Category: Copywriting

Internet Marketing Gurus are the WORST clients

Saturday, 6:15 PM

Dear Friend,

My friend and mentor, Gary Halbert, was fond of saying, “Clients suck!”

But when it comes to having any of the Internet Marketing (IM) “gurus” as clients…

Those guys suck OUT LOUD!

I’ve only written copy for one IM guru… and never will again.

(BTW, the piece I wrote wasn’t for an expensive B.S.O. Internet Marketing product. It was for a well researched and very high quality nutritional supplement in a REAL consumer niche… the health market.)

I guess this guy was too busy working on his “pipeline” to keep his word and pay me according to our contract. Instead of paying the remainder of my fee as agreed upon in person… eye to eye… belly to belly… with a handshake… this guy simply ignored all my calls and e-mails for three months.

When he finally mustered up the balls to return my call, all he said was, “I can’t pay you. I don’t have any money.”

Which I found quite interesting, seeing as how he was bouncing all over the country selling his $2,000 course from the stage and telling people he had a “multimillion dollar health & wellness business.”

I figured he was either a crook or a liar… or both. A guy with a REAL multi-million dollar business would have viewed the remaining balance of $14k owed me as mere pocket change.

So I did what any good ex-cop would do. I reactivated the investigation skills I foolishly thought I could retire after I left the Dayton P.D. and became an entrepreneur and copywriter.

A call to the owner of the fulfillment center this guy used revealed he was averaging sales of $12,000 a month.

Now I admit, math was never my strong suit back in school… but no matter how I added it up, I couldn’t get a “multi-million dollar business” out of monthly sales of $12k.

Instead of wasting any more time, I chose to NOT do what would have been necessary to collect my balance… even though I COULD have… and in the process expose to the IM community all the fraudulent claims he had been making from the stage at ALL the big IMGOBC seminars.


Not my style.

I prefer to take the high road. (Unless somebody REALLY pisses me off… or screws over one of my Marketing Camelot members.)

Wanna know what I did instead?

I had a product formulated, threw his copy up on a website, bought some traffic… and…

The promotion was a success!

After only a few months, it generated more than 5x’s what my fee would have been if this guy had paid me.

After this test, I sold the whole kit & kaboodle to another supplement business owner for a nice five-figure fee… and, to the best of my knowledge, he is STILL making money with it month after month. Last I spoke with him he had a monthly income of $200k from the auto-ship.

Bottom line:

This “guru” cheated himself out of millions by cheating me out of $14k.

After being the IMGOBC “golden boys” and promoted by ALL the big names for most of that year, I noticed this guy and his partner dropped out of sight soon after.

Last I heard, his partner ran up million dollar+ bills on 30-day net terms with several CPA networks and skipped out without paying them. (A VERY reliable and confidential informant told me that was the SECOND time he had done such a thing.)

Anyhoooooo… I chalked the whole deal up as an expensive lesson learned… but… once bitten twice shy.

I vowed I would NEVER take any IM guru clients ever again. But…

Never say never!

In January 2010 I got an e-mail from the marketing director of a VERY high profile guru. This guy has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in informercials and has been all over TV for years… usually selling “make money” stuff and more recently alternative health info products and nutritional supplements.

Here’s the word-for-word transcription of that very first contact. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

I work for Mr. Big and he passed on your contact info.

I’m looking for a GREAT copywriter so I can stop doing it myself.

Let’s chat Friday.  When is good for you?

Richard Cranium
Director of Sales and Marketing
Mr. Big’s company name

I have to admit… I was curious. I figured such a rich big shot can afford the best of everything… and therefore could not only afford what was going to be a very ridiculous fee… but he would also understand the value of what I bring to the table and, therefore, the justification for such a high fee.

I replied back with some very limited times I was available since I was going to be at a seminar that day.

Richard’s reply:

Call me at your leisure Friday AM.

Sometimes spontaneity works better.  Always enjoy talking to a fellow copywriter who actually knows what they’re doing.  A rare breed indeed.

He includes the URL for the website of the product Mr. Big wants me to write about. They want me to beat the current control.

As soon as I read the piece I knew this gig would be what Halbert used to call a “lay down.” If I wanted the gig (I didn’t), it would be a walk in the park to beat their piece.

I mean a LITERAL walk in the park.

I knew from past experience all I needed was a couple hours in the park with my yellow notepad and pen… AND my brain all amped up from my special intelligence/creativity-stimulating secret of the A-List copywriting superstars as described in the September 2010 issue of The Doberman Dan Letter.

I didn’t want the gig for reasons you’ll soon see… but I was curious how much a big shot as big as him might pay.

So I did some fact finding on the phone with Richard Cranium and told him what else he needed in addition to the copy to ensure this piece would be a success. This, of course, would bump up the fee.

When I quoted my fee, he gasped.

He choked.

He sputtered.

Then stammered out, “Uh… well… ya know… we were looking for somebody to do this on an hourly fee of some kind.”

So… I quoted my hourly fee as 50% of the entire fee I just quoted… and told him I could probably knock it out in 2 hours. (Ain’t I a smart ass?) ;)

(Don’t YOU do that. See, I really didn’t want the gig. I was just curious to see if this guru was for real and as rich as he claims… and would actually pay a premium fee.)

In spite of Mr. Big’s successful experience as a marketer, he was stupid enough to think he could get world class copy and 15 years PROVEN direct marketing entrepreneurship experience at bargain basement prices.

I added one more guru to my mental list of frauds, liars and phonies… and got off the phone as quickly (and politely) as possible.

Here’s the funniest part…

The product they were (and still are) selling was what I called “The Magic Genie” product. Their hook was a slight twist on the old “your wish is my command” line Aladdin’s genie always said.

It was a 14 CD set that sells for $300. It literally promises you can generate almost instant riches with nothing but your thoughts.

These secrets, hidden from the masses for thousands of years, were revealed to Mr. Big in a secret meeting of The Illuminati in the Swiss Alps under the tightest security conditions ever implemented for a meeting of private individuals.

Here are a few excerpts:

…Once you know these closely guarded secrets, you too can learn to become a millionaire or EVEN a billionaire, improve your health, experience quality business/personal relationships and live the life you’ve only dreamed of….


…In attendance were millionaires, billionaires, high-level government officials, heads of countries, members of royal families, politicians and captains of industry. Also in attendance were the highest ranking members of exclusive secret societies like the Brotherhood (which I was a member of for 30 years), Freemasons, Illuminati, Skull and Bones and others. (What they shared left me speechless.)


…It’s virtually IMPOSSIBLE TO FAIL once you know and use the SECRETS!


…If you seriously follow the information in this program, to the letter, you virtually cannot fail. It’s impossible.

Say wwwhhhaaatttt?

You can be a BILLIONAIRE?

It’s IMPOSSIBLE to fail?

Damn! I should have quoted him a fee of 100 million bucks!

After all, with secrets like that, Mr. Big must have more money than God!

Long story short, my fee was exorbitantly high… so I didn’t get the gig. (That was my goal. I’m not sure what I would have done had they paid it.)

The funniest thing was this guy didn’t even get the irony of all this.

Here he is selling the world’s most powerful “magic genie” that grants unlimited wishes…

…the wealth secrets of the Illuminati and other elite people of the world…

…and a 5-second miracle plan (I’m not making that up!) to generating instant riches, health, love and happiness… but…

They can only afford to pay
their copywriter $100 an hour!

Since I worked with Gary Halbert, I’ve been privy to a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff in guru-dom… and it ain’t pretty.

I’m sure they’re not ALL liars and con-men… but guys like this have given everybody who positions themselves as some kind of marketing guru a black eye.

If you’re a freelancer of any kind, you might want to think long and hard if you’re ever offered a gig with one of them… no matter how much they promise to pay you.

You can be as honest as the day is long. Hell, you can be recently sainted by the pope and knighted by the queen… but when you choose to associate with con-men and thieves, don’t act surprised when the world labels you one, too.

All the best,




Who are the BEST Internet marketing gurus?

Thursday, 10:13 PM

Dear Friend,

Thanks to a never-ending inbox, I can no longer answer questions from the great unwashed masses who stumble upon my blog.

But for the knights and knightettes in my Marketing Camelot, I gladly do a Q&A call every month.

Some people prefer to ask me questions live… and others prefer to send their questions by e-mail and have me record my answers.

As I was rummaging through my file cabinet I ran across a question a subscriber sent me a couple months ago.

I thought you might want to check out my answer because I’ve personally made a LOT of cashola with this exact advice.

Q: I read your post How To Make MILLIONS In The Guru Business and it pretty much put the icing on the cake.

What’s funny is that Frank Kern even mentions in his List Control program that you need to form a type of syndicate (aka the good ole boys club) in your niche; and it’s exactly what you mentioned in one of your points in your post.

So that brings me to this… who should I learn from?

I’m a 25-year old aspiring entrepreneur but I don’t want to learn from the wrong people. Could your provide some recommendations?

DD: In my most humble (but accurate) opinion, the very best “Internet Marketing gurus” you can possibly learn from are…

The dead mail order marketers!

Here are the best ways to mentor under these guys:

The Robert Collier Letter Book
- Robert Collier

My First Hundred Million
-  E. Haldeman-Julius

Breakthrough Advertising
- Eugene Schwartz

How To Write A Good Advertisement
- Vic Schwab

7 Steps To Freedom
- Ben Suarez
(NOT a dead mail order marketer.
He’s still alive… and EXCEPTIONALLY good.)

My Life In Advertising
- Claude Hopkins

The Gary Halbert Letter
- Many of the issues are available here…

The Boron Letters
- Gary Halbert – Available free here…

Scientific Advertising
- Claude Hopkins

Tested Advertising Methods
- John Caples

The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches
- Joe Karbo

The Thomas Hall Letter & Guides
- Thomas Hall
(Out of print but soon to be made available FREE
to all The Doberman Dan Letter subscribers.)

Here’s a HUGE jealously guarded secret
of the most successful marketers in the world…

Master the first six chapters in Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz and you’ll be so far ahead of your competition… they don’t even have a PRAYER of catching up.

In fact, I’m doing a coaching program soon to help you do exactly that.

It ain’t gonna be cheap… but Doberman Dan Letter subscribers will get in FREE. (Details coming soon.)

All the best,


P.S. I know my opinion is biased… but in addition to all the books I recommended, I think you’ll find some valuable info here on, too.


Behind The Scenes Secrets Of The Gurus

Friday, 2:09 PM

Dear Friend,

I’m about to reveal one of the biggest behind-the-scenes secrets of the “guru” business.

The one NEVER mentioned in front of their “flocks.”

It’s something only spoken of in hushed reverence, behind closed doors during their private little circle jerks.

This is an utterly brilliant persuasion technique they use to…

…Attract followers to them (who spend LOTS of money) like moths attracted to light…

…Sell hundreds of MILLIONS of dollars worth of products, seminars and coaching… even in a down economy…

…And turn their followers into raving fans… who spend money with them for years… or even DECADES!

I’ve seen its power first hand… and it’s quite impressive.

It can be used for good OR evil… and I’ve seen it work like crazy for both.

I just may be the first guy to EVER reveal this secret in a public forum. (I’m sure the gurus will HATE me for it… and I’ll probably be blacklisted by EVERYBODY.)

I’m also finally going to reveal something people around the globe have been BEGGING me for.

I call it…

The Intelligence/Creativity-Stimulating Secret
Of The A-List Copywriting Stars!

I learned it while working with the late great copywriter, Gary Halbert.

I already knew about the physical benefits of doing this from my years as a hardcore gym rat… I just didn’t realize all the MENTAL benefits.

Here’s how it works:

You’re going to follow some very specific dietary guidelines that will manipulate a variety of hormones and brain chemicals to…

…Make creativity easier…

…Reduce mental and physical fatigue…

…And allow you to concentrate more intensely on any creative task with much more focus than normal… for periods of 30 to 90 minutes.

Maybe longer.

This little gem has saved my cute little white booty on SEVERAL occasions when creating sales copy and/or new product offers…

…and I had no energy and felt like complete doo-doo… but still had to step up to the plate (at the very last minute of a deadline) and knock one COMPLETELY out of the park.

Sound like something you could use from time to time?

Well, that ain’t all…

I’m going to show you my best e-mail marketing secrets. You’ll see what’s working for me RIGHT NOW… in a variety of niches.

Some of these e-mails were grand slam home runs… and some bombed so bad they stunk up the place.

You’ll see 12 examples of my e-mail marketing tactics. Some that worked like crazy… and and some that didn’t… and why.

The ONLY way you can discover all this powerful cashola-making stuff:

…The biggest behind-the-scenes secrets of the “guru” business…

…The intelligence/creativity-stimulating secret of the A-List copywriting stars…

…My best-performing and worst-performing e-mails… and why they DID or DIDN’T work…

… is if you’re a cherished subscriber to The Doberman Dan Letter.

In the September 2011 issue I’m revealing everything I just described… and more.

When you subscribe before 12:00AM midnight Eastern Time August 31… you’ll be locked in to get the September issue with all these secrets.

And believe you me… you do NOT want miss out on this.

Click here now to lock in your subscription and get the September 2011 issue hot off the presses.

I’m looking forward to welcoming you into my extended family and “Marketing Camelot.”

All the best,



P.S. I saw Gary Halbert test various project ideas in direct mail and newspaper ads, get really good results… and promptly do NOTHING with them.

And these were projects that could have made MILLIONS if he would have rolled out.

I never understood that back then… but I totally get it now.

In fact, I’ve done it myself… numerous times.

Currently I’m sitting on several “base hit” projects ($1,000.00 to $10,000/month) … and two “home runs.”

But I no longer have the time, inclination or “mental bandwidth” to roll out and run various businesses at once… sooooo…

I’ve decided to offer my Doberman Dan Letter subscribers the opportunity to work with me on these projects.

These are all projects I conceived, wrote the copy for, created the products and in many cases have already tested them with VERY promising results.

Most are 95% ready for roll out. (One has been operating since 2004 and is currently bringing in a very high six-figures a year.)

It’s a sin to let them sit here in my “future projects” folder when a few of my valued subscribers could run with them and start raking in the money.

And that’s EXACTLY what my Doberman Dan Letter subscribers are going to have the opportunity to do.

Details about all these “Doberman Dan Approved” projects and businesses are going out with the September 2011 issue.

If you have the least bit of entrepreneurship in your blood, you do NOT want to miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Click here to subscribe and make sure you get the September 2011 issue as soon as it arrives, hot off the presses.


This Beat The Control by 60%!

Tuesday, 11:29 AM

Dear Friend,

I just finished an online split test in one of my niche businesses.

The new control beat the old one by 60%.

Not bad, huh?

I also recently implemented some innovative online and offline techniques that have SIGNIFICANTLY bumped up initial purchases AND lifetime customer value… so this 60% boost in people “coming in the front door” is going to add up to a much bigger back end.

And I LOVE a nice, big back end… don’t you? :)

OK, what you probably want to know is… what exactly did I do that completely SPANKED my existing control… which has been the control for three years now.

Well, I’ll be happy to spill the beans…

Online Video!

And a big shout out to “kick gluteus booty-maximus” copywriter, Caleb Osborne, for making it all happen.

Here’s the deal…

Caleb took the existing control and made a PowerPoint-type presentation out of it. Then he narrated as the words appeared on the screen… and did a screen capture video of the whole deal.

Now I personally hate to get product info this way. I prefer to read it in hard copy. And if it’s online and not in hard copy, I print it out.

The very second I arrive at a website and video is the only presentation… I’m gone. Sale lost… and I’m looking for another vendor.

But apparently my market thinks otherwise.

Actually, I have a theory about why this online video did so well.

Based on customer service e-mails I’ve seen handled by my fulfillment center, I believe a large portion of the customers in this market are functionally illiterate. Especially the ones under 40.

I KNOW they can’t write a coherent sentence… so I also have to assume they’re not very good at comprehending what they read.

As a brief side rant, this was deliberately engineered over a period of decades. Just check into the history of the public school system, initially started in Massachusetts. Creating good little soldiers, completely unable to think rationally and only able to follow orders from their superiors was the stated goal.

Seriously! Check it out. The goal was never hidden.

Anyhoo… now that I’ve pissed off all the teachers, let’s get back to biz.

So yeah, this simple little video is kicking big ole butt… and is going to pay BIG dividends on the back end.

(What’s with all the butt references today? Geez, I’m a pervert!)

Now stay tuned… because I’m going to save you a lot of money, time and possible heartache.

Here’s what always happens in the incestuous, monkey-see-monkey-do Internet Marketing community after a report like this.

People will accept what I just said as “the marketing gospel according to Doberman Dan”, take down their perfectly good sales pages, and replace them with a video sales letter.

Dumb… dumb… dumb.

First of all, don’t get stuck in ANYBODY’S dogma… including mine.

Second of all, you’ve forgotten one of the most important direct response principles…

Test, test, test!

Yes, this simple little sales letter video kicked boo-tay (geez, more butt references) in MY niche… with MY product… at MY price point… for MY business…

… But that doesn’t mean it will do well in YOUR niche… with YOUR product… at YOUR price point… for YOUR business.

Ya dig?

You gotta test.

Don’t kill a perfectly good promotion to implement something that SUPPOSEDLY worked well for somebody else.

After all, the guru could be lying. (I assure you, I am not. I have no reason to… and I’ve ALWAYS been honest with you… even when being less than honest would make me a LOT of money.)

So you need to split test this stuff yourself. You can’t be lazy and rely on other marketers’ results.

Hey, I’ve got an idea…

Why not start a new split test… today.

I can guarantee you one thing… you’ll get results.

All the best,






The Secret To Quickly Testing Your Ideas

Saturday, 6:50 PM

Dear Friend,

I’m not sure if you’ve ever mozied on over to my testimonials page (which I need to update)… but the very first testimonial is from none other than the “Prince of Print”… the late, great Gary Halbert.

He said…

“I lived with Dan for 43 days when he had an apartment in Costa Rica. He’s a good professional copywriter and he learned some things in Costa Rica that hardly any other copywriter knows about. He’s got my seal of approval.”

Actually Gary stayed at my place longer than 43 days. I know because after a while, I started counting them… but that’s a story for a different time.

Notice that he didn’t gush all over and say I was “one of the best copywriters in the world”… or because he mentored me, he expected me be “the best” one day.

Those close to him knew Halbert NEVER said stuff like that about anybody… except for Gary Bencivenga.

I’ll be the first to admit, when it comes to copywriting, I’m definitely not one of the best in the world… nor do I want to be.

My friends David Deutsch and Carline Anglade Cole… and my new acquaintance I interviewed recently, Richard Armstrong… now those folks really ARE some of the best copywriters in the world.

They’re the “Babe Ruths” of copywriting… writing copy for some of the biggest mailers in the world… in the most competitive markets.

It’s really cut-throat. True old west, gunslinger vs. gunslinger.

It takes a very special person to work with the big mailers. I did it once… and never will again.

So I’ll probably never be “the best copywriter in the world”… and I’m OK with that.

You see, I realized a long time ago you don’t have to be the best copywriter in the world to make a LOT of money.

And really, the copy isn’t the most important part of success in direct response.

In fact, you can make a boatload of money with less than world class copy. (I like to call it “half-assed” copy… but I’m crude.)

How do I know?

‘Cuz I’ve done it.

When my back was against the wall… or I just got a crazy idea at 1:30 in the morning I wanted to test… I banged out some copy and put it out there.

And I got results.

Several times the results were ZERO sales and ZERO leads.

Other times the results were sales and money coming in so fast, I couldn’t count it fast enough.

Both are results. I found out what I needed to find out.

That’s why it frustrates me to see so many of my subscribers obsessing over details and wanting to get everything perfect before they put their copy or product out in the market.

You don’t have to get it perfect,
you just have to get it GOING.

So my message today is quit obsessing about every tiny little detail. Just sit down and bang out your copy.

Do what Gary Halbert told John Carlton…

“Just sell the damn thing!”

Then run that puppy up the flag pole and see how many people salute it with their wallets.

Whatever happens, you’re going to get results.

All the best,



P.S. I recently had a spot open up in my Gold Inner Circle.

I don’t really promote it because it’s not for most people.

But if you have an online, direct response or brick & mortar business… and would like to quickly ramp up your sales and profits… without the exorbitant costs of customer acquisition nowadays… you should probably check it out.