This is an affiliate marketing strategy, that in my opinion is pretty shady.
First off, what is Affiliate Marketing?
The SUPER Simple definition of affiliate marketing:
1.) Someone offers you the chance to promote their product online.
2.) You get a unique link.
3.) People click on your link.
4.) People buy or take a specific action.
5.) You get paid automatically.
There are probably of hundreds of big affiliate networks online, and probably millions of products. Some products offered have value and are what make affiliate marketing awesome, Amazon.com has an affiliate program for instance. Most affiliate products do not have significant value on their own though, and are just marketed in this way because the creator only has to pay the sales force after they receive a result. A good number of “get rich quick” and self help programs end up getting marketed through affiliate networks, and this is where this particularly shady sales strategy comes in.
Get a free (throw away) gMail account.
Get a Craigslist account with that new gMail account.
Post a generic job listing along these lines of:
Start Working Tomorrow!
We are looking for hard working self starters that are able to manage their own time. You must have an internet connection and have experience in sales.
Put an autoresponder on your throw away gmail account that says:
Thanks for your interest!
Click this link and for a small fee you can find out how to start making your own money right away.
[insert affiliate link here]
Your work is essentially done, once someone replies to your post the autoresponder will automatically send the response. All you have to do is post and repost ads until your account gets recognized and suspended, at which point you have to set up a new free account.
Again, this is all very simplified, and most affiliate networks, not to mention craigslist, would suspend someone who was this blatant, but there are lots of workarounds that affiliates use to get these ads up. I just saw one up on Craigslist, and I don’t know why but it just rubbed me the wrong way.
The fact that it could work for 1 out of however many people fall for it is the only reason I don’t totally consider it a scam. If someone does learn something from the program they buy, or has their eyes opened to internet marketing, then at least there was some small value. But the whole process is spamy and in my opinion abusive of people’s genuine desire to work.
If the person posting to craigslist wants to get extra scammer points they will make it sound like a real job, but in order to be considered you have to buy a “training program”.
I would like to think that people would want to help eachother out online, and really make a difference in other peoples lives, but I guess there will always be people out there looking for that quick buck. These posts aren’t new either, they have been around for years, but hopefully this will help someone recognize these posts for what they are, and save someone a headache down the road.