Corey Rudl’s Internet Marketing Secrets course was probably the first business opportunity related product I purchased that I found online. I remember reading an article about some guy who built a simple website about car secrets and made a fortune. He supposedly parlayed the knowledge he used to bring traffic (and orders) to his auto related website and into his marketing secrets course.
Back in the mid 1990’s, I couldn’t afford to shell out 2 grand for a personal computer. That was like 3 months rent for my one bedroom apartment in the “OC”. I got started on a cheaper device, a WebTV that cost me a few hundred bucks. After I taught myself everything I could about it, I created a website called Web4TVTips along with a comb binded guide I wrote with everything I knew included.
I remember being completely fixated with this new device in my living room. I would wake up, check my email, go to work, come home, then just play until it was time to force myself into bed. I spent months learning the ins and outs of the WebTV, as well as some basic html which still serves me well to this day.
I remember even getting a little mischievous when I found a forum post with information about how to open up games like Doom and You Don’t Know Jack that weren’t supposed to be available to users because of licensing issues. I really felt like a master of this dumb little box. I spent so much time in front of it.
I’ve always had an issue coming up with informational products to sell because I felt like I had to be an absolute expert in something to confidently provide guidance to other people. We all know that’s not necessarily true, but this guide was the first product I created that made me feel secure in my own knowledge. I was proud of it.
I was going to follow along with Corey’s Marketing Secrets program for advertising this guide online. His program was packed with useful information. The hard copy pages came in two of those mega-thick three ring binders and they would have been bursting at the seams if binders had them.
If I recall correctly, this product was fairly expensive. I think it was $197. Why $197? Well, apparently someone along the way did some tests and found prices ending in 7 were favored more by prospective customers. Corey mentioned this in his Marketing Secrets program too.
Even though it was a pricey package, there was still a perceived value based on the size. He could have provided all of this information digitally on a compact disc and I would have felt ripped off, but because it was hundreds upon hundreds of pages with data and illustrations, I didn’t feel that way.
If he was going to deliver it in digital form, he would have done better setting it up on a website in course form, but we have to remember this was the very early days of the commercial internet. There were probably very few member type sites back then, and I don’t even know if CD-ROM drives were standard in PC’s around this time. Whether the hard copy idea was by design or it just made the most sense to deliver in print back then, it worked.
The demise of this project was one part a case of life getting in the way and another part of being on the tail end of a dying service, though one can surmise I would have somehow sabotaged this one as well if I had the time. Right around the time I perfected this guide and website, I lost my job, had to give up my apartment, put my belongings in storage, and drive 3,000 miles back to the east coast.
I had every intention of picking up where I left off after a short readjustment period, but that didn’t happen. When I got back on my feet, computer prices had come down a bit so I finally purchased one. I realized my Web4TVTips website did not look very good on a computer. It looked perfect on a WebTV like it was built for, but the design did not translate the same in a computer browser.
I also realized that my computer purchase was very telling to the business I was trying to start. I began reading about the slow demise of WebTV subscriptions. PC’s were coming down in price making them more attainable to the average household. The Web4TVTips guide would have a shrinking audience.
I realized it was a dead end to continue putting anymore time and effort into this idea. It would be like Don Lapre trying to sell his classified ads business idea in this day and age. You might as well start selling a guide on how to become a successful pin boy.