One quick scroll through your Facebook feed will more than likely uncover a fake guru or two selling their latest and greatest top secret course or mentorship program. If you are interested in marketing, SEO, e-commerce or drop shipping, then you are likely being targeted by these clowns.

I see so many of these offers out there that are just so ridiculous and far-fetched, yet their posts have comments from people announcing to the world that they purchased the course or that the information was great.

The sad reality is that these people are making a lot of money. Their business is teaching other people how to start online businesses, when they have zero experience themselves, aside from the current teaching or educational business model they are running with.

Nothing makes me more upset than seeing these self-proclaimed fake guru clowns take advantage of people. They blatantly lie to their face — all for a quick $97, $197, $497 or $997 payday.

Let me get one thing out of the way – sure, there are some people that sell courses or have programs that have experienced personal success. While they still do present their results are “attainable,” the fact is that most people won’t have the knowledge or the patience — or even the funding — to experience anything close to their success of the person selling them the dream.

So, not all gurus are lying scum — just most of them.

I’m so sick of seeing the BS fill up my Facebook feed, so I wanted to write a blog post about how to easily identify the fake guru idiots that are completely fully of crap.


These are all major red flags that should cause you to open your eyes, and not your wallet…


1. They Don’t Have a Real Business Aside from Their Product or Coaching

When I see a Facebook ad from the newest guru on the block I will always look to see what kind of information I can find on them. Most of them these days will run ads from a page with no likes or followers and zero information on what they have done in the past or what their current business is.


Because most don’t have a business. They have zero experience doing whatever it is that they are selling. This can be anything from SEO to running Facebook ads or building Amazon affiliate stores.

I’ll look for personal social media accounts, a LinkedIn profile, etc. Most of the time there will be no sign of them even having a real business. If someone is teaching you how to start a social media marketing agency or a Facebook ads agency, wouldn’t you think they would have an agency themselves?

If they are going to teach you how to build a six-figure monthly agency then surely they should have a wildly successful agency, right? Of course they don’t. They are lying through their teeth. The only ads they run are the ones selling suckers their BS course and information.

They all use the same ClickFunnels and WebinarJam setup. Sheep follow sheep.



2. They Have an Outrageous Back Story

One of the things that makes me laugh when it comes to gurus about how much time they put into fabricating a crazy backstory. You never see a guru that came from a middle class family, went to college and then started a business.

That wouldn’t be as shocking as the all too familiar, “I was homeless, had $1.87 in the bank and was giving hand jobs behind the dumpster just to pay rent for my $250 room in a crack house” stories.

It seems that the new generation of gurus are trying to all outdo each other with their back story. Sure, there are some people that had difficult times in the past and decided to make a change, but many times it’s just a marketing strategy to really hit certain pain points.

One of the reason that many gurus are very successful in selling their product or course is because they are great story tellers. They tend to target people that are in difficult positions and they want them to think, “Well if he did it facing those circumstances then I can surely be successful also!”

Imagine if they used that marketing skillset to build a real business? Nah, that would be too much work. They would rather scrape the bottom and just take advantage of people that are easy to convince that their story is real.


3. They Constantly Try to Impress with Material Possessions

“I’m successful, look at my Gucci outfit.”

“My SEO agency prints money because I have a Lamborghini.”

“My Shopify store is killing it because I have this Rolex.”

The fake gurus use material objects like cars, watches, and designer clothes to really trick people into believing they are successful.

Let me ask you something. When was the last time you saw Warren Buffet (one of the richest and most successful people on the planet) flash a car on social media? Never. He lives a modest life. He doesn’t have to impress anyone.

What about Mark Cuban? Mark Zuckerberg? None of them play into that game because they don’t have to. People that follow them know they are successful because they have built amazing businesses.

The gurus have to use material objects like that to grab attention because they don’t have the business success to use as bait.

Anyone can go into credit card debt to buy a Gucci outfit or a Rolex, and anyone can lease a nice car as long as they have a decent credit score, and often times with no money down. These flashy items are just a marketing tool.

Know how they pay for those items and that fake flash life? By selling their products. It’s the guru success formula: go into debt buying stuff to show off, then cash in on the course.



4. They Only Offer Generic Information Fluff for Free

Most courses or products always have a “free” element to draw people in and to build their marketing and re-marketing lists. This is usually a webinar, and once they get someone’s email address they get very aggressive and offer highly discounted deals.

You know the drill. $1,997 for $10,997 in value, but if you buy now it’s only $197. It’s a sheer numbers game. They get as many people into that top of the funnel offer and then offer their product at such a deep discount that it results in a very high conversion rate.

In the initial information session (webinar, special report, etc.) it’s usually pure fluff, and content that can be found elsewhere online for free. They will take generic information and present it in a way that makes it appear very helpful — a teaser almost.

But, if you want the “good stuff” you have to buy the product.

Whenever I see a new guru hit the scene I like to see what they are offering as the “hook” to get people to opt-in, and if someone is blatantly full of crap they will always offer fluff content for free. They basically just take a popular niche blog post and regurgitate it, creating a webinar.


5. They Have No Other Online Presence Other Than the Fake One They Created

This is probably one of the easiest ways to quickly determine whether or not a guru is totally fake or has a track record of past success.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. Tai Lopez created his entire online identity almost overnight. He has a lot of content out there, but what did he actually build in the past? The information is so conflicting and there is no sign of him building a real business prior to his “Here in my garage” YouTube video.

The aggressive marketing of that video created his business. His entire online presence was created just to market his courses and programs. I’d love to see what he built prior to that.

Then, you have someone like Grant Cardone. He is flashy and over the top and sells courses and programs — mostly to those in the sales industry. But, a quick search and you can see that he is a successful businessman. He’s built companies and was very successful for a long time. His personal story is also authentic.

Just do plenty of due diligence on the gurus. If they have no sign of life beyond just the BS they are selling, then that should be the only red flag you need to see.



6. They Always Stress the ‘I Just Want to Help’ Angle

Are gurus just the nicest people in the world? They all just want to help and “give back” because they are so fortunate to have found the top secret formula to make money with no work.

If they were greedy people they would sell their products and courses for the full price of $1,997, but since they “just want to help” they will let you in for only $197. But, the offer is only good for 3 hours. After all, kindness has a time limit.

Again, they use this angle because it allows them to push the right buttons. They use their own personal “struggle” story, then explain how they turned it all around, and show the “bling” to get the audience to believe they did in fact become successful, and then they drop the “I just want to help” line.

At that point people take the bait. If you look at the people that do have successful businesses (and make that well known) and offer a training or course, they don’t use that “I just want to help” angle. They market and advertise their offer saying, “I know what it takes and have done it in the past, so you are paying for my experience and knowledge.”

Sorry, but in the real world business is about making money. Nobody pays their bills with “help” — they are paid with the money made by teaching based on first-hand experience and knowledge gained by actually doing it themselves.


7. They Are ‘Experts’ in Whatever is Trending and Popular

I’ve seen the same gurus sell products that taught their “students” how to set up a drop shipping business and then months later they were selling courses on how to make money trading Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

You will always see them riding popular trends, and as amazing as it sounds, they are always the experts and made millions of dollars doing whatever they are pitching.

What they are experts in is marketing, and while I cannot stand gurus, I will be the first to admit that some of them are great at copy writing and hitting the right emotions. They are also great at running paid media ads, as that is where they get the majority of their top funnel traffic from.

I just don’t understand why they don’t put that copy writing and advertising skills to better use, and create a real business. The guru info-product niche is obviously very profitable, but it’s not a business that can be sold or acquired (it’s dependent on their false persona they created).


8. They Get Extremely Defensive

Have you ever seen a reply in the comments along the lines of, “This is worthless information that you don’t have to pay for. It’s available for free on YouTube.”

Oh boy. They get very defensive. You almost wonder how they have so much time to play defense in the comments all day long. Don’t they have a business to run? Oh wait, never mind. Their entire business revolves around those ads, so defending the comments section is essentially their full-time job.

The comments play a major role in the number of conversions that ad will generate.

Rather than actually answer any questions they will just get super defensive and chalk it up to a “hater.” LOL. Every time – people just “hating” on their success. And sure enough, they will have an army of lemmings come to their defense and also use the “haters” card.



Final Thoughts

Seeing hardworking people get scammed out of their money by being promised a “turn-key” or “hands off” online business opportunity gets my blood boiling. There are no shortcuts when it comes to success or building a business.

I know personally what it takes to build a business, and I can promise you that there is no eBook, course, training, or coach that can make it happen overnight or without the headaches and obstacles that come along the way.

Building a business is hard, and I get pissed off when I see people trying to sell the dream when they themselves haven’t done it.

I originally started this SEO blog as an outlet to provide real marketing advice and also debunk all the myths that the fake SEO gurus were polluting the blogs and forums with. The guru-disease has spread across the entire online marketing and online business community.

The better prepared people are to spot them easily, the less they will thrive and hopefully will eventually lead to fewer people being taken advantage of.

What are your thoughts on gurus? Or better yet, who are the worst offending fake gurus? Drop their name in the comments below.

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

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