Medicine Hat Media

StoresOnline Internet Marketing Review

On November 11th and 12th of 2008, the so-called entrepreneurs, StoresOnline, visited Medicine Hat for four Internet marketing seminars at the Callaghan Inn. Other seminars took place in Lethbridge and Calgary.

Before I start off, Stores Online is a scamming company that only wants your money and does neither encourage or even convincingly feign having healthy business-consumer relationships, which is the way to run a business. If you want to hear the truth about them, continue reading.

The StoresOnline logo

The StoresOnline logo

The invitations that were sent out offered users the ability to build their wealth with websites, a complimentary meal for you and a guest and a free MP3 player for you and a guest. The seminar lasted roughly 90 minutes with a collective audience of about 80 people per seminar, or about 320 people between the two days and four seminars. My invitation was full of typos, including the name of who the invitations were sent to. Is this professional? No.

The seminar kicked off with speaker Rich Putnam proclaiming his knowledge of Internet marketing with occasionally getting the crowd involved by raising their hands to questions. Maybe now is the time I should point out the fact that most of the crowd were all around their middle-ages, at least 40 years or older, and the questions Rich Putnam would ask were technologically related words such as “Hosting”, “Servers”, etc. Most of which, when asked, the crowd had a very basic understanding of, or no idea at all. Putnam would also randomly quote ancient philosophers, such as Aristotle (whom he confused with Albert Einstein somehow), which to me, seemed like a vain attempt at sounding intellectual and proclaiming false medical facts such as “It is a medically proven fact that raising your arm releases oxygen into your brain which makes you smarter and happier.” Rich Putnam also even went as far as to tell the audience to skip weddings and funerals to attend the Stores Online workshops. Apparently as well, the creator of Dell Computers’, Michael Dell, was at this event, but would not stand up. Sounds like a clever way to throw out a business name everyone knows, to ensure the crowd that the event is really important.

Stereotypical image provided by StoresOnline

Stereotypical image provided by StoresOnline

At the end of the 90 minute seminar, during of which, Rich Putnam had thrown out many technological and Internet-referencing terms to the more elderly crowd who seemed to not understand (based by the lack of raising their hands), the associates handed out the order forms. Encouraged by Putnam, about 15 or 20 people filled these forms out. The forms immediately ask you for your credit card number, debit card number or check number and Putnam encouraged the crowd to “Not worry about the price, just fill it in. Then you can start your website right away!” One lady exclaims that she cannot spend such a large amount of money in 3 minutes, to which Putnam replies “You have to make business decisions fast.” and when she shows opposition and says “Not that fast.” He shoots her down saying “… Well, some people don’t make any decisions ever in life.” Professional. Keep reading, it gets better…

Let us take a look at the price: The usual “buy-in” is $200, but during the seminars they take the price down to $50. But what does this money spent get you? It gets you the license to the Content Management System, but in my experience as a website designer, there are many free user-friendly Content Management Systems out there. Briefly touched on during the presentation, the “Pro Version” of the StoresOnline software is $3600 and hosting is $24.95 per month. Other components are not discussed in the presentation; however, if you go from $50-200 “buy-in” to $3600 for a difference in versions, you can take an educated guess at how much additional components might run at.

Now that you know how their seminar went, let us take a look at some other facts. The StoresOnline flyer advertises that they will teach you how to advertise to social networking sites (Facebook, MySpace, MSN, Yahoo, etc.), but then their disclaimer says that StoresOnline has no affiliation with these websites, but then they put these company logos in their slide show. Why? Because everyone knows names like MySpace and Yahoo, IBM and Sun Microsystems. Semi-clever marketing strategy to lure people in, but the downside is, during their presentation, they mention nothing about how to actually market your website.

Their meal was mediocre at best, and maybe even that is lightly speaking. It was not that good, but hey, it was free. Their MP3 player was a no-name brand 512mb iPod-shuffle-shaped device. The cases were already open, the cellophane wrappers were torn, and there was not even a manufacturer label on the device. Kind of weird, but not weird when you consider after you plug the device into your computer that it loads up an Asian-created interface, and a Trojan virus as an added feature. I do not know anyone who willingly likes virus’s to be installed on their computers.

I admit, I went into this event knowing full well who this company was and what they were selling. I researched them beforehand to have a good idea of what to expect. In my search, I found a website called which has 342 responses by people between July 13, 2008, and whatever date you are reading this. Most people claim StoresOnline took their money and never helped them at all, sometimes even upwards of over $5000.00 (USD).

Google Search for 'StoresOnline internet marketing conference'

Google search for StoresOnline internet marketing conference

Oddly enough, Vaughn, the other writer for Medicine Hat Media found a cease and desist order from the state of Utah against StoresOnline, which is where they are based out of.

To summarize, StoresOnline is a scam company that offers very little in terms of the money you pay. It is not wise to just buy it for the sake of it, or buy it and hope for the best. If you do not have something to either sell or that the public has a desire for, or a marketing niche, buying from StoresOnline will just be parallel to throwing your money in a garbage can. If you do have a business, something to sell, or a marketing niche, then contract a real graphic/website designer to make your identity known online. A good example of an Internet niche is the website you are reading this article on, Medicine Hat Media.

User Comments

23 Responses to “StoresOnline Internet Marketing Review”

  1. March 5th, 2009 at 3:12 PM

    CW says:

    I just received an invite. No way. I found out our CT Atty General, Blumenthal, had them pay fines and return people their money. I would say that if anyone gets an invite, throw it in the trash. Websites don’t cost as much as they charge. I am not the smartest cracker in the box when it comes to creating websites, but I was able to do my own with sitegrinder. And it cost next to nothing to host it. Find some software to generate your own. Please save your money!

  2. March 6th, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    Sean says:

    The only good part about knowing what they are truly about is going to their function and being educated to their ways.

    They surely do charge a lot more than they are worth and are (unfortunately for the public, and fortunately for them) able to sucker people into buying their products with their semi-professional look. When the speaker claimed he was #1 in Google when you search him, I wanted to ask him to prove it; however, it’s rude to interrupt people. It was pretty funny thought when he was trying to rush people to fill the forms out and one lady says she has to think about it and he insults her by saying “some people” will never be good at business.

    Basically, if you want to possibly be tricked into buying stuff for thousands of dollars that you don’t need, get served some terrible food, and an MP3 player that has virus’s on it, Stores Online is something to attend.

  3. May 24th, 2009 at 3:39 PM

    Alton9 says:

    I dont normally post comments to blogs but I have to say this is a great post and a big thanks for this blog post.

  4. May 24th, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    Sean says:

    Your welcome, Alton. Thanks for your comment.

  5. June 2nd, 2009 at 12:18 PM

    Email Marketing Chicago says:

    Thanks for alarming us about this scam. It amazes me that people do this to make a living.

  6. September 8th, 2009 at 11:29 AM

    Paul says:

    It’s bad when they target the older generation knowing full well that they won’t know as much when it comes to making money online. Just imagine the thousands of dollars that they made just by making people spend money that they probably didn’t really have.

    If only someone would tell the people that you can make money online with even a fraction of that price. A little learning can go a long way to stopping companies such as StoresOnline.

    If I ever got an invitation, I would attend just to see what it is like, knowing full well I’m not interested in their product.

  7. September 8th, 2009 at 9:18 PM

    Dean says:

    There is always a part of society that is attracted to the “get something for next to nothing” scan. Free lunch, etc, throw around technical terms that are supposed to impress. In the immortal words of P. T. Barnum: “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    I really feel for my generation (I am almost 50 now) that did not get in on the computer bandwagon when it started. In today’s world, the supposed never-to-disappear jobs and industries have evaporated and the people are forced to re-educate and/or find employment somehow.

    When I went to MHC at age 29, the advice given to 18-year-olds just out of high school was that they would need to change careers three or four times in their lifetime. Twenty years later that has changed even more so that a person in the workforce may need to have three or four jobs at a time.

    Back to StoresOnline. They are taking advantage of older people who want to take a fast track to a new career without much effort and put all their hope and trust into con artists.

    Thanks to Medicine Hat Media for the expose.

  8. October 20th, 2009 at 3:26 PM

    Melanie says:

    My mother went to one of these ‘semenars’ and was scammed out of her first bit of money (150.00). I asked her if she signed anything and she said she did, and that she had 3 days to cancel. She called back to cancel and the cheque was still cashed and now they tell her that there was nothing that stated that she had called to cancel and that she owes them 6000.00 now. Does anyone know of anyway that she can get out of this?? Please help!

  9. October 20th, 2009 at 4:00 PM

    Sean says:

    Hi Melanie. Sorry to hear about your mother falling for it. I guess I didn’t meet her when I was handing out flyers this year to thwart them. The only way I have read so far to stop them is by doing the call in thing that she already tried.

    Another way I have heard of is going through the RCMP or so. It is obvious they are frauds, even based on this article.

    You can check out for how some people have got out of it.

  10. December 1st, 2009 at 9:06 AM

    Laverne Cook Mosher says:

    Has anyone in Canada found a suit or way to get any of their money back from these thieves? I joined in A pril of 07 and have since payed off Travellers of BC. I had one site up and running but could not keep ahead of the costs. Everything cost way more then they said, them and their merchant account were the only ones making money, I closed the site and stopped the support. They willl now not let me into those sites that I payed over 7000.00 for. I have to pay them almost 700.00 to get access. So I am out well over 10,000 total and have nothing for it. I can’t even trying to make money cause they won’t let me in. If anyone has made progress with this in Canada, I am in Nova Scotia please let me know. Thank You

  11. December 1st, 2009 at 1:34 PM

    Sean says:

    The only way I know of to for sure get your money back is to request it within 3 days or so of purchase. Otherwise you can put a claim into the RCMP I think.

    Last time they came to Medicine Hat I stood outside handing out flyers to everyone that was going in, but next time they come to Medicine Hat, I will go in and inquire about the best way to get out of their scam for anyone who buys in. I imagine I will get kicked out pretty quick.

  12. March 30th, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    Robert Lefever says:

    Since I’m in the same place as many of the bloggers here. And having Travellers (Sorry I mean Crelogix – they changed the name last week) hounding me I have decided to do something about it. I highly recommend that everyone checkout the Better Business Bureau Calgary website and file a complaint. They have over 800 complaints filed in Alberta about SOL and seem to be helping some people get refunds. Also listed is all the US state and Australian government lawsuits against them. That said my thinking is, with help from a lot of relatives in the legal system and in the media I’m going to try to prove that Crelogix/Travellers is knowingly supporting a quasi-legal if not completely fraudulent company. I believe that they should be investigated for their relationship with SOL. I know of a financial company that was accused and investigated of doing much the same kind of business and it cost them approximately 11 MILLION dollars in legal fees and settlements and close to 1600 employees laid off by the time it was over. If everyone files complaints not just against SOL but also against Crelogix/Travellers then our justice/government WILL take action. So stop blogging your greviences and take action!!! FILE COMPLAINTS! FILE COMPLAINTS! and again FILE COMPLAINTS!! Write, call or email your government representitives. They work for you.

  13. March 30th, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    Robert Lefever says:

    Something I should also note. Going through the hundreds of websites and thousands of complaints against SOL a common thread I noticed is that the vast majority of persons who say they have been wronged and scammed seem to be disabled or have health issues. It makes me wonder whether the authorities should be checking into this. Do they somehow have a source that provides them info on disabled persons. I know I got my invitation when I was on disability and quite a few at the seminar had health issues. Are they accessing peoples medical records somehow or paying someone to provide that info? Might be worth looking into. Good luck everyone.

  14. March 30th, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    Sean says:

    Thanks for your detailed post, Robert.

    An important thing to note is that most people who attend the seminars are middle-aged or beyond. At the seminar I went to, 90% of the people were probably over 45 years old, while a few of them had brought their kids along to help them with any difficult decisions. Health issues might just be related to the age of the people who attend the seminars.

  15. March 30th, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Robert Lefever says:

    Thanks Sean

    You may be absolutely right. What made me wonder is that I am a very social person and talked with a great many of the persons attending and many of them had long term disabilities or non age specific health issues. May of just been at the particular seminar I attended. It does make me wonder where they get the name and address info to send invites to specific persons. I wonder if any persons from law enforcement or people working for the Better Business Bureau have ever received an invitation.

  16. September 25th, 2010 at 4:48 PM

    Tony says:

    I know some of my friends are using stores online. I looked at their seminar and SEO package.

    They have a good information about internet marketing. Step by step instruction how to set shopping cart and using SEO or PPC to get more traffic.

    I’m a SEO expert, so I know they have good information.

    I like the idea that they help you setup the entire online store.

    But, there is always a but. After you have paid $3000 and they have launched your website, there is no customer support.

    I called Stores Online several times to speak with the SEO specialist there, to see how good they are in SEO.

    No tech support. No SEO consultant.
    Little bit disappointed.

    Regarding drop shipping? Forget, they have no support either. They automate everything, but there is no direct communication with the drop ship suppliers at all.

    They put the product of different drop ship suppliers on their system one time. There is no update about the inventory. No update of the order tracking.

    That’s it.

    It’s better to deal with the drop ship supplier directly. One of my friend is using this drop ship supplier:

  17. April 6th, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    Chettar says:

    I get an invite to functions just like these all the time. I can’t believe they gave out mp3 players with viruses. I’d laugh if scammers like this didn’t piss me off so much.

  18. April 6th, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Sean says:

    @Chettar: I stood outside the event in 2009 handing out flyers and got much thanks from the people going in. I missed it in 2010, and would be there this year, but I will be out of the city when it is happening. It’s fairly ridiculous.

  19. April 6th, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Chettar says:

    I kind of want to go just to mess with them.

  20. April 6th, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Sean says:

    I want to dress up like an elderly person and act extremely indecisive and see how far they go to try to make the sale…

  21. April 6th, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Chettar says:

    Probably to the point were they call you a pussy for not paying them on a whim. Sounds like that’s how they roll.

  22. April 6th, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Sean says:

    When I still worked at Memory Lane, I dealt with a client once who had lost $14,000 USD to a similar company, it was pretty sad.

  23. August 20th, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Keith Gadd says:

    Another sucker is born everday, count myself and my friend in for falling for this scam to the tune of $6,000 back in April. We tryed to go to the visa company to have the charge reversed, but they said that because Sheryl signed the contract they would not reverse the charge. AS of todate we are on the hook for the full amount, which has to be paid by the end of the month. If there is anyone out there that has some advise on how to get our money back from SOL would you please e-mail me at WE are in a tight spot as Sheryl is on a small disability pension and at the moment I am unemployed.


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