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Here's a tip: don't lie, cheat, or scam people (see the full story)
Last Updated April 17th, 2014

The other day, shortly after I sent out an email about my new live training, people emailed me back telling me:

The link was broken for a few people.

Just my luck. It quickly worked it self out, but…

Here’s why this is hilarious:

Something similar happened to me a few months back, and when I emailed everyone to tell them about it, some people screamed “you’re a scammer” from the roof tops.


Because they’re accustomed to sleazy marketers using the “broken link trick” as an excuse to email a second time.

Sigh. I’d NEVER do that. But…

This is the world we live in today. While I’d NEVER compromise my integrity for a sale, there are people who do. And those people give ALL of us a bad name.

That’s why I filmed this new video. You could resort to cheap tricks, lying, or worse, scamming people. But you won’t be in business for long…

…or you could take the other route. Don’t lie, cheat, or scam people, and watch your business take off. Here’s the video:

Don’t Lie, Cheat, or Scam People

Earlier this year, something bad happened. Something really bad.

So, I decided it would be smart for me to address the WHOLE thing head on.

“Just be open and honest,” I told myself.

And that’s what I did.

But I got some weird emails. And some of these emails pissed me off.

I’m Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Triggers. And in this video, I’ll share the full story.

Okay so, long story short, I was promoting a new training course. When I realized sales were much lower than I expected, I knew something was wrong.

After I did some digging, I realized I had sent the WRONG link to my subscribers.

How this disaster happened is a whole other story, but the bottom line is this: I had the wrong link, and it was a huge disaster.

Now, I probably lost out on a ton of revenue for my company. That sucked, but it wasn’t even the biggest issue I was dealing with.

The bigger issue was this: I promised people who bought with my affiliate link that I’d give them an exclusive bonus. If they purchased through the wrong link, I had no way of knowing who deserved the bonus.

This was a HUGE problem because it meant that I’d possibly break my word to a customer, and that’s something I don’t do.

So, I decided to address the whole thing head on.

I buried my tail between my legs and I wrote and sent an email to the entire Social Triggers community letting them know what happened and how to fix it.

This was my only option.

And a lot of people supported me for it.

I’m thankful for that, let me tell you.

But I also got some strange emails.

One guy emailed me and said:

“Oh, I see what you did there. You really didn’t have a broken link, did you? You just did it to make more sales? Nice!”

I was shocked, and responded: “Why on earth would you think this is a gimmick?”

Then I read another email. They told me I was an untrustworthy scammer because I was doing the “broken link marketing trick.”

And I got another email like that.

And another.

There I was, hoping to be open and honest about what happened. And while 95% of people supported me, there were a few people who thought it was a big a trick, a tactic, a SCAM.

I could have written them off, but it got me thinking:

The reason why people thought it was a gimmick is because a lot of people in my line of work use gimmicks just like that to try and sell stuff.

And I’ve always hated those people and that method to marketing.

Because it’s dishonest. It’s short-term thinking. It’s not how you build a business that you plan on continuing to build for 20 years.

But then I smiled.

Because nowadays, integrity is scarce.

And if you’re looking to beat your competition, here’s a tip:

Don’t lie, cheat, or scam people, and you’ll be fine.

No white lies, no gimmicks. Just open and honest communication.

Now here’s the thing:

This is A LOT harder than it seems.


Because people always lie. Even if they’re small lies. And they usually think nothing of it or that it’s not a big deal.

As an example:

If you’re a solopreneur, and you use WE on your about page, you’re kind of lying.

It’s just you – OWN IT. And people will LOVE you for it.

Some will hate you, too, and that’s okay.

What’s important is that you be honest about who you are, what you stand for, and you don’t trick people. And that’s how you’ll succeed in business for the long haul.

Now what I want you to do is this:

Have you ever told a little white lie about your business? Or used something a little less than honest as a marketing tactic? Or anything like this?

Fess up by leaving a comment.

And then give this video a like for integrity.

Also, if you’re new to Social Triggers, subscribe to my channel. And make sure you hop on the email list to be sure you don’t miss my weekly Social Triggers TV videos.

You’re going to love it.

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88 comments Leave a comment

Entrepreneurs, AKA psychopaths, though not killers as some are. The world people, mainly men, and I’m one of them, created is a mess. We tax and therefore we need to work to pay taxes until we’re all used up and then we die. We make things we don’t need and it adds to our longevity, too bad, now we number over 7 billion and our numbers will grow until we destroy life sustaining elements, like pure water, oceans, lakes, rivers, land, and air. It’s going to get hotter and hotter until we cook. Those, like politicians gathering in Washington DC don’t feel the heat in the summer, they have air conditioning, but it comes from the very source that adds to the toxic load and that, too, will hurry us closer to oblivion. Men are irrational and illogical, they make no sense and women make even less so what’s the future to be: A very short one for this species called homo sapiens. Our health is already tanking, but we fail to see it, pop and pill, drink some booze, smoke a weed, etc., for tomorrow there isn’t any.


Look….Diogenes of Greek Mythology spent his entire life wandering the world with a lit lantern searching for just ONE HONEST MAN. He died he failed.

Get real…the requisite priority for any sales job is willingness to ‘FIB’….I HATE sales….this is why….if Diognenes were still around and we met he would have succeeded…well almost…for I am a FEmale NOT a MAN, but honest to a fault has been major reason I will NEVER ‘make it’ insofar as your definitiion goes.



I think being honest and ethical not only is the right thing, but honestly it saves you a lot of stress in the long run, not only because you don’t have to try to remember the lie, but also because if you treat people right they will remember and when someone is being dishonest about you they will stand up in your honor and support you


Look….when 95% of the emails i get from those attempting to sell me something turn out of be lies or like someone recently said FREE 180 page book on 108 ways to …. and ALL they wanted was for me to send them $10.99 for POSTAGE to SHIP this book to me here in Germany. Well, first off, WHY NOT just send me an EBOOK version, this was THE latest scam they really turned me off, first that i am no fool and everyone has ebook versions or can create them and cost them nothing, second, if this is how they do business via snail mail also i did not wish to do business with them. I am sorry, but the reason people, probably me included, trashed you, was due to what i just said. I do not know you, i have been watching your vids for long time and STILL HOW am i to know you are for real. These days it is all about making TONS of money and you do the same thing with your mindset, and my late husband who was a gifted psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who was NOT like any other in this world, very liberal laid back and practically NOTHING could trip him up EXCEPT psychopaths, he confessed as good as he was at sizing up anyone, he could be tricked EVERY TIME by a good psychopath. I know this, so many online, whether you are or not …beats me for like my late husband far superior to me, i am no match for a clever psychopath no matter how strong my intuition is which is off the charts HIGH…i am fooled all the time. OR i WAS so now i do not purchase anything from anyone…and as you said yourself you SAVE all your really cool ideas with only a rare few…of course you do…for WHY would you GIVE away the farm and your business by giving away those secret nuggets to success to everyone? This is only logical. I have been purchasing a few kindle ebooks off Amazon for from free to up to $9.99 with hundreds of five star reviews…HOW TO MAKE IT BIG IN BUSINESS….not get rich quick stuff…but STILL WHY would any master guru give to EVERYONE for .99 cents their most secrets ways of making it big time. They will NOT…for this you PAY and you PAY a lot ..to YOU to anyone who is terrific at such things….THIS is WHY people dont believe you and this is why they will never believe anyone…well they will…but most of the time they will get burned from .99 cents to $129.USD plus doesnt matter if people are on some email list of a million people no way are they going to get what they really NEED….the best one can hope for is a few links to places they were unaware existed…or stuff they already had figured out long ago for themselves that do NOT work but should. IF i had the money to HIRE YOU I would for i know you would give me those diamonds that would help me otherwise i listen to you like right now when i am bored and nothing better to do. Sorry i believe in honesty too, i do not expect your videos will help me help myself make it for generally everything you talk about i have tried and doesnt work or i disagree like with those pop ups which i abhor and will NEVER use and once again you look real HOT in your before in the AFTER you look very much ‘cookie cutter’ dull. Sorry but please go back to that fresh, crisp way you appealed a helluva lot more to creative people than the AFTER where you look like some guy who works as a telemarker or at best a bank teller.


Patty Ann

Interesting! Yeah, it’s sad that too many folks nowadays don’t know fact from fiction. Lying has become so commonplace that has become almost–I say almost–the accepted norm. It drives me nuts, really it does!

Good topic Derek.


Forgive me, but although I didn’t send you any emails, I did have a thought in my head about it being a strategy to get people to take another look at it. As long as we are being honest:)

It didn’t change how I feel about your blog, however. I am glad to now know that was not the case, but I am used to being constantly sold to, I learned to ignore it.

Cheryl Pickett

Since you/your site are all about the thought processes behind things we do, I’d be curious to know how long those in the 5% group were on your list. If they were really new, and they’d had bad experiences before (which you have no way to know about) I can see how they might react the way they did.

If they’ve been around a while though, they’d have to really not be paying much attention to see that the situation fell under the “stuff happens” category for you.

I totally agree. There are people out there in internet marketing land taking advantage all day every day, have been for years. I’ve fallen for at least 2 of them. And it’s sad and totally unnecessary.

Good for you for doing business the right way.


This is precisely why I feel that a modern sales career is now a noble profession.

The sales-force no longer can be the sole “owner” of knowledge. The sales-force must now be a “curator” of it.


Wow, you are nailing it with these videos.

I’m impressed. The secret to good and healthy relationship with readers is getting to know them. And how better to meet them than adding videos in which you speak and solve people problems.


Keep with good work!

Shannon Lagasse

Ahahah. This is awesome. I literally just posted about this on Facebook the other day, because so many businesses sacrifice customer service, for whatever reason, so not being a d-bag is pretty much a great way to guarantee customers! :]

Here’s my white lie: I have a bio written in the 3rd person – not really like me at all. I say “we” sometimes, but the only other member of my team is my VA/editor/researcher.

Yassin Madwin

Sometimes you need to use “tricks” ethically of course, because the crushing majority of people think vendors are evil money maniacs.

Peggy McMahan

LOL. I can spot a liar, but it never occurred to me that “broken link” is a marketing gimmick. I trust the people whose lists I’m on – or I wouldn’t be on their lists. That includes you, Derek, and your team.


It’s so funny that you said about the “we” on the about page when there is only one person, I literally only made the decision to change that on my site a few a weeks ago because I felt a bit dishonest! Haha It actually made me feel more like I own it now since I changed it, it now seems to mean more than it did at first! 🙂 thanks for the video man!

Susan Leger

I can recall a situation where I erred in dealing with a long term customer and he called to give me a earful. I was guilty and knew he was right. My response, with little delay, was to hop in the car, drive over to his facility, walk right up to him and tell him face to face, ‘You are right. I am wrong. I extend my full apology and will correct the error.’ It was interesting to witness the complete diffusion of anger and his immediate acceptance of my apology.
It is human nature to make mistakes but also to forgive. Dale Carnegie had it right all along.



OK, I confess – I have used “we” when it’s completely truthfully “I” – but I do have a bit of help from within the family, so….

I always unsubscribe immediately if people email me telling me I “made a sale”, “got a new referral” etc, and if given the opportunity I pass on WHY.

I like the tie 🙂


Jeff Goins

Well done, Derek. Proud to know you.

Confession: I sometimes say “we” when talking about my business because I have a team of contractors that I usually work with. It just seems less arrogant, but I’m going to think about this.

Thanks, dude, for the challenge.

Oh, and I like the shirt and jacket with no tie look.



You can’t please everyone. You encountered pessimists. I’ve seen the same mistakes made by other bloggers I subscribe to and the link was in fact broken. Not to say people shouldn’t be on their guard, but they should definitely lighten up.

You don’t need to defend yourself on account of 5% of your audience. If you had seen (and maybe you did) a large number of people unsubscribe after the mistake, then maybe… But I’m assuming most remained because you still provide value regardless of how your paid content sales pitch is received. And I don’t ever feel spammed, or else I’d unsubscribe.

Darren Hesselink

Looking good Derek, but you should rock a dimple in your tie!

Makes it look crisp.



It’s hard not to feel this way most days. You just have to learn how to detect the scams. I find I’m able to pick em’ out in the first 2-3 minutes of talking with them and most of that time is letting them get through the sales pitch.


Aaaah I see what you did there. You sent a broken link then you sent the right one explaining what happened, knowing that people would think that you’re trying to scam them. With this knowledge you then planned on making a this video about being how honest marketers should be to make yourself look more honest than everyone else. Nice tactic !!!

Obviously I’m joking, but the moral to this comment is that someone somewhere will always think you’re scamming them even after making a video like this one.


Hey Derek. When I started Bschool I started opting in on lots of websites around business, training, design etc. So I could learn about opt-ins and how people do them, as well a learning what people are offering. Though they all said “We won’t spam you” I suddenly started getting a sh*tslide of spam in my mailbox! Someone LIED.

Marta Laurent Veciana

Yep, I totally felt cheated by you when you sent the newsletters about deleting the email list and growing a Facebook page (because I know that’s the opposite of what you and Marie Forleo teach). I thought you were just writing a controversial post just for the sake of getting more readers despite betraying your own beliefs.

So I didn’t even bother clicking to read the whole thing. I did today, though, and if I had done it then I’d had seen it was just an April Fools joke (dammed I never get them, since in Spain we don’t have this, but something similar on December 28!)

I just wonder how many people got annoyed too and never got to discover it was a joke…


I’ve had countless bad experiences with online companies, but most of the time it’s just unsolicited email and it’s easy to recognize that the company’s not credible.

I can’t stand webinars that promise to deliver value and then give you 4 minutes of content followed by 45 minutes of sales pitches.

Or there was that time I ordered a free book! I only had to pay the shipping! And then it never arrived.

Good experiences:
– John Lee Dumas’s podcast. Plus his income reports, and Pat Flynn’s. Total transparency – love it!
– Anything Mike Michalowicz
– Danny Iny. I reached out to him to ask about a webinar promotion, and he gave me back so much valuable insight and feedback on how to approach people for potential cross-promotion – more information than I could have ever asked for. And I didn’t even ask for it! I’m a loyal Firepole Marketing reader for life.


I was absolutely hounded by a marketer once and in the end forked over $1,000 for NOTHING. I got two 10 minute phone calls – he didn’t send me anything he said he would and I would have felt better throwing the money in the street.

The problem I now face is getting the powers that be to approve money for worthwhile courses such as yours.


Wow, these folks are subscribing to the wrong lists. I had no idea there was a ploy like that because I’m picky about the lists I subscribe to.


I’m a wedding musician, and when I was getting started I spoke with a musician on the phone who lived in another state and claimed on a forum that he was very successful and that it sounded like I could use some advice.

He told me that I should claim on my website that “my music is heard internationally,” because hey, surely at least once someone from another country must have visited my website and listened to one of my demo samples.

He also suggested I get some friends to claim they had a party where I played and write reviews for me to post online.

Fortunately, even though I was floundering at the time, really wanted advice, and saw him as much more successful than I was, I was still smart enough not to try any of that.


The collar and tie both gotta go. The wide spread collar makes you look stumpy; the tie looked too old school. Plus the pale shirt made you too washed out on the white background. You come across more sincere in a knit shirt that stands out against the white backdrop.

In my previous career (in fashion) I only pulled out the “we” when trying to extract overdue payments from deadbeat clients. I felt strength in my imaginary numbers.

AJ & Serenity Services

Hey Derek, great message! I definitely agree that honesty and integrity really do go a long way. I know I

As far as a bad experience I once had: a few years ago I was involved in real estate investing. There was this company I came across that said they would offer a $200 referral fee anytime I referred a customer to them that wanted to keep their home provided that the referral resulted in a paying customer. This company was involved in doing home loan modifications, debt reduction, credit repair, and other similar financial services.

Anyways, after I registered as an affiliate, I got virtually no support. I even requested the credit repair business for myself, and nobody got in contact with me. I would try to call and email, but no luck. What really sucked was I did have some homeowners ready to refer to them, and I could have potentially made over $1000 in referral fees.

As for the good online experience I once had: there is this affiliate marketing company called Affilorama that I bought a basic membership from. Membership included a set of WordPress themes, free lessons, and a 1 month trial period for the more premium membership (with more advanced tools to help with affiliate marketing efforts). What I liked about this place was that it truly over delivered. I also enjoyed their forum where I could interact with other entrepreneurs and find out what was working for others.

Although I had a few technical issues with using their WordPress theme for my site, they refunded my money with no hassle and I was still able to access the lessons and forum. Anytime someone asks me about a good starting point for affiliate marketing (or making money online in general), I am still happy to send them to the Affilorama website.

Travis Campbell


You going old school with this video.

Like a business mentor told me once, “Your grandfather did business better than you do and all your social media stuff!”

Don’t tell lies? Don’t cheat? Don’t scam?

Be an old fashioned business person?

Sounds like a solid business plan.

Good. On. You. Friend.

PS: I’m no fashion proficianado,
but yeah. Tie looked uncomfortable.

Brian Stephens

Derek, I wanted to share a great company experience. I’m a cyclist and own an indoor bicycle trainer from a company called Kurt Kinetic. I owned it for a few years when a problem occurred…a screw was stripped and wouldn’t allow me to adjust tension on the trainer. I looked on their website for replacement parts but didn’t find any. So I called them to ask about replacement parts. I was expecting that either the part would be a rip off at some high price or that it wouldn’t be available and I would need a whole new trainer. Instead, the customer service rep simply asked for my home address. A few days later, I had the replacement part in the mail, no questions asked and no cost to me. Now to this day, if anyone asks me what brand to buy for a bicycle trainer…there is only one answer for me.

The point is that one great experience can be just as powerful as one negative experience for the customer/company relationship.

Wendy Bryan

Hi Derek,

Love all you do and particularly love your straightforward honesty. I’m in Australia and would love to access your calls/webinars but the time zone diff puts them in the middle of the night for us Aussies. I’m keen to learn, but need my sleep to maintain my health and sanity!

Any chance of adding another time to suit Aussies or will the webinar recording be available afterwards for those who couldn’t make it?

Thanks for your great info – I find it invaluable 🙂


Yeah, seen this trick before although I don’t doubt your integrity for a moment.
I’ve built 3 of my business on integrity and although it takes times, I can say it definitely works. People appreciate it.


You got me with the “we” thing. I put it up on my flyers and web site for just exactly the reason that you called me out for: to make “company” seem legit.

Will fix this weekend!

Also, go back to v-necks, the tie doesn’t feel like you. Possibly because I saw you first in them, possibly because I am getting an “I’m not really comfortable in this get up” vibe from you. Can’t tell which. Who know, it could be both.


Love that you brought to light the “we” issue “white lie” for the solo-preneur. It is similar to “a new study shows…” and then the opposite of that 5 years later –” a new study shows..” –mainly in the healthcare field… but anyway, people have been guided (in earlier studies : } that it was a good thing to make yourself seem like a larger company…. refreshing that you touched on that simple principle —and overall to just be honest, transparent..and it’s okay –which would seem obvious..yet… the tie…you just don’t seem comfortable! … a layers– t with a vneck..yeah


Love your ethics, Derek. Thanks for taking a stand and calling the rest of us to stand with you. I’m in!

David Cunningham

Great article, I think so many people forget to not lie, cheat, or scam people. Remember the Golden Rule, Do unto others as you would have them to unto you!

Brian Krall

lol I say “we” on my website even though its only me haha


I don’t usually suspect a second email “because of a broken link” such a big deal because if it’s only the second email, there’s nothing wrong with calling it a reminder. So I believe the “broken link” story. I’m on a bunch of lists that send me multiple reminders – and if I don’t like it I can unsubscribe.

What ***does*** set off my scam-detectors is when I opt not to buy an up-sell that is supposedly a “one time offer” and then I get an email 24 hours later saying that the one-time-offer had a broken link and I have one more chance to buy it.

If the link was broken, and I tried to buy the upsell unsuccessfully, wouldn’t I contact the vendor right away because I know it’s a one-time-offer? That stinks of scamdom.

William Williams

It’s not the tie, it’s the collar. It doesn’t fit right… Are you using the old “tie/collar” scam to get more comments?

The Get In Shape Girl

Just two weeks ago I was having this conversation with my partner. I am taking a step back from coaching and having my assistant coaches take over all new clients. I wanted to shout this from the rooftops and let EVERYONE in my network know, he wasn’t so sure.

We ultimately may take a hit with having less people willing to sign up, but if people truly want to work with my brand, they will have to be okay with working with one of my coaches. There was no way I could have kept taking on new clients and giving sub-par service.

Ultimately I felt deep down transparency is key so I sent out a big announcement and blogged and posted all over social media about the changes.


Good ole boys Frank Kern and Ryan Deiss did this to me constantly when I got on their lists. Every email they sent me had links to funnel pages and never to a blog post or a free guide. And then I’d get the “Ooops, I put the wrong link in my last email, just wanted to make sure you got it.” email.


Much different experience on your list. Emails I get from you direct me to new posts or a webinar, things that I’m interested in. I understand you need to make money with your email list but if you constantly pound me 3 days a week with promotional content I just have to unsubscribe.

Looking forward to the webinar tonight. Thanks for your content Derek.


Hi Derek,

I love watching your videos. You make me smile, when I’ve had a tricky day! I think that the reaction of those people goes to show, how much resentment they have and how full up they are, with other experiences so when this happens they react without thinking clearly, they let circumstances control their behaviour. This means that you win, if you are different from others and you are genuine. Because in the past people could hide behind the ‘internet wall’ as it was faceless. Now not so. I look forward to more inspiration from you. Katie 🙂

Guy Ferdman

Best.Blooper.Reel.Ever. Great advice brother.


I receive this kind of emails on a lot of promotions and rarely open the “broken link” mail, but the sad thing is that I’ve seen some affiliate programs that include email series and some of those email series include the broken link mail, the “Call the administrator” email, the “You got a comission” email, etc.

It’s bad enough to have sleazy marketers but some of them are educating newbies to be like them.

By the looks of it, integrity will be a rare commodity.

Great video!

jordan f

One thing about the truth, no matter how inconvenient you’ll never forget where you left it.


The tie… it distracted me 🙂 Was always starring at it, wondering why on earth you are doing that?

Thanks for the message! There is a lot of cheating and scamming around, as soon as I realize that I either unsubscribe or – where they make it difficult – report them as spam. Google does the rest for me.


I consider Derek to be honest, he even goes beyond a bit and when he does something like helping Marie Forleo promote her program (she’ll probably return the favor) he tells people he’s getting paid. As far as the 5% of skeptics, there’s really nothing you can do. Seth Godin figured this out, he would give speeches and try to reach the people who really didn’t care, and then it dawned on him (most of the people listening to me want to learn, want to hear what he has to say, don’t short change them for those who don’t care). So in short, “you can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

Sean Mysel

I hate people who totally screw people over – Bernie Madoff


    you know, most people are only suspicious because they are committing the crime they are accusing others of committing

    I am an honest person and I expect others to be honest with me–that isn’t always the case, in fact, I have been burned so many times I know that there are certain things I need to do to protect myself, some may think this is a sign that I am dishonest, but no, it means I have been burned before by someone who was, so this is tricky

Jerry Silfwer

Actually, when it comes to bad online customer experiences, I would say that my current bank is terrible. I’ve switched banks in the past and it’s the same story every time. Long response times, unclear or hard-to-find information, unnecessary email sendouts, buggy or missing online services — and the list goes on. I have Swedish bank now, but I used to have an American one when I lived in NYC. Same story, basically.

My best experiences (in terms of value) actually comes from when I’ve enrolled to e-courses with individual bloggers. Loved “Blog That Converts”, for instance. One might think that this is riskier, but in my experience I’ve gotten my money’s worth of fresh and inspiring knowledge. And then some. However, I’ve never signed up to someone who hasn’t earned my trust through generous sharing of free ideas first.

Margaret Welwood

I am writing to tell you about some very different experiences from the ones described here. I’ve been searching out companies that produce enhanced e-books, and I’ve gotten very helpful responses, even from those who don’t produce them. I’ve received incredibly valuable information from people who have nothing to gain except the knowledge that they’re helping someone else.


I was talking to my college-aged son who stated to me: “Mom, don’t you get it, people lie on the Internet all the time.” My response: “Well if everyone jumps off a bridge, does it make it the right thing to do?” Sadly, I’d have to agree with him. Still there’s those of us who struggle day in and out, regardless of what’s going on around us trying to do the honest bit. And, even though, I’ve sent emails with broken links, it was because I had mistakenly sent them off without first checking the link–an honest mistake. It happens. But as for being untruthful? I try not to be. Having integrity isn’t an old fashioned ideal but a much needed real-world reality. Besides, I’d rather have my readers for the right reasons rather than for the wrong.


    I agree–there is nothing old fashioned about telling the truth, in fact, people have lied for centuries and beyond, even back to the time of Adam and Eve, the serpent lied to Eve, probably the very first lie to ever occur, so if you want to talk ‘old fashioned’ lying definitely isn’t new. I prefer the truth. Honestly, a few years ago someone got a stick in their craw (whatever that is) and decided they wanted to make me suffer (I’m not even certain why, I had been nothing but nice and accommodating to her) and called and filed a false police report about me–and they had to act on it, we had to go through a state investigation and nothing warmed my soul more than the people in my life who didn’t even question my innocents and volunteered that if it ever went to trial (it didn’t, luckily they saw through her lies and dropped all charges) they would be the first to testify on my character (and in a good way) nobody even questioned whether I did it or not, they all knew it wasn’t even in the realm of possibilities and I realized right then and there I was living my life in a manner that people knew they could trust me, even in the face of trials, that brought joy to my heart.

    I had one person point out that because I was never caught in a lie obviously I was the worst kind of liar–the one that got away with it, they are still actively trying to prove I am a liar almost 3 years later (Just FYI, I have caught her in many lies, and honestly, she seems to be quite an expert at doing it so I guess that is why she has such a hard time believing that I don’t lie). She tries to throw doubt, she tries to twist my words, she makes fake claims and yet, my honestly almost always shines through–funny how that works right


    BTW: Correction on above comment: “Sadly, I’d have to agree with him.” Strike that, please. What I meant to say was that I agree that there are a lot of people who lie on the Internet. And, no—absolutely, not! I do not agree that lying, cheating, spamming or anything else black hat is acceptable now or ever. Thanks!


Always be honest. Great and simple advice.

Dave Linabury

Great video. Glad you fessed up to the mistake. Telling marketers not to lie is like telling tigers not to eat meat. Good luck with that. 😉

Kill the tie. You seem less approachable.


I don’t blame the 5% that complained. The problem is, the vast majority of internet marketers do the old “sorry we sent the wrong link” trick. I’m on numerous email lists and I’d say about 75% of product launches these days are followed up with the old, “sorry for sending you the broken link” email. It just makes me laugh. I completely ignore them now (and quickly unsubscribe). Not to be a hater, but there really is no excuse to send out the wrong or broken link. If it’s a major product launch, wouldn’t you check, double check, and triple check the link AND email before sending it out?? I guess if I did a major launch today and sent the wrong link I would just take my licks and relaunch the product at a later date. I wouldn’t send the “sorry wrong link” email in today’s climate no matter how truthful or sincere I was.



    I unsubscribe from people who do that too. It’s especially obvious when they come in hours later.

    Dave Linabury

    So true. All email systems offer the ability to check outgoing emails before blasting to the list. Always test before sending.

John Shea

Seems you will never please everyone.

I won’t get into the details of it in depth but I will mention when I was introduced to online marketing I was in the wrong crowd. I got scammed out of hundreds of dollars paying for “coaching” and buying courses that taught absolute garbage.

I think it’s all about finding the right crowd online to follow, once I discovered there were honest marketers out there such as yourself and people like Pat Flynn I started to change what I was doing and who I listened to.

It took some time to get off the ground but I’m happy to say I’m now earning an extra $1500~ a month from online marketing.

Donnie Law

Yesterday I sent an email to my list with the subject line “I apologize…”

And then I went on in the email to not really apologize but tell them that I released my first income report.

Out of my list of 500 people I received two strongly worded emails calling me out about a misleading subject line and sleazy tactics. It definitely made me think. It’s hard to navigate these waters!

Thanks for a good video Derek.

Philippe Monthoux

Hi Derek,

Since my business is relatively new, I struggle giving honest answers about the number of clients I have or how my business is doing. I’m obviously afraid to look unsuccessful.
I don’t know if you’ve already addressed this issue, but I would find it very helpful.
I used to be a scientist, and in that profession integrity is all you got (not much money or power 🙂 ), so it is something I won’t compromise. It was nice for me to hear that it is the key to long term success in business as well.
All the best from Scotland.


Don’t feel bad, Derek.
A friend called me “deceitful”. Deceitful! Can you believe it?!
I forgive her as she doesn’t understand online marketing.
Rock On!


Mistakes happen and owning up is still the best way to handle it. However, I have to say, I’m amazed at how many important, launch-type emails are sent with broken links the first time around. My inbox is filled with trustworthy folks, but the amount of “Oops!” emails is kind of staggering. I get why someone’s alarm bells would go off, or why I’ve seen people referred to as scammers for this reason. I think it’s great that you took this topic on in a video Derek, because there are always those who may not write to you about it, but will simply write you off.

Another important PSA to take home from this video, is “Always test your links” especially when it comes to a launch.

Beatrix Willius

Derek, I’ve got to tell you why it is soooo obvious that you are a spammer: it’s the tie.

Seriously, my day job is in a enterprise company, where managers lie to themselves and to their employees. As a result I got very cynical and made it a tenet for my small company to speak plainly and honestly.

Recently I released a new version of my software with a huge bug so that everything crashed fast. After I wrote a mail to my users about this some wrote back that they understood and that I should take my time to fix the bug. I was really pleasantly surprised.

Matt McWilliams

We used the “sorry, your unbelievable traffic crashed our servers, we extended the sale one more day” tactic once.

Truth is, the site was down for 1-2 minutes. We received ONE email complaining about it. That was all.

But it made for a semi-truthful excuse to email another time and make an extra $20,000.

It worked so well that we hoped for errors like it in the future, because we weren’t going to flat out lie, but, alas, it never happened again.

Elba Maria

I read long time ago about using the “we” instead of “I”. Even though I’m alone, I do subcontract freelancers and have other people usually collaborating with me in different areas of the business; so I use we because for example I WON’T do this custom module for you, we will do it because the programmer will code it, and I will install, test and follow up the quality standards of the final product/service.

But yes, I’ve lied before… Just not for marketing or not looking bad because of a simple human error.

Frank Schwarz

Ha! Derek, I am super guilty of using the “we,” but since it is me “mostly” I kinda thought it was OK since my wife says it is “our” business.

Am I guilty of the white lie or is my wife interfering with my honesty, integrity and company?

Great video. Thanks for the insight.

Shaleen Sharma

To be honest; I take ethics very seriously. Its is the number one ingredient for long term success. Lol.. and you’re not a scammer. Those 5% who called you scam might be competitors; if not they missed out on some good content. 🙂

Dina Eisenberg

Yeah Derek! I’m really concerned by the poor quality of some online training and ecourses that doesn’t deliver and leaves learners feeling scammed. That breaks trust & makes sales hard for the rest of us. I’ve studied with big name online marketers whose courses were crammed with content but no real insight or strategy. I couldn’t do what was promised. Such a shame. I’m on a mission to make online learning more effective & meaningful so they can also be more profitable. I’m all about customer experience and the best was with Ontraport. Their support team is anazeballs and routinely goes above. Like being extra patient while I learned their system. Making it fun instead if making fun of me. They earned my trust.

Jim Wang

Scams and tricks might work once but good luck building a business with them.

Remco Boom

Couldn’t agree more with you!
People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.

Kylie Worthington

Great video. Refuse to resort to cheap tricks in your business AND if you work with clients who want that from you – big red flag in my recent experience.

Jo Lynn Deal

My sister is a VP with an insurance company and she received a similar email, only they just went straight to the second tactic. Their first email began with… Oops, we just realized we didn’t include the attachment in our email yesterday.

It was soooooo transparent. Ugh.


Hey Derek, I had a negative experience with a well-known marketer who recommended a product that didn’t work as described and turned out to be a re-skinned version of a product from an out-of-country developer.

I was annoyed that the product really didn’t work, and that I had to backtrack the original product by using the source code feature in the browser. It was sold through ClickBank, which I will never use again. I got the refund, but the whole thing was shady.

As a result, there are 3 people I will never buy from again, I don’t care if they are selling real live leprechauns. Two of these people are very well-known, the third is semi-known. You have shared the podium with one of these people, but I do not believe you have ever endorsed his products, so no shade to you, just pointing out that even the guys trying to appear ethical also do stuff that turns people off. I am not going to mention names publicly.

In my own case, I have received emails from my customers who are very sensitive to the same problem, fear of getting ripped off, and I would agree that folks are very ready to believe someone is a scammer. With my site, if people buy one product and then click on the wrong link, they get an upgrade message for additional payment. After I get a heated email thinking they got ripped off and respond by showing them how to access the product they paid for, they usually respond apologetically. There is no scam, just a mis-click on the customer’s part, but the reaction is often suspicion. You just have to do it right.

Tim Paige

Consistently some of my favorite videos on marketing, and so true — it’s incredibly easy to fudge the little details. I’ll try and make note of the tiny areas where I do this in my business and adjust. Thanks Derek.

Dan Miller

Derek – great message. Seems everyone would know the importance of transparency and integrity – but you’re right, we still see those “scammy” messages being sent out. Thanks for your forthrightness.

And yeah – kill the tie. I know you’re young and babyfaced but the tie just doesn’t seem real for our kind of businesses.

    Michael Leander

    Really, Dan. Since when does dressing down or dressing up have anything to do with what kind of business we’re in?

    Derek, thank you for bringing attention to this delicate matter.

    Derek Halpern

    Yea, this tie thing is a test. I’m about 5 seconds away from v-necks ;-P


      You should try a blazer or sport coat, with no tie. A jacket makes a huge difference (to the better, imho).

      Marleen Renders

      I thought the tie from your last video was so awesome!

      Beth Wright

      🙂 b-neck. Ha!


      Stick with the tie, you swing up when you wear them.

Conrad O'Connell

Good message, Derek.

Typo in “I’d like you ot leave a comment telling me”

    Derek Halpern

    I fixed it. Thank you. But that just goes to show you. You could build a huge audience and not be perfect. Go figure 😉


Just got the same email, and was shocked when you mentioned that it’s a “trick” so that I would reply back–coz I did! Telling them that the link was broken. Oh wow.

    Derek Halpern

    What do you mean? I didn’t call it a trick in my case. Some people use it as a trick, though.

      Bradley Elliot

      So, its a trick to seek out the web spammers, or its a unusual mark of point.

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