But, nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are some of the common traps and myths that new online entrepreneurs fall into on the Internet.
- Build it, and they will come. This is the biggest fallacy on the Internet. A common misconception that companies and entrepreneurs who are new to the Web have is that people will visit if they put up a Web page. They falsely believe that merely having their own site is enough to keep their traffic soaring and cash register ringing. In order to have a popular site, you've got to offer something to the user -- unique and quality content, interactivity, fun, and freebies -- something more than an 800 number. Users may come to your site once, but to keep them coming back you've got to have fresh original content and product offerings that they can use
- Give it for free and they will come. Extending the first fallacy above, entrepreneurs oftentimes think that having some freebies on their site is enough to entice people to visit and, more importantly, buy their products or services. While the word "Free" is a powerful come-on for visitors on the Internet, it is not always a guarantee that people will indeed come to get the freebie on your site. Take the case for example of one of the leading search engines, Altavista. Altavista created a free ISP service, thinking that it can lure more people into the search engine and earn additional revenue by serving ads through rotating banners common with free ISP services. Unfortunately, their expectations were not met and Altavista shut down its free ISP offering.
- Get rich quick on the Internet. Unless you have been hiding in a cave, you should know that a number of dot-coms have been falling from the sky these past few months. Many dot-coms failed because they held the false belief that having a flashy web site is enough to solicit venture capital financing, even though they have no solid business models. Some dot.coms who were able to get venture capitalization got carried away by the first round of funding but could not get the next round because of unprofitability. The Internet is a business medium. Like any other business, the basic business principles still applies.
- Send emails to an "opt-in" list dying to receive your product offerings. The word "opt-in" list is a much-abused term on the Internet. Unscrupulous marketers prey on unsuspecting newbies, selling them mailing lists of people supposedly interested in buying their types of products. These new online entrepreneurs then send out thousands, if not millions of emails, hoping that financial reward will come as soon as their emails are opened. However, instead of sales, all they get are hate mails, aside from being cut off by their ISPs and web hosts. Not only will their reputation go up in flames, they become officially called as "spammers," the menace of the Internet.
- Join affiliate programs and start earning money. Many newbies fall into the trap of believing the hype that participation in affiliate programs is the way to go on the Internet. Some even set-up their own web sites with the sole purpose of putting up affiliate banners. While it is true that affiliate programs are gaining in importance in overall e-commerce efforts, you will never earn the thousands of dollars promised by the web marketing gurus prone to hype. Affiliate programs are merely additions to your revenue streams, and NOT your sole revenue source. It will only work if the programs you participate in have a good fit with the contents of your site.
- Purchase business opportunities. Business opportunities on the Internet abound. When you surf the Internet, bizopps are just about everywhere from getting paid to surf, buying reports with reseller rights to MLM opportunities. Some will be downright scams, while other programs are not worth spending a minute of your time. Don't be surprised to find out that thousands of others are selling the same exact product; others even with the same exact Web page as yours. Only a small percentage of these programs will earn for you a few hundred dollars. Be extremely wary of business opportunities on the Internet, and make sure you do a careful cost-benefit analysis before paying for anything.