A while back I received, and approved, a comment on an earlier post that I’d promised to follow up on. I’d nearly forgotten about it, but since I only allowed the comment to be posted with the intention of doing a little further research and an additional post about it, I figured it’s high time to do just that.
The comment was left in response to Advice for someone who wants to start doing some online work and I’m ashamed to admit that it’s been about a month now and I’m finally getting around to looking at what Robert Pickering is actually peddling. I would probably have simply deleted the comment if it weren’t for his last line, “I challenge your skepticism.”
I’ve never been very good at walking away from a double-dare!
Take a look at the actual comment:
My gut instinct tells me this “offer” is something to stay away from and here’s why:
- The comment doesn’t really say anything other than he’s helped many millionaires to achieve their dreams and that he is offering a “ground breaking opportunity.”
- There’s an 800 number for me to call so that he can help ME.
- His new leaders? What the heck does that mean? That screams multi-level-marketing to me.
- He misspelled the word “skepticism.”
So there you have my first four red flags. But in the name of due diligence, I’m going to see what I can find out about this offer… you know, since he welcomes my skeptiCism, how can I refuse?
Google his name, Robert Pickering. Unless he’s an English programmer living and working in Paris who’s written a book, a PhD at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center or a dead actor who appeared on Star Trek Enterprise, that doesn’t tell me much. I don’t like sifting much past the first page of Google results – so let’s move on.
The site he left in the post comment is TheOneThatPays.com. Just seeing it throws up additional red flags for me – beginning with the images and ending with the highlighted yellow text. But that’s a whole other issue. Looking at the content here I see he says he’s made 1.7 million in the last 7 months marketing online. I also learned that he touts himself the “millionaire mentor” and that the offer is some sort of new home based business that will be seen everywhere in the next 30 days. Hmm. The comment was posted 30 days ago, so I should be seeing this new home based business everywhere right.. about.. now…
Look at the 800# – a google search for that alone tells me that there are comments all over the Internet on blogs that say the same thing – misspelled skepticism and all. Looking through those results I find this BigFastCash site and learn that the name Robert Pickering is tied to the name David Dubbs and that there’s an additional phone number (216-201-9039). So now I have The One That Pays and Big Fast Cash web sites which both sound spam-i-licious to say the least.
So I hop on over to AnyWho’s Reverse Phone Directory and find no listings for either number. Nor do I find any listings for either number anywhere else. Hmm. Not looking good. About all I can find out from the phone numbers is that the 216 area code is for a number in Cleveland, Ohio. I could continue on this path and hope to find more specific info from public records, but I’d rather move on.
I went to Whois.org to see who owns what domains. Guess who owns the “theonethatpays” domain? David Dubbs. He’s the registrant on record and his address is in Murfreesboro, TN. What’s even more interesting is that the site was created on February 10th of 2008. Wow, that’s not a very old site, is it. And, here’s yet another phone number and email address neither of which matches anything else I’ve already found associated with Robert Pickering and David Dubbs. Huh, how ’bout that. I wonder if I should send him an offer to assemble booklets but then decide to move on.
The Rest of My Researching Steps
Now it gets confusing and interesting and I’m feeling sure that this entire mess is something I certainly wouldn’t want to become involved in. I’ve got one site I found earlier (BigBizFastCash) and another, much older one, that I just found in looking back at the Google search results from before called SwitchOnProfits.com. Both of these sites are owned by Robert Pickering with an address and phone number in the UK. At the bottom of that work at home directory chock full of affiliate links, I learn that I can email Robert at his yahoo.co.uk email address–so that matches up nicely. If it weren’t for the connection at BigBizFastCash; complete with the same videos, the same type of offer to put money in my pockets, and the similar looking pictures, I’d chalk it up to it being two different people. Or at least try to believe it’s two different people. But it’s enough to make me very, very leery.
I also found a MySpace page for Robert Pickering which totally coincides with the Robert & David pairing and the Success-Coach / Millionaire-Mentoring images. I see a comment there where someone says that PCN rocks so I run with that and discover that PCN stands for Prosperity Cast Network. If you go back to BigBizFastCash and scroll down, being careful not to let the red white and blue text on the black background burn your retinas, the huge pink “Click Here” leads to – drumroll please – Prosperity Cast Network affiliate link.
So what is this PCN? Well, it’s the new home-based business that Robert was talking about in that comment. A few more searches later I discover that PCN is also a marketing thing, where you get signed up and then sign others up so that you can make money and own your own make money website and refer other people. Of course, you’ll have to be able find an available domain that mentions money or fast cash and you’ll need photos of fancy cars and big houses. What does PCN actually sell? Well, they offer “high-ticket items” is about all I could find mentioned. Direct sales? Somehow I’m thinking there’s either no actual products or that the products aren’t exactly the point since I couldn’t find out what they actually sell other than the chance to become involved in the program.
I also learned that Val Smyth, founder of Mentors in Motion, has created this PCN offering and that CarbonCopyPro is a system just like PCN. So while they are both technically “legitimate” businesses, you should be prepared for high pressure sales people (aka closers) talking you into the $1999 investment to get your own chance to recruit others to do the same.
I could continue on, call the number left here on my blog by Robert Pickering (which I’m sure would be a recording asking me to leave pertinent information since he’s likely vacationing on his yacht) but what’s the point? I’ve learned enough to know that this is something I should stay far, far away from.
One of the best “reviews” I found online was written by Brian McCoy here at Keyword Cents. But even that review ends with an offer for you to earn a substantial income by visiting Brian’s Ticket To Wealth site.
Are you beginning to get the recurring theme here? Ticket To Wealth, Big Biz Fast Cash, The One That Pays, Switch On Profits…
The Bottom Line:
If you’re into MLM schemes, feel free to research the mentors and plunk down your $2 grand on the one you feel will take your calls three months from now. And be prepared to do the same thing they’re doing, talking with the folks who want to learn more about your opportunity.
While I could have just done the research and then written it up in a nice tidy review complete with my own opinion of a bottom line, I’m hoping that writing as I research and describing some of the steps I take helps empower you to do the same type of research whenever you’re presented with an get-rich-just-like-me opportunity.
Oh hey – there’s an open domain name for you – Get-Rich-Just-Like-Me.com.
That’s a freebie mentoring tip from yours truly.
This is the best post I’ve read in a long time — perhaps even the best EVER! I smiled, I laughed out loud, I almost had tears in my eyes. No wait — I think there’s one now!
Thank you for making my entire month! I loved the skepticism (and how thoroughly you backed up that it’s well founded). I’m so tired of people flogging the “fast way to wealth” illusion and the money=happiness nonsense. Of course, there’s no end to the number of opportunity seekers who fall for this stuff; usually, the people who can least afford to be sucked into the void.
I teach my own students there’s no such thing as luck — there is only preparation meeting opportunity. Then I tell them the truth about how much real work is actually involved in the “preparation” part. As for “opportunity” assessments, a healthy dose of skepticism is always a good thing. You just proved it! Just my two cents.
Linda M. Lopeke
Oops! They never stop. I just posted on a similar thing today. Of recent so many get rich quick scammers have besieged my home country. Since a good percentage of the Internet users are new to online business opportunities, these scammers are exploiting their ignorance and making fat bucks off the poor folks.
If you do not consider it a shameless advert, feel free to include this link to my article, Google Adsense and Nigerian Online Entrepreneurs for you readers as well.
You did a very good job exposing the guy you wrote about. I wish I had such time and patience. Cheers.
Thank you, Linda, I was actually thinking folks wouldn’t take too kindly to my sarcasm. “Hard work” is not a very popular stance to take online these days but it’s the only stance I feel has any merit.
And Naija – that’s a great article you did, I’m happy to link to it above!
I’m sure that lots of these folks do make tons of easy money, but it’s often at the expense of a little guy who just wants to believe in the dream of solving whatever his financial / work / life situation might be. For me, that makes the money not so ‘easy’ after all.
You are right Lisa. It is immoral to rob those that are poor in a bid to get rich quick. Such wealth cannot last. Keep up the good work you are doing here. At least, this is one more effort to warn the simple hearted that “easy money” often time is “no money”.
I really believe that Hard Work does not kill 😉
I am so sick of “get rich quick” schemers and crooks. It just makes my blood boil to think of the people who have had their hard-earned money stolen from them by these things.
It’s a bad day for me to read this — I’m already depressed.