Web Bums, Beggars and Deadbeats

A rant.

Dear Business-Builder,

I’ve been Googling myself again …

Just to see what kind of scuttlebutt we’re getting on the web these days. That always cheers me up.

And, I found 199,999 positive listings about The Total Package – and one crappy one …

Now don’t get me wrong – the vast majority of the hundreds of thousands of websites that mention us say only good things.

But in one of them – just one – I found a site owner who’s bitching about the fact that we offer products <gasp> FOR SALE!

Now, this person said nothing about the more than 1,000 articles that we offer in our archives – thousands upon thousands of pages packed with business-building, career-building, response-building insights and advice – all for free.

… Or that we bring you the best response-boosting and money-making ideas, advice and insights from legendary pros like Drayton Bird, Gary Bencivenga, Bob Bly, Yanik Silver, Michael Masterson and many others – all for free.

… Or that we bring you tons of extra ways to intensify and broaden your understanding of direct marketing with fantastic articles about what’s working now by working pros like Daniel Levis, Troy White, Carline Anglade-Cole, Wendy Montes de Oca, and others – all for free.

… Or that we’ve also gone to the trouble to create a comprehensive direct response glossary and other online tools you can use anytime – all for free.

… Or that we spend a not-so-small fortune to pay the wonderful employees – administrators, web designers and subscriber services people to bring all of this to you – all for free.

… Or that our readers have sent us nearly 2,000 unsolicited letters thanking us for all of this and saying how much money we’ve added to their income – all for free.

… Or that neither Wendy nor I or anyone else in my family has ever taken a single solitary penny in return for all this – or that every dime earned through the sale of our products is re-invested to help more marketers grow their businesses – all for free.

No, this bitter, angry old gasbag has her panties in a knot because we also offer a handful of products for sale.

Now I’m not sure; but I can only assume that this holier-than-thou blogger gives away her work product for free – and then panhandles on street corners for change needed to stuff Big Macs into her gaping pie hole.

Otherwise, she is worse than just a harmless idiot. She’s also a brazen hypocrite.

But such is the Web. A place where millions of deadbeats have come to believe that they are entitled to benefit from the fruit of others’ labors for free. And most amusing, a place where charlatans posing as marketers can deride good people who overdeliver and undercharge for great products online.

Now, I’d like to be able say this is the very first time
anyone has said anything this stupid to us or about us.

Unfortunately, it is not.

The fact that we spend a bunch of time, skull sweat and money to create in-depth educational products for our readers – and then have the effrontery to ask a fair price for them – has offended other readers over the years.

Heck: I even included a passage for these folks in our “Welcome Aboard” letter – and I quote:

“… Every once-in-a-while, some yahoo is insulted that we have the unmitigated gall to ask for money in return for a service rendered or a product delivered.

“They’re shocked – SHOCKED, I tell you – that we would dare to advertise and market a product in an e-letter on advertising and marketing(!).

“My advice to these guys? “If you think it’s wrong to ask for money in return for bringing tremendous value to people … if you think advertising is evil … there is a very good chance that you could be … IN THE WRONG BUSINESS!

“’Nevertheless,’” I continue, ‘you can still enjoy The Total Package without getting your panties in a knot: Just resolve not to think of our ads as ads!

“’Pretend they’re like a swipe file: Real-world samples of some pretty darned effective sales copy by a top writer that you get for FREE – in addition to your free subscription!’”

“There.” I said, having written the passage above, “That should allow any spoiled-rotten, world-owes-me-a-living bum, mooch or deadbeat … any schizophrenic, conflicted, muddle-minded airhead who holds himself out as a marketer but who inwardly despises marketing … any commie bastard who believes it’s our duty to sweat, strain and spend our money to help them.

“Now even those morons can enjoy The Total Package – just by pretending our promos are just free additions to their swipe files.”

Evidently, it hasn’t worked as well as I’d hoped.

So is there a point in all this? A lesson to be learned?

Sure. Three, in fact.

First, if you’re going to do anything with your life, you need to know right up front that you will have critics.

Scratch that. First, you’ll have doubters. Friends, family, even spouses who can’t dream as big as you can. Hopefully, they’ll love you enough to support you anyway.

But then, as you actually begin to succeed, a jealous and insecure few will attempt to reduce you through criticism. Because the bigger you get, the smaller they feel. And of course, the more successful you are, the more critics you’re likely to get.

A while back, a presidential candidate was heard to say, “You know you’re over the target when you begin taking flak.” When losers criticize you, consider it a badge of honor.

Second, examine your core beliefs. You’d be surprised at how many people who inwardly hate marketing have chosen to become marketers simply because they believe it’s a good way to make money.

The best marketers are those who rejoice every time a well-done promotion hits their mailbox or inbox … who study it carefully for the thoughts behind the thoughts and for the nuances that make the difference between merely great copy and truly excellent copy.

As the great Bob King is famous for saying, marketing should be the art and science of bringing value to consumers’ lives at a price that is insignificant relative to that value.

If the products you promote do that, you are doing mankind a favor. Any core belief that prevents you from feeling good about improving your prospects’ lot in life should be unceremoniously discarded.

Of course, if you don’t honestly believe the products you’re promoting provide tremendous value, you’ll be a much happier and much more fulfilled person if you’ll find another product that does.

And if you’re promoting great products and still despise what you do, please – for Buddha’s sake – find another career! No amount of money in the world is worth loathing yourself for earning it.

Third, everything in life – including a free subscription to The Total Package – is a transaction. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. Or as Robert Heinlein was wont to say, “TANSTAAFL.” Or, as the Apostle Paul famously wrote, “"You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."

Never, never, NEVER hesitate to require compensation that’s commensurate with the value you’re bringing to your clients.

Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Clayton Makepeace Signature
Clayton Makepeace
Publisher & Editor

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32 Responses to Web Bums, Beggars and Deadbeats

  1. Chris says:

    Complainer must be a democrap.

  2. jason says:

    … This is one of the most entertaining, hard hitting, and explosive posts I’ve ever read. Your the man Clayton…

  3. Bill says:

    Well said. And, needs to be said more often, by more people. Too many people today have been indoctrinated starting in our school system early on (including the current occupant at the White House) to think that “selling”, “profit” and “private enterprise” are words that should be associated with greed and selfishness. But, somehow it’s Ok for them to siphon money money through taxes or something other than the honest exchange of value for money. Clayton, thank you for your newsletter and all the resources you provide free of charge. You are proof that successful entrepreneurs give back far more in value than they make in profits, something that can’t be said for the parasites who only bitch and complain.

  4. Linda Byam says:

    Clayton and all y’all: I try every year to tell you folks how much I appreciate all the invaluable information and insight you provide – at no cost – to all of us. Here it is for 2011: Thank you. Yes, I have also bought products from you and considered the cost very reasonable. Yet the free stuff is invaluable. Again, my thanks. Linda

  5. John Forde says:

    Hey Clayton… I just want to publicly note that this past week, I forked over nigh on $300 for your business system product… and I’m happy to have done so.

    I’m willing to bet that I could have sweet-talked someone over there into a comp copy, but as I’ve told Bob Bly in the past, I’ve gotten so much from you guys that I’m happy to contribute toward your continued benevolence, even if I have to resort to stealth purchases to do it.

    I never understand the motivation of people complaining about ads, but most especially I don’t understand it from aspiring marketers… what do they think this industry is built upon, anyway?

  6. Perhaps her Mom and Pop send her a check every month. so she’s so far out of touch with reality, she truly believes money grows on trees.

    The brutal truth – as my old sales manager used to say – is: “Nothing happens until somebody SELLS something.”

    Keep up the good work, you guys and gals, because the rest of us appreciate all your sheer professionalism and are happy to pay for the pure gold you sell.

  7. John Gilger says:

    Enjoyed your rant :) Especially since it echos some of my own grumpy thoughts.

    You complainer sounds a lot like a couple of my relatives (I haven’t figured which of us is the black sheep in this herd) They’re happy to be on welfare and expecting the world to cater to their whims… always taking and never giving.

    As someone who owns and has studied nearly all your products, I’m always happy to hear about a new one.

  8. Richard says:

    Dear Mr. Makepeace,

    We have never met, and me being naturally skeptical, I went online to see if what you said is true.

    Sure enough, my own research confirms that you do indeed …… “Sell Stuff”.

    After all these years of visiting your website … well, you can only imagine my disgust.


    I would like to add one more thing if I may … “Thanks”


    P.S.) I will pray for you soul.

  9. Neal Browne says:

    I can truly understand your rant, your irritation. Your title was correct. Mine is a relatively small contribution, considering what some people buy, but every product I have bought over the months from my AWAI connection has overdelivered stunningly! Anyone who DOESN’T see the value here is too stupid to argue with anyway.

  10. Richard says:

    Damn, my first post ever, and I screwed-it-up.

    Please make that last sentence “your soul”, not “you soul”.

    Don’t you just “hate it” when that happens?

    Thanks again,


  11. Alecs says:

    Clayton, thank you for your newsletter and all the resources you provide free of charge. You are proof that successful entrepreneurs give back far more in value than they make in profits, something that can’t be said for the parasites who only bitch and complain.Every day enjoy reading your posts.

  12. Clay says:

    Goodness! Let’s pray for the Cotton-Headed Ninny-Muggins “gasbag” to get a clue in 2011. Hopefully this post will blast through knot in her panties.

    Bless her heart.

    Thank you, Clayton & Wendy, for offering a treasure trove of business building goodness – FREE. You are both appreciated BIGTIME.


  13. Tom Jones says:

    I’m sure there are people who would gladly pay for the regular e-mail you send out – I would!

    A totally free world would be a lot poorer for it!

  14. Oretta says:

    Loved the comments, they were right on time! It seems that FREE is expected these days, and the last time “I” checked, “FREE” didn’t pay the light bill!! Thanks for the valuable content you and your team provide, and thanks for re-emphasizing that we all deserve to get paid for the products and services we provide. Best Wishes!!….

  15. Astrid says:

    Hey Clayton,

    Just wondering why you are getting YOUR undies in a knot over one nincompoop in thousands?

    I guess it made for a good post.

    Right on.

  16. Thank-you everyone at The Total Package.
    As I’m on the benefit I have had to pass on all your produces that you were selling. My bad luck.
    Your on the net for what, to help people and also make money so please keep up the good work and don’t get your knickers in a twist to much or it could be a bit uncomfortable. lol.
    Thank-you again and I will look forward to the next entertaining installment.

  17. mark woodward says:

    Even though I only scratch the surface of your emails; on-line articles; interviews, etc. I have gained so much, I’m reluctant to say knowledge as that would assume I know what I’m talking about :-) , knowledge which has been and continues to be invaluable in many aspects of my work.

    If the complainers want to complain, then let them, are they too stupid to understand there there is an OPTION to buy, its not compulsory. If they don’t understand well… I have this bridge for sale, in London England, a real good price…

  18. Nick says:

    Dear Clayton,

    First, let me thank you for all these free stuff you’re publishing. Your writing style is very inspirational. I’m sure that if you would write about quantum mechanics it would be interesting to read. (sorry if I messed up grammar, I’m Russian and have a problem with foreign languages).

    Second, I was born and grew up in USSR. And even in USSR they used advertising. I don’t talk about propaganda, I talk about real ads. For example, we only had an one bank with branches in every corner of our country. And this bank used ads extensively. Ads for saving accounts, ads for money transfer and etc.

    My point is, advertising and marketing been there for ages. In every country. And majority of people is ok with it.

    Don’t worry about some stupid @$#hole. They exist everywhere. Irony is that I’m sure they buy products and influenced by the same ads as you and I.


  19. David Graska says:

    Hey Clayton,

    The dogs bark and the caravan moves on.

    Anyone who consistently reads… and vastly benefits… from all the great freebies you give away through The Total Package, comes to a point (like I did) of kind of being shamed into buying your stuff because it just doesn’t feel right to keep stealing all the time.

    And yeah, you can get a great education from all your free stuff. But you give so much value in what you do sell, for modest prices, that it’s almost like stealing that too.


  20. Dear Clayton,

    I loved this post!

    Simply LOVED it! Why?

    Because when you get ‘all FIRED UP’ you POUND out the COPY and WRITE like a CRAZY MAD MAN!

    It’s awe inspiring!

    Reading your copy WHEN YOU ARE REALLY PI** OFF makes a person just swooon… it’s so smokin’ HOT AND — well… just GUT-WRENCHING EMOTIONAL!


    I gotta admit what you have offered for FREE – yes I am repeating that hateful word “FREE”…

    Had more impact to my bottom line in 2010 than J. Carlton’s Simple Writing System packed (but lightened my wallet $2,000… ) Ah… the power of knowledge after the fact. Oh John does a good job with his course, but for really killer emotion laced copy THAT SELLS… I got to admit you’re the best I’ve EVER read.

    I’ve got all your stuff and HAPPILY BUY IT will patiently wait for more….! For every dollar I have spent with you has returned to me a ten thousand times over!

    Clayton, here’s to hopin’ your underwear fits well!

    You keep us all on our toes and keep us all thinking that giving back with FREE STUFF is the way to a better seat in heaven! I am catholic and I do say AMEN to that.

    People just are so money hungry (and time selfish) these days with what they GIVE, we are all so stingy and we should take a leaf from Clayton’s Book!

    Take care and keep writin’, ’cause your copy just simply makes my day!

    Jennie Heckel
    Wisconsin Copywriter

  21. Clayton love the post.

    I am just so grateful for your daily dose of reality, ideas and wisdom.

    I have learn’t so much over the years from your daily newsletter and applied different things into my business.

    Your newsletter is enormously valuable. I have been very appreciative of the opportunity to purchase products from you to enhance my own knowledge and business.

    Anyone who thinks you shouldn’t sell should be booking into the rest home and seeking head treatment!

    Thanks mate. I appreciate it all.


    Alistair Gray

  22. ken ca|houn says:

    Hey Clayton, as a longtime customer and fan of yours, (and implementer and “guy who profits by doing what Clayton says” person), I know that you move the free line as far as anyone, giving away tons of great content here in addition to making your best stuff available to buy. You’re on the short list (along w/Carlton, Fortin, Kennedy) of the genuine pros who are worth learning from.

    Some people would want everything to be free… they’re called socialists (like our current unfortunate politicians). Beggar-welfare-moocher-mentality, “give it to me for free”. Some of us like to work our butts off harder than others, and earn our well-deserved money by delivering authentic value to our customers.

    And you’re right on the money re core beliefs. I continue to feel it’s an honor to pay you the pittance you ask for your info-products, because I use what I learn and invariably make a big multiple of what I’ve paid (and have for years, consistently). Because I actually deep-internalize and use what you teach. Thank you a million times for all you share. It works.


  23. Bill shaw says:

    I learn so much everyday from what you give us aspiring copywriters. I honestly don’t know how you can present this much absolutely outstanding information for free.
    I’m just getting my copywriting business going which means so I’m looking forward to spending some real dollars with the Total Package.
    Thanks for everything you do!
    Much appreciated,

  24. Conrad says:


    I’m about to cross that invisible line and make an immoral suggestion:

    Your posts shine when you are worked up. What can we do to have more of it?Can’t you have a heart and offer a service where we hear you rant? You could even -sell- it. Like a paid Rant-a-thon club?

    I apologize for defacing your blog with a suggestion that you should actually sell something, but since you have been successful in getting me to trade a four figure amount for value received already, I may as well face it, that I have been totally clueless that it should have been free.

  25. Steve says:

    Great post Clayton.

    I hear you loud and clear. Because one of my businesses sells products that are designed to help people, I’ve had many people complaining that I should be giving them away for free. Even though I do offer some for free, they believe *all* of my products should be free, and that I’m somehow obligated to do so.

    When I tell them I have spent a lot of time and money over 2 years developing the products (and I also have bills to pay and a family to support), they still think I shouldn’t be making money from them.

    Of course, when I ask them if *they* would work for free it’s a different story.


  26. michael says:


    I learned a long time ago you can’t please everyone in this life.

    Heck, ONE came through perfect 2000 years ago, and he couldn’t please ‘em. And if you can be perfect and not please ‘em, well….imperfection sure won’t.


  27. Clayton,

    Wow, I mean, heaven forbid you don’t give EVERYTHING away on your site and in your business.

    Some people just feel they are entitled to free stuff…maybe you’ve moved the free line too far and need to charge for more. (Please don’t :) )

    Any time a budding copywriter asks me where to start to learn the business, one of the required sites I pass along is this one. The free stuff alone is enough to start anyone.

    Thanks for sharing the wisdom, I certainly appreciate it.

  28. Solomon says:

    Dear Clayton,

    I’m so indebted to you for the free News Letter of TP from you. I can’t thank you enough for the great help. In fact, I learned so much from you. I’m so eager to buy the books you wrote… if only you’ve a special paying method for me. I can pay some amount each month.

    I want to learn a great deal from the world’s topmost copywriter – that is YOU.
    I want to subscribe to the TP News Letter, and request you to continue to send me the link to my email Id: creativesolomon@yahoo.com

    I thank all other writers greats like Daniel Levis, Bob Bly and all others and e Wendy- your great wife and the team at TP.

    I can pay you each month $50 and request you to send me the best books that are useful for me to learn copywriting.

    Thank You once again
    Solomon Raj

  29. Stephen Bray says:

    Well at least that doggy dooh dah gave you an opportunity to write another wonderful post here on this cornucopia for copywriters :)

  30. Bonnie says:

    Dear Clayton,

    This is the first time I’ve been to this website and immediately subscribed to the newsletter, having been directed to you from the AWAI. As a new copywriting student, I am blown away by all the informative and terrific articles you have on this site.

    Just based upon what I’ve seen here and what I’ve learned so far, whatever you charge for your copywriting courses, I am certain the value of your lessons is a thousand fold more. It’s incredible that anybody would complain.

    This is a great post and please…keep it coming! Thank you!

    P.S. – I did have a chuckle re: your line about the complaining lady waiting in line for Big Macs. By now I’ll bet she’s suing McDonald’s because there isn’t enough beef, or the coffee is too hot…!

  31. Meetch says:

    “No, this bitter, angry old gasbag has her panties in a knot because we also offer a handful of products for sale.”

    I’m typing this comment with tears in my eyes mixed with sweat from a long day of writing. This absolutely made my day!!!

  32. Shelly says:

    I am new to this site, as I have just recently decided to embark on a career in freelance writing and am excited about Copywriting (for web). I have been looking for some worthwhile training, and so stumbled upon your site. I am encouraged by the content and have signed up for our newsletter, among others. I love your commentary and definitely appreciate that you would have product to sell. That’s perfectly fine. I think your comments, are appropriate and welcome the frankness! I think more people should be brave enough to express this kind of thinking on-line, and in a public forum. Yay! I also note the comment of Bonnie, from Feb. 27, about AWAI – which I have recently joined – and have been mulling over the Copywriting program, but hesitated due to the price. Your comment, Bonnie, will compel me to pursue this further. Thank you.

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