One of my pet peeves . . . plus, your own social network software

In recent months, I’ve witnessed a few software product launches that I can only describe as “irritating”.

And what caused this irritation? The promoter’s expectation that I would spend between $497 and $997 to get their supposedly “whiz-bang” software WITHOUT EVEN SEEING IT FIRST!

These guys go through their well-scripted pre-launch sequence, telling everyone how much money this software will make them, how much time it will save them, how all their buddies begged them not to release it, and on and on . . . never revealing the price of course (wouldn’t want to put a damper on people’s anticipation).

Then on the launch day, they repeat all of the above. They are sure to point out how this software should be selling for thousands of dollars, but for a limited number of lucky schmucks, they’ll release it for a bargain-basement price of only $497 (or $997, $1997, whatever, as long as it ends with a 7).

But they do NOT show us what the software looks like or how it operates!

No demo site to poke around in.

No videos showing how the software works.

Not even screenshots of the software in action.

Sometimes they don’t even tell you what kind of operating system is required to run the software.

It leaves me wondering, “What are they hiding?”

These guys have the “selling on emotion” concept down pat. They’re selling the dream of making lots of money quickly and with very little effort. But in my opinion they fail to give their prospective customers a way to “justify with logic”, which is also a key concept in direct marketing.

One such promotion is live as I write this, the “Niche Socializer” software. I normally don’t reveal guilty parties by name in my blog or emails, but I’ll make an exception here because despite their marketing sins, I think their product may still be worthy of attention (I just wish I could SEE the dang thing!) . . .

I emailed the support team for the Niche Socializer software and asked them whether it was a hosted service or software we install on our own server. I also wanted to know if the software could be used for multiple sites. It’s puzzling to me that they don’t answer these questions on their site!

They replied (quickly, I might add) that it’s software we install on our own server, and that it can be used for 3 social marketing sites. Additional licenses can be purchased at a discount if more sites are required.

Unfortunately, they didn’t tell me what web server platform is required — I’ve sent them a followup email and will update this post as I get new information.

It seems like a pretty good solution to me . . . BUT it’s not the “only” solution. Here are a few other links for you to check out if you want to start your own social network:

Ning.com

KickApps.com

SocialGo.com

Collectivex.com

Kootali Software

Snappville.com Software

Elgg Software (Open Source)

One of the advantages I see with the Niche Socializer software (and some of the software packages listed above) is that you can host it on your own server — I like having that kind of control. Imagine if you built up a social network and then had the underlying company go out of business — ouch!

On the other hand, it’s nice to let someone else worry about server scaling, bandwidth, network issues, etc. — as with most things, there are pros and cons either way.

Another thing I like about Niche Socializer is that it was created with monetization in mind — it includes an eCommerce module and allows you to have “paid” levels if you want. It also allows you to charge for classified ads. The other sites listed above didn’t have much to day about those kinds of things, so when choosing a solution be careful to make sure they have the functions you need/want.

That’s it for now, let me know what you think!

Best,

Paul

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10 Responses to “One of my pet peeves . . . plus, your own social network software”

  1. Dean Esquire Says:

    Thank you for that post. I thought I was the only one feeling the same way. I would rather use one of the many social networking platforms that are already available rather then a bunch of hype and no substance. I think the one thing they have going for themselves is the training aspects other than that forget about it.

  2. Ben Waugh Says:

    I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

  3. Jerry Says:

    Paul,

    The whole hype-based launch formula has lost its appeal for me. I’d love to have a few of the $2,000 packages (oops, I mean $1,997) but those are absurdly priced regardless of the gurus telling us these deals are all STEALS. The same info was once $297 or $497, or maybe as much as $997. The packages are produced better now, but I’d swap the fancy work for a realistic price. All we’re doing is paying for the affiliate to get half, which is also ridiculous.

    On the social sites, I’ve researched nearly all of them and Ning is the one I’m going with. Great controls and you can have all of the ad revenue for a monthly fee. And they’re not a fly by night outfit.

    That last point is a concern, however, as you mentioned the horror of building a social site and then seeing the company go under. In the present environment and by the very nature of the digital landscape, you can be gone quickly. Though, there should be sufficient notice with a large provider, or some other company would likely step in and buy the assets.

    Some savvy entrepreneur might have an opening here to build a script that would allow the downloading and converting of site data, so you could install in another platform or your own if this ever became a reality. Here’s your product name: Social Site Saver.

    If I’ve got a big social community and it’s bringing me decent revenue, I’d have no problem giving somebody (here we go) $1,997 to bail me out.

  4. Laura Says:

    Hi Paul,

    As for Web 2.0 social software, another great one is Pligg.com. It started three years ago (at least that’s when I started playing with it) as more of a bookmarking, open-source software, but many plugins have been built for it, a forum of developers and programmers exist, and it has loads of tweaks and features (i.e. micro-blogging, networking within members, email subscriptions, etc.).

    Great article, thanks for sharing. For the record I couldn’t even get the NicheSocializer sales page to load without timing out – so I wouldn’t have been able to buy it even if I wanted to.

    Cheers, Laura Childs

  5. Max Miller Says:

    I agree regarding the sales (sucker) approach.
    P.T. Barnum once said, “Sucker born everyday and two to take
    ‘em.”
    I can’t help but get that feeling everytime I see one of those
    product launches. Can you imagine how many people order the
    product and then never touch it? I would be willing to bet very
    few of those that don’t do anything (usually out of fear or lack
    of knowledge) with the product ever receive a follow up asking
    why.
    Excellent observation.

  6. Kitty Jellinek Says:

    Hi Paul,

    It seems that we have a “Pet Peeve” in common.
    I wrote an article several years ago “The Sins Of Omission”
    You can find it at: http://www.kimbro.net/old/step_by_step.htm
    if you are interested.
    I have just concluded a lengthy process of getting a full refund for an elderly couple who got suckered into a deal originally for $1997. and ending up with ongoing expenses, upgrades, paid support etc. at over $20,000 – with {will remain nameless}.

    What makes me irate is the proof of income shown on sites with no mention of expenditure to obtain the income.

    There is great money to be made online without ripping people off!

    I feel there should be more posts like your “Pet Peeve” as making people aware of what the scoundrels are doing is the only way to make them redundant.

    Cheers,

    Kitty.

  7. greg Says:

    One thing that I did find odd is since it’s all about making money, their “recommended” ecommerce transaction provider charges over 14% for each transaction (low volume).

    What the….? I thought near 3% was bad for some merchant accounts – that’s a doozie. Looks good but there must be more economical solutions out there and if not there will be. I’m building more manually instead.

    Good concept but short on details as you listed. Thanks

  8. Philip Davis Says:

    Yes, it is one of my pet peeves as well. It takes a lot of ego or something further south to think that just because I got a free or low cost product that I’m now going to hand over hundreds and even thousands of dollars for an unproven, possibly worthless or useless product without the benefit of a good sales letter, proof, testimonials, a trial and then pay method. It is not a business methodology I want to adopt.

    Another peeve and one that has gotten me a few times is the PLR crap circulating on the Internet. I’ve stopped buying anything that doesn’t have the authors name on it or that even hints at not being an original product. It makes me aggravated to buy something from a wanna be or real guru only to find out they got it on a PLR site a few days later for pennies…

    What ever happened to a honest days pay or profit.

    Signed,

    Not a sheep any more…

  9. Jason Stanley Marshall Says:

    Amen, Amen, and Amen!

    The ones marketing like this are only looking for the BIG launch profits and then they fizzle out. Do you think they have long term goals for their software? Doubt it! They’re support is probably just as bad (which I have found out the hard way).

    The only benefit is that they follow the advice of having a great guarantee. A company who is passionate about they’re product will choose other tactics to sell their product other than hypey sales letters that are only geared to get the emotional buy. Personally, I would rather have an educated buyer who truly enjoys my product and is using it to it’s potential.

    Thanks for the post Paul!

    Jason

  10. Claudia Gladding Says:

    Thank you for you post, this site has really been an eye opener. I should just give up and take lessons from you

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