If you’ve been in the Internet Marketing (IM) market for any length of time you’ll be familiar with the principle of a “One Time Offer” (OTO), where after signing up for a free offer (or a paid product) you will be be given a “special offer” for a product or service, usually at a discounted price, but will only get that price if you take the offer right then.

It’s a fairly standard marketing approach for professional online marketers (big and small) to make such an offer and can be very effective.

However, it can also cause confusion and irritation if people are not expecting it or haven’t come across it before, I recently recieved a support ticket accusing me of being a “con merchant” because of it…

I use AdSwaps as part of my list building process and it works very well, adding over 2,000 new subscribers to my newsletter in the last 24 days for example.

After signing up for my free offer the visitor will be sent to a OTO page, as well as being sent an email with a optin confirmation link in it (for “double optin” to comply with the “Can Spam Act” rules).

Only once they have clicked on the link in that confirmation email they will then get sent the download link for the free offer/report, as the “free report” is being offered on the basis that they sign up for my newsletter.

But, if someone is not familiar with this practice they can end up looking at a OTO page where there are no free download links and they’re being asked to pay for something…

This can obviously cause a feeling of having been “conned” by a free offer that they’re not going to get, even though it’s already on the way to them via email.

for most of my AdSwaps I make sure that people are sent to a “email confirmation instructions” page first so that they know what to expect, they are then sent to the OTO page when they click on the confirmation link in the email.

but I’ve recently set up my OTO on the PayDotCOm affiliate program so that I can offer my adswap partners a commission, however this means I have to leave out the confirmation page and this has resulted in me receiving a LOT more support tickets and emails about this.

When I say “a LOT”, it’s still only around 5-10 people out of close to 10,000 emailed (which is around 0.1%), so it’s not a huge number, but it is higher than I am used to seeing or wish to see.

To be fair the problem seems to have been made far worse over the last week or so as the autoresponder service I use (aweber) has had some real problems getting the confirmation emails sent out, with delays of over 12 hours last week, and the same again yesterday.

I have over 100 optins that are showing as unconfirmed from yesterday and from the support tickets I’ve received it seems to be simply because they still haven’t received the confirmation email, nit a good situation.

In fact, these problems, combined with AWeber’s recent SIGNIFICANT price rise have promoted me to look at alternatives to aweber, but I’ll save that for another post, once I’ve had chance to test out the best.

So what’s the solution?

1. Make a post like this and send it to my list to help people understand how an OTO works and that they are not being “conned”.

2. use a different affiliate pogram for my adswap OTO affiliate program that will allow me to put the “confirmation” page back in so people know the download link will be received via follow up email

3. mention the OTO process to people in the adswap emails that I send out so that it’s not unexpected

guess i’ve got some work to do to get all that done…