Tuesday, December 06, 2011

eBook Review 001 ::: The Blog Bank

The good news: I finally got my refund.
However, since the ebook author has not furnished verification of the testimonials, I'm going to go ahead with the post, which I hope will serve as an example of a what happens when a "social mediast" (is there such a word? There is now!) is overwhelmed with too many irons in the fire. Lost control. You can't allow yourself to let go once you take the reins of social media!
4 out of 5 stars! Stepfanie Cuevas' "THE BLOG BANK" is a great source of advice... if you are a new or beginning blogger, interested in MONETIZING. If you've been blogging for awhile, like I have, you already know and have probably tried most of the tips offered in the PDF!

"None of your favorite blogs started out with thousands of readers, they got to where they are by being real and by being smart." ~ om.malik

The offer looked amazingly tempting. Lots of benefits for those seeking help. The price seemed right.

Most of these kinds of purchases are "impulse buys" and since this one could be accomplished via pay-pal, the transaction was quick and painless.

oh... and the offer included some impressive "testimonials" - $200 is a number that will ring a cash-strapped blogger's bell every single time!

Those testimonials rang the "warning bells" - but me, dummy that I was, didn't think to check them out BEFORE purchasing the eBook. Here's one: "Love it. This is one of the rare books about making money with your blog that you can apply to any type of blog you have! I have a fashion blog, and have already made $200 this week using these tips. Easy to follow, easy to do, nothing to lose!" – Sarah Kingston, Fashion Police Here

"The way Stepfanie included actual dollar signs you could see for the different ways you could use your blog to pay your bills was an amazing incentive. I knew just how much my efforts would make me, and then some. She really broke it down for us in this book and using my blog to pay my bills became a reality instead of just something talked about on the web." – Yvette Stiped

Best of all was the author's promise ::: "if you feel like you didn’t learn anything new, I’ll refund back your money. Simple as that. You have nothing to lose."

Roger that! I spent $9 (sale price) and ordered the file. I had it in moments.


At the time I was not aware that one could simply BUY eBook testimonials! Nevertheless, I took the plunge, even though I'd alrady tried or had seen most of the key elements before:
  • I decided to take the information to heart.
  • I further decided the very best way to effectively do that was to PRINT the pdf out.
  • Hardcopy is tangible, analog, always there.
  • Something you can put your hands on and your pencil to.
  • That way, I figured, I can see how it might work in the "real" world.
  • I was in for a surprise.
There is solid information and some good URLS/links contained in the eBook, but nothing I couldn't have found on my own via Google. I went through the eBook section by section, following the directions/advice as best I possibly could:
  • Updated my "about me" page
  • Updated my "contact" page
  • My content is already current and I "know my niche"
  • Set Up A Mailing List
  • Set up my plan to Sell Ad Space
  • Personal Sponsorship (not something I would do)
  • Signed onto blog Job Boards and Bidding Sites
  • Affiliate Marketing (I already do that)
  • Sell Collection of Blog Posts (I like to give stuff away free)
  • Sell blog posts on websites (In the process of trying this out)
  • Create a product (In the process of trying this out)
At that point, I said "time out" to myself.

Hmmmm... maybe I should check with that blogger who "already made $200 this week" - so I googled and googled and googled. And guess what?
I couldn't find any of these blogs or bloggers! Not even one!

So, I tweeted out this request:None of my 600+ followers and none of my Facebook friends could come up with any solid info! "Yvette Stiped" looks like one of those cap'cha codes, doesn't it? I thought testimonials were all about boosting credibility through social proof.
Michel Fortin explains what I experienced: "The fine line is when the story doesn’t imply what one should do to benefit from your product or service, but what one has actually achieved, which represents or implies what the person will get based on what was represented as fact.

In other words, it’s no longer a promise.

It’s a claim.

Stated differently, when the advertisement states or even just implies that John is an actual client, a real person who got that exact service, in that exact way, with those exact results, you are misleading the public.

The story implies people will get the same. Specifically, it is no longer a story but a testimonial. And testimonials, by law, must be true."
So, I asked for a refund: (hover and click on the image to see large version) Now take a look at the Not-so-prompt response I received: Hmph! The contact info in the eBook is for the author's personal website. I went there. Got the email addy listed (same as the paypal one provided) and forwarded my original email, figuring anybody so active on twitter, who describes herself as a "Social Media Enthusiast" would email back ASAP, if not to issue a refund, then perhaps to verify the URLs or offer some other explanation.

Several hours have passed between this paragraph and the previous one. I am not an attorney and this is not an official legal opinion, however, I would think if a blog or website uses fake testimonials they should at least have a disclaimer such as "All the stuff on this page is completely made up and is basically a bunch of nonsense". Should YOU get fooled by a fake, fraud or phony, FILE A COMPLAINT!

24 Hours Later ::: No word from eBook author Stepfanie, who has suddenly become silent on twitter. I wasn't able to find any complaints nor any negative blog posts or articles about her. That's good...

But I still have questions about the price of the eBook ::: "The Blog Bank sells for $19.95. BUT for a limited time, I am releasing the ebook at a special promotion price of $9.00. This is a limited time special so grab your book now!"

It seems as though it NEVER sold for $19.95... The book was just released and is on sale right now for a limited time for $9 - that was back in May. Perhaps if we wait long enough the price will rise? Or maybe we'll find Yvette Stiped?

Previous independent reviewers of the eBook apparently were "compensated" ::: **Disclaimer: I was chosen for this review by The Lady Bloggers and was provided a copy of the ebook to review free of charge. All opinions are 100% my own.** ~ Staci7

36 hours have now passed ::: I'm still holding out hope for a response to my email before hitting the "publish" button... A friend suggests I go directly to paypal and file a complaint so I can get a refund. Looks like Stepfanie has plenty of funds:
We've hit the 48 Hour mark ::: It's really sinking in now. Except for a couple of URLs I wasn't already familiar with, there isn't anything in Stepfanie's book I personally haven't already attempted in my decade or so of blogging.

Thanksgiving Day ::: Still no response from Social Maven Stepfanie. I see she is back tweeting, or is that an autobot?

Someone who professes to be "so social" would surely have at least written me back an auto-generated letter, don't you think?

SUNDAY NOVEMBER 27 ::: Still nothing from the Social Media Maven, so I asked a fellow-blogger to send off an email to Stepfanie (on the outside chance I'd catch her off-guard - even threw in a 'spelling error' for authenticty's sake) - here's the email: (hover and click for a larger view)
Well, here it is Wednesday, November 30th - not a peep out of Stepfanie! (Although she's been tweeting up a storm, she is not responding to emails or google phone calls!)


Her mini-bio says it all ::: "Stepfanie Cuevas is a young mother and finding balance between running a business, attending college and freelance writing, all while trying to keep up with her never-out-of-energy toddler and baby."

I don't like to tear anyone down, but honestly, I think Stepfanie has too much on her plate.

STEPFANIE: If by chance you should read this article, please read THIS too!

If you want some really great info, check out my free site or if you are a hardcore blogger, there are some great bloggers out offering valuable info, people like Justin, Ana and Marlee.

Wanna be a guru marketeer? Click on this!

If you are looking for some real SOLID blogging advice, Looky HERE!

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