Internet Business in a Box
SCAMS SPECIAL INVESTIGATION SERIES
By Butch Pujol
Friday, November 26, 2004; 3:10pm EST
You've seen it on TV' everything you need to start your Internet
business only $59.95. It seems too good to be true! Can you actually
get a Web site, hosting, search engine placement and products to
sell for under $60? Can you actually begin to turn a profit within
minutes of your site being loaded onto the 'Net? Hmmm' what's the
old saying? "If it sounds too good to be true'"
When these types of infomercials start, the pitch is usually
something along the lines of, "you can own your own Internet
business for only $59.95 and become rich by only working 20 minutes
a day." Granted, they do show testimonials from people who
supposedly have made millions with this type of business. And, they
do make a persuasive argument that this type of success is possible
because the Internet is a worldwide medium. Can it be done? Yes.
However, the real question is, "can it be done by your average
The answer to that question is no. How do I know it can't be done?
I've tried it. Before I recommend any new products or services to my
clients I buy them and try them to be sure they are safe and
legitimate. I investigate the companies and their products and
Let me share with you what I've found about these types of Internet
Businesses In A Box.
Watch Out For the Small Print
Small print seems to play a major role in the advertising campaigns
of these firms. For instance, satisfied customers appear showing you
the checks they've received from their business. Your natural
response is to focus on the rich business owner. Instead, read the
small print at the bottom of the screen. "These experiences are
unique and your results may vary. Dollar amounts quoted are gross
sales." Some even say, "Business owners are fictitious characters
portrayed by actors". It's a perception angle. You usually do not
notice the small print because the company has directed your
attention toward the big checks. They have you dreaming of all the
money you will make when you use their product.
Another major surprise that comes from not reading the fine print is
sprung on you once the package arrives. For $59.95 you receive the
"how to information" - nothing is done for you' you must do it all
yourself. Since most of the purchasers of this type of product are "newbies",
the information does little good. When Internet business people are
just starting out, they normally don't know a Web host from a Web
The first thing you are instructed to do is build your website.
Although the company tells you that the site is easy to build and
you need no programming or HTML experience, there is no doubt that
the site will appear amateurish. This is by no means a slight to
Internet newbies. It is simply a factual statement. I know of no one
that could design a professional-looking Web site on their first
Once the Web site is completed, you will need a Web host in order
for it to be viewed on the 'Net. Another surprise comes when you
discover the monthly hosting fees are not included in your $59.95.
Hosting fees can run between $10.00 - $75.00 per month depending on
which features you require and the amount of space needed.
What Will You Sell?
During the infomercial the company mentioned that you would have
thousands of products to choose from. However, what I found was that
there were only 50 or 60. When I questioned this, I was told they
either fired their supplier or the contract with the supplier
expired and new negotiations were underway. As for the quality of
the items' it was sorely lacking. Rather cheep trinkets that had no
How Will Your Customers Pay?
In order for customers to pay online, you will need a shopping cart
system. However, I'm afraid I found that this application was
another add on. It was not included in the $59.95 price.
In addition to the shopping cart, you'll also need a merchant
account to receive credit card payments. Most merchant accounts
require a 2 year contract. However, to receive a merchant account
company, a 5 year contract was required. I found the set up fees
very high and the monthly fees just as disturbing. Not to mention,
with a new Internet business, I can't imagine being tied into a 5
year agreement. If the company fails, you would still be liable to
pay the monthly fees for the remaining time on the contract.
Bringing Traffic To Your Site
During the infomercial, you are told that the company will submit
your new Web site to the top 1,000 search engines with automated
software. However, what most people don't understand is that 90% of
your search engine traffic will come from the top 20 engines. In
addition, most of the major engines require manual submissions, not
automated. In order to get your site positioned properly, you'll
either need to buy additional software, pay a search engine
professional to do the task or learn to handle it yourself.
Needless-to-say, that costs even more money.
I am not going to add up all the individual cost of my investigation
but I will give you the total cost that was on the contract they
wanted me to sign. Not counting the $59.95 I had already paid for my
Internet business in a box, they asked for another $2695.00.
This article is not meant to discourage you from starting your own
Internet business. My business is to educate people about the sharks
that will try to take your money.
Can you start your own Internet business, make money, lie out by the
pool sipping Margaritas and only work 20 minutes a day? You bet! And
it can be done for a lot less than $2,695.00. Will it happen the
first week you're in business? No. Before you jump into an online
business, I urge you to educate yourself, learn how the Internet
works, decide what you can or are willing to do yourself and what
you will have to pay someone else to do. Calculate the entire cost.
You will not get rich over night. It will take time to build your
business and automate it. Then, with a little luck and a lot of hard
work in the beginning, you can lie out by the pool sipping
About the Author
Butch Pujol is the founder of Safe Internet Business Solutions a safe
haven for Newbies and online business owners. Learn how to "Protect
Yourself & Your Internet Business From Robbers, Thieves and Sharks"