I recently had the opportunity to chat with Nathaniell Brenes from OneMoreCupOf-Coffee.com, and discuss some of the accusations I’ve seen towards him online lately. Full disclosure: Nathaniell and I go back a ways, which is one of the reasons I was so surprised when I saw these accusations start surfacing online.
Running a consumer protection site is rough, and I’ve personally been attacked on multiple occasions (even had someone start calling me a “child molester” online once in retaliation to one of my reviews). So I thought I’d ask Nathaniell a few questions, and get his side of the story. You can see our complete interview below:
Q: Can you give us a quick introduction to who you are and what you do?
I run a website called One More Cup of Coffee that basically does two things: One, I purchase and review products that are supposed to teach people how to make money online or grow their internet based business in some way.
A lot of these products are super low quality or flat out scams, so I try to direct readers to more appropriate products to learn what they are trying to learn, whether it be Facebook ads, traffic generation, or the basics of how to earn money online.
Two, I create training and tutorials showing newbie business owners how to do things like get traffic to their site, increase sales conversions, or find new niche markets to enter.
The overall “theme” of what my website’s about is “how to make money online through affiliate marketing”.
Q: What’s up with your name? Is it Roderick or Nathaniell and why do you spell it with two l’s.
That’s a funny story! On the internet I’m known as Nathaniell, but my first name is actually Roderick. I started using a pen name about 5 years ago just because I was unsure about this whole “online business” thing. I was a very private person, and didn’t want my real name plastered all over the internet.
After starting a YouTube channel, doing interviews, and connecting with other people in the industry, the name just kind of stuck. Anyway, there are lots of famous people that use aliases like Nicolas Cage and Dr. Seuss.
Oh, and I use two L’s just to make it more recognizable and easy to grab usernames.
Q: How long have you been running an online business and would you consider yourself successful?
I guess I’ve been involved in online business or online marketing for about 5 years now, going on 6 pretty soon. I spent a good chunk of my first year learning how to set up a WordPress website and how to get traffic from Google.
I made some money in the first year, but not a ton. By year two though I was working full time from home, and have been ever since.
I’m pretty happy with what I’ve accomplished so far, but am always striving for bigger and better!
Q: What’s the best and worst part about running a website in the world of MMO (make money online)?
The best part is pretty awesome, and one of the reasons why I really enjoy running One More Cup of Coffee.
I get to talk to newbies and struggling online marketers and help them start to see actual, tangible RESULTS that can help them earn money online. There are so many scams and misleading products online, that some budding internet entrepreneurs struggle for many years without creating a full time income…sometimes without earning any sort of income at all!
I won’t jump into too much detail about how I do that just now, but the fact is that I like breaking down complicated or convoluted topics and making them easier to digest. Those baby steps are what produce incredible results over time.
The worst part is dealing with all the confusion that has been created by scammers in the industry. Sometimes I get comments or emails from folks asking for refunds for products I do not promote or have never heard of, and I really have no idea why they would email me!
But it just shows you that product creators have created such a spiderweb of confusion that buyers often don’t know what they bought, from who, how to use it, or who to contact for help.
I do receive the occasional threat on my life, but I don’t really take those seriously.
Q: What?! Can You Elaborate?
Oh yeah, that’s the other negative part of being in the Make Money Online industry. I’ve had people say they are going to report me to the FBI or kill me in my sleep. I don’t really take those threats seriously, and I just feel bad that folks are so frustrated that they feel they have to say things like that to get responses to emails.
But again, this mood was created by scam artists in the industry. Many times you can’t get a reaction from product creators until you threaten them with bank chargebacks or report them to authorities.
After purchasing so many products to review over the years, I’ve dealt with a few sticky situations where I have recurring charges that I can’t stop or mysterious money coming out of my account that takes weeks to track down who’s taking it!
Q: You said you purchased a lot of products. Do you buy them for yourself, to learn, or just to review for your website?
I guess a bit of both. Most of what’s being sold out there is rehashed information from several years ago. Guys will basically just take the same product, give it a new name, and try to resell it as a new idea.
I can pretty much guarantee that if a product advertises itself as a “revolutionary new system” that it’s a piece of junk.
Q: Are there any general trends of products being sold right now?
Yeah, definitely. A lot of what I see being sold at places like JVZoo and Warrior Forum are based around building a list through solo ads. The main idea is that you build an email list by sending your opt in to OTHER people’s list.
You basically pay some money to someone with an established list. Send out an email blast with an offer to join your opt in, and grow your list that way. Then you have these people in your email funnel.
I guess it’s not a bad idea, but the vast majority of these products assume you’ll be promoting “make money online” offers, which isn’t suitable for everyone. It also sets folks on the path of being just another spammer, with email headlines like “THIS KID MAKES $100k IN FIVE DAYS WITH NO EXPERIENCE!!”
It’s also nothing new or secret. People have been doing this for years.
Another scam that’s been going around is traffic exchanges. This is where you pay some money to be part of a “traffic club”, and buy traffic packages. Normally there’s some kind of click requirement as well for you to enter the club, so you have to click ads from other members.
So you are paying to have other people click your ads. Sure, you get clicks, but are the people interested in what you are selling? Nope. They just want to click so that they can get clicks. Conversions are terrible because it’s such low quality traffic, and are not the “easy traffic source” they claim to be.
Any product that claims to have free and easy traffic flowing quickly is going to be a scam.
Q: OK, scams versus bad products…is there a difference?
I guess it depends on how you look at it. For me, I try not to overuse the word “scam”. What I define as a scam is something that clearly misrepresents itself in such a way that I give someone my money, and I get nothing back in value.
For example, if I pay for a product and it doesn’t open, then the support team doesn’t answer my support requests, that’s a scam. I paid for a product, I got nothing.
If I buy a product that says it’s going to show me how to get loads of free traffic in the next 24 hours and I find out that it takes longer than 24 hours, that’s a scam too.
One HUGE scam industry online right now is Binary Options. You pay $250 to “trade stocks”, but the system is set up to make you lose your money. Even if you win, there are many reports that you cannot actually withdraw your money, and the company is shut down just a few months after launching.
I’ve read comments on my blog of people losing their entire retirement savings, and some folks over $20,000 to binary options scams.
A bad product is simply misleading. They may make loft promises, and deliver much less. I wouldn’t consider it a scam because they did give me something for my money, it was just a lot lower quality than what I expected.
For example, a product may say that they will show me the easy way to make money from YouTube videos. If I spend $27 and discover that the guide is 10 pages long with just one tactic that is already well known, then I would consider that a poor quality product and give it a bad rating. (I rate products on a scale of 1 to 100).
But that’s just how I differentiate between what’s a poor quality product and what’s a scam. Other people may have even higher standards, and say that if a product does not deliver exactly what was promised, then it’s a scam. After all, the buyer would not have spent the money if they knew the truth beforehand!
Q: What’s the worst product you ever purchased?
Hm, that’s a tough one! I’ve bought some really bad ones. I don’t want to name names because I don’t want to give them free advertising, but there are two that really stick out in my mind.
One was supposedly a secret system of getting ranked and earning big money from YouTube. It turns out that she just suggested you create a black and white text slide, play some royalty free music in the background, and sell Clickbank products in the video description.
I found the YouTube channel where she was doing this and people in the comment section of here videos were pissed off! She wasn’t fooling anyone, and I doubt she was making any money off the videos.
The other one was supposedly a secret traffic source you could tap into to flood your website with high quality traffic over night.
It turns out it was just a newer social network. The entire guide was just a few pages long, and basically said, “create an account at this website then start sharing links.” Sure, this product was only $5, but what a waste of time!
This particular guru launches several products per week, so I’m sure he was just out of ideas.
Q: OK, let’s move onto good things. You seem to promote Wealthy Affiliate quite heavily on your website. Do you really think they’re that good?
Yeah, some people give me flack for that, but there are some really unique things that this website does that basically solve all my normal gripes with other internet marketing products out there.
For one, they have a comprehensive course that is newbie friendly. It’s HUGE, and way more in-depth than any PDF you’d ever buy. It’s updated constantly, and the beginning steps are perfect for newbies with no online marketing experience.
The other thing, probably the most important thing, is that you can get REAL help with your business. If you buy any other product online, you are pretty much on your own. Figure it out, or ask a question in a forum somewhere. There’s just no support.
Inside Wealthy Affiliate you can talk to other newbies that are a few steps ahead of you, as well as experts that have been members for several years. I run a full time online business and am inside just about every day answering questions. And nope, I don’t get paid to answer those questions. Where else can you get that kind of support online?
Keep in mind, you can definitely get mentors and join masterminds, but to give you some perspective, some mentors charge $300+ per hour to talk to them.
The fact is, there really aren’t a lot of products or services that can compete with those two core parts of the Wealthy Affiliate experience: Updated, extensive training and fast, friendly support.
Of course there are other awesome things like comment sharing, member-created training, the “classroom” forums, live chat, and weekly webinars.
I mean, people are free to do as they please. The reviews I make are free, and you can benefit from reading them without joining WA. However, if you are a newbie, or have been doing online marketing unsuccessfully for a few years, a Wealthy Affiliate membership is something you should seriously consider.
Q: Do you have any good general advice you can give my readers who are currently trying to grow or start an online business?
I think my #1 piece of advice is that most people have no clue how much work goes into creating consistent income online. So many people spend more time looking for loopholes that just getting on the grind and doing some work.
Even if you go in the wrong direction for a while, at the very least you’ll discover that it was the wrong direction, and then start moving closer towards profit. You’ll hear it over and over again, but taking action is vital to making progress.
Waiting for the perfect plan with a guaranteed outcomes means you’ll be waiting for a long time!
You can read more about Wealthy Affiliate, mentioned above, through my review, as well as Nathaniell’s review, and ask either of us questions through our profiles: Nathaniell’s Profile & Ian’s Profile <– both of those profile links are affiliate links, just for full disclosure.
I’ve been in internet marketing for over 10 years, and I’ve purchased dozens of illegitimate products for the sole purpose of evaluating them and exposing the truth about these products to anyone who’s thinking about purchasing it. I never let money influence my rating of a product and your success/safety is my absolute highest priority.
Don’t want to buy a product? Register for one of my 100% free internet marketing training courses>>