Ken McCarthy More Dangerous Than Salty Droid?

The Salty Droid dropped a bombshell this week by publishing select portions of a private phone call between Andy Jenkins and Jeff Walker in which they say some things that are not especially flattering for their public image.

I guess it could be argued that “all PR is good PR,” but in this case I have my doubts. Here’s the recording, in case you’d like to hear it.

Andy Jenkins and Jeff Walker Riff About the
Video Boss Launch, Salty Droid and Ken McCarthy

In case you don’t have 7 minutes right now, or you’d rather not be exposed to the swearing, here are a few of the highlights:

Audio Highlight #1

  • “The fact is, [Video Boss] is not a magic bullet, even though we’re going to position some of it that way.” -Andy Jenkins

My comment: Not a good idea to intentionally overhype your product or consciously deceive your customers. Even worse to admit to it on a recorded call.

Audio Highlight #2

  • “I’m going to be relying on Syndicate to hit this thing really, really hard.” -Andy Jenkins

My comment: This call is from circa January 2010, so The Syndicate has been around at least since then.

Audio Highlight #3

  • “The Droid I’m sure will go ballistic, but he’ll go ballistic no matter what you do. […] He is like a little pimple on our butt. He has no reach, never will have any reach, will blow himself up. He’s non-existent. He’s less a threat to us than Mike Long was. Far less a threat to us than Ken McCarthy.” -Jeff Walker

My comment: Salty Droid has no reach? That was wishful thinking even in January 2010. (His current Alexa ranking is 18,303.) And is Ken McCarthy more dangerous than the Droid? Possibly. More on that in a minute.

Audio Highlight #4

  • “Just think about this, like, with the Droid. He’s saying we’re evil because we’re charging a lot of money for our product. And that’s why we’re evil. Which is like the most ridiculous thing because it’s not like we’re like holding someone at gunpoint and saying ‘give us your money.'” -Jeff Walker

My comment: I don’t think Salty Droid’s crusade is based on charging high prices (although that may be part of it). I think it has far more to do with the anticompetitive behavior of The Syndicate, which is essentially an Internet marketing cartel — a “good ol’ boys club.”

Is Ken McCarthy More of a Threat Than Salty Droid?

During the call, Andy and Jeff mention Ken as an even greater threat than Salty Droid. This has prompted a lot of people to ask, “Who is Ken McCarthy? And what is his part in all this?”

In case you’ve never heard of Ken McCarthy before, he has been teaching Internet marketing since 1994, longer than just about anybody else online. He is also the creator of the System Seminar, an annual Internet marketing training event.

Many of today’s gurus got their first chance to speak on stage at the System Seminar. As Ken points out, “Some did good things with the opportunity. Some leveraged the exposure into criminal enterprises which I’ve had nothing to do with.”

It’s not always easy to judge a person’s character when you first meet them. Sometimes you may know a person for a few years and still not really know them. So as soon as Ken realized some of the shady things going on, he warned his subscribers. Here’s what Ken says in his own words:

1. I was one of the very first people to teach Internet marketing and thousands of people learned from me…

2. Including many of the people who became members of the Syndicate.

3. When I realized what they were up to I very publicly warned my students and customers to avoid them, thus earning the Syndicate’s undying enmity.

So why is Ken considered a threat? Probably because of his credibility and his reach. If he really wanted to, he could make life miserable for the Syndicate.

Even if he could, it’s probably not necessary. After all, for nearly two years now, the Salty Droid has been wearing the mantle of “Chief Internet Marketing Muckraker.” And since his most recent post

The Gurus Are Now Distancing Themselves from… Themselves!

Regardless of whether or not Ken McCarthy is the bigger threat, Salty Droid’s most recent sleuthing seems to have caused the usual suspects quite a bit of consternation. In fact, at least two of them have now written blog posts trying to recast themselves as paragons of virtue.

  • Mike Filsaime has published a post outlining his “best practices” that will now govern who he will (and will not) promote. (I find this post a little bit suspect since it seems to me that Mike has in the past repeatedly violated his own best practices.)
  • Frank Kern has published a post challenging his subscribers to not buy any advice for a month. (According to one source, Frank then emailed his list to promote the Kajabi launch a few days later.)

Even Rich Schefren, who hasn’t promoted major launches the last couple years, felt compelled to send out an email to his list explaining why he no longer associates with the Syndicate.

But Here’s the Strangest Part…

Probably one of the weirdest parts of all this is that Mike Filsaime publicly said he would “address” Salty Droid and essentially set things straight. He stated this on his “best practices” post linked above. But then, for some strange reason, he had second thoughts and deleted all references to Salty Droid/Jason Jones.

For the record, here are two of the things Mike said publicly on his blog:

Jason Jones is a sad human being and I pitty him. And you for following him. I will deal with him soon. Jason Jones will finally hear from me. Now go run to his hate blog and warn him about me. I will expose him for the low life he his. Go now minion, go run to your powerful OZ. Jason Jones, you reading this. Get your costume on and make your post. It’s my turn. A sad human being will now be seen for what he is.

And in a separate place:

Minions of Jason Jones. I have spent the better part of the day talking to the 5% of you that are coming from his blog to try to spin this and trash me as you stated you would on his blog. We had good comments coming from people. All of a sudden a minion posted my blog on his blog and you are all coming here now to trash talk the same things you are saying there. As I said, this week I will address Jason and his hate confused followers.

Then, on the night of October 5, 2010, Mike revised his blog post and all mentions of Jason Jones mysteriously vanished into cyberspace. Even Google cache can’t find them (although they are still reproduced in the comments on Salty’s blog). Here’s what SD wrote:

The Gnome just deleted all his references to “Jason Jones” and turned off commenting. […] I’ll still be expecting that big expose Gnome :: I wouldn’t want you to disappoint all your fans :: you rockstar you.

So is Mike’s rebuttal still on its way? Who knows. At the very least, it appears it will be delayed. [UPDATE: I stand corrected. Mike has responded, just not on his own blog. He has responded on Mike Young’s blog (post now deleted, but found on a different blog): 8 Things You Should Know About Mike Filsaime]

Anyway… What do you think? Is the Salty Droid a real threat to The Syndicate? Or, as Walker puts it, is the Droid simply a “little pimple on [their] butt”? Leave a comment to add your two cents.

-Ryan M. Healy

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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