If you have heard of Stores Online and are thinking of signing up with them I can offer a little insight before you make your decision. You've probably been to the free dinner and are waiting to go to the training seminar. They are very persuasive at the free dinner and I thought I would at least give them a chance at the seminar.
The seminar was informative, but very high pressure. They pushed everyone to buy six websites using that number as the minimum number of sites required to be successful. They repeated that anything can be sold online, the marketing is the key, not the product. They also promoted using dropshippers, saying that they were easy to find and use. I have found these two ideas to be less than honest at best.
The Storesonline product itself I have found to be adequate, as long as you use the tech support phone number that was not readily available. We had to use their live chat line and call every number we could find before one of their reps gave us the tech help number that actually connected us with people who could help. The entire search for that number took about two frustrating weeks. Those two weeks were all that the sales rep at the seminar told us it would take to get the site up and running. Don't believe that for a second. Two months would be more accurate. Once we got the site up and running it seemed to work just fine.
The sales pitch also said that the site would be automatic if you used a dropshipper. Orders would come as you peacefully slept, the dropshipper would process the order, and you would see the money in your bank account. That is just what I was looking for because I already had a job that left very little time for anything else. Well, it doesn't quite work that way. All of the dropshippers that I could find required that you place the order with them as well as up front payment and they will then ship to your customer. This was not what I had expected, after what had been presented at the seminar, But by this time I had put too much effort into the site to do anything else, so we did it this way.
So now, my site was up and running, and since I followed the directions that Stores Online had outlined in their program and very carefully chose keywords in my domain name and throughout the entire site, I searched for my site, expecting to find it on the first page of the search engines, like they told me it would be, and voila... nothing! Zero, zip, nada. My site was nowhwere to be found. It took several more months, dozens of hours of link trading, search engine submission, and frustration before we even started showing up on the sixth or seventh page. Needless to say, we weren't making any sales. We were however still paying the site hosting fee,bank card processing fees, and for the actual purchase of the sites. Luckily we only bought three and only had one up and running,which took a large portion of our time. At least we didn't go for the six.
We finally tried using pay per click to try to make our site visible, and although it was expensive, we did find ourselves on the first page of the search engines using some fringe keyword searches. Then it happened. We got an order. A customer had ordered a couple hundred dollars worth of our products and payment had already been recieved. It was awesome, I was so excited! So we placed the order with our dropshipper right away, only to find out several days later that that item was out of stock and they would not be getting any more in. Now I had to contact my first customer and give them a refund, which cost us money in bank fees. Our fist sale was a loss!
We kept the site up for a while, making it a link sharing affiliate directory, only to spend money on ppc advertising without any affiliate commissions. Then we finally took it down, no longer willing to throw money into the seemingly bottomless pit.
So, would I call Stores Online a Scam? Although you do get functional websites, the amount of deception and misrepresentation at the sale seminar leads me to say yes. There are cheaper opportunities available on the web that allow you to acheive the same or better results. If given the opportunity to do it all over again, I would not.
Norman Mailer and Parade Magazine
10 years ago