Internet Marketing Retires!

Perry Belcher has just announced he is retiring — not from Internet marketing, per se — but from the business of teaching Internet marketing.

Now, I don’t know Perry Belcher, and I don’t know Ryan Deiss either (although I did share a table with him at a Big Seminar dinner one year while I talked with Scott Boulch prior to his release of “The Death of Adsense”).

Neither do I know Perry’s true purpose for “retiring,” but let’s take a look at what Perry actually says.

On October 1, 2009, Perry Belcher writes, “Today I decided to end my career as an Internet marketing trainer.”

Okay, fair enough.

But you know, there are a few other Internet marketing “gurus” who have claimed they were either leaving Internet marketing for good, or that they were doing their last seminar ever (or whatever).

Mark Joyner and Matt Bacak come to mind.

Way back in 2003, Mark Joyner announced he was leaving Internet marketing. He put together a product bundle of all the software and info products he had ever created, sold it for a discounted-but-still-expensive price, and disappeared for a while.

But it wasn’t long before Mark was back. He created Simpleology and wrote three books: The Irresistible Offer, Simpleology, and Integration Marketing. These books have enjoyed strong sales due in no small part to the Internet marketing community.

Now let’s take a look at Matt Bacak.

Back in 2008, he announced that he was retiring from Internet marketing. He even registered a domain: MattBacakRetires.com. (Although you’ll find that the content that was once there has been deleted. If you doubt, you can type in “Matt Bacak Retires” into Google and you’ll find articles like this one that still link to the dead site.)

Matt Bacak’s “retirement” was attributed to the “fact” that some of his students had ripped off his system and begun competing with Matt directly. To “stick it” to these so-called thieves, Matt announced his retirement… and that you could get his $5,500 seminar for just $1.

Great story, but did Matt really retire? Not exactly…

I’m writing this post on Friday, October 2, 2009. And guess what Matt Bacak and Mark Joyner are doing together?

They are hosting a seminar on December 4-6, 2009. It’s called Survival Tactics for Tough Times, supposedly a repeat of a seminar Mark Joyner did in 2002. Here’s a screen shot:

Matt Bacak and Mark Joyner Host a Seminar

So two well-known Internet marketing “gurus” who publicly “retired” are now uniting to teach… Internet marketing??

There’s even a video on Facebook right now with Matt Bacak announcing this new seminar. Here’s a screen shot in case he deletes the video at some point…

Matt Bacak announces seminar on Facebook

Here’s the thing. I know we don’t have a large sampling here, but it seems IM “gurus” have a bad habit of retiring… and then coming back a year or two later. It also seems these “Internet marketing retirees” are birds of a feather who flock together — particularly at seminars in warm-weather locales.

Which raises the question: Will Perry Belcher do the same thing? Will his retirement “as an Internet marketing trainer” be a temporary thing? Is this just a gimmick so Perry can create scarcity… then come back in a year with something new?

I hope not, mostly because I’m tired of the whole “I’m retiring, now I’m back” schtick.

But let’s turn for a moment to why Perry is retiring right now. He says:

Secondly, while there are a great many people who have shown me a great deal of love, there are a few that have shown a heavy dose of hate and anger, partially because of my past. This group has unfortunately been much more vocal and harsh.

While I can take reasonable criticism, today I have concerns for my safety and the safety of family.

What is this “past” that Perry is talking about?

In a nutshell, Perry Belcher used to run a “health” company called Selmedica. He sold a number of supplements for a variety of health conditions. Unfortunately, the products were dubious (at best), and he used false advertising claims to sell them.

Long story short, he was arrested by local authorities, his assets were seized and liquidated, and he is now serving a 10-year probation.

Some people get upset when you bring this up because they claim Perry has “paid his debt to society.” Well, I guess that depends on how you define “paying your debt.”

Biblically speaking, if you steal from others — theft seems about the best description for defrauding people of money — then you must pay back double the amount you stole to make restitution and restore the victims of injustice.

If you pay back double what you stole, you have then paid your debt to society and ought to be treated like anybody else.

Going to prison, serving probation, having your assets seized and liquidated — these are man’s ways of doing justice. And while they are unpleasant for the criminal, they do nothing for the victims.

But that’s really just a side issue at this point.

Getting back to Perry’s stated reasons for throwing in the towel — among them “a heavy dose of hate and anger” — I think the real reason is Salty Droid and his acerbic brand of investigative journalism.

Salty Droid writes a blog dedicated to exposing Internet scammers, and he’s devoted a great deal of space to writing about Perry Belcher. Here’s a screen shot from October 3, 2009:

The Salty Droid

With Salty Droid on the loose, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Internet marketing itself was retiring!

Unfortunately, Internet marketing is like crack; it’s a hard habit to break. So don’t be surprised when Internet marketing comes out of retirement to host a seminar in a (warm weather) city near you.

In the mean time, Perry Belcher’s legal problems (and Salty Droid problems) bring up a timely reminder: be careful who you associate with on the Internet. It is all too easy for people to jump to conclusions (read: guilt by association).

Your thoughts? Sound off by leaving a comment below…

-Ryan M. Healy

P.S. Apparently, Howie Schwartz also announced his “retirement” from Internet marketing on August 21, 2009. We’ll see how long it lasts. My guess: He’ll be stage-speaking at IM events within 2 years.

Ryan M. Healy

Ryan Healy is a financial copywriter and the author of Speed Writing for Nonfiction Writers. Since 2002, he has worked with scores of clients, including Agora Financial, Lombardi Publishing, and Contrarian Profits. He writes a popular blog about copywriting, advertising, and business growth, has been featured in publications like Feed Front magazine, and has been published on sites like WordStream.com, SmallBizClub.com, and MarketingForSuccess.com.

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