A few years ago I took a wild shot and believed a guy named Markus Frind. He made some wild claims and quite a few people thought I was gullible because of it. Turns out I was right.

How do you know if someone really is who they say they are? The internet makes this judgment task exceptionally hard. There are no faces. You don’t even know if the person you are talking to is a female or a cross dresser who hasn’t showered in six weeks.

First, you need a base of experience yourself. Bullshitters can be caught quickly when nothing they say fits reality. If you don’t know a thing about the subject at hand, you are flying blind. US investment banks had an easy time hawking complex and overpriced financial services to municipalities. Con artists know making marks feel smart is incredibly powerful.

Second, look at motivations. Does this person have something to sell you or some deal to do? If they have blatant commercial intent, set your credibility meter to 0. People will say and do anything to make money. But hey, we are in business. I have something to sell and so does everyone else I know. The key is do they have something to sell you.

Third, be able to test what you hear. If a claim is untestable or unprovable then your best off ignoring it. You can immediately throw out cult leaders and instead spend your time focusing on reality.

I’ve met many people through the web. Some are genuine, others are clearly liars. Most I’ll just never know who they really are. However, I don’t really care. In general, I judge people based on the usefulness of the information they provide. If a get-rich-quick blogger who never made a dime in their life writes something, and I make $10,000 off it, wonderful.

Because I have been running my business for a while I have some sense of the accuracy of an individual’s advice (rule number one.) If 90% of what someone says is in line with what you already know is true, its a good bet the remaining 10% is true.

Just starting out? Then you need to build up some first hand experience before going all on based off of what someone else says.

4 thoughts on “Judging Credibility Online

  1. Ah yes, Markus. I remember Shoemoney was talking crap about him sometime ago, pure link bait but still

  2. I was right there in that WW thread when he first put it out. My first thoughts gave me no reason to doubt him at the time. I couldn’t understand why there were so many naysayers. He wasn’t promoting anything and kept himself pretty anonymous for the most part. He hadn’t posted a check or anything. Basically in that thread he just started offering advice to other adsense publishers.

  3. The Secret may or may not be a scam but the idea behind it is not- the idea that thoughts impact physical reality. I can give you peer reviewed empirical scientific evidence to support this but you would probably brush it off.
    Thats because coming in with preconceived beliefs, you are looking to fit your current model of reality into a new paradigm. And you simply can’t so you choose to disavow it. Actually, Its pretty easy to find evidence for any kind of beliefs we want to support. If you really want to test if something is true or not… you must suspend your disbelief first and be open to the possibility of it working otherwise you are simply out to prove your version of Reality. Suspend disbelief and thoroughly try it and see if it works. You really have nothing to loose except 10 minutes per day in visualization? If it works you’ve just possibly been introduced to a life transforming paradigm. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Like you say: “Third, be able to test what you hear.” and it certainly is testable experientially.

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