Traffic Siphon – The Art of Making a Lot of People Angry

Traffic Siphon is one of your typical, run of the mill, hyped up beyond all recognition and endorsed by all the usual suspects kind of ClickBank product. We get one of these at least once a month. The first time I came across it, I just had a quick glance at the sales-page, found it amusingly absurd, contemplated maybe making fun of it in a video and then got back to getting more important stuff done.

It had all the signs of being one among many, doubtless making someone a couple 100K and doubtless being a more or less useless product, under close scrutiny.

But something about Traffic Siphon is different…

Anger Siphon

Something about it seems to be pissing people off to a larger degree than I’ve ever seen before. I don’t spend that much time in forums or reading blogs, but even I came across thread after thread and post after post complaining about Traffic Siphon. And I’ve been getting e-mails. Not spammy “buy-this-now” e-mails (I have a separate address for those, that I rarely check), but e-mails from my readers and subscribers. All of them telling me what a piece of crap this product is and how rage-inducing the sales-page is.

Traffic Siphon is either especially annoying and scammy or it’s the staw that broke the camel’s back and an increasingly large number of people just can’t stand this type of thing anymore.

Translation: You're an impressionable noob, so go ahead and buy my sh*t, please.

"Dark, Unheard-Of Corners of the Web" a.k.a. Google.

Hype, Lies and Fluff

If you look at the sales-page for Traffic Siphon, you’ll simply see all of the usual elements for hypey products: Huge earnings claims, lots of “proof” in the form of ClickBank earnings screenshots, promises of how incredible the technique is but never a single detail about what the technique actually is etc. etc. Basically, everything I talked about in my video on how to avoid newbie traps.

If you’ve been in IM for more than a week, you’ve probably seen a dozen sales-letters like this.

So, what’s the problem?

For one thing, I suspect the “us vs. the Gurus” approach has been grossly overdone, lately. Every hypey sales-letter I’ve looked at in recent memory had the premise that “those dastardly gurus” are all out to screw you over and that this one product is the big exception. It’s always “I’m the only honest guy in the industry”. And ironically, it’s exactly the guys doing this who are screwing you over (and they know it). That, I imagine, is another anger-inducing factor. It’s one thing to make claims that aren’t true, but to accuse other’s of things that you are actually guilty of yourself and to be so blatantly hypocritical is something else altogether.

Another factor is the clearly fake scarcity. They claim that they are only going to sell 250 copies, but they’re obviously trying to flog as many copies as they possibly can. You only have to look at the price and then look at the fact that they are recruiting affiliates for the product to know it’s not limited in any way.

Note that neither "SEO" nor "Article Marketing" are listed. Neither is "that stuff we read about in a forum, sometime last year".

Step 1: List everything other than your technique. Step 2: Claim none of it works. Step 3: Blame "Gurus".


In this specific case, the “secret” technique that’s revealed in the product itself is, apparently, SEO. Yeah, totally mind-blowing. The disconnect between the promise of something new and revolutionary and the actual product being pretty much the first thing most online marketers learn about might be a bit too harsh. As for the methods themselves? I haven’t bought this product, but from the mails I’ve been getting, it’s basically a collection of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to SEO and traffic generation (build links, yahoo answers, article marketing…). In other words, the gap between what the sales-page talks about and what’s inside the product is just too large. The two have practically nothing to do with each other.

And that’s no coincidence.

100% Marketer, 0% Teacher

What I mentioned above is making people angry (along with a dozen exit-popups and endless upsells, bad customer support,…). And that’s understandable, because the consumers of the product are obviously looking at Traffic Siphon from a consumer perspective.

The product creators behind all this are not looking at it from that perspective and never intended to.

You see, a product like this is not made for the customers. A product like this is primarily made for affiliates.

Affiliates, especially those with the skills to drive lots of traffic and those with huge mailing lists, are quite difficult to get on board for promotions. They are usually booked solid with launches they’re going to promote, they owe each other favours (“I promoted for you, so now you have to promote for me.”) and they are, more often than not, looking to make the maximum amount of profit for every promotion they do.

Picture this: You approach an affiliate who has a huge mailing list. Your product is carefully crafted, made specifically for the needs of customers in a certain niche in your market and you’ve done your best to make it an all-around awesome product. You’ll be selling it for $77, which is a fair price for what you’re offering. You have a good, but down-to-earth sales-letter (no ridiculous promises, no lies, no faked earnings claims).

The affiliate is also approached by another marketer who is selling his product which is made for the broadest possible niche in the market, uses every trick possible on a completely and shamelessly over-hyped sales-page, comes with an attractive front-end price of $47, followed by three to five upsells that make for a total price of over $300 plus continuity.
The product itself happens to be rubbish.

Sad but true, many affiliates will pick the second offer in this scenario, simply because it will put more money in their pockets. That’s their number one concern: The bottom line. The actual product quality is a distant second, if that. Many affiliates and “marketers” are even proud of the fact that they put money first and everything else second. “It’s business” is the common justification for this (apparently business and ethics are mutually exclusive – I didn’t get that memo, though).

Because of this, many product creators tailor their product entirely to affiliates: Making them appear as attractive as possible in terms of earnings potential. In fact, these product creators aren’t really product creators at all. They are 100% marketers and what they do is simply a “trick” to exctract a lot of money from the Internet. The product itself, the thing you actually get once you’ve waded through the swamp of upsells, is only there as an after-thought. It’s basically fluff, there to fill out the bit of empty space that’s left after the marketing strategy is set up.

Why do you think that everyone released mobile marketing products in the past few months? Is it really the new big thing? Have all these guys suddenly turned into mobile marketing experts?

No. They looked at the marketplace, saw that this was a trend, off of which money could be made, created a marketing plan to exploit it and then tacked an excuse of a product to the end of all that.

A Storm is Coming (Probably Not)

Some suggest that there’s a shift happening in the IM market. That people are starting to get wise to these marketing tricks and the typical hypey sales pitch will no longer work.

It would be nice, wouldn’t it? As far as I can tell, though, the ClickBank boys have been using these tactics for a long time and aren’t showing any signs of stopping. In fact, they’ve created something of a niche for themselves. Since they are all producing crap that leaves people frustrated, they are basically setting their customers up for each other’s products (remember: all of the sales-pitches are made for frustrated newbies who’ve been burnt by so-called “gurus”).

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think things will change or do you dobt the ClickBank boys will ever run out of a fresh supply of quick-riches seeking newbies?


P.S.: Here’s a bonus video of me ranting about a different product, in a similar vein:


I'm Shane Melaugh and I'm the guy writing most of the posts on this blog. My goal is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights on how to grow your business by creating compelling offers, driving traffic and increasing conversions.

robert - September 22, 2010

I looked at a hacker version and it didnt impress me one bit. same ole stuff fluffed up to make it look like the next best thing. Just another shiny object to get everybodys attention off of doing what they need to be doing, running their business!

DB Baker - September 22, 2010

Great post Shane.

There is no question that in the past 2 month there are simply too many crappy products such as Traffic Siphon and it is really going over the top.

I don’t understand how people can simply lie on the sales page without breaking any of the FTC rules and regulations.

The sad truth is, that I don’t see an end to this type of marketing. Newbies will never end and they will keep on falling into the same traps… I don’t see how we can change this.

One thing I learned from the Traffic Siphon launch is that I can put a big X on George Brown and never open another email from him.

You can always learn something…

    Wayne Cochrane - September 30, 2010

    Yeah, me too.

    No more George for me.

Mitro - September 22, 2010

The Traffic Siphon guys did have some aces in their sleeves that not all “CB-scammers” have… I listened to the interview that George Brown did with the creator of TS, and he sounded legit sharing his personal story and things like that. Apparently, he was just very good at lying, claiming that the TS techniques were something totally new and that there would be only 250 copies, even in the interview.

Also, one of the guys behind TS was in the Warrior forum, answering people’s questions on TS’s review thread…

And now there’s already a new CB-product in the market following almost the same exact formula… Zero Down Traffic. Sigh…

Alex Newell - September 22, 2010

I guess I’m too busy or too ADD, this one passed me by!

But I checked it out after reading your post…

(1) I hate and deeply suspect sales videos
(2) I noticed George Brown’s name
(3) All the “this is not”

I won’t even mention the screenshots and cars.

This is a perfect example of your newbie trap post.

But I am actually optimistic that this sleazy situation will be cleaned up. Whether it will be the Feds or maybe even someone getting very angry and suing the product creators or even suing clickbank, I am sure the tide will change.

BTW very well structured post – I loved the 2 side by side panels comparing the crap product and the honest product.

    Shane - September 23, 2010

    Too busy – that’s the key.
    Personally, at some point I got so busy with actually running my business that I can no longer be bothered with all these launches. I really only notice when someone writes a comment or one of my readers sends an e-mail about one.

Mirko Gosch - September 23, 2010

Hey Shane,

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to write this excellent post about the TS scammers.

As I told you in my emails I bought the 1 USD trial version out of curiosity. After I had to click away about 5 up- and down sales – must have been the most annoying sales funnel I´ve ever gone through- arriving at the members area it only took about 1 minute to recognize that this is complete B.S.

They have simply re-named backlinks into siphon, recorded some rather crappy videos about well known backlink tactics and didn´t have one new thing the added to the equation except maybe a very, very gray hat technique how to make your Ezine Articles appear to be popular by sending paid traffic to a Ezine article…duh!

Even worse are their outright lies about the limited copies they said they would sell. In my opinion this is way beyond the crap label, this is a clear fraud and I sincerely hope that they´ll get sued for this.

It is for these guys that internet marketing has regretfully such a bad name.

Anyway, more important tasks ahead for us ethical marketers.

Talk soon, Mirko

Melvin - September 25, 2010

There has been some complaints about this product and Im not really sure too if I can trust the author of the said product.

C.J. - September 28, 2010

Regarding who’s behind Traffic Siphon:

Andrew X of Hong Kong, has apparently now become Mark Barnard of Hong Kong (if that’s his real name, either) since they share the same business address.

I’m now sitting here out $1100 after the coder(s) for Andrew X and Steven Lee Jones ripped off PHP Fox to create Niche Socializer last year, which they’d sold to 500-1000 people worldwide for $1000 a pop using either Michael Jones or Simon Adams of Hyper Facebook Traffic as a pitchman, resulting in one of the largest internet marketing scams in history (yes, I AM hoping that this blog is do-follow to spread the word of their misdeeds and initiate the decline of their empire).

Those two thieves not only didn’t refund everybody, as would’ve been the right thing to do, but adding to their already horrendous customer service also continued to pretend that the theft had never occurred while they supposedly had their script recoded from scratch and put it on a new page, which I have yet to see.

And now Andrew has collaborated on Traffic Siphon with George Brown, which immediately made me skeptical of both George and the program, while Steven Lee Jones has released Traffic Anarchy, another $37 “traffic grail” clone in a recent long line of them supposedly not worth a bucket of warm spit in reality. Shame on you, George, you deserve whatever the hell happens to you.

All of this is why neither one of these two clowns has never likely used their real name on anything they’ve sold, and likely never will. They’ve not taken an ounce of responsibility for leaving 500-1000 people worldwide in the lurch, although if Andrew/Mark alone is really making $4k per day as an affiliate, they could have afforded to, but simply chose not to, as it would’ve crimped their lifestyles, and what’s to say that Michael or Simon has ever used their real name, either?

This entire industry, particularly Clickbank which continues to subsidize Andrew and Steven simply because they make money, is drowning in duplicity and corruption. They will get theirs, if there’s any justice at all and I have anything to do with it.

Great blog, Shane. You can bet I’ve added this to my favorites.

Golden Rule Internet Marketing - September 29, 2010

Dude, you’re speaking directly to my heart!

Kudos to you for exposing the ClickBank boys for what they are – predators. BTW, that reminds me of the ClickBank Predator software. Another over-hyped product! The only way it resembled a predator was that they took my hard-earned money and regurgitated out their product! What a waste, and I mean that in every sense of the word. Get the picture?

Take care,

Fred S.

Werner - September 30, 2010

What comes to my mind is: Why is Clickbank itself so uninterested in their reputation that they allow ‘Product Developers’ to put up such crap on their platform?

Clickbank should change their marketing strategy, and should at least try to verify that the products it sells (or gives a platform to for selling) meet at least a minimum of some quality measure.

    Shane - September 30, 2010

    I think it all comes down to: It works, so everyone keeps doing it. There’s lots of money in duping newbies, so affiliates keep promoting because they care more about money than about their customers and ClickBank doesn’t care because if they did, that would take a big chunk out of their bottom line.

Chuck - September 30, 2010

I bought Traffic Siphon and got a refund. This Mark Barnard guy called me yesterday and said something about wanting to coach me. I gave him an earful about his fraudulent sales tactics for Traffic siphon and hung up.

    Shane - September 30, 2010

    Oh yeah, that’s another favourite among these jokers. You’ll get a call about being “exclusively picked” for their amazing coaching program for only X-thousand dollars.

    It’s so comical when I get calls from these sales-reps, because they’re so desperate for me being desperate.

    “Do you finally want to make a living online?”

    “I do make a living online.”
    “Do you want to finally achieve financial freedom?”
    “Got that too, thanks.”
    “We offer exclusive coaching to help you build an online business.”
    “Sounds great, but I don’t have time for that. Too busy running my online business, I’m afraid…”

Tony - September 30, 2010

Hi Shane

I think what you are doing is really important and it seems to be gathering a head of steam,there really is a grubby little group out there that need cleaning up

Looking in my inbox the bigger problem is the number of big name people promoting this crowd,like you say the money is clearly the big temptation

PS the second e mail this morning was nice with the Backlink Battleplan commissions,thanks for that, if all the products out there delivered in spades like that then we wouldn’t have a problem

Thanks Tony

James - September 30, 2010

I understand your sentiment but too be honest I think your missing the whole picture, yes crap like this should not be tolerated but the real indictment on this is that we as a society are to blame – its the same as the “whats wrong with the government” argument – the answer if we want to take responsibility is “we are ”

Online or offline the platform doesn’t matter the fact that in 2010 people think they can make money, lose weight or “get laid” in 3 easy steps without effort is so stupid it is beyond words.

yes these marketers are out of control but the general public are absolute idiots – if they had half a brain they could filter out this crap and it would die off under natural forces.

Its like the nigeria inheritance scam that everyone laughs at – you do realize why its persists – because enough idiots step up to get their share of the 10,000,000 – I mean come on people are you freaking serious !!

Its not about being new online its about wanting stupid, lazy people that want instant results overnight without effort and anyone that thinks a new “drink” can make them lose weight and make them slim and beautiful without being mindful of what else they stick in their mouths and without exercise are just idiots.

I am not saying the scammers shouldn’t be outed but what about a shame on the people that are so greedy that they fall for it – the reason we don’t see more of these balanced posts is even people like you are afraid of alienating / offending their readers ( the ones that bought the product ) so is some small way even you are contributing to the cycle.

Here is my take – grow up people and take responsibility for what is your own greed and laziness – nothing in life worth getting is 3 step easy – what are you 10 years old ?

    James - September 30, 2010

    I just wanted to add one last thing here – making money in line IS ACTUALLY easy, this is the outline how you do it.

    1, Pick a niche that you are either interested in or knowledgeable about that shows signs of commercial viability – ie there are products already being sold successfully in – however being mindful that the competition is moderate enough that over time you have a chance of becoming a player.

    2, Create some free content in whatever media format your comfortable with will work, the written word, podcasts, video, reviews, software that you think the that market will find value in and if presented will consume – you can prove this with a few dollars on adwords and watching engagement.

    If your adswords results show good levels of “engagement” ie people stick around, look at additional pages don’t bounce etc your onto a winner and you just need to get word out about your free content.

    3, Present your free content to enough people in and around the market without concern for making money and ask for their engagement, ie feedback and “support” if they like your “stuff” –

    A REALLY BIG HINT HERE if they will not look at your stuff and a reasonable % dont reply then its a good sign than the market is too competitive and if they will not give you a favorable review then your product probably sucks

    Try to guide these influencers in the way they “review” your products – ie backlinks

    You really don’t need that many backlinks – its quality not quantity that counts, all Google is really interested in is what semi credible, established sources in related markets link to you – most small sites don’t have more than 50 good links.

    4, Be prepared to spend at least 12 months to 2 years building and consolidating your value to the market.

    Once you have traffic your WILL ind a way to monetize it – it will take at least another 6 months to refine your monetisation strategy

    So assuming you have a job and you work part time on this, in a year or two you will have a site that has good levels of traffic and some money.

    How much money depends on the niche, your monetisation strategy etc – that is NOT easy to learn and takes a long time to predict.

    There is no reason you cant do this 2 or even 3 sites at once if your really committed.

    How freaking hard is that ? Everything else is fluff.

    Shane - September 30, 2010

    Hi James,
    I agree. This stuff would disappear over night if people just stopped buying it.
    There is something really vile about preying on people’s desperation, though. Desperation can make you stupid and exploiting that is quite disgusting.

    Thanks for your comment!

      James - September 30, 2010

      Although I would have agreed with your comments about desperation 10 years ago, today I live in Thailand – I am Australian but I make a full time living marketing online and so choose to call the Mountains in Northern Thailand on the Burma border my home.

      I would suggest that most people would agree that SE Asia has a lot of people that could be classified as “desperate” – ie struggling and looking for a way to improve their position in life.

      My wife is Thai and I am learning Thai and although like anywhere in the World there is real crime here – theft etc as far as my experience with Thai websites goes there are lot less “scams” than you see of the type we are discussing.

      Some would dismiss this because we are not “online” yet like in the west but there are 5.5 Million Thai facebook users and its in the top 5 fastest growing countries so there is online activity and everyone I know has credit cards even the ones that don’t earn a lot.

      All this leads to my opinion that the real reason for the prevalence of this type of scam is not desperation but that people that have “enough” and aren’t really hungry but want more are just lazy and stupid.

      The really desperate do a lot of due diligence on what they spend their money on and consume as much free content as possible before they spend their hard earnt money and you can learn everything you need to know about online marketing without ever spending a cent on some “how to make money course”

      One last comment – watch out for SEO firms and outsourcing in low cost countries, if they knew what they where doing they would have a simple adsense site making the $20 a day you are going to pay them so why would they do all that work for you instead ?

      Its the identical argument you used with how the guys make $500,000 online but are now selling that knowledge for $9000

      If you knew how to get backlinks and create content and get results online why would you sell your time for $20 a day ? Wouldn’t you be building sites you own ?

      I will be very honest and say that I used to be an SEO for hire and for 3 years people paid me to learn, once I understood how it works I started building my own passive income not someone elses.

      There is a very very old saying that goes ….

      Thoses that can do, those that cant teach ( or contract )

      Enjoyed the post thanks

Maggie Mayfair - September 30, 2010

Hi Shane

Kudo’s to you – at long last someone calls out the “crap”. Granted – there is a lot of good stuff but sometimes you have to wade through a ton of garbage to find it.

Problem is the so-called-guru’s promote these and by doing that put their reputation on the line and annoy their subscribers.


Welly Mulia - September 30, 2010

Hey Buddy

You never cease to amaze me with your honest, “I don’t care what the gurus think of me” opinions :)


The thing about these clickbank boys is that they need to always find new victims to get into their sales funnel. A victim who’s already been burned once or twice are not going to be tricked a third time.

They need to always find fresh new leads ever single day to maintain their business model — which I’m sure they have no problem doing that since so many people are promoting them.

It’s sad but very true.

Keep your honest reviews coming!
Welly Mulia

Dewald De Bruyn - September 30, 2010

Man do I Love this. Got so carried away with my first post on the Youtube video that google actually cut me off. Great work shane and the troops are behind you. Even if it is a small bit, it at least helps a few poor souls to keep their money safe.. The BS on the net it would appear know s no bounds and the most ridiculous claims are made. We should all chi in and start a special blog with “product reviews” to blow these shisters out of the water. Just concerned that your sites may become a target. Was hit twice few months ago when I raised hell with guaranteed backlinks + 1000 bonus links from a so called high profile marketer. Called the backlinks ninjas from down under. To this day more than 90 days later not seen one backlink for $147 a pop

Gary Gregory - October 2, 2010

Hi Shane,

I hope things are well with you.

Brilliant post sir. In your example above, I am the marketer who is in the box on the left. Thank goodness I have other streams of online income and don’t have to worry too much about product launch revenue, however, I can tell you this…

1. I would rather my product and/or system help people actually make money online, if in fact they are prepared to implement a legitimate business strategy, and guess what? It won’t happen overnight, they won’t make millions in a few days and there is WORK involved! :)

2. I would rather offer my affiliates something of value so that they will get a lot of “thank you for recommendings”, instead of unsubscribes.

3. Offer my customers and/or clients true before, during, and after customer service to address any questions or concerns (what a concept huh?)

4. Not put out a product that purposely doesn’t fill in the blanks so that you either have to buy more stuff or just move on to another crappy product altogether.

5. Not have upsells, downsells, crosssells, and so many exit pop-ups that you don’t know if you are coming or going. Imagine how nice it would feel to click the add to cart button and actually get to the payment page? I have almost forgotten what that’s like.

In short, I am glad that people like yourself are starting to make a stand against these practices. Sadly, to your point above, it likely will continue because it works.

I might not be a millionaire “IM Guru”, but at least I can look myself in the mirror and sleep like a baby at night.

Here’s to making products and IM better in 2010 and beyond!

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