Warrior Forum To Close Classifieds And Open “Underground”Posted at December 26, 2017 by Christopher Mollo on category Rants & Raves, Thoughts & Insights
Boasting a million plus members, the forum was once known as “the place to be” for aspiring online entrepreneurs and those wishing to learn how to operate a digital marketing business of any kind. There is a wealth of information on subjects like email marketing, traffic generation, search engine optimization, and content creation, among other essential marketing skills.
The forum has been in slow decline since before 2014, with many core members leaving the forum or becoming much less active. I often wonder if Allen Says saw the writing on the wall and knew exactly when to get out. There has been some speculation alluding to this. In an article about the Freelancer purchase, Gain Higher Ground blogger Rob Cornish outlines why he thinks the future may not be so bright for the forum.
Freelancer didn’t take very long to begin making changes to the forum, many of them unpopular with members. They quickly launched their own product marketplace, called Warrior Payments, in an effort to compete with more popular marketplaces like JVZoo and Warrior Plus. The launch was not a success, as the new platform was lacking in features, clunky, and obviously thrown together without much consideration for the user.
Since taking the reigns, Freelancer has tried many different tactics to attract new members and bring former members back into the fold. Success has been minimal at best, and the once interesting and informative forum discussion has flat lined. The Main Internet Marketing Discussion Forum, once the heart and soul of the Warrior Forum, is now populated with repetitive threads that add little or no value to the overall discussion.
The forum once had several very experienced moderators whose job it was to monitor the quality of the threads, keep the peace, and discipline members, if necessary. I believe these were paid positions, and to my knowledge, these have been eliminated.
Recently, a new forum “head” was appointed, Gabriel Machuret. Machuret, the self-proclaimed “leading ASO (App Store Optimization) consultant in the world,” has been in charge of the forum for a few months now. While he seems to be very knowledgeable and quite established in his own right, I find he can, at times, be arrogant and dismissive of members.
It’s important to mention that while Machuret maintains he is the “leader” of the Warrior Forum, the Warrior Forum “team” page lists Moss Pauly as “Head Of Warrior Forum,” Daniel Silvestre as “Business & Community Manager,” and Marcus Wong as “Head Of Partnerships & Marketing.”
The Warrior Forum also boasts a digital marketplace where aspiring and established marketers can sell and/or purchase digital products designed to provide marketing information and share strategies and systems, many of which purport to make the buyer a certain amount of money. These offers are referred to as “Warrior Special Offers,” because the prices are supposed to be lower than what the vendor would normally ask for the product in another marketplace.
The Warrior Special Offers part of the Warrior Forum has developed a reputation for low quality information products that often make income claims that they can’t possibly fulfill. Are all WSOs like this? Certainly not. There are many quality products available in the Warrior Special Offers marketplace, but it isn’t an easy task to discern the bad from the good.
To their credit, the Warrior Forum leadership did institute a ban on any income claims that could not be verified through their Warrior Payments platform. The problem is that hardly anybody uses that platform, and one of the main features potential buyers look for in a product is the ability of the information to teach them how to make a certain amount of money. If one cannot provide proof of this, then the probability of a potential customer purchasing the product is severely diminished. This, in turn, drove most of the remaining top product creators and vendors away from the WSO marketplace and toward other platforms that allowed proof of income to be included as part of a product’s sales copy.
The result of many of the incidents mentioned above caused a domino effect that has led to the forum’s current state of affairs. Forum admins have since decided to implement some new plans to try and revitalize the community, and undoubtedly increase the site’s income in the process.
However, I think their latest scheme will definitely miss the mark. As Rob Cornish points out in his article, aptly titled “The Death Of The Warrior Forum, “So far Freelancer’s track record in managing the forum seems pretty out of touch with how things really work.”
“The Old Wild West Of WSO”
Their latest idea is to rebrand the highly popular Warrior Forum Classified Ads section as “The Underground.” In this thread titled “Classified Ads : Bye Bye Hello underground,” Machuret explains what their vision for the new alternate “Underground” marketplace is.
“The underground is ‘the old wild west of WSO’ or a marketplace where we believe the offers promoted or listed (sic) don’t fit our quality standards and we are not 100% sure of the authenticity of the offers.
Brand new users
Insane claims of success
Low quality in the copy
Some of you have requested 100% freedom to sell and promote and to let you chose what you want to buy. — in other words: leave us alone to chose what to buy or not —0
On the other hand….
We also want to protect our users in a marketplace that is regulated….. but at the same time, we understand that some users may want to have the option to have access to a marketplace that is not moderated by us.
‘How I made 1 billion dollars while watching Games of Thrones and how you can make the same amount in 17 seconds or less’
Well if you are looking for that type of deal… the underground is for you”
Now, I’m not sure if you understood that quite the way I did, but what I’m getting from that is that this new marketplace is going to be a place where low quality vendors can hawk their low quality products. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that any Internet Marketer in the “biz opp” niche that’s doing it right ever wants to see a marketplace pop up that claims to be “the old wild west of WSO.”
Machuret goes on to say that:
“The underground doesn’t accept any illegal, warez, or product that doesn’t fit our standard term and conditions….. but it gives you the option to post items we will not allow based on our suspicious of authenticity in the main marketplace.
Mainly is the Wild Wild west and it will receive less attention, love and traffic than the market place for obvious reasons.
Also, the Warrior Forum WILL NOT promote the Underground at any stage and the priority of approval and support for the Underground members will be less that the marketplace.”
One would think that this type of thing would be exactly what the Warrior Forum would be bending over backwards to AVOID. If you already have a poor reputation for selling shady products, the last thing you would want to do is go ahead and open an “Underground” marketplace where people can push their shitty, sub-par, “anything goes” type of products. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m wrong. The question one must ask, though, is why the hell would anyone want to buy a product from a place like this?
What really blew me away, though, is the sheer amount of forum members who actually think this is a great idea. Sure, there were a few dissenters (myself included), but for the most part, members were lining up to lay a big old smooch on Gabe’s butt!
One member practically floated up into the air with glee, stating:
“Your Underground…IS BRILLIANT! Are there scams? Sure and there always will be. Is that good? Absolutely not…I am scammed at the bank…the grocery store…online…offline…scammed where I work…scammed by cable…take your pick. BUT…we are starting to vote with our money now…not just fall for the scam. However, there are some sleeper offers, deals, tactics and strategies we would never get to wrap our mind around had someone not bought it out into the open. Where they going to start?
Oh sure. It’s brilliant. Why not just put out a press release that says “ATTENTION DIGITAL PRODUCT VENDORS: If you have a really shitty product that you threw together in 10 minutes, and you know it doesn’t work yet you tell people they’ll make a week’s pay by tomorrow, come and list it HERE!”
I’ve also got to wonder about the state of mind of someone who believes they are scammed at the bank and the grocery store. How does one even get scammed at a grocery store? Maybe once in a while you buy a package of 6 tomatoes and one is missing?
Another devoted follower commented:
“Interesting compromise but at least it’s something concrete. Looking forward to the changes.
Just be aware and transparent about the fact that you have some verified sellers promising things like $936,000 a year right this instant. Are you going to move them to the underground or is it okay to make wild claims and promises if they went through the verification process?”
Gabriel, having a clear, concise answer for every question, calmly responded with:
“Anyone in the underground can promise anything. The only thing I will pull out is if I see copyright issues, illegal stuff or clear Warez stuff.
But if you want to convince me that you made 2 million this year after investing only $15 …. and you sell me the secret for $7…. go for it…. but only in the underground and don’t expect A LOT support from us.”
So, let me get this straight. ANYONE in the underground can promise ANYTHING? Wow! What good news for all of the scammers out there! Hey, what can I say? I guess even rip-off artists are entitled to have a platform to sell their scams (that was sarcasm, by the way).
When a member pointed out that such a marketplace might be dangerous for the buyer (nooooo…really?), Machuret responded with:
“In fact is not dangerous for the buyer. by doing this we increase the trust in the market place….”
Let’s clarify. It’s not dangerous for the buyer to shop in a marketplace called “The Underground” where sellers can “promise anything” and forum management is not even going to try and vet these products. That IS the message they’re sending… Right? If it’s not and I’m missing something here, PLEASE point it out to me.
I keep hearing a lot of excuses from the Warrior Forum admins about how they can’t possibly go through every product that gets listed in their marketplaces and how they want to try and make everyone happy by allowing a “legit” marketplace and an underground style marketplace. Well, if I’m being honest, I think that’s total bullshit!
They paid more than 3 million dollars for this forum, yet they cannot hire more than a couple of people to run it? What does that say for Freelancer management? If you don’t care enough about your reputation and respect your brand enough to make an effort to protect your users, then maybe an Internet Marketing forum and marketplace is not the right fit for you.
Let’s not fool ourselves. The “make money online” and “online business opportunity” niches are already stained. They both have a reputation for being loaded with scammers and many people already mistrust the niches and by association, all of the marketers who operate in them.
I don’t think it’s a fair characterization, but let’s face it, it’s one that’s been earned. A so called “industry leader” such as the Warrior Forum should be an advocate for good. They should be doing everything in their power to clean up the mess, not add to it. It makes absolutely no sense to me why they would even want to include a place such as the “Underground” in their forum.
Why Should You Care?
Some of you might wonder why I even care. Well, the answer to that is simple. This kind of irresponsible behavior tarnishes the niche that I make my living in. There are lots of marketers who “do it right.” I know many of them. I also know that it would be VERY difficult to find one of them that would support an irresponsible stunt like this one.
Last time I checked, it wasn’t a very good idea to make outrageous income claims that you can’t back up with proof. Of course, one super intelligent member (sarcasm) pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can’t go after the Warrior Forum because it’s owned by Freelancer, which is an Australian company. I won’t even comment on the sheer stupidity of that statement. All you have to do is read this article to know that’s complete bullshit.
If you really want to know what I think, it comes down to revenue. They want to present themselves as an ethical marketplace where every product you buy is trustworthy, but they know if they do that they will lose thousands of dollars from the hacks and punters who put out the majority of the shitty products that get listed there.
In fact, Gabriel admitted as much. He was probably getting a little irritated that some people didn’t think his grand plan was any good, so for a moment he let people see his true colors. See for youself below.
I should also note that after I posted a couple of times and made my opinion known, a few other members got up the courage to speak their mind, and followed suit. Gabriel responded to me, quite arrogantly I might add, and when I looked at the thread shortly after that, it had been closed. I must admit that since Freelancer took over, the censorship on the forum has loosened, but from time to time it still rears it’s ugly head. I suspect there are a lot of members who don’t like the idea of a “wild west” marketplace, but kept quiet to avoid any negative repercussions. I can respect that. It wasn’t too long ago that I might have kept my mouth shut.
However, I’m just not that person anymore. When I see something that I know in my heart is wrong, I feel I have to speak up. As I said earlier, the “make money online” niche is my livelihood. If I don’t defend it and try to keep it clean, then I’m no better than the scammers and fakers who seek to separate unwitting newbies from their hard earned money. If the “Underground” does indeed open, it will be that much easier for them to do just that.
The Warrior Forum solution is to try and come up with a way to accommodate everyone. This way, they can grab the money from both ends. Well guess what? You can’t have your cake and eat it too! There is no need to try and please both sides. Why not do the RIGHT thing and review each product before it’s allowed to be sold in the Warrior Special Offers forum? Why not shut out “shady” products that “can promise anything they want” altogether? The Warrior Forum needs to pick a side. Are they going to be a reputable marketplace that people can trust? Or, are they going to be a shady marketplace that peddles garbage products that have no value?
I’ll be anxiously awaiting from the sidelines to see which side of the fence they land on. Somehow, I think they’ll continue to try and straddle it. They should be careful straddling that fence, though. If you lose your grip, you just might fall and smash your balls!