In the quest to make money online, the concept of product launch jacking has become a popular way to turn a quick buck. Yes, launch jacking actually works. But there are some huge downsides to it.
What is Launch Jacking?
Product Launch: The debut of a product into the market. The product launch signifies the point at which consumers first have access to a new product. Business Dictionary
Hijack: Steal (goods) by seizing them in transit. Oxford Dictionary
When a person or company is coming out with a new product, launch jacking in a nutshell is stealing traffic that would normally go to the product creators domain. There are a few ways to get the job done, but what's happening is that people are writing reviews of the products before they come out.
Some people create a single website and write blog posts targeting these keywords, while other people buy up domains using the product name (or similar). For example, if I was putting out an PDF guide called New Fancy Traffic Method and my main domain was newfancytrafficmethod.com, people would buy
…and so on. There are thousands of possibilities. These types of sites are often one or two pages long, and bought for the sole purpose of selling copies of whatever is being sold.
An example of a successful launch jacker is Nancy Reviews. She ranks relatively well for her target keywords because even though what she writes is total BS, it's 100% original content.
The same goes for a site called http://bestwordpresspluginsnews.com/. I haven't explored his site as much, but this guy ranks very well for a lot of the stuff being sold on JV Zoo and JV Notify. From what I've seen, he doesn't write anything very interesting. It's just filler and fluff, and I imagine that the majority of his rankings come from aggressive backlinking campaigns.
Mentioning these sites is NOT an endorsement of these people, their blogs, or their strategies. They are show here for example only.
Is this what I do on One More Cup of Coffee? Absolutely not. I do a lot of reviews here, but I BUY what I review. If I don't, I make sure to include that in the review and provide some comments about why I didn't buy. Everything I write is my opinion, but it's an honest opinion supported by facts and research.
Is It Profitable?
Absolutely. This is why people are doing it.
The idea is that you don't really have to do a lot of work to profit. The owners of the product are doing their best to create “buzz” around the launch. Other people will be emailing their lists about this “game changer” and “never been done before thing”; but a percentage of the folks receiving these emails will Google reviews before they buy.
If you are positioned within the top 10 results (especially top 3) and have a positive review, you will not only get tons of traffic to your site, a large portion of these visits will convert to sales.
Someone has already told them it's awesome. Now you're confirming it. Money in the bank for all parties involved.
How To Rank
Ranking for a product that's about to launch has easy aspects and difficult ones.
The easy part is that whatever is being sold often has a unique name. The easiest ones are going to be ones that have completely made up names like Bro-tastic Money Finder X. There's simply nothing else called that, so a post or domain with those words in it will rank relatively fast and well.
Not only that, but there are going to be tons of ways to rank for it.
- Bro-tastic Money Finder X Review
- Bro-tastic Money Finder X Scam
- Is Bro-tastic Money Finder X Legit?
…and so on. These are all common questions that are asked by potential buyers, and the fact is that NO ONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD has written anything about it before. You might be the first!
The difficult part is that there are thousands of other internet marketing plebs that are looking for easy pickings and low hanging fruit. People watch launches from digital info product launch sites like JV Zoo, JV Notify, Clickbank, Warrior Forums, and others like hawks. The minute these things go live, people start buying domains and fire up their backlink software.
The competition is stiff.
Now I can't say exactly what each person does, but it's only logical that these guys must be sending massive amounts of spam out to gain low-quality backlinks to their domains. If you have an established website, there's a possibility that you have some authority, but if you are writing fake reviews, I doubt that a lot of folks will naturally link to you.
Comment links, article spinning, link software, blog networks, and buying backlinks are some of the methods I'm sure are used. Backlinking used to be a legit way to gain rank in the search engines, but since recent Google algorithm changes, most legit marketers have shied away from these types of ranking methods and opted for focusing on content + engagement.
SEO and ranking strategy is a discussion for another time, but I just mean to emphasize that these guys are ranking not based on merit, but on the efficiency of their spam-bots.
What Are The Long Term Prospects?
I hit on two points that I'd like to talk a bit more about: fake reviews and low-quality backlinks.
Fake Reviews Won't Get You Any Fans
If you are writing reviews of products BEFORE you try them, then your only source of information is going to be the sales page. I do not have a problem with writing reviews of things you don't own, so long as you have a legitimate source of information for your research.
The best of these sites write unique content that offers some opinion, but they unanimously recommend these products and even offer fake screenshots of earnings and other falsified “proof” that it works. If you've seen a few product launch jackers, you can spot a fake from a mile away. But these guys are not targeting seasoned marketers, they are targeting newbies that don't know any better.
Some of the worst sites simply copy/paste content from the sales page, or put it through an article spinner to trick search engines into thinking it's unique content. Much of it is barely legible. It's not meant to be read. It's mean to be a vehicle for their affiliate link at the end of the page.
Low Quality Backlinks Spell “Penalty”
Benjamin Graham said of the stock market that in the short term, the markets are a voting machine, and in the long term they are a weighing machine.
I believe the same is true of search engines.
In the short term, you can get 2000 backlinks from who-cares-where and Google will think you've got an awesome site. It doesn't matter that you just bought the domain yesterday and only have two pages on it. Wow, you're popular!
But in the long term, ie maybe a few weeks or months later, the true nature of what you are will become apparent. Google is a machine, but it's not a dumb machine. (Bing is pretty dumb and I see crap domains listed there all the time.)
So whatever you choose to rank for, you are going to have to spend time and money to boost your site. Eventually, you'll get hit with an algorithmic or manual penalty, and the domain will be worthless.
The Main Problem With Product Launch Jacking
At this point, you are thinking one of two things. Either, “Wow, it sounds like I can make some money doing this!”, or “What about the guy who's actually buying the product?”
Let's hope you're voice #2
The real losers in the transaction is the buyer. Most of the products with hyped launches, prizes, competitions, etc are pure trash. Serial product creators (as I call them) come out with a new thing every couple of months.
For those in the JV (joint venture) world, this is business as usual. But many buyers are unaware of what's happening behind the scenes.
Yes, you can make some money doing this, but at what expense? From a moral standpoint, your business will be to write fake reviews and take peoples money by selling them something you do not know about. Is this how you want to earn your living?
From a practical standpoint, the refund rate for this type of junk is super high, so you can expect a big chunk of your earnings to slowly trickle out as disappointed buyers wise up to your scheme. So you'd better get a pen name because people will start writing complaint reports about you.
A Better Alternative
Product launch jacking is a strategy to make money online, but it's not for me. I think it's just plain dishonest.
Even if you don't care for my moral judgement on the folks that do this kind of stuff, from a practical standpoint, it doesn't make much sense.
Learning how to do this effectively takes time and money. Then, once the release party is over and every goes home, your revenue stream dies. Now you have to start over again.
So why on Earth would you spend the time, money, and effort to create a bunch of trashy sites earning money in a dishonest way when you could spend that same time, money, and effort to actually help people find legit information?
If you like the “make money” niche and want to do product reviews, do it! But be honest and helpful. Don't recommend something just because the sales video showed screen shots of a “bank account” as proof. Don't call it a “revolutionary new system” unless you actually know what it does.
I do lots of reviews of “make money” products. I'm not saying you can't do it. But actually buy the product or get a review copy and give your honest opinion. I tend to be critical, but you can be more positive if you want. Whatever you do, make sure you can back up your findings with insight, not just regurgitation of a sales page.
The income earned from a site like this will be more stable, and you will actually gain authority with time. Authority equals better rank, and better rank equals more income.
What do you think?
Did I hit the nail on the head or am I riding too high on my horse here?
I shared this on Google+ and Jay Gumbs of amvsmlm.com had some really interesting things to share.
What's up ladies and dudes! Great to finally meet you, and I hope you enjoyed this post. My name is Nathaniell and I'm the owner of One More Cup of Coffee. I started my first online business in 2010 promoting computer software and now I help newbies start their own businesses. Sign up for my #1 recommended training course and learn how to start your business for FREE!
Launch Jacking Larry
Great post. I’m going to be straight up right now. I’m one of those launch jackers that you speak so horribly about.. Not Nancy, but up there with “the best.” The truth is you’re right man. I hate this shit. I promote mostly bogus products, spend hours doing it, it doesn’t help anyone except myself, I’m always restarting, it’s unstable, and I’m tired of it.
When I first started out I had no idea what I was doing or how to make money online, I couldn’t rank, and I was literally struggling to pay my rent and eat 3 meals a day. I was a starving student. Now I’m making 4-5 figures each month launch jacking and I want out.
I want to cut my ties to L.J. and create a review site just like yours. I want this one to be THE one that helps people find real information and real reviews – I want to genuinely help people. Also, I want it to be stable, honest, backlink-able review hub for myself. The problem is I don’t know of just 1 product that I believe to be the end all be all to making money online. Do you have any suggestions?
I hope it’s not too late for me to get some information from you! I’ll check back to keep anonymous.
“Launch Jacking Larry”
Hi Larry, My #1 recommendation is listed in all my reviews and on my site, but you’ll need to find one that works for you. Regarding your other message, you only gave me 30 minutes to respond. Um, it’s the weekend man, and I was camping. Gimme a break.
Launch Jacking while the term helps designate its connotation, it’s not what you make it out to be. In reality it’s really nothing more than basic sales. No matter what the product is, everyone has their purpose in the algorithm it takes to take an idea to a product to a sale. People who are so called launch jackers are really just affiliates. They are helping sell the product no matter what you think of their tactics. People that are looking into “Bro-Tastic Money Finder X” really need the extra push to buy it. So they are scouring the net for more information on the product. What a launch jacker is essentially doing is putting that same information that is available on the site, in a different form. Most of these forms are tried and true! They are very well analyzed, split tested and everything matters! Even the science of the colors and how it can lead you to certain actions. Hell it even involves psychology. It’s actually pretty genius if you understood it more. Ethically, almost all these products have a 100% money back guarantee. If it doesn’t, I won’t promote it unless…. I know the people behind it.
“Learning how to do this effectively takes time and money.” -As do anything in life
“ Then, once the release party is over and every goes home, your revenue stream dies. Now you have to start over again.” – Not true, you may drop to only get 1,2, or 3 sales a day from that 1 product … Imagine how many products you are getting this from.
“So why on Earth would you spend the time, money, and effort to create a bunch of trashy sites earning money in a dishonest way when you could spend that same time, money, and effort to actually help people find legit information?” – People were looking to buy this already. While you may not agree with it or find it useful, someone else might. If not, there usually is a money back guarantee. Did I mention they were already leaning towards buying it.
“The income earned from a site like this will be more stable, and you will actually gain authority with time. Authority equals better rank, and better rank equals more income.” – Partially true, but the income earned from a really good ethical launch jacker will be much much greater than what you earn on this blog . And it will be earned in a very short amount of time.
YES, you can make money doing this, NO, it is not ethical. People are not looking to buy a product automatically, they are looking for more information. When you are just recycling the information they could have found on the website, you are doing them, and Google SERPs, a disservice. Why on Earth would I want to give someone a commission if they just repeat info on the sales page? Imagine if you went to Apple, asked about buying an iPhone 5, and they just read what was from the website? How annoying would that be?
If someone was already looking to buy without additional information, then they would just go to the main website. Most users buying this type of stuff are not well informed, especially about the Guru scene. They believe the made up names, they believe the fake reviews, and they believe the doctored income screenshots.
And you have no idea how much or little I make from this blog.
I could see a “useful” launch jacking site being something that tries to dig into a product before it’s launched. They could discuss things like who the real product owner is, what their past products were, and predictions for what the product might be about. They could list things like commission numbers for affiliates, number of upsells/downsells, etc.
It is possible that a launch jacking site could be good. But none of them are. Most of them are regurgitated information whose only aim is to make a sale. They make it up the ranks because they use black hat linking tactics, and they are quickly forgotten. This is not a business to me. I strongly believe that it takes equal effort to learn how to launch jack (while competing with the 1,000s of other launch jackers for the top 10 results) as it does to create a website in any other niche.
So is your business about hacking a launch or helping people? I know what mine is.
Many of those sales pages are just a video. Some of them takes the buyers attention away from the sale. I can bring a list of reasons why the sales pages aren’t effective for all people. If one person tries to sell you something, that doesnt mean that someone else who is trying to sell you the same product in a different way is unethical. People buy in different ways. Most good launch jackers like myself are ones who do have ethics. You write your article as if all Launch Jacking is unethical. Most people who try to get in dont know jack squat about SEO, etc. They exit pretty fast because they make little to no money doing it. Most of their sites and pages are POO at best. Successful launch jackers dont need to do any blackhat tactics. We just know how to get good rankings and how to do it well. It can be for a pool company to whatever ebook you are selling.
I was never referring to any money you made on your blog. I was referring to your statement that a blog like yours would be more stable money and better long term money. Thats just not totally accurate in my opinion.
To answer your question, my business is about helping people. Many of my followers read my reviews. As I said I only do products that I feel are helping people and that have a money back guarantee. Timing is just better when a product is launching. That goes for any product!
Ah, OK my mistake on the income thing. I see what you mean now. Still, a blog “like this” can make 10s of thousands of dollars. If you are building a brand around launch jacking and product reviews, great. The reason I said authority sites like I do are more stable is because they are built on long term relationships with people, not just grabbing traffic pops from other people’s launches.
Anyway, if you truly are writing honest reviews that don’t just produce product hype, I hope you are able to rank well and get these scuzzy results out of the SERPs. But this is not what most people do. Most people just write “Product X Scam Review Is It Legit” over and over again.
In fact, of all the sites like this I’ve seen, I’ve only ever seen ONE that I thought was a legit site, and the guy hasn’t updated his blog for almost 6 months now, which makes me think he’s no longer working on it.
Chris M Cloutier
I don’t think I’ll ever understand how people can live with themselves while they’re stealing money from people. There’s no question this is unethical. It’s also just plain greedy. These people don’t understand the long term effects their having on the market when they do stuff like this.
It’s already a well-known fact that the web has a problem with fake reviews but this takes that to a whole new level. If people continue to do things like launch jacking then eventually people will start to lose their faith in everything they read online. It’s already a big problem.
And although Google gets a lot of grief for some of the stuff they do, they’re really the only ones trying to combat problems like this where they exist, which is on the publisher level.
Sure, people need a place online to be anonymous but if you want to hit the “publish” button then you should at least hold yourself to a certain standard. Until people start doing that we’re going to be headed for trouble.
Google authorship is doing a lot to fix problems like this but it’s obvious we have a long way to go. I think we’ll get there though, it’s just going to take some time.
It’s a very grey line in what’s best for who. When things are anyonymous, people can say what they want, but then, as you say, we have to deal with people saying nonsense and making up stuff. When we bring in accountability, we then have the issue that Google knows way too much about us. I can’t stop people from going after “easy” money, but I hope I’ve discouraged a few people from getting started in something like this.
Great post Nathanial. I had heard of launch jacking but wasn’t sure how it all worked. Now I do. The pros and cons are thought provoking and I loved Jay Gumbs approach.
I might try that.
Yeah, you can definitely write about something BEFORE it comes out. There’s no rule against that! But recommending it and providing fake proof that it works is not recommended IMO.
Another way to describe it is to call it the ‘max out the credit card’ because that is exactly what those that are doing this are about.
Just flip out your card and pay for one thing after another then head for the grocery store and get the card declined cos it has hit the limit./
Do you mean that they are maxing their credit card to pay for backlinks to get ranking or that the people buying the products are maxing out their credit card? I guess either would apply.