The Art of the Joint Venture

Well, the emails have started again. :)

After my last post, several people wrote in wondering what exactly I meant by this:

Or you can simply blog to meet cool people with great skills and great ideas and do business with them.

Well, basically, my method of doing business online involves joint ventures.

Now, depending on your familiarity with that term as it’s been used lately online, you may be thinking of something that I’m not.

I learned about joint ventures from practicing law, not from some Internet “guru.” In fact, I was so fascinated by what the clients were doing when setting up deals that I knew I’d never be satisfied simply “papering” the details for them.

Often the deals involved real estate transactions, while others were telecom ventures, and still others were marketing and licensing agreements. But no matter what the subject matter, a joint venture has one primary characteristic:

It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Essentially, joint ventures come into existence when two or more people (or companies) realize that they can accomplish more together than they can separately. It’s a pooling of talent, but on a project basis, where each of the players continues to pursue other ventures independently.

This is the way it works online, too. Or at least, it should.

Unfortunately, the term “joint venture” has devolved into something much more simplistic in the Internet marketing realm. It now has come to signify nothing more than a glorified affiliate program which is completely standardized and only differs from typical affiliate programs in that it is “private” or “invitation only.”

These JVs have become so “exclusive” that you’re often hit by 15 emails from 15 different people promoting the same product launch, with the various promoters trying to one-up the others with bonuses and extras. 2006 has seen this practice become downright ridiculous.

And guess what? People are learning to just say no to all that noise.

So, traditional Internet marketers find themselves at a crossroads. And they know where they need to go next.

That’s right… social media.

Now, before we start patting ourselves on the backs for being ahead of the curve, listen up.

These people make a lot of money, and have been doing so for years. I’m talking high six and seven figures per year, people.

And what are we in the blogosphere wringing our hands over?

Whether it’s ok to take $10 to shill for PayPerPost.

I’m not going to rehash all the problems with the PayPerPost model here (nor am I going to link to them). Let’s instead focus on the most pathetic aspect of the whole thing.

Can you believe there are bloggers out there who would sell out so cheaply?

The traditional Internet marketers have got to be laughing their heads off over us and our stupid debates. They’re making millions while we waste time and energy with a bunch of long-winded whining about people so desperate as to sell out for crumbs.

All I can say is, if you’re going to sell out, don’t sell cheap. Otherwise, I don’t have time to waste thinking about these people and the companies that exploit them.

So, getting back on track, essentially the Internet marketers are coming strong into social media, and they’ve got money and a whole lot more business savvy than I’ve witnessed in many parts of the blogosphere. So keep that in mind as we look forward to 2007.

If you want to learn where things have been in the world of Internet marketing, why those tactics don’t work anymore, and where things are headed, I suggest you read this free report. Although there is an affiliate program involved (you’ll see why as soon as you read the beginning of the report), I can promise you this:

  • There is no pitch
  • There is no fluff
  • There is no hype

It’s just solid information, and an attempt by Mike Filsaime to reach out beyond the incestuous Internet marketing cluster. You can see for yourself whether it’s really the death of Internet marketing, or whether it’s just that the social media environment is about to get a whole lot more competitive.

Get the report here.

UPDATE: Skeptical? That’s understandable give the poor reputation that many Internet marketers have created for themselves. Read Mike Sigers’ analysis here for a detailed examination of the report.

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Reader Comments (31)

  1. says

    Yes I can believe it. A little money is the start of making a lot of money, and anywhere there is potential for a lot of money there are lots of people willing to try it – regardless of the odds of success.

  2. says

    Isn’t Mike Filsaime one of the ones I’ve learned to tune out? [yes].
    Brian, if it was anyone but you recommending it, no way I’d surrender my email back onto his list.

  3. says

    Well, his tune has certainly changed with this report. But, there’s always the handy unsubscribe if someone doesn’t treat you right. :)

  4. says

    What I’ve noticed is that recently the “good” ones all play on the “this time it’s going to be different” theme lately.

    They know there is a huge credibility issue with Internet marketing and so they try to turn that to their benefit by coming around to the side of the opportunity seekers who have been bilked so often.

    My observation is that by the end, when the product is finally revealed and launched, “SHAZAM” they are back on the other side of the fence selling the pick axes to the money-lusting gold minors.

  5. says

    Don’t you have a designated web-based email address that allows you to safely watch the guru? :)

    Best way to learn IM is to simply watch, without getting emotionally involved…

  6. says

    Interesting you should say that Jon – because I thought he was one to tune out too. However I thought I would give him another chance – sadly he now has my email address and I don’t have a confirmation email.

    Oh well – what’s that famous GWB line about fool me once, fool me …?

  7. says

    A friend of mine used to say, “We’re all going to have to sell our souls eventually, you may as well get a good price.”

    We were in highschool, and he was working on a batch of ivy league college applications at the time.

  8. says

    Stuart, there are actually a series of three confirmation emails. Did you check to see they made it through your filters?

    I know this is the case, because I obviously signed up for the report myself (duh).

    And maybe the site is moving slowly due to heavy traffic. Ever think of that?

    So quick to judgement, and right out in public, too. Agenda?

  9. John says

    I love your blog. And I applaud your use of affiliate links to monetize your traffic.

    But IMHO you have too much valuable information, too many wise insights to share, for you to be promoting the likes of Mike Filsaime.

    (You’re free to promote anyone you wish, I just think you’re in a better league than MF)

    My gripe is that Mike’s recent promotion: yet another “Death of {fill in the blank}” smacks of self serving dribble.

    1) Undeniable observations
    2) “Everything is changing, has changed, or is about to change”
    3) Hold tight for my info-product solution

    In this case, it’s even worse. Mike is recommending a solution to a problem he created, or helped exacerbate.

    He sold $1,500 software and how-to kits for creating product launches, and now he’s advising that product launches are dead and there’s a better way to do it.

    The humorous thing about MF’s manifesto is the blatant irony and double talk: he asks readers to promote it in the same way that he just said is dead or dying.

    So now you have numerous promoters sending emails (and posting on blogs) raving about this PDF report. That’s the very thing you correctly identify in your post that people are learning to tune out.

    And guess what? People are learning to just say no to all that noise.

    I noticed a drop of several hundred subscribers to your RSS feed. Maybe there’s a cause-effect relationship here, maybe not.

    Since you’ve questioned the agenda of another commenter, I’ll tell you mine: concern that one of my favorite blogs is about to “jump the shark”.

    Brian, I’m a fan of yours. Still am.

    Up until now, you’ve been unique, different, the proverbial Seth Godin “purple cow”. But helping MF dole out the cool aid is a step backwards, in my estimation.

    Your fan base is ready, with wallet in hand, to pay you for the incredible value we’ve come to expect from you. But this isn’t it.

  10. says

    My RSS subscribers drop every weekend, due to the lack of feed reader use. Check back tomorrow and we’ll survey the damage. :)

    No one asked you to buy anything John. I recommended a report I think that most bloggers can learn something from.

    I can’t teach people with closed minds.

    Also, why not leave us a URL?

  11. John says

    No url because blog is being relaunched.

    No one asked you to buy anything John.

    MF is paying $1 per subscriber, to all that refer traffic through the affiliate links, plus another dollar on “second tier” referrals. Is there any doubt that the pitch will be forthcoming?

    I beg to differ about my mind being closed. I had read the report at least 12 hours before reading your post.

    A closed mind says “I’ve heard about that guy. I’m drawing a conclusion without even reading it.”

    A free thinking mind says “I’ve read it, but I draw my own conclusions.”

    I learned a lot from reading it. But there’s more at work here than the surface level message. At the very least, there’s the surface level information, the underlying groundwork for the coming sales pitch, the takeaway selling and positioning himself as unavailable uber-promoter, and then the information that can be gleaned from observing what MF is doing and how he’s doing it.

    If you look at what he’s doing you’ll see that it is very different from what he says you should do.

    Ignoring the obvious hypocrisy, there’s quite a bit to be learned.

    He’ll pull it off very well and make lots of money. This should be proof that internet marketing is not dead, despite the rampant product launches.

    It also shows that if you’re willing to be controversial, enter the conversation already going on in your audience’s mind (“I’m sick and tired of all these damn weekly product launches”), and you’ve got influential list owners to pitch for you, then you can rake in some serious dinero.

    My previous comment was very pro-Brian. I am very much in favor of affiliate monetization of blog traffic. I am a little disappointed and surprised that differences of opinion automatically translates to “closed mind not willing to learn.”

  12. says

    “Closed minds” refers to people who refuse to learn from effective marketing strategies that might not otherwise comport with their sensibilities.

    You can learn from everything, if you take the time to observe and think about it. Your initial comment was designed to discourage people from doing that, and I therefore disagree.

    You were complimentary of my blog, and I appreciate that. But it didn’t become what it is from sticking my head in the sand. I learn from everyone and create my own style.

    That’s what I’m hoping my readers do as well.

    I learned a lot from reading it.

    That’s all that matters, so thanks for (finally) seeing it the way I did.

    If anyone is worried about the “pitch to come” from the author, just unsubscribe as soon as you get the report.

    Easy as pie.

  13. says

    Brian – you took a risk with this one and thank you very much that you did, mate.

    Of course he’s going to try and sell something down the road (he even said it in the report) but so what! The fact is he brought to the table some useful ideas to think about .. and I’m thinking!

    Have a vision, pick a niche and stick to it – don’t go chasing every new “How to Make $$$ …”

    One thing reading all the comments is how such a poor rep these internet marketers have made for themselves. I guess we can all learn from that as well.

  14. says

    Hey Brian,

    I suspect it’s not so much the information in the report that’s ticking people off. (Like you said, it’s solid information.)

    It’s the way it’s been presented by hundreds of people via the the same regurgitated email — “I just got an email about Mike Filsaime’s Free Report called – “The Death of Internet Marketing…blah blah blah…”

    Whenever information is presented in a way that insults, irritates, or annoys (i.e. getting 100 emails saying the exact same thing), there’ll be people who look for reasons not to like it no matter how good it is.

    Anyway, just my 2 cents…

  15. says

    Hi Brian,

    I read the report, it’s good info, but most of it was presented in Rich Schefren’s stuff. The bits at the end about copyright were worth the download and email sign up.

    But then…a couple hours ago I received the first hyped up email…”it was all a mistake” blah, with the obligatory amazing sign up numbers and Alexa stats…I think he should have waited a bit longer to crank up the hype machine.

    It’s not really a surprise that bloggers wouldn’t like that sort of thing is it?

  16. says

    Just got that email myself (at the junk address).

    Doesn’t really bother me. I read all the IM guys and steal anything useful that I can. :)

  17. says

    “I read all the IM guys and steal anything useful that I can.”

    Good attitude. If Mike is really going to change he’s going to need a full fledged recovery group…maybe he’s got a Skull going for that too :)

  18. says

    Is anyone actually surprised by any of this? Internet Marketing has come to resemble a pyramid scheme (intentionally or not). You’ve got established marketers selling aspiring marketers information products that purportedly teach anyone how to make a fortune by simply creating information products. Those aspiring marketers then create their own information products that purport to teach even greener newcomers how to make a fortune by creating information products.

    Is it any surprise that Joe Vitale is going spiritual? He’s seen the writing on the wall and knows it’s time to find a new niche.

  19. says

    Brian, I’ve read your post and all the comments. Being involved in IM, it’s an interesting debate. I tend to subscribe, download, study and model what I think will fit best in my business model. However, the part of your post that I am most attracted to is the first part, about joint ventures, as you define them.

    In fact I feel that is one of the biggest, least-obvious benefits of blogging, at least in my blogging experience of more than 2 years.

    “Essentially, joint ventures come into existence when two or more people (or companies) realize that they can accomplish more together than they can separately. It’s a pooling of talent, but on a project basis, where each of the players continues to pursue other ventures independently.”

    This is what so much of it is about. It’s how Patsi and I became business partners — after being JV partners on several blogging projects; now we’ve legally partnered, formed a new business and are winning in a bigger way than when we both had our solo businesses. And we’ve successfully JV’d with others as well.

    Thanks for your insights.

  20. says

    I come at this from another angle. I’m a personal blogger and sometimes an unwilling political one

    I never expected personal gain from blogging except for recognition.

    Every week, sometimes every day, I get hit with prod placement requests from ‘prestigious places.”

    Two weeks ago, curious, I asked “what’s in it for me?”

    The woman was shocked at the question:
    “other personal bloggers jump at the chance to get a free book and content for their blogs.”

    If I wanted free books I would blog for BC. If I needed content I wouldn’t be blogging

    I don’t accept advertising, though I’m reconsidering that

    The thing is that all IM people forget one basic thing. The heartland, so to speak, of blogging is the personal blogger, and too many people try to get something for nothing from us

    I pay to blog. I don’t have time to read the books that I want to and more.

    Why should I help other people make money, and expect “content” in return when my Technorati puts me up there, and I do influence people?

    If IM is to grow, personal bloggers with followings have to be included and compensated–because these offers are insulting.

    That said I have turned down sponsorship as I would be beholden. But compensation for a product that I believe in is a whole different thing–I would state that I was to keep the integrity of the blog

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