From: Bob Rankin (
Subject: TOURBUS EXTRA - 19 Sep 1998 - /\/\ AKE /\/\ 0NEY FA$T ?

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           TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: Statistics / Fast Money?

Hi All!  It seems that Patrick's post about Clinton's Dead Friends
got lots of people rather excited.  Lots of you wrote in to say that
the statistical methods and the conclusions drawn from them were
flawed in various ways.

For the record, I agree.  But I don't think Patrick meant to make any
sort of political statement.  After being taken behind the virtual
woodshed, Patrick has promised to reexamine the statistics he quoted
in his last post.  In the mean time, Patrick vows not to write any
more posts from 32,000 feet above the state of Missouri.

*------------------------- THEY'RE SO UGLY! ------------------------*
  OK - the President screwed up. But you have to cut him a little
  slack because he was wearing UGLIES - the boxer shorts that are
  so ugly, she'll beg you to take 'em off.  And now you can have
  your own UGLIES too. (We're for real here folks) Very comfy
  boxers and a guaranteed free laugh for everyone who stops by.
*---------------------- ----------------------*

Today's sponsor really does offer some "must see underwear".  I got
a good chuckle out of their wild designs, and I just might have to
get a pair myself.  If you thought our last issue was a pro-Clinton
statement, maybe this ad will make up for it.  :-)

I'm going to do a little legend debunking myself in this issue.  I
hope all of the math is correct...

/\/\ AKE  /\/\ 0NEY FA$T !!!!

If you've been online for more than an hour, you've probably gotten
one of those "PHENOMENAL MONEY MAKING PROGRAMS" that promise to make
you $50,000 richer in just six weeks.  It's the classic "David Rhodes"
MAKE MONEY FAST scheme, now legendary on the Net.  If you haven't seen
one, here's a basic outline:

You send $5 each to four different people, and order reports such as:


Then you send out thousands of copies of the same letter, attaching
your name and address to the first report, and bumping the other names
down to the next report.  The idea is that eventually hordes of people
will be sending you so many $5 bills that your mailbox will explode.

When I was a teenager, I tried something very similar, expecting to
retire a wealthy man at age 16.  Without the help of the Internet, I
copied, collated, folded, licked, stamped and mailed out 1000 letters
with my sure-fire MAKE MONEY FAST scheme.  Then I waited for the money
to start rolling in.  After three weeks, I got just ONE reply.  I lost
about a hundred dollars on the deal and my Mom & Dad were nice enough
not to say "I told you so".

This kind of thing just doesn't work, and here's why.  Let's assume a
response rate of 1/10 of 1% (which may actually be generous).  In
order to make $50,000, you'd have to send 10,000 letters, resulting in
10 people sending you $5, and hope that those ten would get 10, and
each of those ten would get ten.  That makes 10,000 people.  Expressed
another way:

Level 1: Total replies: 10    / Total letters 10,000
Level 2: Total replies: 100   / Total letters 100,000
Level 3: Total replies: 1000  / Total letters 1,000,000
Level 4: Total replies: 10000 / Total letters 10,000,000

So you can see that over 10 MILLION PEOPLE have to get your letter
before you'll rake in the expected booty.  Theoretically, this could
work, but only a couple times, before everyone on the Internet has seen
the scheme.  And since this type of letter has been making the rounds
for over 15 years, you can bet a large percentage of those online HAVE
seen it and won't fall for it.

And then figure in the fact that you'd have to be VERY lucky if all
your letters on level 2 went to 100,000 UNIQUE persons.
Realistically, many of the recipients will receive multiple copies,
especially if you have friends sending to their own intersecting
circles of friends.  Now add the "Fear of Spam" factor to this
scenario. Most people know that spam is bad, and they don't want to
risk losing their account on such a gamble.

This makes the actual response rate on levels 2 through 4 much lower
than expected - and probably close to nil.  In short, it's a waste of
your time and money.  You'll most certainly be branded an Evil
Spammer, your ISP will drop you in a flash, and you may get a phone
call from the local Attorney General asking for a lunch date.


If I honestly thought that I could make money using this scheme, I'd
just send all 80,000 Tourbus readers a MAKE MONEY FAST letter, wait
six weeks and laugh my $400,000 all the way to the bank.  With that
kind of money in hand, would I care if I lost my account or people
called me a spammer?  Hardly, but it just ain't gonna happen, folks.

So please don't fall for this scam.  The only people making money
off this type of thing are the sleazeballs who sell those "guaranteed
fresh" lists of e-mail addresses to the suckers who fall for this
type of thing.

HOWEVER, if you HAVE tried this online, and you DID make money, I want
to hear from you.  Even if you made enough to cover your time and
cost, I want to know.  I won't reveal the identity of anyone who
contacts me, but I'm betting that I won't get a single reply.  Unless
of course, David Rhodes is out of prison.

See you next time, and please send this letter to 10,000 friends.
They will all thank you.  They may even send you $5 bills.
--Bob Rankin

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