The 30 Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Part Three

The Ugly

This is the third and final part of my series on The Thirty Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I’ll admit that I’ve done the Thirty Day Challenge for three years straight now, despite what the Wickedfire forum thinks about it 😉 I also admit that there are some things worth learning throughout the 30DC. Each year I learn something new, even if it is only one or two things out of the 50+ videos you have to watch. For me, the 30DC is a good refresher course of the basics.

It can be a good place to start for anyone who has never done internet marketing before. I’ve actually recommended it to a few good friends of mine who have been interested in getting into internet marketing, BUT with a few warnings.

First….

DON’T BELIEVE EVERY WORD THEY SAY

The whole 30 Day Challenge crew is great at marketing themselves as “gurus”, but they’re not. Don’t get me wrong, they are good marketers and they do know their stuff. The problem is that so many beginners jump into marketing without anyone else to turn to, join the 30DC and follow it word for word like it’s the “Good Book.”

I like the Thirty Day Challenge, but I don’t like everything they do.

I’ve found year after year, that they push an idea on participants as if it’s proof positive and then the next year have to explain that something went wrong with the tactic they showed you which was completely “unforeseen.”

DUDE! How did you not think spamming the hell out of Tumblr and HubPages and Squidoo wasn’t going to get your mini-site taken down? There are wrong and right ways to do things in internet marketing and the Thirty Day Challenge rushes through it too fast to get everything right.

One thing that I find funny is how the whole crew will act like they do the 30 Day Challenge for free each year out of the kindness of their hearts. While this may be true to some extent, there are other reasons for it. If you don’t see those ulterior motives, you haven’t been in internet marketing long enough.

Once you sign up, you are on their list. You will get lots of emails from Ed pushing his products or other internet marketing “teachers” products and services in your inbox regularly. He DOES explain that the links are affiliate links, so I guess that makes it a little better. At least it’s a good marketing tactic that builds trust within his list. I’m not saying what he does is a bad thing either. They all deserve to be compensated for their work, but they should be straight forward with the challengers. Actually Ed mentioned something about this in an email he sent out a couple of days ago, so maybe he’s trying to be a little more transparent for the upcoming challenge.

If you follow through with the challenge, you’ll also notice that they like to push costly services almost as if you’ll fail miserably in marketing if you don’t buy them. Take for example Traffic Bug. A service that basically spams social networking, bookmarking and directory sites and places your sites or minisites, articles, etc. into completely irrelevant directories. I have a feeling Traffic Bug is behind a lot of the “technology” spam posts hitting Sphinn’s recently submitted section.

The other big product they push within the challenge is Market Samurai. To be fair, this really is an awesome piece of software. It does a whole lot stuff and makes research and writing content easier. The 30 Day Challenge crew leads you to believe that this thing will be the deciding factor in making you a millionaire. I’ve never heard so much praise for some keyword research and link analysis software. It does cool things and is worth the one-time price, but don’t you think you’re laying it on a little thick guys?

When the Thirty Day Challenge is over, you finally get to see why they did it all… Thirty Day Challenge Plus. You can sign up for about $30 or so per month and can cancel anytime. Now it starts to make sense doesn’t it? I’m completely fine with this. This is how this type of marketing works. They have to make money and put food on their tables too right? But, what I’m not OK with, is that they continuously deny there is another reason for having a free month of affiliate marketing training, other than that they are just some nice guys.

What really set me in motion to write this post was a video they put together at the very end of last years challenge, telling people that they now have the knowledge to be SEO consultants.

I don’t like to see novice marketers taught how to spam or “half-ass” their way into a career. I didn’t like how they put out a video telling all of those people that they now have enough knowledge to go out into the world and become SEO consultants after 31 days of training. This is why people think SEO’s and Internet marketers are snake oils salesmen. I’ve been doing internet marketing professionally, not just in my free time, for about 5 years and I still don’t call myself a “guru.”

If you’re Ed Dale, “Guru” Bob, Caro, Dan Raine or any of the other members of Thirty Day Challenge, I hope you don’t take offense to this post although I completely understand if you do. I don’t mean to be so hard on you all. I’ll even continue to recommend the challenge to other people, but it’ll come with my own personal warnings.

See you tomorrow when the next 30DC, I mean “The Challenge”, kicks off!!!

The 30 Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Part Two

The Bad

This is the second part of my series on The Thirty Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

While the 30 Day Challenge can teach you a lot as a beginner, there are a few things that can be very annoying about the program. One of the first things that I noticed when I first joined the challenge was that everyone is so cheesy – Ed’s team and all of the challengers.

It’s understandable why Ed’s team is so happy and pleasurable, because they have an image to keep up, but the 30DC participants are the cheesiest group of happy-go-lucky people you will ever enncounter. I haven’t heard so much life-affirming crap in my entire life. I guess this is what they need to continue on, but it’s really terrible to read it all day on the forums.

Maybe I’ve become hardened by working on the internet for so long, but I think it’s so annoying.

Another annoyance is that the 30DC followers are complete lambs. They do absolutely anything and everything Ed tells them to do. And don’t disagree with him or his team. If you disagree with anything the 30DC has told you, the fanboys/girls will tear you to pieces. They don’t want to hear your side and won’t give you the chance. Don’t even try, because you’ll never amount to Ed Dale in their minds.

I guess I really have it in for the participants because here’s another gripe against them. They are the biggest thread jackers ever. Nobody knows how to use the search function on the forums, no matter how many times they are told and people are constantly jacking threads and blog posts with their own completely unrelated questions. It’s really hard to find an answer to a question when there is a thread with 60 posts on it and only 4 helpful answers spread throughout it.

My final gripe is that the moderators and senior members on the forums are practically useless. If you ask a question, they basically tell you to use the search function. For lots of questions from the beginners, this is appropriate advice, but this seems to be the natural answer for just about any question anymore.

I know how to use the search function and quite often I’ve found that I just can’t find the answer. Sure, there are threads asking your same question, but they were never answered either. The moderators really do need to put some of these questions together and make them sticky. I’ve followed the forums for a long time, I even set up an RSS feed to catch all posts and I’ve noticed that people always ask the same thing. Setting up stickies for these questions would free up a lot of time for the moderators to answer some of the more advanced questions.

All in all, I don’t think this post was too mean. A few gripes here and there is all.

BUT!!!

Wait for tomorrows post. Out comes The UGLY side of the 30 Day Challenge. This one is sure to ruffle some feathers.

The 30 Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly – Part One

The Good

This is the first part of my series on The Thirty Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

I put this post together in anticipation of the 30 Day Challenge, now renamed as The Challenge, which starts on Thursday, or July 1st, 2010.

I’ve enjoyed participating in the 30 Day Challenge for the last three years. I’ve been doing internet marketing professionally for a little over 5 years, so I had quite a bit of experience before taking part in the challenge, but I have Ed and his team to thank for getting me started in the world of affiliate marketing. I’ve completed the challenge all the way through each year and I’ve watched every single video so I feel that I have a good enough grasp on the program to provide you with a sort of “review” of the challenge.

Firstly, Ed is seems to be a really nice guy. The whole team is very friendly actually. They are a likable bunch, which makes the challenge very comfortable to newbies. I’ve never met any of them in person, but I’m sure they are all great to hang around with.

The entire team is usually extremely helpful too, which is so important during the 30 Day Challenge because newbies need a TON of handholding. They obviously can’t answer all of your questions, but they try their best to get to most of the questions 30DC’ers have. It takes a lot of work to manage the forums, especially because a lot of these people can barely operate a computer. Hundreds of thousands of people take part in the 30DC, so can you imagine how many questions they get each day? Not to mention the repeat questions from all of the people who don’t know how to use the search function. The forums are a great resource for you though, since thousands of questions have been asked. Most of the time your question will already have an answer there.

Here’s what the 30DC is all about.

They teach affiliate marketing to newbie internet marketers and I mean a lot. The whole course is very basic, but to someone who has never done internet marketing before, this course is massive and very advanced. As mentioned earlier, many new 30DC’ers seem to barely understand how to use a computer, so can you imagine having to teach them how to set up a website, do keyword research, optimize it, sign up to affiliate program and set up a Pay-Per-Click campaign? Now way! It’s great that Ed Dale has a program to help people like this learn to make money for themselves.

The 30DC crew are very smart. Most of them have been in the internet marketing business for a long time so they have a good understanding of how it all works. Ed keeps up with the latest related internet marketing news, services & gadgets and always lets his followers know what’s going on.

He usually promotes some interesting products and classes from other well-known marketers in the industry also. Not all of them are great, but beginners can learn more and more if they have the money to purchase some of these more advanced offerings. I would recommend instead spending more time on the internet researching and reading than spending money on more classes though.

You can learn almost everything you need to know for free online by following top SEO and marketing blogs such as SEOMoz and Search Engine News as well as keeping up with the hot topics section over at Sphinn. That’s a usually a good start.

One of my favorite things about Ed is that he’s always looking out for latest internet marketing and geek tools. He introduced many people to the Flock browser (which now sucks, but was awesome then), the LiveScribe pen, cool cameras and microphones, firefox plugins and more. Even if all these things aren’t necessary, they’re definitely a lot of fun to play around with.

If you’re a beginner in any form of internet marketing I would highly suggest you take part in the 30DC Challenge. It’s actually shortened to just “The Challenge” this year, but it starts on July 1st, so you better sign up soon.

As mentioned above, this is the first part of the series of The 30 Day Challenge: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Come back tomorrow for The Bad. I have a feeling it’s going to upset quite a few people!