There's a lot of people out there who claim to have made millions selling stuff on the internet. They have a good rags-to-riches story and they wish to share their secrets with you. Except they're rather vague regarding what's involved. Eventually, they try to sell you books, DVDs, webinars, seminars, live consulting, etc. It starts off costing just a few $100 but the conclusion of the book/seminar is that you need to buy the next module, for about five times the original price. And then there's another one. And another... Eventually you realize the guy is rich because of suckers like you.

The latest one I've come across is Dan Lok, but you probably have your own examples.

What is this kind of get rich quick scam called? Internet Marketing? Affiliate Marketing? It's similar to MLM/Ponzi but different.

  • If this is the wrong SE site, is there a better one for this question. The fact that there's no tag for [internet] or [marketing] suggests i may be out of luck here.
    – Martin F
    Feb 5 '19 at 5:23
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    lol affiliate marketing is not a scam. it's just third party outside advertising.
    – quid
    Feb 5 '19 at 5:40
  • @quid -- I thought you might be right, but i keep seeing articles to contrary. See mobidea.com/academy/affiliate-marketing-scams, chargebacks911.com/affiliate-marketing-scams, and venturebeat.com/2013/08/12/… for example.
    – Martin F
    Feb 6 '19 at 0:38
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    No, I'm definitely right. just because there are also scams perpetrated by affiliate marketers does not make affiliate marketing a scam. Affiliate marketing is third party outside sales. Merchant advertises that it will pay 10% per sale, affiliate marketer devises marketing campaign to sell merchant's widget, merchant pays affiliate marketer based on sales. That's affiliate marketing. Some money managers run a ponzi scheme, that does not make all money management a scam.
    – quid
    Feb 6 '19 at 0:46
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    How do you make a million dollars? write a book on how to make a million dollars.
    – ShadoCat
    Feb 19 '19 at 19:02

I would simply call it a “Get Rich Quick” scheme or scam, as you have already stated in your question. The Wikipedia article on the topic seems to agree and doesn’t give any alternative term. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Get-rich-quick_scheme

  • Great answer. Anyone promising great wealth with little or no work is a scam of this type.
    – Pete B.
    Feb 5 '19 at 11:35

The term get-rich-quick alone is a little too broad.

A get-rich-quick scheme is a plan to obtain high rates of return for a small investment. The term "get rich quick" has been used to describe shady investments since at least the early 1900s.

Most schemes create an impression that participants can obtain this high rate of return with little risk, and with little skill, effort, or time. ... Some forms of advertising for these schemes market books or compact discs about getting rich quick rather than asking participants to invest directly in a concrete scheme.


The article goes on to include pyramid schemes, Ponzi schemes, and advance-fee (aka Nigerian Prince) scams as examples.

Since you use both words internet and marketing three times each in the question, we need to a narrower term, to specify the type of get-rich-quick scheme.

In David Robinson's article in The Telegraph the term internet marketing is used 17 times. Some snippets:

...scores of internet marketing coaches ... promise to teach total beginners how to find riches online. But to learn their secrets you'll need to splash out on workshops, DVD sets and courses.


The term "internet marketing" can be confusing. On the one hand it refers to the legitimate promotion of products and services on the web as done by thousands of companies every day. However, it also refers to a sprawling unregulated industry that offers to help ordinary people start online enterprises and make money.

Clearly internet marketing is also a very broad term -- encompassing honest, ethical practices -- so it, too, needs to be narrowed down.

Thus, I propose internet-marketing, get-rich-quick scheme

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or possibly get-rich-quick internet-marketing scheme.


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