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  • NegBox 8:24 pm on July 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cayman, , Legal, Limited Liability, LLC, Shell Game, Shoemoney System, Taxes   

    5 Steps to Cover Your Legal Ass 

    Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer. Do not use any of the information on my site for anything other than wasting time.

    A note on playing nice

    The goal of this post is to protect you from the casual “oops” of business – NOT to arm yourself for battle. Oops happen. Keep an open line of communication through your site (a monitored e-mail address, or feedback form, for example). You’re not trying to be invisible or anonymous, you’re trying to shield yourself from legal retards, and want to listen for real communications. If John Doe wants to sue you because your logo reminds him of his favorite cat, you’ll be well protected. If Lady Gaga’s agent wants you to stop using something, you might want to stop or change regardless of where your corporation is based or how many shells you have – Consider it a bonus you most likely won’t have to pay legal fees, produce ridiculous logs or settle anything. Try to keep it at the goodwill level – the last thing you want is someone very pissed at you – The way to keep people from getting pissed is to let them get a hold of you easily, and right any wrongs quickly.

    I just watched the new Shoemoney System video and felt it was missing information. I find the multinational perspective missing from a ton of folks and material – Its like World War III broke out, the entire world is a nuclear barren wasteland but only the US survived… Only that didn’t happen – everyone else is still there, folks!

    Jeremy did an awesome job on the videos and it is really cool that he is sharing the information he is… Well, that and he is also sending a message out to the marketplace. The message reads “Don’t fuck with my brand and my stuff, or I’ll unleash the Sith Lords on your sorry ass“. Nice dual-purpose video! Wish I had thought of it.

    What Jeremy doesn’t mention is what he does when he is faced with an international dolt stealing his stuff. Are all his cases US-based? Only the ones worth pursuing?

    If you’re going to run ANY sort of business, you need to protect yourself legally. While Jeremy comes across as a nice guy, the world is full of assholes (I know this for a fact – just look at all the shit around you… And where does shit come from? Assholes, of course!)

    How you go about creating your little legal cocoon can take many forms. You can wrap yourself in the equivalent of bubble-wrap by incorporating an LLC in Delaware, or you can order a Stealth Klingon Bird of Prey from eastern Europe – it all depends if you want to protect yourself from a knee scrape or a plasma cannon, which in turn depends on what you’re trying to do – sell an eBook or scam the planet. Let’s assume you are not out to screw everyone, but would much prefer to stay away from trouble…

    The key to preventing problems in the US is to not be there. Simple, huh? It all hinges on what laws affect who and where. Your state laws do not affect other US states, and US federal laws do not affect other countries. What DOES affect other countries are international treaties and how different countries have implemented them – The nice thing about international treaties is that bullshit rarely makes it into a treaty, so you’re safer from some of the sue-happy legal circus.

    Here are five steps to ‘be gone’. You only really need Step 1 and 2 to protect yourself from 90% of nut cases. Step 3 and 4 if you’re paranoid. If you need to go as far as Step 5, please do not tell me what you’re into.

    Step 1

    Create a limited corporation overseas… You are an investor in it and a managing director – The “limited” means your liability is limited. Different countries will call this a bit different, but they all have this figure… Sociedad Anonima de Responsabilidad Limitada (Anynomous Limited Asociation) in most of Latin-Ameria, osaühing in Estonia, GmbH in Germany, Société à Responsabilité Limitée in France, etc… You get the point. Talk to a lawyer. A corporate lawyer. A good one. A very expensive one. You need one with experience in this or living in the country you’ve picked. Alternatively, there are a TON of online services that will do this for you in whatever locale you heart desires. I hear the weather in Cayman is awesome this time of year.

    Step 2

    Get all the papers squared away. Expect anywhere between two weeks and two months for this. Make sure you document your funding into the company, as well as who gets what share, and any major decisions, such as appointing yourself king of Umpa Lumpa Land and Managing Director of your company. Sounds retarded and ridiculous, you appoint yourself, yes… Just trust me you have to do all this paper stuff – don’t dismiss it.

    Step 3

    Register any domains you will use with a registrar located in your favorite jurisdiction – For example gandi.net in France. If you have to ask why, watch Jeremy’s video again.

    Step 4

    Get hosting overseas, and MAKE SURE their data center and your server is overseas. Ideally, make sure they don’t have a US presence at all (like a sister company). Some companies resell us-based virtual servers or will use a European IP that by some magic maps back to the US. Avoid with simple geo-location tools. Re-test the geolocation using traceroutes and network assignment maps after getting the hosting to make sure.

    Step 5

    Beware of anything linked to the site. If you have AdSense in the site, or drive traffic with AdWords, or if you promote a zip submit with neverblue, think what jurisdiction(s) neverblue or Google are in.

    A note on taxes

    If you are a US citizen or Permanent resident, make 120% sure you PAY YOUR TAXES. Consult a good tax person. Understand that whatever money you make (you, not the corp) will be taxed by the US just as if you had earned it in the US – Don’t let an overseas lawyer derail you here, taxes are serious shit – And remember the corp will be paying taxes wherever it is based. Again, I can’t stress this enough… Remember Capone, do your taxes right.

    Reprise of the note on playing nice

    The goal of this post is to protect you from the casual “oops” of business – NOT to arm yourself for battle. Keep an open line of communication through your site (a monitored e-mail address, or feedback form, for example). Listen for real communications. Try to keep it at the goodwill level –  The way to keep people from getting pissed is to let them get a hold of you easily, and right any wrongs quickly.

  • NegBox 10:56 pm on July 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ShoeMoney, Shoemoney System   

    ShoeMoney System Postmortem 

    WHM Control Strip

    If you understand these terms, the ShoeMoney system is not for you. If you don't, you're fucked.

    The Shoemoney System should have been titled “The ShoeMoney Internet Marketing Hands-on Review”. It was clearly not geared towards me, or anyone that has half a clue – I thought Jeremy would go in-depth somewhere, but that was not the case. My bad, that sure was some money down the toilet… Jeremy’s toilet.

    So who is the ShoeMoney System aimed at? Its aimed and complete n00bs with no tech experience and no business know-how.

    This is a segment that honestly needs to know the truth and its a little disappointing when the truth is sugarcoated this much – never mind the claims of $2.5K in coupons, which turned out to be ‘$300 in coupons you already have and and are tired of getting in the mail every week’.

    I’m not saying my particular path to profitability is the one everyone should follow, but to this day I’ve done all of the six paths Jeremy mentions (yes, even eBay) and they’re all both A) Hard as balls to work profitably and B) Require a level of tech expertise well beyond the newbie. Forget the business aspect… The tech aspect should kill most folks dead in the water.

    Jeremy covers outsourcing the creation of things, like your logo or maybe a product. What these folks really need to know is to outsource the technical or specialized work – figuring out who to send it to and what to expect.

    Somehow.. I don’t imagine a 50-year old mother of three understanding what the hell is going on the WHM control strip in the picture to the right… The Business concepts are nice, but how the hell do you give folks the “technology common sense” so they can figure stuff out? I’ve seen it dozens of times – Folks that are over 40 today as a general rule did not grow up with their hands on computers and half the time they’re afraid they’re going to break something.

    It seems half of this internet marketing business is actually figuring out WHERE the business is. For that you need a basic understanding of how Web servers, DNS, and HTML work.

    It was fun – and I did pick up a trick or two, but if you’re reading my blog, you’re not the audience for the ShoeMoney system. Moving along…

  • NegBox 3:45 pm on March 24, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Shoemoney System   

    Pissing on my SHOEmoney System Subscription 

    Data point: I subscribed to the ShoeMoney System in January on Launch – I’ve been paying $197 for the past two installments and the 60 days ‘clickbank refund’ window will be up in two days from now (the 26th) for the first installment.

    Mind you, I used my own ClickBank affiliate link to sign-up. That way eventually it would only cost me $100 a month.

    Got a nice e-mail from John Chow’s e-mail list last night: He has a link that will get me the Shoemoney system for half price, for a total of $97.

    That really pissed me off. I asked myself… So am I going to keep paying $197, when I could be paying half – Heck I don’t even know what the commission level John Chow is getting. He might be getting $0 and struck a deal for his readers (Can you believe I actually thought this? I’m way more stupid/naive than you imagine).

    So I did my worst-case scenario: I sign up at $97, the difference is minimal between paying $197 and getting a $100 kickback versus paying $97 and getting $0 kickback. So worst-case I cancel the new membership with an “oops, my mistake for ordering twice the same thing”. No-brainer, nothing to lose here.

    As I was driving in the morning I had a brilliant idea (yeah, right)! Maybe I can fire up my ShoeMoney System campaign and slap some half-off ads and kill it! .. Depending on the commission level, which I can find out by signing up.

    So I grab John Chow’s link, and of course it had “ttznet” as the Clickbank affiliate when you get to the purchase page. For a moment I thought about leaving JC in there, nothing to lose from my current vantage point (yes, I’m really that stupid). Then I thought what the heck, I’ll just change it to me… But how?

    I fired up the LiveHTTP extension to Firefox so I could see the URLs getting requested. It went from Aweber to XR.com (a URL shortener) for some reason I have yet to discover (why not direct from Aweber?), and from XR.COM to eventually an unencrypted Clickbank URL http://ttznet.shoemoney.hop.clickbank.net/?sku=1262274158&item=2

    I thought – Awesome, all I have to do is replace ttznet with my own affiliate ID. Turns out, the deal is a bit more exclusive than that. No matter what I put in there, I would always wind up with Chow-Chow as my affiliate, chomping at my wallet. I was clearing the right cookies. So that’s kinda shitty – That means the shoemoney system was rewriting the affiliate to John Dot Com Pho Chow. Oh! A puzzle! Awesome! So I set about figuring out how to get myself in there, and I did manage it. Here’s how:

    I opened the order form of the special offer, and looked at the URL. Can’t tell much by just looking, need something to compare it to, so I opened my own normal Shoemoney System hoplink – copied them to a little doc and compared them. I spotted two differences, a “?time=1269…” part that had a different number between them and a bit at the end of the URL that was missing from mine “%26item%3D2” – those %26 and %3D are encodings of & and = respectively. … So all I did was grab my order form and append “%26item%3D2” to request the other product and presto! The right order form came up, and I was able to sign-up for $97… And found out what Johnny Boy’s take was.

    Much to my surprise, when I logged into the affiliate account, I had freshly-minted $44.37 – So the offer included a 50% commission for the affiliate.

    I just sent my cancellation notice for the one paying $197-100=97, and will keep the account paying $97-44=40. I can deal with $40 a month.

    I haven’t been able to figure out how to offer this offer myself – Looked at the headers and URLs from Clickbank and I’m not sure – The best I could do was to clear the affiliate to “none”, but can’t seem to set it. By what I can tell, going further into getting my ID in there would start turning too close to black hat.

    You know what pisses me the most about all this? The brazen lies like: “16 students has already
    taken advantage of the offer since last night. 19 more and the deal will close for good.” (copied from John’s e-mail). Everybody does this – but just because everybody does it doesn’t mean its a good practice for your peers. Its hard enough to build rapport, let alone a community, now imagine you slime-ball your peers. Unless you’re just aiming for their wallets. Bingo.
    That’s just not good business practice – In business and life: Talk straight, walk straight.

    So how do recurring businesses tackle launching at a premium and later offering lower prices to reach wider audiences? There are whole chapters in marketing textbooks about this – I’m sure there are whole books too, though I haven’t checked. How would I do it? One word: Tiering. Tell people that already signed up that they are at the Gold level and give them monthly bonuses and differentiated service – People can sign up at Gold level, or join low at Bronze member – and they can go between levels. Presto! Tiering is a way to maximize the revenue from a service – Why not do it here instead of pissing people off?

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