June 18

Ryan Deiss, Bullshitter Par Excellence

Marketing

52  comments

I don’t like writing these blog posts, but someone has to.

I got another email from Ryan Deiss, who we all know is the Fresh Prince of marketing bullshit.

Just check this out. (It’s not the whole email. I’ll spare you that.)

Email Subject: “Do NOT publish another blog post…”

ryan-email-lies

Okay, there are a few important things to clarify here.

  • First, there are patterns in marketing that have been proven to work. They have worked time and time again.
  • Second, they don’t always work. Sometimes, proven patterns fail.
  • Third, smart marketers know that, surprisingly often, doing the exact opposite of the current “best practice” can be incredibly successful.
  • Fourth, I’m sure Ryan Deiss knows all this. I’m sure he’s a smart guy. Yet, he’s a shrewd marketer. He’s taking a truth (i.e. these patterns have been proven to work) and deliberately applying a logical fallacy (i.e. therefore they always work).
  • Fifth, that means he’s lying. It means he knows he’s lying, and he knows that lying like this is going to earn him short-term profits.

That makes him a scammer, in my book at least.

Deiss, you’re a lying scammer!

(Glad we’ve cleared that up.)

Now, by all means subscribe to these guys’ email lists, because there is a lot to learn, and I have seen some really excellent articles on Ryan’s website.

I’m not saying for a minute he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. But be careful to treat any claims of “universal effectiveness” with a heavy dose of skepticism.

(See also this example, which I think is dishonest and misleading.)

So What’s the Reality?

Unfortunately, the world of marketing is fuzzier and dirtier and less predictable than purveyors of these cure-alls are prepared to admit. Hey, fuzzy doesn’t sell!

I can say, with confidence, that there is no pattern or model or template that works every time. (Anyone who says there is is a lying scumbag.)

The right message, delivery, tone, and length… all these things depend on who you’re talking to, what you want your brand to mean to them, and what you’re trying to sell.

And there’s no formula for that. I’m in the middle of writing a book about how to create killer content, and the rabbit hole is a lot deeper than Ryan Deiss would have you believe!

You know we all have very finely-tuned bullshit meters these days (and it’s a good job, because there’s a lot of bullshit around). That means we’re getting very good at spotting when someone’s trying to sell to us and immediately switching off.

As I’ve suggested, very often, the best way to get your message noticed is to ignore what everyone else is doing, and do something quite different. Even if received wisdom tells you that X works, don’t do it. Why? Because if everyone’s doing it, your market is likely already to be switching off.

Truly successful content is not formulaic. I haven’t cracked the whole code yet, but I can tell you, at the very least, that it requires two things:

  • sensitivity to what’s happening around you (and within you) right now
  • and the self-belief and guts just to create, right now!

You know what else? The key to your most powerful content is within you, right here, right now. No one else can figure it out for you. And no marketing wiseguy can sell you the answer. Just remember that.

Please watch this space. Let’s keep this conversation going.

About the author 

Ben Hunt

My job is to look at the world and wonder... "How can we make things better?"

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  1. Amen Brother!

    Templates = herd mentality. The more I learn about good marketing, the more I understand that it is not about the medium, but it’s about the authentic message communicated through the medium.

    You are either REAL and CARE and communicate that to your audience or you’re just another schmuck (using a template Lol.)

    -Dene

  2. There’s marketing, and then there’s sales. If you are going to right a book about sales patterns (marketing), it might be good to know something about sales tactics. Like, Garn’s book The Magic Power of Emotional Appeal. I look forward to your next book.

  3. Thanks for calling these guys out Ben, especially Kern awhile back. You could create a list of your favorite internet marketers vs your least favorite internet marketers and explain the difference between the two groups. Would be a unique post I think. Thanks again, Phil

    P.S. I’ve been checking out your open source marketing concept and I love it, man. I’ll be staying tuned to that project for sure.

  4. Excellent post Ben. Kern does this alot too. Their strategy seems simple, yet genius. They position themselves to their list as a source of inside knowledge. Then they tell you how a particular “weird trick” recently has been working like gangbusters, then sell you something… all the while you think you are on the inside with them and not their “mark” lol. Then you realize it’s YOU who these weird tricks are working on to sell you the bag of tricks. Like I said simple, yet genius.

    Looking forward to your next book.

    Ronnie

  5. I received the same emails from Ryan Deiss – quite a few of them over the past few days. I get lots from various gurus/scammers and am always quite skeptical.
    There’s a lot to be said for not doing what everyone else in your market is doing.
    Great post – thanks Ben.

  6. I think many of the old names like Deiss that were once able to capitalize on the new environment of internet marketing are struggling incredibly these days. I pretty much left facebook due to that being the new channel for the get rich quick strategies. My feed is filled with more “act now” offers than real content. Seems like the old school network marketers are more desperate today than ever with claims and offers. There are two breeds of marketeers – these guys are in a different class. Not to say they are not successful at selling their audience but yeah I would agree these tactics do not work for real products and tangible goods.

    1. Yes, I’ve also noticed the proliferation of “get rich quick” ads on Facebook. There has to be a point where enough people have re-taught and recycled these methods that they become ubiquitous and lose their edge. For those of us in the marketing community, we’re more aware and sensitive to them, so we probably think that point has already come. I suspect we’re not there yet, but it’s clear that more and more people are getting pissed off with the scammy methods.

    2. His form of marketing is just that – a get rich quick using my terrible, recycled, automated BullSh*t Machine.

    1. I’m loving these vicious responses, please keep them coming. It shows that something has touched a nerve.

      To turn to your insightful and intelligent critique of my work, what makes you think I need lessons from a racist who only seems to measure worth in dollars?

  7. Ryan Deiss is truly an Internet SCAMMER. You hit it right in the Gut. I was introduced to Deiss through another scam called: “The Number One Book Club.” He took a bunch of people’s money and then he is off and running on yet another scam. He is/was associated with another scammer named Belcher. Belcher was tried and sentenced by law for Internet fraud in crooked marketing techniques and was instructed by law to stay away from the Internet marketing for a period of time. He thumbed his nose at this and was in business the very next day. How? He found Ryan Deiss, a wanna be marketer, and used Ryan as a front man to get right back into scamming people on the Net. This is where Deiss got his training; from a convicted Internet Scammer. This is all a matter of record. I have the legal proof of the same.
    This is an overview – there is a lot more to the story.

  8. This is a completely bogus post. I really hope Ryan sues you. I wish my name was Deiss because I really want to come after you for defamation of character and worse of business. I want to take everything you have quite literally using the law – but – I will also “bet” you don’t have anything to take!

    The above is academia is what is called a “straw man” argument. What Ben Hunt is doing – is not exercising “Critical thinking” – but rather a “parody” of critical thinking. What is the difference? Ben would not get past first year of any respectable U.S. nor U.K university – and be perplexed why his ‘critical thinking’ was not rated. Ben is practicing the worst of logic (i.e. logical error) known as “ad hominem” argument in order to get “attraction to this blog”.

    In fact because I am attorney I will find a way to hunt the HUNTer – not on behalf of Ryan but on behalf of myself. Ben is not practicing “First amendment” because defamation is an exception to first amendment.

    Just so everyone realized: Deiss not only attracts the largest internet marketing event “off line” BUT the people he attracts are the best of the best themselves that travel around the world.

    And just so everyone realizes: the above is the Deiss “advert” and that is the purpose of an advert to “Attract attention” – but – at the time of purchase you also sign a disclaimer (see terms and conditions) where Ryan and ALL others (by law) tell you quite frankly- because WE LAWYERS draft it – that you may in fact and indeed “Fail” by using those templates OR ANY/EVERY method out there – including Harvard Business School methods or “Trump” methods (indeed Trump is being sued for Trump university right now – a case he will win – because WE attorneys have the disclaimer clauses that YOU must sign to proceed).

    1. Completely disagree with you Charles. You’re not a marketer. You don’t understand. What this guy does is going to eventually ruin our entire industry. Ryan Deiss Is a Total Bullsh*t Artist.

  9. Hey all. I arrived at this page by searching “ryan deiss”. I was surprised to see this post on the page 1 rankings for that keyword and recognize the tactic Ben Hunt is using. Creating controversy, being outspoken and attacking industry giants is a good way to pick up some search traffic. Anyway, I recently came upon Ryan Deiss’ marketing material and feel Ben’s doing a great disservice here by bashing it. Do a search for “blog post ideas” and read the #1 serp. If you find that post worthless and the mark of a scammer, then please keep your blinders on in Ben’s camp. Otherwise, spend more time on Digital Marketer’s blog and learn how to take your business-hobby to the next level as I have.

    1. Hi Derek. I’ve been accused of trying to piggyback on other people’s names before, and it’s just not true. Yes, some of my posts are outspoken, but I believe they’re truthful. I’m doing a service here by helping people understand the marketing techniques that they’re exposed to. What they do with that information is up to them. They may choose to use the same techniques themselves.

      I have been a Digital Marketer subscriber in the past, and have gotten some value from the material.

  10. I am so glad I found this article. I am in marketing and I saw an ad online by this guy’s company for something like : We will do Facebook marketing for you for $7 and show you how to “Unleash a Genius Strategy” blah blah something like that. So I was like, this guy can’t be serious, let me take a look into this and subscribed to his email newsletter. Wow. Just like what you posted, unbelievable, if anybody falls for this Sh*t, I don’t want to meet them.

    “Marketers” like this are the reason that people disrespect marketing and roll their eyes at it. This isn’t marketing, this is a guy with a megaphone screaming at as many people as he can, overpromising and I’m sure, underdelivering. This assh*le had the nerve to say “I like to underpromise and overdeliver” in one of his extremely terrible automated bullsh*t emails.

    Ryan Deiss – I hope you read this. You’re just horrible and you are detrimental to our industry. Please, for the Love Of God – Stop.

  11. If doing the opposite is best then it makes sense to buy or use trials to get Deiss’ templates as inexpensively as possible so we know what opposite is. The reality is it’s almost impossible to be successful in marketing if a person doesn’t have enough creativity to see what has worked then innovate on it.

  12. I don’t really understand your argument. Ryan and his team share a lot of materials based on what works for their company, not just in DigitalMarketer but across a number of verticals. The company brings in tens of millions a year, so obviously their marketing works.

    They then market those materials for other businesses to use and adapt as required. For example, I’ve bought from them before, and got a lot of benefit from doing so.

    They invest a huge amount in testing and tracking what works and what doesn’t. For most businesses worth their salt, it makes sense to take advantage of the information they provide as a result.

    Which part of this is a scam exactly?

    1. I don’t think I’ve used the word “scam”, Steve, but if you read my posts carefully you’ll see that I am very suspicious about anyone who takes isolated results and sells them as cure-alls. That’s what I believe is going on here.

  13. Fresh Prince of Marketing Bullshit… LOL 😀 OK, that’s epic.

    Honestly, I just bought Diess’ stuff… not because I need it, but because I wanted to see what the hell everyone is so ga ga about with this guy…

    As far as I can tell, he’s never really marketed anything but himself…

    Correct me if I’m wrong… I mean that seriously. Has he ever handled a real brand or anything? I don’t think so…

    He kinda strikes me as the marketing equivalent of Don Lapre…

    1. Bryan, yes Ryan does claim to have started and successfully grown multiple big-number online businesses. I can’t tell you what they are off-hand, but I think one is to do with survivalism/prepping.

  14. You have done a bang up job here mate, I’m jealous of the google rankings you have from using names like STANK BERNS and ANDREW DICE <<<<<<<========== see what I did there? Absolutely brilliant. I know, I know, thats just a by product and you were not intending for that to happen. You were just venting and expected NO one to actually see it.

    Man, I can tell you without a doubt that the marketing techniques that these cats teach work. Because I was an newbie when I started and at least now I understand the basics and won't go to Facebook and plaster offers without giving value.

    I just learned about education based marketing through watching ANDREW, STANK and SCARY V and a few others over the last few months. Some people would like to scratch out a living, some of us have bills to pay. We can't afford to give shit away all the time. Does one size fit all? Hell no! I agree with you 100 percent! Thats bullshit! So saying that all of the GURUS are spitting out the same regurgitated mess is B.S.! I listened to Army Potterfield (<<==== Ive done it again and given you relevance!) and she is so shrill and irritating! BUT, she is organized as hell, STANK is a BEAST .. I have ALL OF HIS PRODUCTS.. but he is messy and all over the place, My point? I'm going to read your books and I bet you teach me something I didn't quite get from somewhere else…

    That was a slick way of saying different strokes for different folks. Im going to sell some shit that Im sure others can get or have heard but maybe my style may resonate with them better than lets SAY ARMY POTTERFIELD. or ANDREW DICE or STANK BERNS <<==== well that doesn't help does it , But you know all this shit. Like I said … Great Marketing and Google manipulation. would you tell me how you monetize it? because thats what I really want to know. All the other shit I said was just fluff.

  15. Ben Hunt, I have yet to read Ryan’s strategy. I do affiliate marketing and fell for a program called “Google Sniper” which uses a method violating the TOS/AUP for the major search engines. Any suggestions that would be better than Ryan’so method for affiliate marketing you might recommend?

  16. I couldn’t help but notice that you led your article by calling someone the “Fresh Prince of Bullshit Marketing” and then in the very first section of text, refer to the same person as a “shrewd marketer.”

    You should reword something in there, especially if you’re trying to create a logical argument.

    1. Chris, I don’t think that being shrewd or clever has any relation to telling the truth or bullshitting your prospects. You can be honest and dumb. I believe that Ryan is clever and knows exactly what he’s doing, and I’m using the word “shrewd” to illustrate his skill at knowing how to get away with sailing so close to the wind when it comes to integrity in marketing.

  17. Hey, Ben.

    You are bringing light to an industry that is so clouded that truth is all but invisible. I’ve been saying for years that 80% of information being presented on the Internet is BS. So, I wholly agree with you. Our first line of defense is to be smart, patient, and do our research, and if our Bullshit Meters are working, red flags will rise when well-crafted funnels like Ryan Deiss’ are filtered through. There are many things to learn, and Ryan promotes some worthy concepts. But, I draw the line on deception as a methodology for selling his/anyone’s “fool proof plan/formula/system.” Just having a disclaimer is not enough. The fact that most people never read the fine print is probably factored into his metrics.

    Thanks for mentioning Kern in this post. He’s another one I cannot digest. The simple/old/overused/abused catch phrases – simple, fool proof, guaranteed, formula, 3/5/7/ step system, etc. – are immediate turn offs, especially when they lead to million dollar “secrets” that can be yours… but ONLY if you ACT NOW! for 7 Bucks! Hogwash. Frank is contributing to a ruining of my YouTube viewing experience.

    I’d like to talk to you personally. I’ll be seeking a way, starting with your contact page.

    Thanks, Ben. A new subscriber.
    Roland

  18. Maybe you are one of the templates? I give you my name and I go to the landing page or you sell my info to contrarian groups? Is ben hunt actually Ryan Deiss in HEX or some sort of code? Once again I visualize standing between two mirrors and the reflection never stops. Wish there was a way to find out what works and if what one says is true. What is true and not a lie a la Moody Blues. Never been more of a perplexing problem, increased by current times, eh? Still, Thinking of giving Ryan a chance as I will now be going in knowing some times things work like planned and sometimes they don’t…thank you very much… oh well….

  19. There is too much to learn and nobody knows it all. The internet is evolving at breakneck speed. Do not expect anyone to do it for you but they will share or sell their knowledge and you will have to do the work yourself. If you can afford it pay for it but don,t expect a miracle. The miracle comes after you sift all you learn and find what works for you and you may have to learn from more than one source. This post for me is like a buyer beware.

  20. So I appreciate that you have to takes things with a grain of salt AND have any of you who are calling him a scam artist actually used one of his execution plans or taken any of their courses?

    Using what this guy says to do has made me and my clients a lot of money. I have had my staff take his courses and they have produced high quality products and great services that meet my clients’ needs. And if you ever have met him or his staff, they are genuinely great people who stress to not scam people, to produce quality, have high integrity and deliver above all else, VALUE to your clients.

    Don’t diss someone if you have never even tried the product….I have taught people with zero experience how to be great sales and marketers and provide immense value to my clients and keep them happy through these resources.

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I have tried some of Ryan’s products, which contain both excellent material and some very dubious material.

      If you say his stuff has made you a lot of money, I don’t doubt it. But I don’t count “making a lot of money” as the ultimate validation. The fact that something is profitable does not make it ethical.

      I am confident that the marketing email is deceitful, for the reasons I have explained.

  21. Ultimately it’s up to each one of us to think critically and decide what seems workable and what doesn’t. Everyone on the planet knows that there is a language of advertising that involves hyperbole (“…the only templates you’ll ever need…”) and you should be able to identify it when you see it, and judge accordingly. Ultimately, no matter what you’re buying, in what industry, it will never work for everyone. If it worked for the marketer, that’s fine, great even – and it’s fine for the marketer to say so. I don’t think Ryan Deiss is a scammer as you say, but he might be guilty of misleading advertising in the form of hyperbole. That’s doesn’t detract from the value of his product – because most people can see through the hyperbole and make their own judgment, based on common sense. Most sane people are able to translate it to: “If I use this, there’s a strong chance, but no absolute certainty, that it might work for me…”

  22. I’m at Ryan’s event right now T&C. One of the best and most valuable marketing events I’ve ever been to. No scams or shadiness about it. Him and his team are very genuine and are emphasizing that we really take care of the customer. Your claims aren’t matching up at all with what I’m experiencing.

  23. I’m not using my real name here because many years ago I was doing affiliate promos for some big-name internet marketers who I now know are scammers. (Not Deiss though – he’s pretty bottom of the barrel so I never met the guy or even exchanged an email – nor do I have any desire to.)

    After over a decade I’ve decided to be done with “information marketing.” Granted I sell legitimate products in a legitimate niche – hence why I’m not rolling in cash like Deiss or Kern, since I don’t rip people off – but still, all the while I’ve had my business, even though my content helps people, there has always been this nagging feeling that I need to be DOING something and not just selling information. So with that in mind I’m working on a new business with actual services and actual face-to-face customers, not just numbers in a shopping cart backend.

    After years of studying Dan Kennedy and others who actually know what they’re doing in information marketing I’ve just decided that it’s B.S. and a weak excuse of a business. I felt a lot more fulfilled in the past when I worked directly with real people and look forward to that once again.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Man. I get where you’re coming from, and it parallels my journey pretty closely. I’ve become disenchanted with merely selling as a career. I’ve decided I only want to use my marketing knowledge now to promote things that really need to be promoted, and am also interested in building products that make a real difference, not just a real profit.

  24. Dude, you got 11 shares criticising a guy who fills entire summits with people from all over the world and is worth millions on his marketing expertise.

    Laughable.

    1. Thank you for your comment, unnamed person. I’ve never said Ryan doesn’t have marketing expertise, just that (at least a few years ago) he didn’t seem to have much academic discipline when it came to what kind of information he sold to his followers, and over-inflated some claims.

  25. Capital markets are a solid arbitrator of what’s real, and what’s not. Those who don’t really have the right stuff, typically go the way of other extinct species. Darwinian. Survival of the fittest.

    In the case of Digital Marketer – you only need to look at the growth of their Summit. That’s not sustainable without an ethical business model.

    Sure, you can spin anything you disagree with (your whole angle here appears to be SEO / Click-bait – I doubt you actually care much at all about Ryan’s business model.) That’s why you’re hoping to draw more counterpoints. (For those who respect DM and what they do/teach – let’s stop responding – no sense rewarding Ben for his shenanigans)

    Folks who can only look good by blowing out other people’s candles – are just trolls. Fine. You own this bridge in the woods.

    I personally know fortune 500 companies who use DM products with great success, and mom and pop businesses that do the same.

    I’m fairly confident that the total annual revenue produced by all the detractors on this post is less than 1 month of revenue for DM. But alas, there’s nothing more unifying than a common enemy. Nice that you all have at least that in common. (BTW – Most newbie marketers have NO idea where to start – and, for those who are new, STARTING with a blueprint/template and taking some action – even if it is following a template) is better than vapor locking and doing nothing.)

    1. All good to hear, thanks. I’ll happily acknowledge that this post is quite old, and, while I believe my criticisms of previously-used tactics are valid, that may not be a reflection of DM’s current methods.

  26. Very well written, but I have to disagree on some points (subjectively, of course).

    Ryan and DM offer a lot of insight into what’s working for the current state of the marketplace. I can proudly say this as I’ve taken my one-man-shop $50K/yr digital marketing shop to 3 hires and $500k in 2 years taking into consideration what DM teaches. This has earned a better life for my family. A better life for my kids. Freedom for my family. You mentioned that you “….there is a lot to learn, and I have seen some really excellent articles on Ryan’s website,” so I doubt you will contest this.

    Is my “success” solely owed to DM and/or Ryan? Absolutely not. Is my marketing stronger as a result of having plans in place from what I learned from DM? You betcha.

    Look, some people want guidance. I needed guidance. Am I upset that I clicked an ad and downloaded a DM template 3 years ago after paying $7? No.

    I agree with you 100%, there’s no magic pill. DM gave me a place to start and learn. I encourage everyone to do their own homework before buying or subscribing to anything/anyone. I’m not here to preach about Ryan/DM’s methods. I’m merely suggesting that the way that they attract those customers is fair-play.

  27. I hired a DM partner and thye ripped me off and DM tell me they are a partner but this person keeps saying they are. Have complained to DM and they say its my problem not theirs.

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