Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Internet Riches: The Simple Money-Making Secrets of Online Millionaires

Zach Bauer

Professor Gruen

MKTG 470-001

22 October 2009

Book Review

Published in 2006, Scott Fox’s best-seller, Internet Riches: The Simple Money-Making Secrets of Online Millionaires, is not so much a book of tips and hints to becoming an Internet millionaire, but, rather, it is set up as a step-by-step guide to achieving success and wealth via the e-business model. It was written for people, like me, who understand the fact that the Internet provides a huge opportunity for new businesses, but, sadly, are not sure how exactly to utilize this magnificent tool to our advantage. Fox is a serial entrepreneur, online marketing expert, motivational speaker, and advisor to e-businesses and celebrities worldwide. Initially, when I was searching for a book to analyze, I planned to find a book that detailed the success of a company like Amazon, who has found a way to capitalize on the online business setting and do it extremely well. However, I quickly turned away from this route when I realized that companies like Amazon have achieved success because the leaders and founders of the companies were passionate about the business and had the will to make them a success. In short, each and every successful business is unique in its own way and, in my opinion, researching the success of one business in particular (while it can yield some useful tips and advice about starting up a business) won’t really tell a person how he or she can hone in on his or her specific talents or passions and make them a reality. Fox’s book does this: it provides a step-by-step process the reader can apply to his or her own business venture to make it a success.

The book begins with a discussion of the unlimited opportunity of the Internet and aims at providing a foundation of hope for the reader with the intent on giving a background on e-businesses and the reality that it is much more affordable and less risky to start up an Internet business. As the book progresses, Fox includes many examples of real-life people who have turned their entrepreneurial idea into reality via the Internet. These serve as inspiration for the reader and also bring credibility to what Scott writes. Each chapter also includes a selection of italicized sections called, Internet Millionaire Secrets. Under each heading resides either a story of a business that was a success or a note by Fox giving insights and advice pertinent to each chapter’s specific material. Overall, all the juicy insights he provides us with seems true, and the possible outcomes for applying his wisdom all seem obtainable (with hard work, a good idea, and a passion to make the business succeed, of course).

There have been a number of similar books published over the years. One of the newer ones to appear on the shelf is called, Secrets of Internet Millionaires Revealed, written by Irfan Khairi, who became a millionaire at age 25. Upon reading reviews of the book, all contained similar descriptions. Sweet101.com’s Maria Zain wrote, “Most importantly, he explains to the reader, whom he assumes is a novice at the internet, the first few steps in putting their ideas in motion - he talks about business identification, setting up the website itself, facilitating transactions as well as the core element of success - promotion of the business.” This same quote could have been stated about Fox’s text. What this should tell the reader is that, no, Fox’s book is not revolutionary or unique. It follows a format that is regurgitated time and time again, but on the same token, this format appears to be working. In addition, the fact that Internet Riches follows a formula shouldn’t steer readers away completely. It simply means that similar writings in the same format are available that are likely to contain very similar, credible information.

The book’s strongest aspect is its interface, which is easy to navigate—the setup is tailored to user friendliness. For instance, Fox utilizes charts and graphs to depict many of his ideas, bulleted lists instead of overwhelming paragraphs, and also indents and italicizes major points in the text. This makes it easy to read and interpret. The book also includes some appendices that are useful to the reader. These consist an index of all the business entrepreneurs and services Fox refers to in the text, a description of internet research skills that would benefit the online businessman or businesswoman, and a glossary of some common e-business terms that may not be so common for the average Joe. Although Fox incorporates some useful tools for his readers, there are flaws to the presentation of his material.

The book’s biggest weakness centers on its presentation of the material. In other words, because there are so many other “how to” books available, consumers may not be inclined to purchase and read Fox’s book over another. In addition, because the text was published in 2006, there must be periodic updates to the text to keep it up-to-date and relevant, due to the nature of the Internet’s ever changing and adapting environment (the most recent publication is a sequel to Internet Riches, entitled, e-Riches 2.0: Next Generation Online Marketing Strategies). I’d say that overall the format Internet Riches is a strength for the book in the sense that the title is intriguing and format sells so well (the how-to book), but in another sense the format is a huge weakness because there are so many other books sporting similar content and format.

Overall, I can’t say that I would recommend Internet Riches to somebody so much as I would recommend its content. That is to say I wouldn’t recommend Fox’s interpretation of the content over another author’s. In essence, I do not know for certain that Fox necessarily holds a better grip on what it takes to become an online millionaire than does Irfan Khairi, or does Amy Joyner (The Online Millionaire: Strategies for Building a Web-Based Empire on eBay and Beyond) or does Renee V. Richards (Online Marketing Success Stories: Insider Secrets, from the Experts Who Are Making Millions on the Internet Today). In short, here’s my summary: there are some important tidbits to be learned from Internet Riches, but nothing that hasn’t been published and republished and republished and republished . . . catch my drift?

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