Recently, "Big Jason" Henderson of Big Marketing Online alerted me to a product called Optin Accelerator. At first I was excited about this product but I have a few very good reasons why you should NOT buy it.
The idea is freaking genius. You have a tell-a-friend form -- you are asked to enter the names and e-mail addresses of 1 to 5 friends to tell them about a web site. You can offer a freebie or a big discount on a product if they fill in every single field for the 5 friends.
Optin Accelerator gives your site a unique twist on the tell-a-friend idea which just so happens to be the same reason sites like MySpace and Facebook came out of nowhere and took off so fast.
Update: Aweber Hates It!
Aweber, the leading e-mail autoresponder service, has officially stated they will now TERMINATE all accounts using Opt-In Accelerator. If you use OA or any other tell-a-friend script... do you think you are safe from legal trouble? Even with a service other than Aweber?
If you use tell-a-friend scripts, you are asking for trouble. Period.
Here is proof from Aweber:
Thank you very mush for bringing this to our attention. We have taken action to contact the owners of that product.
Please understand that this was done without our consent, and will be fully addressed. We take many steps here to ensure your deliverability, including monitoring the use of customer accounts, so that even should someone use this type of program without our consent, we would remove them from the service.
Thank you again for bringing this to light. If you have any questions at all, please feel free to let me know.
Director Of Customer Solutions
Mike Filsaime became popular using this method and sold a script that allowed people to create butterfly marketing membership sites. Even if the site grows virally by less than 1 percent each day, it's getting bigger without you having to do anything or pay any money, building a subscriber list, and bringing you in more sales.
Contact Grabber Plus Tell-A-Friend
Optin Accelerator takes this to the next level. Instead of asking you to type the information in, they ask for your e-mail login information. You type in your Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo!, or AOL e-mail address and password, then the script pre-populates the fields with ALL of your contacts. You can un-check people you don't want to share with.
That means if the person signing up has 165 people in their address book (remember, when you reply to someone in Hotmail it adds them to the address book), they just told 165 people instead of 1 to 5.
Theoretically, you site could EXPLODE with growth.
But it's not that simple... and here's why...
Problem #1: You're Not a MySpace or a Facebook
As a programmer, I know how this script grabs contact information. You give them your username and password, they login to your account FOR YOU, go to your "Contacts" page and read the list of names and e-mail addresses.
It's one thing to give someone like MySpace or Facebook your Hotmail/Gmail info because you trust them. Why would anyone trust some unknown site with their login details?
Problem #2: The Script Depends on THEIR Servers
The Optin Accelerator script you purchase is just a frontend... it really dials home to THEIR servers where it does all the real work.
I can understand why they did this... sites like Hotmail and Gmail changes their login software around all the time. If they just made one change, the script would break and they would have to send out updates.
But what happens if Hotmail sees the same IP address logging into tons of email accounts and says: "Hey, stop that!" -- And blocks Optin Accelerator's servers from logging into Hotmail. Then every copy of Optin Accelerator is no longer functional.
I didn't see any mention in the affiliate materials that Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo! or AOL have given approval to this kind of script. I seriously doubt they would... especially with AOL's strict anti-spam policy.
Problem #3: It's Still Easy to Steal Your Information
If this kind of contact grabber tell-a-friend service was to kick off, it would have to be a third party service. You'd leave the person's site and go to an SSL-secured page and enter your login details there... kind of like how you leave someone's page and trust PayPal enough to enter your credit card details... and THEN you are sent back to the vendor's site.
I don't see that kind of legitimate service starting up anytime soon, because you'd have to get cooperation from those four e-mail providers.
Conclusion: Stay Far Away!
That's why I am staying FAR AWAY from Optin Accelerator. I admit that after watching the well-done demo video, I was ready to promote it as an affiliate and write a bunch of add-on bonus scripts to offer as an affiliate. But now that the excitement has worn off... I am telling you NOT to buy it.
What's even more ridiculous is the utter immaturity of the product's creator... check out this post he made on an internet marketing forum...
We actually worked with aweber and have had their approval that the software complies.
Seeing robert went to jason henderson jealous about the software, and wanted to reverse engineer it, but with everyones invited friends secretly being signedup to HIS own aweber account. . . I don't really credit his opinions. To me he sounds just a tad dodgy.
Thanks for posting though, I'm glad the software has caused people to sit up and take notice
Um how about no. I have never had plans to reverse engineer the software, ever.
Why would I publicly say the idea is crap on my blog... and then come out with my own version? That would never happen. I have been against tell-a-friend since the beginning.
Also, how would ANYONE expect to get away with copying leads to their own autoresponder and not expect to get shut down for spamming... even for a week? (I don't even have an account with Aweber, by the way.)
That kind of storytelling convinces me that Matt will go to any lengths to make himself sound better.
No matter what he says about it being safe with Aweber... I have the letter from Aweber saying they will shut you down, and he does NOT have a letter from Aweber saying it's okay. Case closed.
Many people will watch that Opt-in Accelerator video and think... "This is the one tool I need to really make it." False. You need to release products, joint venture, and build a list like the rest of us.
Stick with the fundamentals... they work.Did I leave anything out?