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Third Tribe Review – Inside Rowse’s Third Tribe Is it a Scam?

Which Tribe do you belong to? Apparently – according to Darren Rowse, Brian Clark, Chris Brogan, Sonia Simone – you really should be in the Third Tribe. Up until now there has only been two tribes: the sleazy, scum-bag Internet Marketers who promises the earth, or usually $14,449  plus a Lamborghini, while you sleep, and then there are the nice social media folks – they hang around singing kumbaya making lots of friends and making no money.

I couldn’t stand  a kumbaya video – so here’s a video of my aspirational Lamborghini – from my favourite car reviewer –

Apparently there was no middle ground – which was bit of a surprise to me as I have been doing it for a couple of years and so have a whole bunch of other people I know online – but no apparently there has been a vacuum… and Darren Rowse has decided to fill it.  There is apparently a third way  – oops I mean a third tribe (apologies to Eastern Religions there) – Internet Marketing Strategies That Work (Without Being Obnoxious) – as they like to subtitle themselves.

What Exactly is Darren Rowse’s Third Tribe – and How Will It Make Me Money?
Well first off its a membership site -built around the concept of “teaching sells“. I might have been a little sarcastic on that one – but I still stand by it. Now I didn’t put the nearly $2000 into joining Teaching Sells- but the Third Tribe was an affordable $27/month  (but if you join now you’ll pay $47/month)- but its going up soon so hurry – so I “invested” $27 – note that is what its going to cost you – you cancel the sub immediately via Paypal – but you will sink the $27 to check this out – but its OK I can handle the expense – business tax deductions are beautiful things!

What did I get for my $27 (Its now $47 – to pay for the affiliate program no doubt) –  I was promised:

  1. An Education” – well personally I got a lot of education when I first started working underground in Australia as a fairly naive 21-year-old – but I digress. Darren’s Third Tribe Marketing offers me  the chance to attend a webinar or listen to an audio class each month. In the first month the sales copy promises me three “education seminars”.  One is an interview by Johnny Truant who went from making pennies on Adsense to “5-figures a month”  – titled “The Quick Start to Making Money Online”. Then later on in the month – haven’t seen this yet – there is promised a three-hour-long (yeah – bring the popcorn) self-congratulatory talk-fest on how Darren, Brian, Sonia, Chris et al build a “Strong Business Around a Blog” . The third event is mysteriously titled “Interaction” – about building a community of learning – probably something about not writing critical stuff on your blog cause you may upset IMPORTANT PEOPLE – oops…
  2. Live Q & A” – at least twice a month – where you can ask questions about your business with at least two of the founders of Third Tribe. Hmm – cool – perhaps I can ask some questions when it comes up…Well maybe it will work better than  getting any of these guys to actually respond to comments on their own blogs …
  3. Interactive Forum” – really as opposed to the static, non-interactive type?

So how exactly is the Third Tribe exactly going to make me money?  Well…

Johnny Truant spent 9 months doing what everyone says you’re supposed to do to make money online, and made a whopping $111. Then he changed his strategy to a Third Tribe model, and quickly started having 5-figure months. Johnny gives all the real-life details in this hour-long seminar hosted by Sonia Simone, along with concrete steps you can take immediately. You get instant access to it when you join.

Now how “Johnny” made his Adsense payout was the highlight of this post recently – his business model was “write funny blog posts and generally just hanging out online,” – and he managed to make over $100 in Adsaense, in less than a year,  – in fact I am absolutely astounded he made that much! The mind boggles as to what Adsense ads were showing up on funny wity posts, but I’m pretty darn sure they were far from relevant. So the take away from that is that  Adsense sucks – its not a “real business model” – well I’d agree – Adsense certainly isn’t a good monetization method for a humour blog!

Obviously hanging out online your friends is a real business model – maybe. But its OK Johnny is going to reveal his big secret: how to quickly make money online. I can’t tell you exactly what that is – as it part of the $27 $47 Third Tribe membership program – but from his published post on copyblogger:

  • One that you can stand behind publicly. Hmmm right – I have  a few issues with this – after all this is from a guy calling himself “Johnny B Truant” – now I not one to assume that anyone is making up a name on the Internet- people have weird names  I should know! So checked the whois on his website – that’s not his name. Its his brand – I know the maketing geeks will rush over and tell me that’s OK – I know according to the marketing game it is, in the context of a blog,  written in the first person – its not honest IMHO.
  • One that’s based on helping others in exchange for pay. Oh you mean running an Internet-based consultancy – OK that will work – especially if you have skills that other people want to pay for and can be delivered online (anyone want a dance lesson?). Regrettably this is the same problem as Teaching Sells – most begineers don’t have those skills – that’s why they are prepared to join a membership stie and give you money in the hope they can learn the secret!
  • One that benefits from being a real, authentic person. Well I personally am unreal inauthentic person – except when I am being real on this blog. Is Amazon a real authentic person ? I buy from them all the time – same with New Zealand’s very own eBay. I don’t know or care who runs these companies they have blue widgets in stock and I need blue widgets at 2am – I buy from the website.
  • One that matches your best abilities to the needs of others. Yeah you seriously shouldn’t take marketing lessons from me – I am telling you that now!  My point is as above though – you need to play to your strengths sure – or hire talent to fill the gap. Or just be at the top of the search engines when someone asks the question – “where do I buy blue widgets at 2am?”

So how exactly is this going to give a beginner a “quick start to making money online”? Well to be honest I’m completely unclear. I understand how it will  make Darren, Brian et al money. I understand how Johnny makes money – he gets to plug his blog setup service amongst other things – but how its going to  make a newbie money online – someone who is new to business, new to being online and basically desperate to make money in months not years – I have no idea – and paying my $27 $47 didn’t clear things up.

After the first “educational event” with Johnny I was left pondering what my online skills were. That’s OK for me I have been playing around on the online sewer of fake Internet Marketers for a couple of years now – I do have some skills – but the  program isn’t designed for me – its designed for beginners …

Who Do I recommend the Third Tribe Memberhip Site For?

Frankly no  one at the moment – well not unless you just feel you need to give Brian Clark or Darren Rowse a donation. Its early days the site has just launched – maybe it will improve. But at first glance its a lot of waffle dressed up with a slick site design and convincing sales copy. Actually on second  thoughts I  do recommend it to anyone wondering how you go about selling a little for a quite a lot of nice recurring income – watch what they do don’t listen to what they say though.

In fact I’m pissed off for many of the good meaning folks who will join – and who will really get a warm cuddly feeling being part of a supportive online community. There is one part of the sales copy I agree with – paid communities do have a lot less trolls in them and can be very helpful in learning this business. Is this worth $27 $47 /month – well its cheaper than cable I guess – as a form of entertainment, but  in terms of teaching you to make money online, its not just a waste of money its a waste of something even more critical – time.

Darren, Brian, Chris and hangers on – I think you guys make a nice living online – I just think its complete crap that you do so setting up schemes like this to milk your followers and send them off down dead ends. Now a  lot of the people in the community will be quite happy but I really think you need to be upfront that this is a community for people who want to talk about making money online – not for those who actually want or need to be making soon.

You need accurate road maps in Internet Marketing - and the Northern Territory, Australia
You need accurate road maps in Internet Marketing - and the Northern Territory, Australia

So Smart Arse Lissie  How Do You Make Money Online Quickly?

If you are reading this because you were hoping that the The Third Tribe was going to make you money quickly – I’m sorry in my opinion – worth exactly what you paid for it- -t won’t. The following will definitely make you money though:

  • sell stuff on eBay and cragislist – no not as a flipping affiliate. Sell the stuff in  you yard that you never use, sell the toys the kids grew out of, sell the clothes you grew out of;
  • sign up for some of the writing sites which pay – this is a lot easier if you live in the US – start with places such as Demand Studios, Suite101 – the pay is low and the work is boring but they will pay you  regularly. If you want the details on how to launch a freelancing career in around 6 months check out Monika’ Freelance Superstar e-book.
  • sign up on  freelance brokerage sites such as odesk and elance – there are lots of jobs, the pay is low – but again you are likely to get paid in a short time frame.

Oh that’s not what you had in mind-  you want to start a blog and hang with the cool chics? Well then the Third Tribe by Darren Rowse is perfect for you – you probably won’t make you much money but you will feel part of the tribe, the community – that counts – doesn’t it?  The reality is that is room at the top of the “famous A-lister” blog set for very few – if you areading this and haven’t got a popular blog – you are probably too late! In contrast all the suggestions I just gave you are sustainable low-cost business models which you can start on the kitchen table today without any connections, online or otherwise.

How to Really Learn Internet Marketing Strategies That Work

Well you learn from some real experts who have actually done it. Josh over at Unconventional Marketing has good information and Leo Dimilo is well worth reading everything and subscribing to his newsletter on Internet Marketing.  These guys don’t have super pretty blogs – but they do have solid advice based on experience – and can give you information which you can apply.  der:

I’d also suggest you join up with HubPages (free) and  write around 100 hubs –  for each hub pick a phrase which you think people might search for – something you might have searched for in Google perhaps – ask you friends – just try it. Odds are at least some of those hubs will get search traffic and those will make you money from Adsense, eBay or Amazon;

Finally if you are determined to spend some money join The Keyword Academy (honking great ad below) – its a membership stie too. But you can join for only $1 – on going $33/month – I haven’t space  here to say why its so much better than this Third  Tribe review (subsribe to the RSS feed to be automateically notifed)  –  some of you will assume its because I get a commission if you sign up. You’d be wrong – but I will  leave that for another post.  Suffice to say – its entirely predictable and relatively easy to get your blog to rank for something people are  searching for – people who are searching are potential customers – if you connect to customers (not friends – customers) then you can make money.

UPDATE: Thrid Tribe Marketing Affiliate Program

There is a now an affiliate program for Third Tribe Marketing – and it now pays affiliates 33% – or $15.50 a month per a sign up – thought I would mention it if you were wondering about all the new Third Tribe Marketing Reviews you are seeing!


The Third Tribe doesn’t have an affiliate program – yet (watch for that when the price goes up) – but even if it didn’t you wouldn’t find the link for it. If you are determined to join do someone a favour and Google “Third tribe affiliate” and sign up using their link and you will make someone a little cash – and cost yourself nothing extra.

I am however a member of The KeyWord Academy – if you sign up with the any of the links on this blog I will make 33% of the commission. If you are not happy you can cancel within the first month and pay Mark and Court only that $1. In fact drop me a line via the contact form at the top of the page  using the same email address and I will happily refund your $1  so there is no risk with joining. What’s the worst that could happen – you might learn something useful …

73 replies on “Third Tribe Review – Inside Rowse’s Third Tribe Is it a Scam?”

>> sign up for some of the writing sites which pay – this is a lot easier if you live in the US – start with places such as Demand Studios, Suite101

Hmm… I remember you wrote something about Constant Content as well, sometime back. Is it still one of your recommended sites?

>> Finally if you are determined to spend some money join The Keyword Academy

I second that. TKA is a great place. Their techniques won’t make you money at first, but the dollars and cents will show up gradually. The biggest advantage is that everything is White Hat (at least by common definition), all the way from the techniques taught to the support resources provided. If you have never spammed comments, forums and profile pages before to build links, you do not know what a breath of fresh air this is. It really frees your soul from the suffocating guilt of doing unethical things to make money.

TKA teaches two core techniques – how to build niche sites and how to build flagship sites. The training material for the former is well established, the training for the latter is still undergoing refinement.

Yes – though admitto not having used constant content for a while – but they don’t pay up front – you have to write the article and then they find a buyer – so its not certain in the same way as those other sites are

Thanks liz – I would have never heard about Third Tribe if it wasn’t for you. I have no interest in reading the a-listers – well not after I spent two weeks reading Yaros blog in my early days of MMO – and hence I miss out on a lot of fun. Looks like this 3rd Tribe is a great way to waste some money and time when you are starting out.

The problem is that many people need to make the mistakes for themselves to learn from them. Smart guys learn from the mistakes of others, dumb people do every crappy move themselves all over again. I didn’t sign up for Yaros “Crap Mastermind” because quite frankly, if I needed to make money, I couldn’t spend $1997 to get started. Every free advice that he gave turned out to be crap. After a while I Googled Make Money Online and guess whose site I found? Free info on an ugly free blogger blog – that’s what I needed. That was information for the beginners and that is how ANYONE can make a passive income online.

I am thinking of doing some freelance work – or something – to boost my income a little. Thanks for pointing those sites out – I’ll see if I can find the time to do something like that…

Yeah the crap I get in my email… In fact someone in the TKA forums pointed out “Jonnnies” post on copyblogger a couple of days ago and I had a laugh and moved on – but when he was then the star turn for the hype for this one – afraid that got my $27 out of my paypal account!
Yeeze Yaro is up to $1997 price point too – I remember when it was 3 figures – and not worth it then! Unfortunately there is an endless stream of those prepared to be led and far fewer prepared to take the road less travelled (sorry probably too many gins to be commenting I’ve gone poetic LOL)

I got an email too about this. Crazy really. There are so many great forums and blogs already out there, I don’t know why you would want to join a paid forum?

I don’t think that the tribe forum will have any less trolls than a regular free forum. Aren’t people going to be more eager to sell their own products to recover their membership fee?

I just listened to the 2 hour podcast by TKA and even though I am not a member there, what he says is great information and straight forward for anyone to understand.

I get so much just out listening to the free podcasts from webmasterradio. Seo 101 is great to listen to and it is much more than beginner stuff. Leo Dimilo’s blog is great also.

Yeah but Mike then you aren’t part of the tribe … I actually think that is part of the secret – people despartly need to belong – but IM is different – its essentailly lonely and dancign to a different beat – and that is a much bigger issue for most people than learning a bit of SEO. I mean you’re weird – you went and lived in Bali – I’ve always been the outsider – we don’t need a tribe but many others don’t. I don’t think the Third Tribe offers the answer to the question people have about making money – but I do think it will probably do well because it will let peple “belong” *sigh*

That’s actually very true, and it is the reason why social media is so succesful in wasting peoples time. In real life I like to be the guy who is different. I used to play a lot of team sports, and had a lot of friends.. Then I noticed that team sports sucked, and basically I don’t keep too much contact to my friends anymore. Just the way I like it – don’t like to be called on the phone and asked to go out this friday, because I have a lot better things to do.

Hi Lis
Greetings from a fellow TKA student, though a far more noob one than you. I have to second your comments on the program, which seems to me to be the most systematic, no-nonsense one out there that lays out a roadmap for people and gives them the tools to start making money online. The Niche Refinery feels like a complete game-changer to me. I got Darren’s e-mail yesterday and wondered how quickly it would take someone in the community to take a poke at the Third Tribe. I look forward to seeing Griz take it down a notch. No doubt Darren will have hurt his feelings by suggesting he is a nasty money-making, baby eating ogre.

Oh I think Griz has been taken by the great cold Canadian winter sometimes we have to make our own fun! Actually there was a thread in the community re the orginal “Johnny” post – when I saws the official email I couldn’t resist

I don’t read those blogs anymore, but good to see you keep us updated on everything what happens on the internet.
Social bloggers who teach you how to make money online, I think we keep seeing those membership sites coming and coming.
Sad for the people who really want to learn how to make money online.

Dennis 🙂

I saw a travel program about New Zealand. Damn everytime I see something about New Zealand it makes me flabbergasted about the beautyful places you have there 🙂

Gosh not everything – I would never get any work done! I’m afraid I have more digital photos of Australia than New Zealand – but I will try to fix that – Australia is quite pretty in places too!

Well Liz, did you actually join this time? As we all know from your Teaching Sells “review” you never actually joined that one, and admitted you simply wanted to rank for the term “Teaching Sells” is it worth it?”

At least you have good taste in WordPress themes. As before, have a nice day.

Brian I did the user name and email is not disguised – you should be able to see it on your database.

Great review – I hope people find this before they sign up. I got an email about it but just ignored it, and I’m glad I did now really. To be honest, I would kind of expect it to be dressed up as something more than it’s worth, I guess you’re right it would be a good lesson in selling something for a high value lol! Great review.

I just wanted to thank you for carrying out this little piece research for our benefit. The sales copy is so convincing that you can easily get sucked in. Before you know it, you have tapped in your credit card details and added to the pot of these celebrity bloggers.

I think I will stick to my very very slow but effective approach.

Thanks for the info.

The sales copy is very nice – a cut above the usual screaming red headline approach

Let’s talk branding.

Maybe I’m not new wave enough, but
gosh, most of us could probably come
up with a more magnetic term than

When was the last time one woke up
in the morning and sighed, “I sure
wish I could join a tribe today…”

I didn’t mind with Seth Godin used
the term, but this isn’t Seth. It also
isn’t the 1st tribe, or the 2nd tribe.
it’s the bronze medal 3rd tribe.


Tribe felt very 1960’s to me – that’s why I couldn’t find an appropraite video! We have a tribal event happening in a few days – I will post pics …

Thanks for the good review and love. I sat and watched the whole Lambo vid before anything else. What can I say I am a sucker for awesome cars. Plus I love TopGear.

Hopefully this will save some unwitting people some of their own hard earned cash.

Do as they do not as they say.

I cant believe that Darren would have the ability to field all of the things on his site, forum, all of these other sites and forums that he is a part of. They are just using the brand and good will. While sitting back and collecting the cash. Not a bad model. To bad it took Darren years to build that foundation and selling others on the possibility quicker is in my opinion wrong.

LOL Josh sorry about the time-wastin video – Clarkson at his best – the guy is so funny. Yes very wise words “do as they do not as they say” . Yes I wondered how Darren was differentiating the other forum (wahts that $5/month now?) and this one

Oh-oh… we go again….A bunch of snotty, holier than thou bloggers who have somehow managed to segment IMers (which most don’t know a thing about) into yet another “tribe.” Pretty funny.

Anyone who has read Seth Godin’s book would know that this has pretty much dumbed down his theory on tribes. After all, you and I are in a tribe…we seem to hang in the same circles and so do the people who we connect with….would that make us the 4th tribe?

From a marketing standpoint, I think that it makes for good copy. After all, who wants to admit that you are in the 1st tribe (no one likes the rich, obnoxious type…that is, unless you are one) and the 2nd tribe is no good either (if you ain’t making a living online and you are trying…what’s the point?). Why not create a easy-to-fit-in 3rd tribe that has all the best parts of tribe 2 and gives you a whiff of the money that tribe 1 is making….

Personally, I guess I really don’t have a problem with either group. I like guys like Frank Kern, John Carleton, ect. because they are marketers in the true sense.

I have to respect what ProBlogger has done as well as Brian Clark in terms of creating their own little network of followers. I actually read Johnny Truant here and there because I find his writing funny and like his off-the-cuff style. I don’t believe a word they say though, lol.

And although I wouldn’t go out and state that the 3rd tribe, as a site won’t help anyone make money. I think ultimately you get what you put into it. The problem is that, in the case of bloggers trying to “make it”, usually they have no other plan than to write content for their blog, scatter a little socializing into the mix and hope for the best that they will stick.

The funny thing is that once you have read one book on “ways to make money online”, you have pretty much read them all.

1. Find a hungry market using keyword research and market research.
2. Find the “long tails” of your market for easy entry.
3. Create content that is both good for the search engines and compelling enough for the visitor to want to click (or if you are using adsense, don’t bother with visitor experience).
4. Build links and funnels around your website using either 3rd party sites or your own to increase exposure.
5. Monetize content.
6. Repeat over and over and over.

How many more membership sites do we need to tell us that? I guess it depends on how many more ways marketers can twist it into saying it differently.

Anyway, thanks for the plug, lissie. By the way…I thought you were opposed to list marketing….;)

Hi Leo – well I thought if I gave you a plug then you would come and join my tribe… “Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya…” I must admit my first thought – was – havent you guys even been noticing what a whole bunch of “evil IMers” been doing for the last couple of years – clearly not was the answer to that one!

You said: “usually they have no other plan than to write content for their blog, scatter a little socializing into the mix and hope for the best that they will stick.” – that pretty much seems to be their business plan – as much as I could find one 🙂

I agree I like Truant’s writing style – in fact a number of the core group are excelllent writers – probably that’s their tribe.

hey Leo– I agree man, I like Frank Kern a lot! I would never buy his stuff, but just hearing him give a pitch gets me fired up.. gotta respect that!

“I’ve always been the outsider – we don’t need a tribe but many others don’t.”

Alright Lis… I need you to step away from the computer, stand on one foot and then sing the alphabet song backwards… Clearly, you’re too drunk to be blogging(or something…)

sounds like an expensive paid forum to me. Afterall, what could Darren be offering different inside the Third Tribe site that he hasn’t already published on his blog or in his other paid forum?
Here’s how you make passive money online.
Build sites (outside of MMO and IM and Tech), add content, get links.

The issue isn’t more systems or training… the issue is that people won’t work hard, won’t persist, and won’t take the time to be successful.

There are too many chiefs, and not enough Indians in the MMO sector. and it gets annoying when the big chiefs make bigger sites to draw in more little chiefs. It’s incest I tell you! Incest! 🙂

Hey Allyn you’re in the same tribe as Leo then LMAO – I wouldn’t join your paid membership sites though – you’ d make me work – yuck!

Right in your element. Telling things as it should be told. I actually wrote a piece about this albeit not so directly but then decided it would not fit into my blog and my audience so I sent it over to Grizz to see if he is interested.

Guess he is not. 🙂

Or maybe he is too busy to check his mail. 🙂

Just to clarify, Lis, since you’re not digging the site, you can and should get your money back. You’re not out that $27 unless you choose to be.

Obviously I wish you weren’t consistently gratuitously nasty about it. We work hard on the site to make it valuable for people. For those who think that Darren is some kind of cynical bad guy, I’ve got to tell you, he’s the same quiet, nice, rather humble guy you see in his videos on Problogger. He’s just a geniunely nice person. As is Brian. As is Chris. (I, on the other hand, am perfectly rotten.)

Not sure why I come over here as it makes me feel horrible, but I guess I wanted to let people know that we’re actually human beings with feelings who are trying to do something cool. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. But I have to wonder if this pile-on is really making anyone in this comment thread any happier, or doing anything for your business.

Thanks Sonia for commenting. Actually I don’t think I am being “gratutiously nasty” by pointing out that where I see the deficiencies in your system. I didn’t attack the “names” behind it. You are in business, you are charging people money in a market full of con artists (in fact one of your USPs) , you need to be able to defend yourselves. In fact I have never said what my opinion is on Darren and others – I have no opinion on their personalities – I’ve never met them. In fact I am happy to say that yes in general “your tribe” is reasonably civilised in your comments have not yet attacked me death threats or unfounded legal actions as other trolls supporting different products have.

I am not hard on you – I barely know you – but I don’t like the company you keep. Specifically I don’t like Teaching Sells as I’ve said before – but its worth repeating here again – Brian crashed my dreams at the time – he destroyed me – he saw me crying my eyes out, leaving my dreams behind and returning to employment. He “taught” me that because I wasn’t already an expert on anything useful in a commercial sense (I have a degree in Geology, another in computer sicence, a number of MBA level papers, an extremely good general knowledge in the areas of travel and history, Star Trek and Dr Who), and far more importantly I had not idea how to be a salesman – I could only make money by being dishonest – by teaching something I didn’t know much about – and I wasn’t prepared to be that .

You see I was smart enough to know from the start that the shiny red sports car, the skinny blonds and the big ugly houses were scams. I think 90% of people looking for information on making money online are. But Brian conned me far more effectively – he sounded reasoanble and intelligent (which I am sure he is) – he made me feel that yes I could do what he did. Until I stepped back and thought about it – and tried to explain it to someone offline. And then I realised I’d just be the consultant saying yes of course we can produce a blue widget but its gonna cost you a retainer of $25000/month – while rushing out of the client’s office to google “what’s a blue widget”.

I went and got a job – it took me about 6 months to give my dream another go. I wouldn’t say I’ve “made it yet” – but I am past the point of wondering whether you can make money online ethically – you can. In fact I know I can currently make an online income which would see me comfortable in most of the world.

Many people aren’t though – many people really want or indeed have to, make money independtly of a job – online. But its hard and the hard bit isn’t SEO (Leo summarised 90% of what you need to know above in his comment) – its about the mindset. Its lonely, its boring work, it takes a while to see the fruit of your efforts.

Its easier to hang with the cool kids and get lots of hand holding and virtual hugs in an online forum. But doing that has never made anyone, except those collecting the checks from the forum – any money.

There are a 1000 odd members of the keyword academy – everyone of those can develop a substantal or fulltime income online if they put the work in and do what they have been taught. If you get to a 1000 members at the Third Tribe – will each of them, those that work, go on and become successful “pro bloggers”? How many flagship blogs about blogging can the market handle? Just a thought …

Hm, that is very interesting.

Those are a lot of questions to answer, I will give them some thought.

I can see where you’re coming from with TS, although actually I think that someone with your drive and skills could quite easily build sites even though you’re not an “expert” — not by faking it, at all, but by partnering with someone who *is* an expert, but for whom building and marketing a membership site looks a lot like climbing Everest in bike shorts and flip flops. We have TS folks whose business model is basically that (and Brian’s done it before he started CB), they become silent partners and create the showcase for someone else’s expertise.

Blogging about blogging is one of the worst topics anyone could possibly choose. Notice that Darren makes his real money on his photography blog, not Problogger. Third Tribe isn’t remotely about creating 1000 Copyblogger clones (that would be pretty gross), but about reproducing that model (direct response copywriting, loads of good content, and a little kumbaya to create great customer relationships) for whatever the topic may be. It doesn’t translate terribly well to pills, porn and casinos 🙂 but it does translate to stuff like weight loss or natural health or parenting or gardening, etc.

What it translates rather poorly to is long-tail keywords, because of the nature & rhythm of the model. You wouldn’t do a blog post a week on male yeast infections, to use Ed D’s immortal phrase. So what we teach is not terribly useful if that’s your thing. And our schtick isn’t really about passive income either, at least not for the first couple of years for most people.

I don’t agree that hand-holding in the forums can’t get people to make money — I’ve seen some tremendous things in my (much, much, much smaller) membership site. It’s not just blowing smoke up each other’s backsides, it’s support and challenge and helping people get moving when they’re stuck on something. I’ve got people who had been stuck for years, who are suddenly moving again. Some people benefit a lot from that kind of networking, others just don’t see much use in it.

Anyway, thank you for explaining about some of the background. I feel really badly that Brian’s communication gave you such an awful setback. But I’m glad you’re back.

And thanks for the helpful comments in the ITT forums, as well.


It doesn’t translate terribly well to pills, porn and casinos 🙂 but it does translate to stuff like weight loss or natural health or parenting or gardening, etc.

pretty much describes the perfect niche site for long-tails, those are popular topics for people developing long-tail orientated sites. The question is does the reader really want to hang around and read about gardening each week – or do they just want to know what to do about “brown spots on roses” (I made that up but I think what my roses died of (gardening is totally not one of my niches LOL).

What I support and do – is not black hat – is purely white hat – its not about giving poor value to the reader – its all about giving perfect value – but its not about long-term relationships either – because most people who want a fix for their roses -want it now not an ongoing forum about garden problems.

Don’t feel sorry for me – I needed to toughen up and Brian was one who (inadvertantly) made me do so. But it will always been a trigger point for me – a actually think slick markerters like him REALLY don’t understand their effect on the rest of us – and honestly most people online are not don’t understand how allergic to sales most people are.

And yes bloggigng about blogging is an awful place to start – I feel bad about this blog because of it – it really did start off as a “web log” – an online diary of my progress – that’s why I go way off topic quite often …

Oh and Brian is dead wrong on SEO almost always – and I don’t take anyone’s word on that I test for myself.

You lost me when you said “not about long-term relationships” – I think if you are not keeping a lot of visitors sticking around long term then you are making life much harder on yourself.

Why settle for a high bounce rate when you can build relationships? Why settle for constantly trying to get new visitors when you can build a business around loyal community?

Chris I don’t want to make money from people who read my blog about amusing journey around the blogosphere, life the world etc. Sure sometimes someone is nice and buys thru an affiliate link – most of us figure that if we are going to buy a product anyways we might as well give someone we know the commission. But realistically what the they hell am I going to sell them over and over? How to make money online – read Grizz’s blog or sign up for the keyword academy – its all really I use. The T-shirt with my average photos – I dont think so 🙂 Don’t get me wrong its fun to have people reading and they do – the bounce rate isn’t too bad and the feedreader count I’m quite proud off because all those people have subscribed because they wanted to not to get any free report or anything.

I also write certain topics here because I know I will rank well in the search engines – and then I get the people wondering if they should buy certain products – and sometimes they don’t buy those products because they read my blog first. Call it Karma – call it playing forward but I am only living my dream today because people helped me for free – so I try to do the same for the next person. I don’t do it to build trust, I don’t do ito build a list and I don’t do because of “recipocracy” (probably spelt that one wrong – Darren taught me a new word) – I do it because others did for me.

I’ve made friends thru this blog and even learned to use my spell check – these are good things – but essentially this blog is a cross between a hobby and a place to vent with my virtual friends who understand this weird online place I work in – my real friends and family just pat me gently on the head.

“I don’t want to make money from people who read my blog”

Now I am really confused 🙂

Anyway, have fun doing what you do. You are happy with it clearly so who am I to question 🙂

“Now I am really confused”…..

It seems confusing, I know. However, I am an avid reader of Problogger, Copyblogger, Griz, and Liz, and through it all I’ve begun to see a clear difference of approach based on personality and preferences.

(However, I haven’t joined anything like the “Third Tribe” because I’m 1.) broke and 2.) not ready to spend the time needed to make building an online business worth it. So I have no opinion on anything beyond the free blogs and newsletters.)

Darren and the folk over at Copyblogger, whatever they are like in “real life”, are true internet marketers. They build a site as experts in a topic (and the info is good, in my opinion), make connections with repeat readers, learn what those readers are willing to purchase, and then sell it to them. It’s VERY much like a mom and pop grocery store – or candy store – or whatever. Find a specialty, find customers, sell products. If you don’t know how to fix bikes (or whatever the niche), but you have good business savvy, hire someone else to fix bikes while you run the business.

I happen to believe that the “Third Tribe” folk really believe in their approach and the products/information they sell. And I have been especially impressed, as a writer, with the information from Copyblogger.

But they are not ashamed to admit they are sales people – search engine traffic is a nice bonus, but the real idea is to be a business that provides a product to repeat customers.

Griz and Liz clearly aren’t sales people. They’ve both made it well known that they are uncomfortable selling to people they have a relationship with, unless they REALLY believe in the product. And even then, they don’t like doing it over and over again, because they feel bad, as if they are “fleecing” their friends.

So they use SEO and niche sites and aim for more search engine traffic that will click to buy something but never stay to build that relationship.

Not that they don’t WANT the relationships – just that they don’t want to sell to people they know.

Besides, Problogger and Copyblogger’s way is not truly passive, and Griz and Liz both want at least some passive income, which means it can’t be dependent on relationship building or creating new stuff to sell.

The two drastically different priorities clearly means that the two sides don’t agree on a lot of stuff. Sometimes, though, I think they all forget that they really are in two camps and doing two entirely different kinds of businesses.

If you want to sell to the people just wandering through, why waste the time on social stuff? (unless you are sure it will raise your rank through backlinks. so it’s not a total waste.).

But if you want to sell to repeat customers, why WOULDN’T you do the social stuff? It’s rather central to the business!

In my opinion, Third Tribe probably offers some value (albeit far too steep for my pocket book!), to the relationship-based business.

But if I were focusing on internet search engine traffic, I wouldn’t waste the money.

Hope that clears up a little confusion!

Frazzled Mom you leave me speechless (trust me that’s rare!) – you understand me better than I do myself. I must admit I didn’t have an answer to Chris’s comment – it was like some saying to me “I don’t like chocolate” – it was so far outside my experience of life I had no come back to it!

You get it – yes totally – I don’t like being around salesmen and I don’t want to piss off people I know by selling to them! Thanks for clarifying this – really I have been hanging out in the Third Tribe forums and pretty much just scratching my head – not understanding what I was seeing there.

The thing is I think I’m the majority of the population by the popular Interent tradtiion of making up statistics I suspect over 92.1% of people don’t want to be salesmen – so perhaps they should be looking further than copyblogger and problogger for their inspiration?

I think I understand now. You do not want to grow a repeat audience or like to make money with products or affiliate sales but would rather use search engine traffic to bring in visitors and monetize with ads?

A little while ago I had a photography blog where ads were only switched on for people referred by search engines. Regular visitors would not see them. I sold that site, but it did work well.

I have good friends who do that too and I respect that. Not everyone has the time or attention to spend engaging people so the “hands off” option works better for them, or they want to not be personally involved, for privacy reasons etc.

It’s not my route, but I can respect that people have different view points. If we were all the same life would be dull 😉

What I like about my approach is I get to know my audience and it feels good when they tell me my products and services have helped them. Feeding my family while helping people is a nice thing. It would feel strange to not know any of the people who read my stuff and there is nothing sleazy about being paid for your work or getting a commission for a genuine recommendation. For the people who are not in the market to buy something, I still like to offer loads of free content and have conversations on blogs and email.

Purely tactically, having a repeat audience and RSS/email subscribers protects you from Google radically changing search placements as they do occasionally 🙂

Glad to be of service to you both. I’m all about communication. 🙂

Yes, Lis, I agree that those wanting true passive income should not rely on just Problogger, Copyblogger, etc. for advice, because they are really about using writing as an online business.

But that said, even those wanting pure passive income can learn there – good tips on principles like self-discipline and integrity, as well as which ads might work well when. As long as they refer to other people like Griz regarding the technical side of things to generate good search traffic.

(By the way, sorry for misspelling your name repeatedly in the prior comment. 🙁 )
I am halfway between. I want some passive stuff, so I’m trying to learn from Griz on SEO and such, but I think as I progress in my (off-line) career I could provide some repeat value in the form of knowledge such as e-books. But I’m not there yet, and I won’t sell until I really have something valuable.

So for now I read and lurk in all kinds of places regarding making money online, soaking up from people with more experience. 🙂


The old saying goes like this…..You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make the horse drink. I sure wish you would send me an email when you get ready to put one of these post’s up.

I am always willing to help!

I like the fact that you went “beyond” what was required… to sign up for the intellectual training course of the third tribe “potential” or “obvious” scam that is awaiting a group of unknowing inexperienced newbies on the internet.

@ Chris Garrett

I understand what you are saying but what you do not understand is why you are saying it.

It is a big world out there and there is allot to learn. (the part where you are confused) is why I had to say something. Read the first sentence in this post and that is the answer.



Dirk – you greatly overestimate my planning ability – the scenario goes something like this. I am supposed to be doing some work – you know getting links or some such – I check my email. There is a particularly annoying email promoting a particulary obnoxious offer. I check the SERPs – the relevant keywords are really easy, I write – a lot … Griz wakes up and now I have to write more cause I got all these comment to answer (not being a Third triber I figure I should actually answer people who do me the favour of providing free content for my blog – rather than charge them a fee to join a forum to have the conversation!) – yup I am absolutely missing something in this scenario – but its fun!

I understand what you are saying but what you do not understand is why you are saying it.

hmm think you confused even dsylexic old me on that one!


The part where your dyslexic old you was confused was for your fan Chris, not for you.

Hope it is clear now, if not it is ok to forget about it.

Looks like Grizz is # 8 for “The Third Tribe” and you are #16 & 17 in my search. (sending a few links) any specific long-tails? Send an email.

This post that you wrote was awesome and really covered the absolute truth to what the third tribe is about.

I remember someones post called “how to make money reading forums”
It went like this……..

#1 read forum
#2 ?
#3 Profit

All you have to do is fill in #2 and you will be making money reading forums.


Hi Lis,

My apologies for being late to the party (as always). I did want to say thank you for giving me such a generous plug for my eBook.

I can see you raised more than a few eyebrows with your post and probably got Griz all worked up to publish his post.

While I do agree with the general message of what’s being said about blogging blogs I would also like to point out that many newbies are leading themselves into their own demise due to seeking fast riches. Heck, I’ve done the same thing when I first got started online. To be honest, it was a combination of greed and being sold on an impossible dream that saw me buy thousands of dollars of blogging riches products back then.

But if I’m totally honest, I let myself being sold to. So is it so bad that there is someone supplying a demand?

It took me a while to learn that there is no such thing as getting rich fast. There is also no secret to becoming successful.

People buy too easily into the easy, money-making systems because of their own greed. Until they start to take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming others for not making a dime nothing will ever change and the likes of Darren Rowse will keep cashing in on that greed.

I have nothing against Darren since I don’t know the guy. Like Griz I don’t approve of his business model, but then who am I to judge people like him.

He does his thing, I do mine. I can sleep well at night and if Darren can too then great. Chances are he doesn’t give two hoots about what is being said because he keeps making his profits.

Let’s face it, we do live in a fast-paced world. We are sold to every single minute of the day – even while we sleep.

If we are honest, every person selling something has their own motivations for making money. Darren does it with his blogging products, Griz sells information by creating Adsense sites or product affiliate sites, I sell my services as a copywriter and you sell stuff on eBay.

In the end, we are all in it to make money – to pay the bills, enjoy a bit of a lifestyle and live happily ever after.

Unfortunately the online field is a grey zone. Just about every business model has some questionable attributes. It’s where we draw the line that sets us apart in the end.

Kudos to you Lis for stepping right into the ring – fearless as always.

Interesting Monika – not that your’re late that’s expected 🙂 but your comment re people wanting to be sold to – I’m doing a weird introspective post as a follow up as I type this …

Yeah, I guess I got a little bit psychological there. But if you think about it it’s certainly got some truth in it. Many people who seek online riches want them now!

They don’t want to do the hard work, they don’t want to wait for their income to grow and they certainly don’t want to hear that they need a good kick up the ass to make their business work.

I see it all the time on my blog. For years I’ve been giving away information away for free, spending hours sharing my knowledge, my failures, my successes.

Yet, people keep sending me emails asking me how to become a successful freelance writer – duh! I mean everything is basically laid out for free on the site – if one is willing to dig down and herein lies the problem – most people are not.

They are too slack to make an effort to even read the information – they seek the easy, fast way to get answers, all the while not realising that I can’t possibly give them advice with one small email response, so they keep asking and asking.

Tell me, why can’t they take the time to read the free information? Why do they buy my product or one of the many available when the information is in fact free available on the Internet?

The answer of course is they are slack – they want info now. Just IMHO.

I was extremely lucky because one of my mentors gave me a verbal kick up the arse just when I needed it – guess what – I did more work I made more money – who’d have figured that!

Really enjoyed this article!
Well, it’s just another newbie-trap, isn’t it? I gotta say, I’m not even mad at them for making the “slimy marketers, kumbaya-hippies and us” generalization. They are creating a scenario that gives their offer “unique” value. Pretty standard obnoxious marketing stuff… oh, wait…


Hey Lis,
Do you know if you can sign up to TKA any other way other than using Paypal? I wanted to at least sign up for the first month (I can’t afford longer – exchange rate $ to South African Rand puts it out of my reach for longer).

I don’t have a paypal account – using paypal in South Africa is a bit under-supported (painful) so was wondering if there is another way.

Thanks for the info.

Sorry Jarron I am behind in my commenting! If you email them at support at thekeywordacademy dot com Iam sure they will sort you out – I’ve seen other people have the same problem

I actually looked at it when it came out and I saw some of the posts on it but never for a minute did I consider signing up for it. I saw it for what it was, another avenue for making money and I see nothing wrong with that. As long as people are happy to fork over the money why shouldn’t they ask for it?

“paid communities do have a lot less trolls”

Except those who are prepared to pay for the privilege of being a troll of course.

Hey Lissie, if you’re in love with the Murci review by him, you should check out his review of the Ariel Atom. It morphs his face… pretty damn funny! 😀

Lost contact with you on TKA, and had a few minutes before I was heading to bed… fate brought me to this post somehow.

Things going good, I hope?

I’ve been looking for a way to make money online for years and it hasn’t worked yet. I don’t think I’m a member of any of those three tribes – I’m more of the ‘sign up to various scams and find they don’t work’ tribe. I’ve tried selling things (barely covered my overdraft), writing blogs (couldn’t be arsed after writing one) and doing online surveys (great if you’re trying to make about £5 a month). I may try some of these suggestions.

Garden Gift – work out whether you are looking for an online job (freelancing etc) or a business – its well possible to make a living online but its not something you can learn to do in few months – it took me 18 months to still be earning less that $150/month to really focus on what I had to do and then just doing it.

I joined third tribe for a month and left for some of the reasons you describe. For the first couple of weeks I was seduced by the cuddly feeling of being part of a tribe of clever people who do well by helping each other out. But despite the community interaction being the main point of the site, I found the forum posts rather vague and general. Yes there was lots of “keep up the good work” and other forms of encouragement but little else. Part of the problem perhaps was that it seemed highly focussed on making-money-online-through-blogging-only rather than broader internet marketing strategies. I am in real estate and found no-one on the forum to share experiences with. Perhaps I left to early? But perhaps not. I’m actually getting more quality interaction from a free guest blogging network that I joined. (Did you join partnering profits? Are you in Australia?)

Hi Claudia – basically most of the people on the forums were looking for help and were fairly new to working online – the “big names” weren’t involved enough when I was a member to provide any real content on the forums. Forums are tricky to manage – I haven’t done it myself – but I’ve seen good forums go bad (rarely the opposite) – and it needs strong leadership to get it right.

I agree – that’s my whole problem with the whole “3rd tribe” way – its about making yourself famous via your blog and using your brand to sell your skills, bet the book deal, get the speeaking gig. Its very narrow and highly unlikely to work for most people. Freelancing on the other hand is not that hard at all if you have the skills and the ability to market yourself – and they didn’t appear to be teaching that
I was in Australia for a couple of years – now in New Zealand, not heard of Partnership proftis.

Very good video, i like it very much. Making Money online is not that easy, as it was a few years ago. You need a long breath to bring your company up. But then you can earn much money by doing nothing 😉

Thanks for this review and the comments. I tip my hat to them for extremely compelling copy; I had my credit card in hand. However I have trained myself to Google everything I’m about to throw plastic at before I do it. At $97 up front it’d be an expensive lesson.

The problem with most people and “Internet Marketing Strategies” is jumping from one things to the next. A great number of systems can work…. but you have to get off your butt and take consistent action.

I have to agree with you there Liz! I’ve noticed that Internet marketing is a never ending story. There’s always more to optimize and advertise. Especially linkbuilding. That’s one area of SEO that’ll never run out of enough pages to link from.

Lis, correct me if I’m wrong but all of these things like the Third Tribe, Scribe SEO, etc… loosely sound sort of like an online version of a pyramid scheme.

No Jay they aren’t pyramid schemes – pyramids deliver nothing – these products do deliver something. They are however heavily marketing because affiliates get a reasonable cut for introducing new customers – that’s pretty standard practice online though

Definitely not a scam but probably just something that isn’t as necessary as it makes out. People don’t need to belong to any kind of tribe, just let people get on with their own way of making money because I think everyone is different anyway. In the end if you just keep working hard it doesn’t matter which system you’re using.

You really don’t seem to like them! I support your right to write about them but you do seem to have several negative reviews of Third Tribe. I am not perhaps the best person to comment because as a rabid fan of the Third Tribe founders (ESPECIALLY Johnny B Truant), but I would just like to add my support here for the Third Tribe. I have learned a lot and felt welcomed by the community.

and no, I am not affiliated with CopyBlogger, Darren Rowse, or Third Tribe.



Actually Nanci – the first thing I noticed on your site was a honking great big affiliate ad for sEO Scribe – so I think you are affiliated with them 🙂 I find the “Johnny B Truant” persona deeply and no doubt unintentionally ironic – how can you be authentic and hide behind a pseudonym? How can you claim to teach people how to make money when in fact he’s built a business by telling people how to make money and writing humourous pieces?

Most of us aren’t talented writers – I sure ain’t – and building a business as a coach basically means you are always in the position of taking money from the next beginner to pay for your lifestyle – its not QUITE network marketing but…

I ended up on”their” marketing list. I don’t like Brian’s attitude of if you can’t afford to spend $2000 with me (or invest $2k in yourself as he would put it) – you are shite and will never succeed in this business. Frankly I don’t personally dislike Rowse or the Third Tribe

I write multiple reviews with similar titles for SEO purposes – as you are writing an SEO book you will understand that. They may even have got a slightly more positive review from for 3T – except I got unilaterally thrown out of the community when Brian got pissed off with my SEO Scribe review

The problem is that many people need to make the mistakes for themselves to learn from them. Smart guys learn from the mistakes of others, dumb people do every crappy move themselves all over again.

I think that someone with your drive and skills could quite easily build sites even though you’re not an expert not by faking it, at all, but by partnering with someone who *is* an expert, but for whom building and marketing a membership site looks a lot like climbing Everest in bike shorts and flip flops. Definitely not a scam but probably just something that isn’t as necessary as it makes out. People don’t need to belong to any kind of tribe, just let people get on with their own way of making money because I think everyone is different anyway. Thank you.

Lissie, I know this review is about a year old, but regardless of what you think of Johnny B Truant and the others, I got value from just one month’s membership to Third Tribe.

Frankly you sounded really hacked off that they were making a success of themselves.

Paying $47 for ONE MONTH’S membership to get my hands on over 30 hours of quality information in the form of seminars and Q&A sessions from hugely successful folks who have been there, done it and worn the t-shirt is a bargain IMHO.

If I got value, no doubt plenty of other novices did too, even though you felt you didn’t.

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