Tuesday, December 1, 2009

StoresOnline Internet Income Training Conference - A Review

Alright, I'll admit it... I have had enough of the people claiming that StoresOnline is a scam. Those who know me in relation to StoresOnline know that I am a happy customer. As I have stated in an earlier post Stores Online did not scam me. I have also given my 2004 conference experience in another post. With all this being said, I hadn't been to a conference/seminar in 5 years so when I'm on those many sites defending StoresOline, I can't really speak to what they are doing now. I know that mistakes have been admitted to in the past and since corrected, but I had not seen any of this correction in place (with regards to the conferences). So I came up with this bright idea to attend a conference as someone who has never experienced StoresOnline - a secret agent, if you will.

So to get started, I went to www.storesonline.com and under the Contact us information there was a link to register for an event in my area. So I registered. I don't remember how long ago but before long, I received an invitation in the mail, yay! The invitation came complete with 2 tickets to the event. Many of the complaints that I've seen stem around this invitation. I can only speak on what I received, but I will address the complaints. Here is an excerpt from the invitation (Click on the images to see the entire document):

Click here to see StoresOnline Conference Invitation Part 1

As you can see in the image above, I've highlighted some very important verbiage. Note that this verbiage explains that Stores Online will not provide a product, service, or idea for you to promote. that means the individual attending has to do that on his/her own. The next sentence implies that there will be something to buy and that you have 3 days to change your mind. For all those thinking that they are just going to the conference for just a free lesson, food and MP3 Player, did you read your invitation? My invitation specifically implies that there will be something to buy.

I highlighted the next part because I have seen many complaints from people stating that StoresOnline claimed to be giving out Apple iPods. The makes it clear that is not the case. With regards to the redemption coupon, I don't know. I took a companion with me, Jackie Roberts, and she picked up the MP3 Players. When I asked her if she was given a choice, she said that they were just handing out the little boxes, and she didn't notice anyone asking for the redemption coupon. So I can't speak to whether the coupons were available or not. However, I will say that there might be some confusion because on the back of the actual ticket it says that the MP3 Player would be mailed, despite it being available to pick-up at the end of the conference:

StoresOnline Conference Ticket - Back
Click here to see StoresOnline Conference Ticket - Front


Ok so before I even decide to register and attend, the documentation that I've been sent indicates that i am going to get a free lesson on Internet marketing, a free meal, and a free MP3 Player (not an Apple iPod Shuffle). I'm also given an indication that I will be sold something. Anyone who received this invitation should have no complaints about the MP3 Player, or the fact that they will hear a sales pitch.

So I called and registered for the conference on November 20, 2009. When the day of the event came, I attended with the companion mentioned earlier and we were greeted nicely by Jeff. Jeff got us our name tags and we were given a registration for with rules that we had to agree to. Here is another excerpt:



Let me first start by saying that after I signed this document it was taken from me, I guess for their records. Since my signature was on the document I asked for a copy and had no problems getting it.

Now, as highlighted "StoresOnline, Inc does not provide a marketing program..." That speaks for itself. The next part states that no guarantees are offered that what will be learned at the conference will be applicable to my business. The next part states that my results will vary "depending on my product, price and marketing efforts." Last but not least the internet changes all the time so what i learn in the conference may need to be modified or avoided all together in the future. So before i can even walk into the room I have to agree that I understand all of this. So again, before I'm taught anything, or offered anything, or sold anything, I'm told that my results may vary, what i learn may not be applicable to my business, and even if they are, based on the changing nature of the Internet, these concepts may become obsolete. are we getting the important of reading the documentation that is placed in from of us yet? this last document I had to sign. If I don't read the documents that I place my signature on, I will be in big trouble with life in general, forget this one conference.

Once in the conference, and it starts, we are sat down in chairs and since we were a little late, a table wasn't setup for us, but that came in pretty quickly. Immediately we are all told of the day's offer with am e-commerce education package, merchant services, support, merchant account, software access and hosting and the price. I'm not going to mention the price here because every conference is different and the offer may be different and the price may be different. The price is irrelevant but I'll say that it's in the thousands.

It was mentioned that people won't want to buy from me if i only offered PayPal as a payment option. I don't really believe that, but the statistics is that only 1 in every 8 people will use Paypal as a payment method. It was also mentioned that there are cheaper options out there, but not with the same benefits. Anyone who has actually made a go out of the Stores Online store builder and realized what is all available who has tried to look around for a cheaper option with the same features will tell you how true this is. That old saying holds true, "you get what you pay for." A financing option is available and a pre-qualification for was handed out and asked to be filled out. This form allows them to do a soft credit check. Since I already own the stores, there was no need for me to fill out the form, but my companion did. She was uncomfortable placing her SSN on the paper especially since she hadn't made up her mind to purchase so the gentleman allowed her to wait to hand in the form.

The marketing guru that presented, Randy ( stated that he doesn't work for StoresOnline, but they pay him to give the presentations), made it clear to everyone that Stores Online was a business and that they were there to make money. There was no misconception about that. It was also stressed that a lot of time and work would be needed and that this was not a get rich quick scheme. Randy went on to tell us how 90% of websites fail because of the lack of proper marketing. The information that he was presenting could be used whether or not we decided to purchase with StoresOnline. He also asked those who were just present to get a free meal and a MP3 Player to please leave, picking up a meal voucher and MP3 Player on the way out. This is at the very beginning. From what i saw, no one left, maybe out of embarrassment for being called out that way.

There was a lot of good information given out. I took 5 pages of bullet-ed notes, but i want to focus on the offer, not the information. My cover was blown almost immediately as Randy was working the room. He saw my name tag and immediately recognized it and called out my websites with StoresOnline - www.HealthyHeartHelp.com and www.AllNaturalElements.com. I was completely thrown off because i didn't know that he used my testimonial regularly in his presentations so he was quite familiar with my name and sites. I was immediately made the center of attention and everyone applauded as he called me a celebrity. But i kept my watchful eyes and ears around so that I could do this proper critique. Though, it's possible that some of it could have been tainted because I was there. Who knows, but I'm giving my account.

Also stated was that all of the conferences are recorded. At the end, a guy named Todd, who spoke at the very beginning, came back up and stated that those who purchased would most likely get a call from a third-party partner offering their services. It was emphasized that those services were not needed to be successful.

I've seen complaints about the food at these conferences as well. I personally don't think that the food should reflect on the quality of the product especially since the location provides the food, not StoresOnline. I actually think that it's pretty lame to use your poor opinion of the food as a major point for complaint on the company. But then again, it's just my opinion. Since people complain about it, I'll speak on it.The dinner was a chicken salad croissant sandwich (too many onions for my taste), penne pasta salad on a leaf of iceberg lettuce and a chocolate chip cookie. Soda and water was available as well. That is, if you could get some after some people took more than their fair share. I thought the meal was good for FREE.

I've even seen complaints about the type of people who attended the conferences. I've seen the words "old" and "decrepit" used. The audience at my conference was nothing of the sort. I actually don't think age has anything to do with being able to make it in this business. I know folks pushing 70 who are fairing quite well. The audience was a mixed bag, but mostly older folks. When I say older, I mean older than 30.

Since my c over was blown, I couldn't talk to any of the guys to see if they were using high pressure tactics. My companion did state that she was made to feel guilty that she was not purchasing. She felt pressured, in a way. It is sales though right?

At any rate, this was my review of the tactics used at the conference. From what I can tell, the act has been cleaned up. If you had a different experience, please state the date and location (city, state) of your conference. I think a lot of the confusion that some of the complainants could be cleared up if they would have read all of what is given to them.