Online Universities Better Than Marketing Gurus?

Chris Trayhorn
by Chris Trayhorn
August 18, 2010

A Revenue Performance Opinion Piece: For many years one of the hottest sectors for affiliate marketers has been online education. Whether it’s the umpteen marketing gurus flogging get-rich-quick techniques or web-based universities selling accredited courses backed by government subsidized loans, selling education has proven to be highly profitable. But the industry is changing.
There are several trends at work. As the recession has bitten ever-deeper, with more and more long-term unemployed, the numbers of folks looking for an opportunity to make money online has skyrocketed. Gurus such as Shoemoney, Andy Jenkins, Mike Filsaime and the rest have made big bucks from building huge lists and pushing new information products week after week. The market’s appetite for this stuff appears to be insatiable.
The problem is that the products can be of variable quality and it’s often difficult for end purchasers and the publishers serving them, to know in advance if the courses being offered are any good, or will be supported for more than a few weeks (please note, we’re not referring here to products made by the gurus mentioned above. They were only mentioned as representatives of the top gurus around. All three have produced fine products that we have seen and liked immensely). For affiliates this can mean that they may be presenting their audience with a product that won’t provide value. This isn’t good for either party, even if a sale is achieved.
At Revenue Performance we have long suggested that accredited courses are where peope should spend their money. The idea of spending $2,000 on a guru course seems silly when compared to the opportunity to obtain a real degree that will not just provide expertise and knowledge, but will also help the student find a job and make a career out of online marketing.
And for affiliates too, accredited university courses offer greater long-term value, happier students and better sales due to the government-backed subsidies that are available. This is not to say that online universities do not face their own challenges, but for sustainable, quality business, they seem a better bet than another SEO-Bullet-Killer-Million-Dollar-Gold-Buster-Breakthrough course from some guy no-one has ever heard of.

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Chris Trayhorn

About Chris Trayhorn

Chris Trayhorn is the Founder & Editor of Revenue Performance magazine and the CEO of mThink LLC, a performance marketing services company based in San Francisco. Chris has worked on marketing campaigns with over 200 of the Forbes Global 2000. Friends say he knows a lot about a couple of things and a little bit about everything. He likes motorcycles, Manchester United and making pictures.

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One Response to “Online Universities Better Than Marketing Gurus?”

  1. FactorX Says:

    Hi Chris -

    Always interesting stuff you write.

    I need to make a point related to your argument that the tide is moving towards accredited university programs versus gurus.

    I say it’s two completely different market segments.

    Most people buying from the gurus are interested in getting OUT of a job, not finding one. Accredidation is only important to people who need to fluff up a resume.

    Although there is a lot of guru-garbage to wade through, the information available will always be more timely than what a university can offer.

    I’m sure that universities will claim their share of the pie (an expanding pie). I’m an advocate for getting a REAL education, so I think that’s a good thing.

    But as an intern, who majored in marketing, once told me . . . “Wow, I never learned any of this stuff in college.”

    Exactly. Neither did I.

    All the best to you – John R. Barker