I was listening to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast the other day.
Something… interesting came up.
Joe mentioned one of the threads on his forum that caught his eye.
It was about a mixed martial arts instructor/entrepreneur trying to sell spots to a business seminar… a copywriting seminar to be precise.
My ears pricked up… but it was impossible to mentally prepare myself for the business insanity that would unfold…
The seminar this guy was promoting was one of those 3-day weekend deals in Vegas.
Hmm… I thought. Now, I have a healthy skepticism for all things Vegas, but this didn’t sound TOO fishy…
Until Joe revealed the price tag to attend this seminar shindig: a whopping $5,000!
Uh… let’s go ahead and raise those red flags, Johnny!
I was STILL willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt at that point. After all, there are a select few – the Dan Kennedys, the Gary Halberts – in the world who could command rates like those.
Maybe it’s worth the cost… I thought… but only if this guy’s a true expert.
But it only got worse.
Plot twist: it wasn’t the entrepreneur who would be putting on the seminar.
It was his “friend” and business associate. A business wizard so mysterious and eccentric he refused to reveal his full name and went simply by the monicker “Mr. X.”
Red alert, red alert. My bullshit meter’s ringing off the charts!
“Mr. X,” despite all his quirks, supposedly had the inside track to business success. And he was willing to come out of hiding and share these secrets with “a few serious players”… for the right price.
I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the sales letter advertising the seminar (you can check it out here). But for me, the heavy dose of hype and over-the-top formatting didn’t do any favors for the already shoddy credibility.
Reading this desperate, try-hard copy, combined with the shadowy figure of “Mr. X” made me suspicious.
This is where it gets downright crazy.
Apparently other people who read the sales letter got suspicious, too.
The sales letter includes a screencap of an “email” from Mr. X to the entrepreneur promoting the seminar.
Except there was a big problem…
The “email” screencap clearly shows the screen from Gmail that displays whenever you save a DRAFT email.
As in, the dude wrote an email to himself as “Mr. X” to… I don’t know… create a persona? Add mystery and intrigue? Deceive potential customers?
Naturally, as what tends to happen whenever someone pulls something like this on the internet, an observant reader noticed the draft email thing and called the entrepreneur out on it.
And how did the entrepreneur respond, now that he was backed into a corner and his credibility was being challenged?
He doubled down.
Made up a crazy story about “Mr. X” being obsessed about internet privacy. That this was his standard way of doing business. And a lot of other nonsense too ridiculous for me to type (check out the letter for the “explanation” if you’d like).
Look, I don’t like bashing other businesses. It doesn’t give me pleasure.
But when someone tries to treat their hopeful CUSTOMERS – the people they want to start long, profitable relationships with – like idiots, I can make an exception.
I prefer to earn my credibility a less flashy way. By talking with people, figuring out how I can make them more money, and delivering them work that leaves them 100% satisfied.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
And I feel awfully sorry for anyone who signed up for that seminar!
Does “Mr. X” give refunds?