      First things first. Your e-mails are mostly informative and I do see promo stuff from you but not as frequent as other marketers. Actually your ratio of promo/content is so low as compared to some marketers that I have not even noticed. The folks with an offer a day keeps the subscriber away have been disconnected (Goodbye). Big names. Who cares.

      Next, you are more kind than you need to be which is much appreciated by folks like me.

      The new launch bonus thing has become a little tiresome and you have done some as well, but your bonuses were really good if I remember correctly.

      Once in a while a barrage is ok, especially if you really know and feel the product is as good or better than you claim. But the content balance does help a lot.

      There are some prominent marketers whose list I am on and they do send offers at least once a month. The difference between them and the unsubscriptions are the e-mail a day offers. You know, the guys who think that people are only on their list to buy, buy, buy. They lose a subscriber and don’t care because they do not understand lifetime value anyway. Their subscriber value is so low that they have to make it up in numbers.

      We know for sure that you do care so it will be an interesting thing to observe. Hopefully your new strategy will increase your CTR and more importantly CTB (Click to Buy ratio that nobody talks about).



    • Ray Johnson

      Hi John

      Great post, and I have to say I agree with Omar’s point ENTIRELY.

      Email marketing is VERY SLOWLY dying out because of the sheer number of launches, favours and the like. I too used to average around 800 clicks but this has dropped to as little as 500 on some occassions.

      Of course the ideal situation is never to have to NEED to launch products!


      By creating a self sufficient funnel which feeds itself at the top end with subscribers, and at each stage CONVERSIONS being SO high, that an excellent income is made on each phase of the promotion sequence, without the need for a launch and THAT is what I am focusing on.

      I am eventually going to use Infusionsoft to run it too – (wish me luck with that JT)

      Omar’s point RE organic traffic methods, good on page and off the page SEO (baclinking) is a SURE FIRE way of sustaining your business, as there will always millions searching online daily… I can’t see Google getting burnt out!

      Anyway just my two cents John,



    • Lisa

      Hi John,
      Yes, I noticed I was getting more emails from you…I just opened them and deleted what ever I didn’t need…You’re still the BEST!

      Never once thought about un subscribing from any of your lists. You are an internet marketer, that’s what you do. You send emails to promote products. Puts food on your table. DUH!

      I totally understand that the products you (we) are promoting need to be good quality products, which is why I dont promote too much of anything.(maybe that’s why I am BROKE hahaha!!)

      Glad you posted this, although you werent tickin me off, some other marketers have been and maybe they will read this and learn from a real PRO! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I will tweet it to my marketing followers. YAY! Good idea.

      I get adswap emails from the same guy about 7 times a day….un subbed him real quick! ๐Ÿ™‚

      God bless you, Thank you and have an amazing day!!


    • Daniel Howard

      Hi John

      I’ve been following you for many years now, and have met you at seminars such as Lee McIntyreโ€™s and you have been a major part of my online business.

      Your products and support is always first class, I trust your judgment with what products you promote. But as I always have learned not to rely on favours from marketers doing Lists swaps…

      Another problem is that even though you exchange emails list, the marketers products isn’t always going to benefit your list, as well as getting 2 or 3 every couple of month with different List building courses ect..

      You have always got me as a paying customer John, and well done for speaking about it to mate

      Take Care


    • David Walker

      Hi John,

      This is a great post and just goes to prove that even established marketers lose their way some times. Heck, a similar thing happened to me these past few months so I can wholly relate to what you have written here.

      I had built my subscriber list to over 10,000 but burned it through too many ad swaps. It became an almost unthinkable scenario, where I felt my business was going BACKWARDS – I had a bigger list but they were not interested in me like they used to be.

      So, I ended up deleting about 40% of my subscriber base and instead of the “solo ad” type emails, I started sending out a “newsletter” style email up to three times per week.

      Clicks are still lower than they used to be but my open rates have improved as I regain the trust of my subscribers.

      I haven’t done an ad swap in months and very rarely promote anything now. The products I do promote will be reviewed by me on my blog and ideally I’d like to get some bonus content from the creator, such as an interview.

      This will help me to show my subscribers I really BELIEVE in that product and it will set me apart from the majority of “me too” marketers who blindly promote the flavour of the week with cut-and-paste emails .

      I know you are being diplomatic when you describe some recent products as being ‘borderline’. I have seen pretty much every major release over the past couple of months and the vast majority has been garbage.

      In my opinion, marketers are getting desperate. They are running out of quality information to share and are just dressing up very basic info as the latest wonder product. What’s worse is their buddies with massive lists and (rapidly diminishing) credibility are promoting it without a second thought for their subscribers – they are just after a fast buck.

      Even marketers at what I would class at a “mid to successful” level are now doing this and it has shocked me. I no longer consider them a source of credible advice if they are resorting to pusing the latest Clickbank approved drivel in the hope of a recurring commission payday.

      Ray makes a great point above about not relying on launches and my long term approach involves SEO and other sustainable traffic methods. For my latest product I am in the process of creating such a self-sufficient funnel.

      That way, if the product converts and gets good feedback, I can launch in the traditional sense for a bonus payday rather than the shit-or-bust mentality that seems to be plaguing this industry at this time.

      I know this comment has become a bit of a rant but I can’t help it. These recent marketing practices have really struck a chord with me and I am glad it is not just me that has noticed it.

      Speak soon.


    • Sue Schlaiffer

      Hi John,
      I really appreciate honesty and I think this will go a long way with many other people too. We all amke mistakes and it sometimes takes courage to admit them, but honesty is always the best policy in the end. I suspect that I am the same as a large number of your students and followers in saying that I will always stay loyal to those who have earned my trust, and I will do my best to follow their example. So I am sure that the vast majority of people will realise that it is just a human trait to stray off the right path ocassionally, but the main thing is that you realised it in plenty of time. Keep on teaching us the way John and we’ll follow.

    • Daniel Sumner

      Hey JT,

      You are just too nice sometimes and can’t say no! I have told you on a couple of occasions not to promote products but you do it anyway and get nothing in return. It’s a shame some guys are only in it for list stealing ๐Ÿ™

      I choose my promo’s very wisely, probably too wisely as I rarely promote these day’s, only the stuff I like and believe in gets promoted, I think this is why my open rate and CTR is still quite high.

      If the whole marketing community took this attitude then just maybe we could sort the wheat from the chaff and get some good money generating products rather than poor products with no soul (I hope my next product is liked or I’m going to look rather stupid!)

      Great post John Keep em coming

    • LynnN

      Hi John

      Having been on your list since 2007, I have been none-too-pleasantly surprised by the recent increase in promotions at the expense of the good, solid information that your subscribers have come to expect, and I was beginning to suspect that you’d been taken over by aliens ๐Ÿ™‚

      There is way too much of the ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ going on in IM circles, and as a result subscribers are being bombarded with multiple promotions for every new launch. So it’s good to hear that the old John Thornhill has returned, and well done for having the guts to admit the error of your ways. (That’s a rare quality these days – especially from the male of the species ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

      There is one very successful marketer who’s list I have been on for more than 7 years. During the whole of that time he has continued to give quality information to his list and I can’t ever recall him jumping on any big launch. But his business continues to grow and he has a big membership site with an extremely active forum so he must be doing something right. I thought it was just worth making this observation as proof that a successful business can be built without being on the perpetual JV merry-go-round.

      Well done John, and here’s to your continuing success.


    • John,

      I have been on your list for some time now, mostly because of the quality content and the feeling that you were someone who cares about their subscribers. Also because I have bought products from you and want to receive information when you update them.

      I felt rather uncomfortable about the number of promo emails I was receiving and was wandering why you were suddenly sending so many of these emails. I am rather pleased to hear your recognition of this error of your ways and that this practice will not continue, so we can go back to helpful emails only.

      I don’t have an objection to an occasional promo email, as long as the product is good quality and genuinely a needed product, just not a new one every day or two.

      I wish you every success in building your list back up to be responsive. Whilst this must have been hard to write from one perspective, it should actually have been very easy to write from another – the one that reassures your valuable subscribers to remain on your list and open your emails.

      I look forward to many years of mutually successful relationships.

      Kind regards,


    • Jerry

      I have been a fan of yours for a couple years now and have purchased most of your products, but I too had begun to lose confidence. It makes me feel even better of you to admit a mistake and pick back up to doing what put you on top in the first place. Thanks John for being that kind of man. You’ve not lost any of us.

    • Steve Wilkins

      Hi John,

      Interesting post! If I may add a point, I still remember the really decent promo’s you did where you offered a really cool bonus for buying through your link. This is actually a method of yours that I copied and evolved slightly for my list.

      For example a good few months back you promoted List Marketing for which you offered a cool (and relative) bonus if we bought through your link. You offered to send 10,000 of your own subscribers to the new squeeze page created with that affiliate product (by the way I still haven’t cashed this bonus in so I may be in touch soon ;). Anyway this would help the buyer of this product to create a list of at least 10,000 subscribers, needless to say this was a bonus I quickly snapped up.

      What I am saying here is that you offered some really fantastic bonuses if we bought through your affiliate link – this always got me hooked and I spent well over $2000.00 on affilliate products through your recommendation but only because of your really cool bonuses and the help and support you offered by buying through you.

      I think this is where you are most successful John and as I said earlier, this is something I have now implemented into my list building and promotion. I only send my subscribers product recommendations that I have throuroughly evaluated and more often than not tested myself, I even create a video showing my effective use of that product 9 times out of 10 as well as offering a stack of really valuable bonuses if they decide to buy through my link. This is something you taught me and something I would love to see again in your promos, which I always open by the way.

      Just for the record I still think you are one of the most ethical and helpful marketers around along with Lee Mcintyre, so keep up your great level of support and I guarantee I will always follow you.

      Apologies for the long comment!
      Steve Wilkins.

    • Gary O' Brien

      Hi John,

      Great post there, I felt I had to write this post to give credit where credit is due. I was on many lists when I first started online but have unsubscribed to most expect yours, Jim Corkum’s and a small number of others. There are a few main reasons for this.

      I think you are one of the few internet marketers who comes across honest and I feel this is the key. So many people have got scammed in one thing or another when searching for that road to online success. This post is another example of your honesty.

      I also remember all the free quality content I received in the past from you. This free content really put me on the right road as I was suffering from information overload!

      The problem with the emails I was receiving from other marketers is I felt I was being sold a dream every day. By this I mean getting an email and yet another product inside with great sales copy and promising to make me a millionaire overnight with very little work.

      The real big one for me is that if I sent an email looking for advise I receive a reply within 24 hrs weather there is money in it for you or not. I feel you really want to help others to succeed as-well.

      I also think that most people understand that if you are a top marketer you will be promoting a lot of products. I feel that if there is a balance between the free quality content and products promoted you will be fine.

      Keep up the good work John,

      Gary O’ Brien

    • Marcia

      Amen. Thank you for taking a stand on this and speaking out. I can’t tell you how many lists I have unsubscribed from in the last few weeks that all started out with something like “I hooked you up,” “Your download link enclosed” and other clever (not!) ways of disguising (yet another) jv mailing.
      It is coming down to just a few internet marketers, including you of course, that I trust and will always open their emails knowing that it is something of value. When a product is promoted I know that it is something that either they have bought (or reviewed) or would buy based on their personal knowledge of the product owner.
      Thanks for opting out of this craziness.
      PS – What is the plugin that produces the check box below the comments where you can elect to receive follow-up comments via email? I saw it one time but don’t remember.

    • Peter Jowett

      have no list in internet marketing …too hard to please
      doomed if you do…doomed if you don’t
      love blogging … much more responsive and more relaxed !

      All the best John !

      Peter Jowett

    • John McNally

      I’m on your Masterclass John, but dropped out around lesson 10 (I will restart though, don’t worry). ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m just concentrating on blogging, and now find it easy and pleasurable. Next will be article writing, then an eBook.

      I haven’t got much of a list yet, but I agree with your over-promotion concerns. If I end up getting too many emails from one person, I just unsubscribe. I’m not going to read them, and I can’t be bothered to delete them. As you said, Quality should be the focus when contacting someone. 8)


    • Jacinta Dean

      Hi John,

      I am one of those subscribers on many a marketers list that is completely desensitized to the marketing now. Most emails I will glance at the title and I can tell if it is just a promotion or actually has some quality content in it.

      I have unsubscribed from quite a few marketers lists over the last few months as I have noticed a lot of marketers using shock tactics headlines, and aggressive marketing techniques. I even got an email from one marketing asking me why I hadn’t clicked the link.

      Obviously very desperate!!

      You were the one that taught us in masterclass about the importance of balance and giving quality content.

      I did notice you doing more and more promotions, however bimbo me just thought you were doing some research and some testing tactics. I guess you were in a way! ๐Ÿ˜›

      Glad you noticed and changed your ways now instead of loosing more of your business and credibility.

      My list is only tiny and as yet I haven’t done any promotion to them except your coaching program and that is because I have actually gone through it and know what it is about.

      I have no intention to ever promote a product I haven’t read, experienced or gone through. I guess that means i won’t participate in launches either. I want to experience the product first to know if I actually believe in the product before promoting it. Maybe I won’t make the millions, however I do know I will only be recommending what I truly believe in.

      I think you’ll get the 100 comments on this post! ๐Ÿ˜†


      Jacinta ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Paul | Webcomp Analyst

      Hi John,

      I can relate to this post very well. My CTR has decreased significantly over the last few months, mainly because i have been bombarding my list with adswaps. While this was an effective list building method for a while, in the long run my list has become more unresponsive.

      I would much rather have a smaller list that was a lot more responsive, than tens of thousands of subscribers that never open your email.

      I’ve certainly learned my lesson the hard way, now it’s time to rebuild the relationship with the list, rather than just trying to add as many as i can to it.

      Good post John, thanks.


    • Adwello

      Great post John because it takes courage to admit your own failings to yourself, never mind anyone else! It is hard to find the middle road in JV promos – too few and you don’t make any new friends ๐Ÿ˜‰ too many and your subscribers fall away. Well, it’s nice to be in the position of having your own products to promote! I’d say: take a long hard review of who you feel your typical subscriber is – working or full time online – roughly average age – and what they want from internet marketing – and what they want from you. Best way to find out is to mail out a simple questionaire with a bribe of some sort like a free ebook for filling it in. Knowledge is power is money in the bank. Serve your subscribers don’t milk them is my motto. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Ed

      Hey John,

      First of all I myself had noticed the amount of promos you where sending, and I would be lying if I thought you wasn`t starting to believe in your own expertise and confidence too much on your past success rate as a very successful marketer!

      However, I am pleased to get to the best and most important point and part of my statement, and that is IF you where not the John Thornhill whom I am proud to know and a man who hosts honesty and intrigety I wouldn`t have bothered to visit your blog or stay subscribed!

      You see John, that is what I am all about honesty, and you illuminate it, and you are one of a few marketers I know of that stays loyal and exact on how to grow an online business successfully and that can only breed respect, you are only human and mistakes are part of that nature.

      How many people can hold their hand up and say what you have said publicly on a worldwide scale, and I know you put the way you felt as content for your latest post because you felt your acts as an email marketer was against your own nature and judgement, to market to your list in this way!

      One more thing, its because of your nature you will continue to sustain your business!

      You helped me quite a few times of late, and as low down the IM ladder as I am its something i never forget!

      Take care John….John A.K.A Ed.

      PS Honesty reveals facts and my business below would not have been realized, if it wasn`t for your MasterClass 2009 *Fact*!

    • Doug Prentice

      Hi John
      I was begining to wonder recently at the volume of promo emails I was receiving from you. However I still opened every one of them. Why? Well, I have been following you for about three years John and have never failed to learn something from any of you emails or blog postings.

      I have to confess there are a couple of products I’ve bought at your behest and not used – but that’s more down to me than you. On the other hand there are some products that I’ve bought purely for the bonuses and that’s something that you should remember. Don’t beat yourself up because some of the products may have been borderline. Even if they were I’d bet the the bonuses you always give more than made up for any loss of quality in the product.

      As I’ve said before, John, you were the first internet marketer who gained my confidence and trust and quite frankly nothing has happened that will change my mind about that.

      If your other followers are anything like me they will always find, in your promotions, elements that can be used in our own businesses.
      I still have a significant number of your emails saved and frequently refer to them.

      Your blog post just goes to highlight your humanity which is exactly why we all think so much of you.

      Keep up the good work.

      Best regards


    • John Edler

      Hi John

      What an interesting insight – thank you.

      A recurring theme of mine, working on the important rather than working on the urgent, and having the wisdom to know the difference ๐Ÿ™‚

      Dream + Focus = Success



    • Rhys Davies

      Here’s my opinion on this. Not so much on the blog post, but about the point that click-throughs seem to be a major factor for all of this.

      A growing problem in our industry is that click-through rates are going down and down. Although personally I see a growing click-through rate.

      50% of the time, this is down to not getting enough *NEW* subscribers on your list daily. Your email list is essentially like a membership site.

      You need new people joining as much as you can because people do leave for many different reasons and you need to fill in those spots, plus a ton more when possible.

      A lot of the people with click-through problems don’t have a good business process for getting new subscribers.

      Another problem is the trust/authority/rapport people have with there lists. Most people don’t really trust the people emailing them because no trust or rapport has been built.

      This in turn will reduce click through rates.

      The reason why guys like Frank Kern can come out the wood-works once a year and do a few million dollars from a launch, is because he spends 99% of his time building trust.

      The last reason that clickthrough’s suck for a lot of people is because they engage in list building methods that suck. Doing adswaps went through a major buzz period the last 3 months.

      OK, from the outset it looks like a good idea, but not when your getting emails that are going to be swapped atleast 100x times in the near future.

      It’s viral list building with BAD consequences instead of good ones.

      It ruins the IM community as whole then aswell.

      Note – This wasn’t target at anyone.

    • Alan Petersen

      Hi John,

      I don’t understand… because you’ve promised so many people you would promote for them in your launch bonuses and affiliate contests. How do you reconcile that?

      I’ve been waiting for you to promote my excellent product, as promised, for quite a few months. And I’m losing faith in you, John, which saddens me because I have always had great respect for you and your marketing.



      • John Thornhill


        I am promoting every single product that I owe as a bonus so if you’re on my list you will receive a promo. Have patience.


    • Wayne

      Spot on John … pardon the pun.

      I wish that more marketers would take your stance.

      I believe that I’m going to have to do a massive purging of my e-mail list as I currently have in excess of 37,000 entries in my inbox.

      Don’t worry … you’ll likely survive the cut.


    • Eamon

      Hi John.

      If every person got a read at this post, I’m sure they’d reconsider looking into their emails a lot closer. So! I know I’ll be putting a link out to it from my blog. Letting subscribers know of this is only fair.

      Your facts are certainly true, I’ve had it done to me and I’m sure a lot of your followers also.

      Keeping your followers happy is what it’s all about, great post.


    • Mike R

      I totally agree with Val and Gary!

      John, the reason why you have so many subscribers is that you DO have their interests at heart! Also, as recent posts show, you are more than willing to be open and accountable, on your own blog, even to your critics! How many other internet marketers do that?


    • Betsy

      Funny, I was just getting ready to unsubscribe to you when I decided to open an email that led me to this blog post. Consequently, I will continue as a subscriber. I have deleted many IMers in the last few weeks who seem to have “lost” their way and no longer offer great content — only garbage promotions of affiliate products. I hope I never do that to my subscribers.


    • Tom Harvey

      John, Great post and refreshing to see your honesty. I know (from the number of lists I’m on) that you certainly aren’t the only person guilty of this, and it has got to the point where I don’t read certain e-mails and have unsubscribed froma number of lists that I was previously loyal too as the useful info has all but dried up and I find that I’m being recommended something new every 5 mins!
      Whilst I don’t doubt some of these products have value, I simply can’t buy or have the time to learn from and implement all of them and surely the marketers must realise this. I’m all for options, but when a number of these products are effectively the same I find it frustrating that there are no honest reviews and comparisons being made.
      One of the things my mentor Alex Jeffreys teaches is about Marketing with your subscribers not to them and I completely agree with his approach – its not about pushing every single product because it converts well, but by recommending products that will be helpful and offer value. This builds a more sustainable business model in the long run. Look forward to seeing your honest recommendations, all the best

    • Susie

      Yay! I’m just seeing this on Sept. 1, because I have kind of quit checking out what you had to say…

      I’m so happy you are going to become “yourself” again!

      I confess that I bought one of your products, and you provided a bonus wherein you would promote one of the buyer’s products to your list, and I had the unkind thought that it probably wouldn’t bring the same kind of response that it once would have. (Not that I actually HAVE a product to promote, which is one of my own shortcomings, sigh)

      Anyhow, your honesty is refreshing and your insight impeccable.

      Completely renews my trust in you, plus some!
      Best to you,

    • malcolm mckinnell

      Hi John
      I wrote a post today and someone read it and it must have rang a bell somewhere because he referred me to your post here.

      Having read your post I have to agree that warming up your email list is far superior to sending out random cold emails.

      At the same time if a promise is made maybe through JV Launches and offering bonuses I would make sure they where honoured.

      Best Always.


    • Omar Martin

      Yes – and I’ve recently seen quite a division in our industry. It is becoming more and more evident who these people are. As they say “The cream rises to the top” …

      I was at the Affilliate’s Appreciation event in Vegas last week and as I looked around it was easy to see how the scammers gravitate to one another and form groups.

      It happens in person, just as it does online. These guys know they are pedaling “crap” and they factor in a 50% + refund rate … but they team up to promote each others stuff so it just becomes a numbers game. Even with a 50% refund rate they know that they’ll make $500k plus.

      They keep a calendar and take turns launching… They make these secret “cliques” and thats how they literally “saturate” the internet on a given day to launch their stuff.

      Its a genius concept if their products were legit and actually WORKED. But they don’t.

      I spoke with one of these guys in Vegas and when I inquired about his product not working he said… “Omar, who cares?… 70% of people wont ever even open the file they bought and another 29% wont get passed video#1 so I’m only really screwing 1% of the people..!!”

      WOW – yes thats exactly what he said. I looked at him in awe, then I went to the bar and anestethized myself with alchohol.

      I’m confident that will finally separate these crooks from the good guys.

      Great post John!


      • John Pugh

        The frighting thing is, who the hell is buying it ? There’s a big market out there to be taken from the scammers, and one admitting screwing, and to put them on the right path. I need to speak to JT about this one. Best Regards John Pugh.

    • Gary Simpson

      OMG Omar!

      “I spoke with one of these guys in Vegas and when I inquired about his product not working he saidโ€ฆ โ€œOmar, who cares?โ€ฆ 70% of people wont ever even open the file they bought and another 29% wont get passed video#1 so Iโ€™m only really screwing 1% of the people..!!โ€

      THAT is a bloody disgrace! SHAMEFUL! Whoever it was should be run out of this “profession.” Morons like that stink it up for everyone. No wonder the “trust factor” is almost non-existant now.

      Gary Simpson

    • Rita Johnson

      Hi John Just wanted to say thanks for your honesty at least you own up to your mistakes, and I can see how any one of us could get caught up in this. Chances are I have purchased the products you are talking about.

      Sadly of lately as you said product after product is failing to produce any results at all especially the push button typ. Internet marketing is not easy it takes hard work just like anything else in life.

      When you have lots of friends in the industy it has always been a case of lets JV nothing wrong with that. But I think if promoting high ticket products on behalf of others then perhaps you or an outsourcer could test it first. You are one of the few left with a good reputation for value and money and now you have added honesty to the list keep going I am still in.

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