I went to the seminar and sat through the 2 hour presentation, including the 30 minutes which were for lunch. Not a good lunch, just a sandwich which was not worth the wait. I thought it was a setup since when you receive such notices about a free seminar, they give you the name of the company. The posting didn't have much in who the company was about, just stating it was a business opportunity. I thought it was suspect as I couldn't research a company that wasn't listed. At the end I thought it was sad that they would target victims that they thought didn't know any better. Yeah, come scam the hicks in the Ozarks as we don't know much about technology and about the "internets." For me that was another red flag, because I do know a lot about technology and the Internet. That they would target and bait non-technical audience who couldn't research enough to know that the deal was horribly over priced.
I feel I should mention that technically, what they are doing isn't outside the scope of the law, just morally wrong. The tactics they used and preying on who they believe would be easy targets were insulting to me as a person and as a power user. I would advise anyone to reconsider any tactic that forces you to decide right then and there without any research first. One reason they do that is because they fear that you would find the better deal elsewhere. In the case of StoresOnline, there are many choices with cheaper prices.
My mother and I went, because when she first told me about it I was interested. That and I wanted to make sure she didn't buy into something that was a scam or something I wouldn't be able to do myself. I did not believe that they had anything to offer that I couldn't develop myself or buy cheaper somewhere else. I also had my own hosting and I had no desire to switch.
- The service required that you at least spent one year with them before switching to another service provider. Paying 2500 a year, which is around 200 USD a month is way more than 20 USD month and 2x more than my budget would allow. If I can't afford 100 USD a month for dedicated hosting (which would give more than the $200 would get you).
- The guy's attitude also changed to that of being rude at the end. The contrast was that he was extremely nice and charismatic at the beginning. I do not trust people who are that way. I also do not trust something for which states that there is a non-refundable contract fee. In Missouri, if I sign a contract I can back out of it within three days and get a refund. To say that I can't would be against the law, but since I'm not a law person, I just assumed that by signing the contract I would be giving up that right.
- The fee was $20 dollars for a single person to go to the seminar and I would guess that around 20 to 35 people signed up right there. That would be at least $400-$700 that they made just from the fee. I would guess that it would more than enough cover their costs of renting the conference room and the cheap dinner. They know that not everyone is going to buy into their offer, but enough will that come to make up the difference. The percentage goes up preying on farmers and rural areas where technical skills and knowledge isn't a surplus.
BBB Report Site Over 200 open, but with over 300 resolved.
Rip Off Reports - 92 Entries!
Notes before the discussion about the Workshop
- $20.00 will probably want to charge more once you get there (which ended up being true).
- Always pay credit for the added scam protection and recovery. (There were some that paid with cash or check, but I think it is possible to recover with a check, just a hell of a lot harder).
Notes Passed back and forth from my mother and me
During the discussion I was discussing different things with my mother since she doesn't have as much knowledge about web development and technical information discussed in the presentation.
Discussion about Domain Registry Letter that I recieved:
This was in referenced to when he said Domain and a follow up question was asked about what a domain was and he said you sign up for it.
Mom: Is that what your letter about registration today was about? Me: No. Me: There is a service/program that reads the DNS [public] registry for sites and then try to convert them over to them. Me: You [can] privatize your infomation but it does cost extra.
Discussion about Search Engines
Mom: How do you get to have a website on yahoo or google? Does it cost? Me: [The] initial list does not. Let me clearify, what I mean is that you can sign up to list your site for free.
Me: Like he said, there are many other sites competing and most won't go past page 3 or 4. Me: You can pay [on] an account to be listed at the top of the first page which is relatively inexpensive. Me: They allow a limit budget [on how much you want to spend a month for advertising] and won't go past that.
My moms note about how they could make up the cost of the seminar:
Mom: I bet they offer other things, like online support and advertising, etc at the workshop for more [cash].
I did not reply because I did not feel I had to. It was a statement that I agreed with.
Discussion about Stores Online
I should point out that I had in fact came across the site a long time ago, but found it too expensive to use and only spent less than a minute at the site. I also may have heard about it on a Paid Late Night Advertisement. The memory didn't come to me in a clear manner or one that I didn't have conflicting doubts about at the time.
Mom: Have you heard of "Stores Online" Me: No. I use other sites for things: www.pricegrabber.com. Me: If you do have a company, you can list your product. I don't know if that costs but it would be worth it. They also use a rating for how well your company is: like BBB.
About what to sell
Mom: Let's ask ourselves -- What are we supposed to be selling on the website? Me: That is a good question. Your cleaning company?
About the hosting Service
Me: The price is fairly good BUT you could buy a server [with]
- 60GB, they only wanted to give 500MB
- Miva Software for business and shopping cart, (Not in Notes: they offered more services then Miva, but there are other free solutions)
For $99 a month (for dedicated).
Not In Notes: They wanted 2500 for a year, which is $208 a month. They also offer 24/7 support with live chat (which may or may not be true). Bottom line, there is no way in hell I'm paying that much money when I can't even afford the $99 a month for my own server (which I could pimp out and resell some of it).
Me: Does not include the website. You could buy a template for less than $1000 and do the rest yourself.