Gary Vaynerchuk Doesn’t Like Internet Marketers

Make no mistake: I love this guy.

Here’s how this works:

Step 1: You watch the video below, in which Gary Vaynerchuk says a lot of awesome things, then makes a huge blunder and then says some more awesome things.

Step 2: Watch the next video, below the first one, where I rant about how incredibly wrong Gary was with his statements about Internet marketing.

Step 3: Read the few paragraphs at the end, where I elaborate on some essential points.


Video Interview: Dean Hunt, Ciaran Doyle and Gary Vee

My Response

Some Important Points

First of all, in my video it almost comes off as if I’m saying all offline businesses or all big corporate businesses are unethical. That wasn’t my intention, of course.

My point is simply that there are unethical businesses and ethical businesses, online as well as off. Likewise, there “good” marketing and marketing that “just isn’t right” as Gary puts it. And this is also true online as well as offline.

Note that I’m not saying all  Internet marketing is good and holy. There’s a lot of spammy and scammy marketing going on, online. And unfortunately, the spammiest marketers are usually the most prevalent, the ones you encounter most often and the ones that you get annoyed by the most frequently.

Internet marketing as a whole is no better and no worse than non-Internet marketing. However, a large portion of online marketing consists of individuals or small groups that are very busy producing great value for free and building lasting relationships with relatively small groups of customers. And if more people get involved in this type of marketing and the paradigm shifts ever further in that direction, then that’s clearly a blessing for everyone involved.

At least, that’s my take on this. What do you think?

Step 4: Tell me what you think in the comments below.



About the Author Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Jason says:

    Interesting videos! I actually met Gary last year around this time. He was speaking at Affiliate Summit West and we took a cab together to the airport. I had no idea who he was at the time until after. Anyways, I agree with both of you. I’ve worked in the cpa space for a few years and most of the advertisements are scams. Id say 80% of them except for some lead gens. I do also agree with you that advertising as a whole offline and online can be misleading and or scammy. The internet is big enough and will always have room for everyone. Sometimes certain products have a short shelf life but I think internet marketers will be around for as long as the internet is and there will also be a lot of money made.

    • Shane says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jason!
      Wow, 80% is more than I expected, to be hones (haven’t done any CPA myself, yet).

      I agree that IM isn’t going anywhere and if enough of us push in the right direction, the Internet can completely change what marketing (and doing business) means. And in that sense, I agree with Gary: Get out of the scammy and hypey stuff, because it’s (hopefully) not going to last.


  • Jonathan says:

    Hi Shane

    I just tweeted out this post to the Twitter cocktail party.

    If Gary sees your post he’ll almost definitely reply with something highly constructive – he’s a brilliant social communicator – one of the best in the world.


    • Shane says:

      Hi Jonathan,

      Thanks for the retweet! Yes, I don’t doubt Gary would have more interesting things to say about this. I’d love to discuss this subject with him and if I can, I’ll try to make that happen, somehow.


  • I see the points you are trying to raise and I don’t know if that was the exact market Gary was targeting. I think if you can safely and proudly tell people anywhere what you are doing then you don’t have anything to worry about. I think he was targeting the IM that are shilling some crappy soda for 1000x what it is worth. If you are building a legit business and brand I don’t thing there is any problem with that on or offline. Nice post.

    • Shane says:

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for your comment!
      I agree, in a sense, Gary and I are talking about two different things, here. And that’s kind of the point, really. Maybe I’m being a bit too positive about IM as a whole, looking mainly at the good bits and he’s being too negative, looking mainly at all the scams and dishonesty.
      I personally hope that with time, we’ll see more and more of the good stuff and as I stated in the video, I believe that marketing online has already begun changing what marketing and promoting products means – in a good way. But then, there’s also forced continuity scams and rubbish Acai berry pills…


  • Brad Gosse says:


    I agree with your commentary, however I am learning that sometimes if you can’t beat them you need to join them. I am working towards not calling myself an Internet marketer and the longer. I now prefer the term marketer alone but then sometimes I am a product creator or producer.

    It’s difficult when the landscape changes so much. Marketing today is not what it was 20 years ago. So do traditional titles even still stick?

    The problem is that most Internet marketers ARE scammers. They make those of us who do things properly look bad. We either need to change the title we assign to ourselves, or find a way to build an association that supports a standards and best practices policy.

    • Shane says:

      Brad, thanks for your input.
      I think changing the label or actively doing something about the label is a really good idea. In fact, I think just using the term “marketer” rather than “Internet marketer” is very clever and also very appropriate. After all, marketing without involving the Internet in one way or another is almost unthinkable nowadays and online and offline marketing have been merging for a long time.
      An added perk may be that you don’t get the typical “what the hell is that?” response when people ask you what you do for a living, if you just say: I work in marketing. :D

  • Rolf says:


    This is a very good subject indeed!

    I fully agree with you that the address should be at scammers in general.

    They are everywhere. also in the offline business.

    Door-to-door vacuum cleaner salespersons (mostly men by the way!, used cars sales reps (also mostly men) and insurance policy sales rep.

    Despite their promises and guarantees, when something happens they throw the fine print at you and letting you know that it is all your own fault and you are to blame.

    Some of the big IM gurus have a vacuum cleaner door-tot-door sales background, some are from the magical act and some from show business. – I run the other way when I learn that.

    Gary made a good point about “guru” or coaches or consultants or whatever you like to call them.

    Here is my take of that from the relationship coaching:

    A relationship guru is a person who can show you 107.5 different sexual positions but he cannot himself get a date on Friday night!

    So when choosing a guru or a mentor you should not take a look at his bank account and his Ferraris.

    Instead you should take a look at his customers’ bank accounts and Ferraris. They should not be based in the guru’s niche.

    His customers should represent legit businesses from different niches.

    Preferably the guru himself should have built a successful business himself selling good products and services to people who really need them.

    Marketing scams are everywhere, also in your grocery shop. They have some specials on with big pictures and glossy brochures. Then when you go shopping for that special offer they have placed something almost identical next to it at the normal high price and if you are not observant you will take the wrong one.

    Consumer protection over here in the Nordic countries is strong and the public TV channels have a few consumer watch programs on where they display all sorts of scams. I tell you, when a company ends up in these shows they are in BIG trouble. Usually they try to settle a complaint right there and then but the damage is already done. They suffer and some will have to stop promoting their stuff.

    In a way, social media will do the same. It really does not matter if it is online or offline. It is marketing as you very rightly point out.

    Therefore it is very important that you continue to put out videos on YouTube like the recent one on mass traffic and that we help you spread the word. It is very good tweeting about it for one thing.

    I personally know a guy who was trained as a door-to-door vacuum cleaner sales rep and I was disgusted to hear what they are trained to do to get their commission no matter what. Consumer concerns are the last things they care about.

    We need to turn the spot lights on and film these things and make them public so we as honest marketers can do our job which actually is servicing people with they want and need. It is not selling – it is service.

    Best wishes

    • Shane says:

      Hi Rolf,

      Thanks for your thoughts. I think you point out some great examples of the exact same kind of dishonest and scammy business practices that we know from IM and that have been around forever in all sorts of offline businesses. I guess online, marketers are sometimes not as subtle about scamming people as offline, but at the end of the day, there are simply honest and ethical businesses and dishonest, unethical ones. No matter where you look.

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