Avoid the scams, find out which Business Opportunities actually work
17th April 2008
Filed under: General Opportunities,Internet Marketing — Ben @ 8:12 pm

Yesterday I sent an email out that pointed out Joel Comm’s latest promotion – his $97 AdSense book for just $9.95.

Tongue firmly in cheek, I suggested it might be because Joel has had an unexpectedly large tax bill. It’s not uncommon for people to do specials around tax time…

Below is the email I sent:


Just a quick email because you may wish to take advantage of what looks like a “I-need-money-for-my-tax-bill” sale.

Joel Comm’s just released the 4th Edition of his New York Best Seller AdSense Guide and he’s priced it at $9.95 which is about £5 at the current exchange rate.

I don’t know the real reason why he is selling it so cheap…

Could it be that it is tax time in the US?

Maybe that’s just me being cynical…

If you’re interested in using AdSense on any of your websites, or creating websites especially to use AdSense (Virtual Real Estate as it is known) then Joel is recognised as the “industry expert” in this field.

So $9.95 is a bit of a bargain if you ask me!

Be aware that should you buy the book you will get an offer – a “MASSIVE AdSense Premier home training” as he puts it – at a 75% discount on the usual price.

I can vouch that it is at a huge discount, I saw Joel speak at a seminar some time ago and his Premier package was several thousand dollars.

It’s very good value but not essential by any means.

For most people the book will be more than adequate to explain advanced AdSense strategies in detail.

The offer can be found at:

[Link removed]

Hope that’s of use to you!



I’ve since discovered that buyers were automatically signed up to a continuity program when they bought the eBook. It’s a membership at just under $30 a month and you get the first month free – after that you must cancel if you do not want to receive any more issues.

Now this WAS mentioned in the sales letter but not highlighted on the order form.

So, if like me, you have bought Joel’s book without realising you’ve been signed up to a monthly continuity program then make sure to remember to cancel the newsletter subscription if you do not like the first issue.

I will be ensuring that I do not get charged unless the newsletter contains 100% superb information.

After all, I did not specifically request this membership and I doubt I would’ve ordered it if had had a choice!

So, my apologies for suggesting this was a great buy at $10 – I honestly did think it was a good buy – which is why I bought it myself.

However, if I had realised that there was a forced continuity program contained in the offer, I probably wouldn’t have promoted this book.

If you have any issues whatsoever cancelling the monthly charge, then please let me know. I will let you know how I go on cancelling it – I really hope they don’t force me to phone the US.

Very sneaky Joel, very sneaky. I’m not impressed.


  1. I agree with you that Joel Comm has been very sneaky in adding a $30 per month monthly membership to his ebook and not making it very obvious that you are doing so. But he’s not alone in doing this – I’ve been nearly taken in several times by similar offers in the past.

    There are quite a few well-known names who make it very difficult to cancel subscriptions to their monthly programs, and hide the cancellation information somewhere obscure on their websites. I’m sure it’s done deliberately to obstruct all but the most-determined people from cancelling their monthly payments.

    And it’s also amazing how many times the initial request for membership termination is ignored and you continue to be billed until you either get your credit card company/bank to dispute the debit; or you threaten the website/program that you will contact the billing company to report a fraudulent charge on your card/bank account. I’ve found that the latter works extremely well and usually gets a positive response within 24hrs.


    Comment by Richard — 17th April 2008 @ 8:51 pm

  2. I had a similar experience recently with Matt Bacack. His “unsubscribe” information was attached to the front of a free trial issue of his hard-copy newsletter. It looked at first glance so much like a “special offer” that I threw it away, then wondered why I was being billed $15.95 per month….! In this case, the ONLY way to cancel was via a phone call to a very unhelpful chap in Matt’s US office!


    Comment by John Landells — 17th April 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  3. Thank you for this post. I bought the book, NOT the upsell (although I KNEW there would BE one). I had no idea there was a continuity charge associated with this purchase; it was DEFINTELY not clear on the offer page, and I generally watch for these things. I will go and cancel this immediately, on principle.

    This is the second time this has happened this week. Matt Bacak (who is “retiring”…I wish I could make so much money “retiring”) did the same thing with his $1 offer. I found out about THAT one from another affiliate marketer who felt betrayed. I canceled immediately.

    There’s way too much of this shoddy practice amongst the IM crowd these days, even “brand name” marketers. I ran into this with Derek Gehl’s Internet Marketing Center. I bought their basic IM course, which came with some low-cost trials of monthly memberships. These were, to their credit, clearly labeled as such, with clear indication that you would be charged after the trial. However, on attempting to cancel, I sent an email canceling all three trials. Within the hour, they had canceled the two cheaper subscriptions. NO mention of the third, $97/month subscription. I made the mistake of assuming they had canceled that one as well. WRONG! I got a charge soon thereafter for $97. I sent several emails and support tickets to no avail. I finally had to call their Customer Service number directly to complain, at which point they processed the cancelation. Of course, i still lost almost $10 (I’m in Canada) in transaction and exchange costs. Veeeeery frustrating. I cannot say for sure this was anything other than a mistake compounded by poor customer service, but they DO have in their FAQ section of their Support Desk, several answers related to “why am i getting this monthly charge on my credit card?” Seems that I’m not alone!!

    Anyway, thanks again for the heads up on this one. I will be canceling immediately and hope I don’t have to fight to do it.

    Shame on all IM’ers who play this game.


    Comment by John — 17th April 2008 @ 9:51 pm

  4. Hi Ben, thank you for your timely post. I didn’t buy Joel’s book as I suspected there might be an upsell. I was expecting to find one of those “do not leave this page till you’ve read it thoroughly as this offer will not be repeated” or some such blurb. However, I fell for Matt Bacak’s $1 offer, silly me! Had I looked more closely I would’ve spotted the monthly charge of $29.95. Tom Ambrozewitcz alerted me to it —- thanks, Tom! Matt sent me an Email thanking me for my $1 purchase and gave me the choice of opting out of his subscriber lists, which I did. Fingers crossed, I won’t receive the newsletter or be charged £29.95 a month for it. Thanks again, Ben. May you always Keep smiling! = Mike

    Comment by Mike — 17th April 2008 @ 10:39 pm

  5. 17April,22.30hrs.Glad you raised this issue and keep raising it,these cheats are laughing all the way to the bank.A refund request to Dave Gale was not actioned because,as he said in his prompt reply,my email had gone to a little used mailbox.C.A.M/c

    Comment by Cecil Armitage — 17th April 2008 @ 10:44 pm

  6. Hi Ben

    I am not surprised that this could possibly have happened. We know that almost by definition the IM market has more ‘smoke and mirrors’ than almost any other (except car dealership perhaps) so as would-be providers we should be more sensitised than the average punter to reading between the lines and looking for the inevitable sub-text .

    Unfortunately we are only human and maybe the ‘its a bargain’/ ‘something for nothing’ gene kicked-in and blunted the critical faculties, so potentially we ‘got took’.

    Another confirmation of the old adage “there is no such thing as a ‘free lunch'”

    Comment by henry — 18th April 2008 @ 9:35 am

  7. I wonder if these people realise that these underhanded tactics are more likely to backfire than be profitable? I have received both of these recently and luckily did not fall – on the premise that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is!! However, I then promptly removed then from my email list so if many of their customers do the same, what have they achieved! I just wonder if it is now so difficult to get sales that they have to go to these lengths, what will they dream up next…..

    Comment by Mavis — 18th April 2008 @ 10:07 am

  8. Ben, i was thinking of going for the e-book on getting your email but your follow up email saved the day about the hidden charging.

    [Edit by Ben: Sorry, I have to remove this line because the tax bill remark was *just a joke*, there is no truth to it as far as I know.]

    i must say guys what a w*****! Just my opinion though.

    Cheers Ben for the info!

    Comment by sri — 18th April 2008 @ 11:15 am

  9. Just another example of the deceipt and dishonesty in the IM field.

    No-one really cares about their customers who are effectively nothing but a name on a list. In the real world of offline business this sort of practice would make the business go bust in no time!

    Comment by Jeff — 18th April 2008 @ 12:18 pm

  10. Hi Ben,

    In my opinioj there is nothing wrong with Forced Continuity as long as :

    1) It is clearly marked on the Sales page and Order page

    2) Cancelation is made easy and actioned promptly.

    If it is clearly labelled it is up to the customer whether they want to buy the offer or not. Sneaky Forced Continuity is a joke but ethical Forced Continuity is just good marketing.


    Comment by Alistair — 20th April 2008 @ 12:47 pm

  11. Hi Alistair,

    All good points, thanks for that.

    I believe Joel has now changed the sales page to make it more obvious and to also allow buyers to refuse the monthly charge.

    Too little, too late for me though I’m afraid – I just don’t trust him any more and I’ll never deal with him again.

    I’d have a little more respect if people who complain about the $30 charge are given a refund as well as having the monthly charge cancelled. I think that is only fair.

    Despite all the controversy that has been created, some people will still receive charges that they were unaware were coming.

    The sheer volume of people who didn’t notice this forced continuity on purchase, including myself, suggests that it was purposely made hard to spot (read: sneaky).

    A bonus is usually something given freely in addition to the main product – not something which costs 3 times the original purchase – billed monthly without being specifically ordered by the customer.

    When I purchased, I had no choice but to be enrolled in this “membership”. Now I have to take time to go and ask Joel Comm not to take money from me each month for something I never wanted in the first place.

    He should’ve asked me if it was OK to take the money on a recurring basis – not just tacked on a method of reaching into my wallet each month.

    All very dodgy in my opinion and certainly not thought out properly by Joel.


    Comment by Ben — 20th April 2008 @ 1:59 pm

  12. Oh dear it seems that I also was taken in by Bacak’s unbelievable offer, just two days ago actually. I am so glad you pointed that out and you have a comments section. So I therefore am going to have to cancel. I hope that it will not be to difficult. As an aspiring up and coming marketeer, I certainly only want transparency on my websites.


    Many thanks indeed, hopefully that has saved me many an empty pocket.


    Comment by martina — 24th April 2008 @ 12:21 am

  13. That is a bit naughty! I hate this kind of tactic for buying online. It’s only fair to make people aware what they are paying for a product up front.

    Comment by Etrader — 3rd May 2008 @ 1:59 pm

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