Month: January 2008

The Power Of Social Proof – Airline Crashes and Britney Spears’ Pregnant Sister

What have Jamie Lynn Spears and this blog about internet business have in common?

The message here today is about the power of social proof. We all look at what other people are doing to help us make decisions about what we should be doing – that’s called social proof.

(Social proof is why many people still use AdSense on their sites even though it isn’t profitable any more, but don’t get me started on that one.)

I’ve just read a blog post pointed out to me by my wife, about a concerned mother whose children watch Zoey 101 starring Ms. Spears. The character Zoey is supposed to be about age 13 or 14, while the actress who plays her (Jamie Lynn Spears) is 16.

Here’s the thing. It’s almost certainly likely that while the children watching it will know the factual difference between the real person and a character being played by that person, they will behave as if that character is a real person.

(I’ve only got to look at my own children talking about what Ben 10 will do next to know I’m right on that count.)

So the concerned mother opens in her blog post:-

“Today, when my kids arrive home from school, I predict the first thing they will want to talk about is the fact that Zoey 101 is going to have a baby.

And then the questions will start. ‘Mom, isn’t she in like 9th grade?’ ‘Mom, Jamie Lynn Spears isn’t married.’ ‘Mom, how can a kid have a baby?'”

I can imagine the problems she’s had sorting that one out.

She knows that we all look to our peers to see the correct way to behave. We learn this as babies, for example, staring into our parents faces to see when it’s appropriate to laugh.

And she’s worried that her children will think it’s okay to be pregnant while still at school.

(For a while here in the UK, if a girl became pregnant while still at school, she was immediately taken out of school so as not to set an example for the other girls. I don’t know if that still goes on.)

If you’re wondering about Jamie Lynn Spears behaviour here, just look at who her role model is – her older sister who has been fussed over and chased by the media over her own pregnancies. It may seem to Jamie Lynn that it’s good to be pregnant because you then become important and “special” like her older sister.

I don’t know…

If you doubt the power of social proof, in Robert Cialdini’s book “Influence – The Psychology Of Persuasion”, he relates a story about a previously unexplained rise in plane crashes in the US every so often. This was a charted “blip”.

After a lot of investigation, it turned out that the plane crashes coincided with heavily publicised suicides. If the suicide was in a national newspaper, then both plane crashes and car crashes would increase, as well as suicides in general across the country.

If it was in a state newspaper, then plane and car crashes would increase in that state.

It seems that the only reasonable answer was that pilots and the drivers of cars were deliberately crashing in an attempt to both take their lives and earn insurance payouts for their families.

I know it may seem far fetched – you need to read the book for the full story.

Insurance companies have taken it all very seriously and now plot the number of claims right after a heavily publicised suicide – they know what’s coming.

So the old adage of “monkey see, monkey do” is a good one. Behaviour really does breed behaviour.

Moving away from the examples above, from a business point of view social proof is often used in the form of testimonials. If a good number of people say something is the best thing since sliced bread, then it makes sense for us to believe it.

It’s one of the short cuts we take when we go through the decision making process when we’re unsure about something.

Don’t believe me? Imagine this as a final example…

You pull off the highway part way through taking a long journey, as you’re hungry and you’re looking for something to eat. You see two diners, and both look equally good. However, one has a good number of cars parked outside and you can see people moving around inside, the other car park is empty and you don’t see any people.

Which one would you choose?

Well I think you’d say to yourself…

“What do the people in the busy diner know that I don’t? Is the empty diner awful? Does the busy one have the best food for miles around? I’m hungry and I’m not taking any chances, I’ll go with the one that’s busy. Those people must know something I don’t.”

That’s the power of social proof.

-Frank Haywood.

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

The Secret Of Getting Thousands Of Dollars Worth Of Complimentary Software And Info Products

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, then you probably know that I both give away and also sell digital delivery software – SmartDD.

What it does is both deliver digital products and also protects them from unauthorised downloads. It uses a number of clever ways to do this, and we’re not done with improvements yet. Version 2 will be out soon.

SmartDD is relatively cheap for the protection it gives product owners, and yet, as in the case below, many products are still left completely unprotected.

Up to now, whenever I’ve found the download page of unprotected product, I’ve written to the product owner to let them know about the problem. Around 10-15% of them write back to thank me, and I always offer a free copy of SmartDD in those cases if they’ll promote for me.

Some do, some don’t. That’s okay.

Except… I’ve got bored of doing it…

So I’m going to let you know the simplest way of getting hold of thousands of dollars worth of products for free. Actually, if you’ve watched the video on the home page, or read the text underneath it, you already know how to do it.

But here’s a reminder anyway.

Just go to and type in the product name you’re interested in getting a free copy of, the shorter or more unusual the name, the better, e.g. smartdd.

If the product is unprotected and is either popular or has been around a while, SOMEONE at SOME TIME will have bookmarked the download page. Hilarious isn’t it?

Here’s an example, but I’ve left out the products and download details as it would be a case of “shame on me”.

Last night, I was looking at some software I was interested in, having bought info products from this particular person already. The info products weren’t that good, and I suspected the software wouldn’t be so good either, but it looked intriguing, and I was going to buy on pure curiousity factors alone.

Instead I went to and did a quick search on the very unusual product name.

There was the download page exposed for all the world to see, bookmarked along with a dozen other download pages by someone who I believe is a very well known marketer, which makes it pretty ironic. His name wasn’t there, but his userid was quite recognisable.

So I took a look at the download page, watched the videos of the product in action and decided it wasn’t worth the hundred dollars the guy was asking for it. Having seen it being used, I know I wouldn’t have used it myself. That’s probably the reason there wasn’t much info on the sales page.

As I was in a curious mood, I decided to search for the other products sold by this person. There they all were, the download pages bookmarked under various people’s userids on, and these all amount to thousands of dollars worth of software and info products that I know the guy is selling daily.

It’s a miracle that anyone actually buys anything from him at all considering it can be downloaded for free.

So why am I telling you this?

Remember I said I used to write to people to let them know they had open download pages? And that I’m now fed up of doing it?

Well, why don’t you do it instead? It’s easy, and you can make money from it too. 😉

Step 1 – Get your affiliate link from the web site. Just sign up as a free member if you’ve not already and you’ll get your aff link inside the members area.

Step 2 – Find an unprotected download page using the method.

Step 3 – Write to the product owner and let them know their page is open for all the world to see. Tell them they can protect their product using SmartDD, and give them your affiliate link.

If they buy, you get the commission.

In step 3, you may think it’s worth being a little cheeky and saying “thank you for the free product” before letting them know about SmartDD, but I wouldn’t do that if I were you. 😉

If you’re interested in other methods of getting hold of unprotected or poorly protected products, there’s a very nice little ebook about it here:-

Don’t you think it’s lunacy that some people will go to all the trouble of creating an info product, but then can’t spend the extra little bit of time protecting their investment?

Get out there and spread the word!

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

More Of The Same in 2008? Or Your Freedom?

As we take the first few steps into 2008, have you wondered what the year has in store for you?

More of the same as 2007 do you think?

And is that good or bad?

Good if you’re already successful and you’re growing your online business, or bad if you’re stuck in a job you hate?

A true story…

Once upon a time I used to drag myself out of bed every morning, go through my wake up routine and drive into work to do a job I didn’t like any more. I was totally miserable.

(My wife knew something was wrong and was worried it was us and that I was going to walk out on her. Never! I love her far too much.)

My doctor would tell you I was very ill if she were allowed to by law.

My job had turned bad, I felt like I was wasting my life, and because the pay was good I felt trapped. How could I give it all up?

Looking back now, I just laugh at the situation. Give what up exactly?

Give up my dignity as I was told what to do by another in a stream of d*** heads that knew less than I did?

Give up my freedom by being forced to do things I didn’t want to do, talk to people I wouldn’t give two minutes to outside of work, and just generally selling my soul in dribs and drabs?

And all in the name of job security and a promised pension years down the road…


For one, Job security doesn’t exist any more. Secondly, why would I wait another 20-odd years until I’m too old to physically enjoy myself? And then only to find I suddenly don’t know what to do with myself when I do eventually retire? And then peg it 2-3 years later as statistically I was doomed to do like so many other people?

(Including my father in law – he was such a good man and we all miss him.)

No way, no chance, I just could not take it any longer and eventually I broke and left the company.

My life changed instantly. My wife saw the change in me immediately.

I’m not saying it was all good, and if I could have my time again, I’d do things differently now that I know what I’ve learned the hard way.

For starters I’d have done it ten years earlier.

There is no way ANYONE who doesn’t want to, has to “hold down” a job any more. The world has changed, and is changing even more every day. Cottage industries have sprung up yet again as we go through another communication revolution.

Whole business models and new organisations have come into being to service the needs of people like me. And you too if you want.

From my perspective, I’m becoming one of the New Rich, and I’m not talking about money for money’s sake here either. I’m talking about the freedom I now have that I didn’t have before.

For instance, I need never miss another of my childrens assemblies, or nativities or other events at school. If my wife needs to go do something like shopping with her mom, I can do the pick ups from school. Or if she wants to disappear for a few days with her friends, that’s no problem either.

I can take my 3 year old daughter out to lunch when she finishes nursery at 11.30. I can go to the library whenever I want. I can get my haircut or go shopping or anything I like on a quiet Tuesday morning instead of the mayhem in the evenings or at weekends.

I can take a weeks holiday with the family in February (cold but usually beautiful wherever we go) without losing any of my holiday days as I have none to lose. I’m my own boss! No, boss is the wrong word, it’s better than that.

And… best of all… we’re now talking about upping sticks, selling everything we own and going on extended travel. Where? We don’t know yet. When? ASAP if I have my way, but realistically not until July.

I already know I can do everything I already do from pretty much anywhere in the world. All I need is an internet connection.

Apart from family, there’s nothing keeping us here in the UK any more. And when we look at our siblings, they’ve already gone and done it.

My brother married a Texan girl 3 years ago and moved to the States, and my sister has just moved to Goa in India with her husband.

We’re the slow starters really. 😉

Neither of us have what you’d call a job, and that’s something that people I meet casually find it difficult to understand.

Them: “What do you do?”

Me: “Um, I’m sort of self-employed.”

Them: “Doing what?”

Me: “I sell online business tools and info products for small businesses.”

Them: “Er… internet you mean? Is that profitable? Is it hard?”

Me: “Yes, yes, no.”

Them: “Hmm, I wish I had the guts to do something like that.”

Me: “Hmm…”

I’ve given up talking to people when they say that to me. What they’re really saying is that they’re no-hopers.

I know that sounds harsh, but I think that’s the only interpretation you can put on it. I’ve tried to explain to people in the past that they just need to change the way they think, but the fact is, most people prefer not to think and would rather carry on the old fashioned way no matter how detrimental it is to their humanity.

They’re the 98 percenters. Life will always be a treadmill for them. They’ll always be in a rut. It’s their choice, they have no-one to blame but themselves.

They believe what they’ve been brainwashed to believe all their lives. That the path to success is get good school results, work hard all your life doing s*** you hate, and after 40 years of that you’ll be rewarded when you retire.

Yeah right…

Do YOU really believe that? Do you believe that’s what life is all about?

Or do you want change? Do you want your freedom instead?

Well, I can’t give you that, but what I can do is help you take the first few steps on that path.

I’m accepting just a few people on a PERSONAL coaching course. Not an online digital mentoring programme – this is personal, you get me, you get my time.

I may never do it again. I certainly won’t ever do it at this price. I know it’s nowhere near the price it should be – I should be charging $5,000-$6,000 – but I have my reasons for keeping the price down.

I have three people signed up for my exclusive personal attention during January and February and my help as and when throughout the rest of the year. I have two others who have said they definitely wish to take two of the places but they’re umming and ahhing over it.

I’ve decided to reduce the number of spots to ten at the current price. If anyone wishes to join past that number, I will be raising the price by up to 50% more than it is now, and only for an additional five people.


Do you want more of the same in 2008? Or do you want to take those first steps towards freedom?

Take a look:-

– Frank Haywood.

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business