Home on the Range

One of the top e-mail sectors from a pure volume standpoint is e-mail offers that promise big rewards working from home in a start-up business. These offers are a copywriters dream: each e-mail goes on for miles.

The interesting thing about many of these offers is that it is often nearly impossible to tell what you'd actually be doing and selling in these home-based businesses. What's being sold is not the product, but the system used.

This all springs from the subculture that is the world of multilevel marketing where terms like "building your Downstream" are commonplace. I know many of us, including myself, have lost friends to this odd world of vitamin products and blue-green algae where our former friends now spend their days listening to tapes in the car with a trunk full of literature, audio tapes, and product.

As an example, here's a pitch for a company called Mach90:

"We are far past the obsolete days of being limited to merely one marketplace. Mach90 effortlessly exposes your Mach90 business to the entire planet -- its rich variety of human beings is now your personal marketplace."



Imagine, Planet Earth's "rich variety of human beings" is now at my disposal!

It goes on: "Even as you read this, thousands of selected individuals around the world are being introduced to Mach90. Simultaneously with you, they are all being given this unique and amazing opportunity.

The question is, who will recognize the gift they have been given? We ourselves are watching very closely. Time is of the essence, who among the chosen will seize this chance of a lifetime?"

And nowhere in the e-mail does it tell you what Mach90 actually is. You have to actually click through and scroll through the Web site to find out what the teeming variety of human beings is lining up to buy from me. It turns out, it's computer training!

Well, no not actually computer training. Mach90 offers: "an exclusive membership that allows you to not only purchase computer training for over 33% off the retail price, but also allows you to earn commission eligibility from others who do the same."

Do these types of e-mail pitches work? Take a look at this graph:

The blue line represents the volume of e-mail messages that we've received over the last 30 days. The red line represents the Web reach per million number going to their Web site as per Alexa. As you can see, the connection of e-mail sends to site traffic is almost identical. These messages obviously work as a traffic driver. The question is: What variety of human being is responding?

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