avoid_make_money_online_scamsThe main purpose behind this blog is for me to share my experiences in internet marketing and help empower you to lay the foundation of a proper affiliate business.

That said, one of my biggest frustrations is the number of scams that are out there around how to make money online. In this post I’ll outline 3 ways you can spot a scam before signing up for it.

How to Avoid ‘Make Money Online’ Scams

Before I get into any specific factors to consider, I want to point out that the number 1 thing you can do to avoid scams is to make sure any program you’re considering passes “the smell test.” Basically, the smell test is a way of sniffing out a few common sense factors quickly and easily, in order to avoid major headache later on.

That said, here are 3 points to consider when evaluating potential scams.

Scam Alert 1: Short Timeline to Success

The first indication that a product may be a scam is to consider the timeline mentioned. If the advertisement or landing page claims that you can easily make money in 30 days or less, be wary.

Realistically, building a sustainable online business takes time. It takes effort to produce high quality content, and simply takes time for material to index and rank on the major search engines. One of my favorite things about Wealthy Affiliate is how upfront the program is on the timeline you should expect. That, in my mind, is the mark of a good program.

In order to make serious money in less than a month you pretty much need to resort to spam-tactics or immense paid advertising campaigns. While you can make money in these ways, they are usually not sustainable sources of income.

Scam Alert 2: Incredible Profit Claims

The second factor to consider is how much money the seller is claiming you can make. While it is possible to make millions of dollars by running online businesses, those figures are reserved for the elite few.

If the program claims to guarantee extreme success, chances are it’s a scam. Instead, you should look for programs that talk about making base hits and then replicating that process. If you can make $50 you can make $500, and if you can make $500 you can make $5,000. Either way, getting there is a process.

Scam Alert 3: High Cost to Begin

Finally, you should always be a little cautious whenever it comes to buying programs that have a high entrance cost. Most reputable programs will let your do a limited trial for free or very little money.

Not all programs are like this, however, and just because there’s a high price tag doesn’t mean it’s a scam. Individual courses or seminars, for example, are usually higher priced, because they’re event-oriented and you interact directly with your trainers. This is a big distinction from subscription services that make you pay several hundred dollars up front.

All in all, spotting scams is an art form you need to develop over time, and I offer a few more tips specific to affiliate scams here. If you’re ever in doubt about the program, search for product reviews on third party sites, and weigh the opinion of others who have been there before.

If you’re looking for an affiliate course, there’s a great list of programs I’ve vetted right here on this site.