Tuesday, October 5, 2010

send for the secret

Today a co-worker told me his great idea for getting rich.

"I'm going to run an ad telling people I have the secret to how you can make a lot of money while you sleep all you want and don't have to work and can just do whatever you want. All they have to do is send me five bucks for the secret."

Of course I asked him how so..

"When they send me the money I'll send them back something telling them to place an ad telling people they have the secret to making a lot of money that allows them to sleep as long as they want and do whatever they want - just do the same thing I did."

We laughed about that and I asked him, "You ever hear of Joe Karbo?"

He shook his head.

"He had exactly the same idea you did. A long time ago he used to put full page ads in the newspaper telling people he was a millionaire and that they could buy his book in which he shared his secret of getting rich. And the book told them to do the exact same thing he was doing - run an ad telling them how to get rich."

I told my co-worker if he was going to try and do that, he'd have to charge a lot more than five dollars. "You have to charge them a lot of money to make them think it's valuable."


Do you remember Joe Karbo? I remember reading his ad and being extremely curious about how he became a millionaire. I never sent for his book, but it was tempting. It wasn't until later that I found out the "secret."

He did it the right way - he took out a full page ad, and whether he or someone else wrote the ad copy, they sure did a great job.

I've seen variations on his method but none have even approached the classy way of the original. Mr. Karbo knew you couldn't skimp on anything, that you had to create the full effect in order to really sell something.

I was thinking these days it would be a lot harder to replicate the successful sale of a similar product, although I'm sure there are still plenty of copycats out there trying to do just that.

The reason? The internet. Can you imagine what things were like pre-internet? It wasn't that long ago, but man, it is so ingrained in me now I find it hard to recall the primitive days.

The WWW has made the world much smaller. Information is now so much more readily available, and if you wanted to find out Joe Karbo's secret, all you'd have to do would be to enter the relevant search terms in Google and voila, you'd have a bunch of results, among them links that would be sure to provide you with your answer.

Things like buying or selling stocks are so much easier now, too. Not only is there a wealth (actually overwhelming) of information about companies, but when you do decide to make a transaction, it's easily accomplished online and takes but a second to complete. Gone are the old days of having to call a broker for a quote and then waiting while he placed an order, or of having to send for information on a company by mail or make a phone call.

That's it.. I just thought today I'd write about how the internet is such an amazing thing. Why, just think.. for you to get this blog you'd have to actually subscribe and wait for the mail to come. And who'd be crazy enough to do that??

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