Ever buy a plastic wine aerator on Amazon? If so, you may have done business with a couple who lost their life savings and are mad as hell—at marketers who told them Amazon-selling was a good idea, Alana Semuels writes for the Atlantic. "It's a scam," says Jordan McDowell, who lost $40,000 with her partner trying to strike it rich. "They take your money and don't deliver." In this case, "they" means Matt Behdjou and Mike Gazzola, two sales gurus who gave them three months of coaching, at a cost of $3,999, on how to find and ship a popular Chinese-made product, place it on Amazon for profit, create effective ads, get buyers to leave positive reviews, and rake in significant "passive" income. But McDowell and her boyfriend ran into "a ton of work"—not to mention extra fees and unexpected competition—and claim Behdjou and Gazzola suddenly vanished on them.
Not so, the coaches say. Behdjou insists there have been plenty of success stories, including two guys who made $100,000 a month off sunglasses sales. "If you just stick with this, you will get amazing results," said Behdjou to about 50 clients at his July "Ecommerce Mentors LIVE Mastermind" seminar in California. But many there said they were floundering, and others describe their products from China turning out to be defective, spurring bad reviews. The FTC has already sued two similar coaches, but with TechCrunch reporting that Amazon owns nearly half of all US online retail—and Americans endlessly buying things like plastic wine aerators—who can resist the online gold rush? "Amazon is going to take over the world," says a Behdjou student who sells slime and blames herself for lack of sales. Read the full story at the Atlantic. (One guy reported fake 5-star reviews to Amazon. Then, hell.)