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Fake Online Gurus and Their Slick Art of Deception

Do you know how to make money online and how to get rich quick are some of the most googled search queries? If you have been down that road searching for ways to make money online, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve encountered a certain variety of so-called specialists.

These individuals epitomize flash and cash. They’re the internet gurus who claim to hold the keys to the vault of unlimited riches. They emerge out of nowhere, like magicians with a trick up their sleeve. They boast thousands, sometimes millions, of followers on platforms such as X, Instagram, and Facebook.

With carefully curated posts, they tell tales of unparalleled success.

Fake online gurus and stuff they peddle

They flaunt lavish lifestyles and promise the key to unlocking your dreams. In fact, they design their content to hit all the major vulnerabilities in your life.

They convince you that a 9-to-5 job sucks and there is this magical, untapped potential in you that they can help unlock. By joining their course, you, too, can dig down deep inside and awaken the superpower lying dormant for years.

But how real is this mirage? How genuine are these masters of the digital realm? Let’s delve deeper.

The Siren Call of Online Gurus

Typically, the journey begins with an invitation to a free webinar or masterclass. You hand over your email address and, they sweep you right into the whirlwind of their marketing funnel.

As you sit through the ‘free’ session, these gurus deftly poke at your sore spots even more. Basically, those are masterclasses in the art of persuasion, and you’ve got to hand it to them—they’re good. Really good. Then, when the giveaway ends, the deluge of emails starts to hit your inbox.

These aren’t your run-of-the-mill spam emails, mind you. They are meticulously crafted messages aimed at those teetering on the edge, deliberating whether to join the course. And finally, the grand finale email lands with a special offer just for you: the ‘Mastery Course’ is now within reach for a jaw-dropping $99.

Sign up for the ‘Mastery Course’ and presto, you’re on your way to greatness… at least, that’s the pitch.

The temptation, by now, is hard to resist. They offer courses with alluring titles: “How to Become a Millionaire Now,” “Create Multiple Streams of Income in the Next 14 Days”, “The Millionaire’s Club,” and “From Zero to Hero in 90 Days.” Who wouldn’t be tempted?

Online guru travelling in a private plane

In a world where most people are seeking shortcuts to success, these fake online gurus promise the shortest one. You might think, “Hey, it’s just $99. Look at all the stuff I’m getting: 30 videos, a pile of worksheets, and heaps of bonus content to boot.

But here’s the catch. Most, if not all, of the crucial insights these charlatans offer, are actually dished out during the free class and those crafty emails. Those course videos? They tend to just echo the same old lines, hammering away at the same pain points you’ve heard before.

Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: Only 10-15% of individuals who purchase these online courses go on to complete them. And of that minuscule percentage, only a fraction sees any measurable success.

But that’s not the story you see in those perfectly filtered (and often paid) testimonial photos and videos, is it?

The Rise of the Online Gurus

These days, it’s easier than ever to build a persona online. With just the right angles, storytelling techniques, and some strategic networking, you can craft an image of success.

In recent years, some figures rose to immense popularity like Dan Lok, Tai Lopez, Grant Cardone, Sam Ovens, Andrew Tate and many more. And, let me be clear, all of them are raking in big bucks.

Take Dan Lok, with an estimated net worth hovering around $120 million, Sam Ovens sitting pretty at $65 million, and Grant Cardone who has become a bonafide billionaire. While it is not my intention to vilify any individual, it is crucial to differentiate between genuine expertise and sheer showmanship.

Four fake online gurus

The reality is that critics have put many of these online gurus under the microscope and debunked their so-called foolproof systems.

But a handful of skeptics doesn’t phase them in the least. And why should it? With an ever-growing pool of people eager for financial freedom, the internet provides an endless supply of hopefuls for these gurus to prey upon.

So, even if out of 100 course-takers, 80 feel shortchanged, these gurus zero in on the 20 who, despite gaining no real value, still believe in the elusive promise of riches. Meanwhile, they’re already casting their nets for the next batch of hopefuls. And so the cycle continues.

Even without the latest stats, you can bet your bottom dollar that the online course scene is a multi-billion dollar arena. With such vast sums at stake, it’s no surprise that many are jumping onto the bandwagon, offering courses with little to no genuine value.

The digital age’s snake oil peddlers are far from a novel occurrence. Back in the 90s and the internet’s dawn, figures such as Jeff Paul, Don Lapre, Tom Vu, and Kevin Trudeau deployed the exact modus operandi of marketing the dream of quick riches.

My Own Misadventure and The Cost of Dreams

I’ve been in those shoes, too. Back in 2017, I stumbled upon a Quora post, which I later figured out was sponsored, raving about this online program called The Big Billionaire Club. It boasted unique advantages and success in boosting website traffic.

Since I was working on launching BookJelly on WordPress, I figured it would be wise to arm myself with some know-how. So, I dropped $300 in a single sweep on my credit card. Immediately, I received my welcome email and joined a Slack group of so-called like-minded entrepreneurs.

On day one, I reached out to the community manager, eager to learn how to monetize my upcoming book-review site. Back came the response. A lackluster “We have no idea,” with a side of “Stick with the Slack group, though!” Well, you can probably guess how much help that was.

A year drifted by with me wading through text material and a string of motivational mails, and dragging myself through dull YouTube videos until I had to face the bitter truth—I’d been duped.

The sad reality is that many people invest their hard-earned money into these courses. Some max out their credit card and slip into deep debt, all in on the shimmering promise of a brighter future. But when the dust settles, most are left holding the bag.

The stories of success are few and far between, while tales of dashed hopes are all too common. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it’s the same old tune—big dreams sold, but the reality? Not even close.

The Path Forward

So, where does this leave us? Awareness is the first step to change. It’s essential to approach the world of online gurus with a discerning eye. Not all are frauds, but many are.

Before diving into any course, do thorough research. Look for genuine reviews. Take those glowing testimonials on the landing page with a grain of salt. Be wary of the top-ranking reviews on Google, which can sometimes be sponsored.

Most importantly, think critically. What is he selling? Why do I need to subscribe? Is the material as unique as the guru claims to be—or could you find the same insights from a Harvard professor’s lecture available for free on YouTube?

Look, the digital age offers numerous opportunities, but with it comes a myriad of mirages. We need to navigate this world with caution, discernment, and the understanding that real success often demands real work. No shortcuts.

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