My Worst WSO Of All Time

During the past year or so I’ve been running WSOs, I’ve had some level of success with all of them.

Now, success generally means breaking even or making a small profit. I’m not talking about getting rich directly from the WSO (they do tend to repay themselves in other ways).

I’ve had a few WSOs that have taken off and done really well too, but it’s always guesswork which ones they will be.

But, I’d never ran a WSOs which I’ve considered a total disaster – until I ran WSO Trust, that is.

It was a product I had hopes for being useful and valuable, but it just didn’t take off.

You can view the offer at

In this blog post, I’m going to break down the WSO Trust offer as I saw it, and look at what went wrong with running the WSO.


The WSO Trust Concept

This was a report I actually moved very quickly with, from concept to execution.

When reflecting on a number of WSOs I’d purchased recently, I realised that not all the WSOs were of the same standard.

Sure, there were some gems there, but there were also some dire products. And, these dire products generally looked much better than they were based on the sales copy.

On the plus side, I know when I first started in Internet Marketing I ended up buying a lot more products that weren’t that useful to me. So, my experience had been useful. But, there are a lot more people using the Warrior Forum now than when I started (and there’s also a lot more trash on there). I know that a lot of people are getting burned with poor quality offers.

That gave me the concept. How to assess the value of a WSO, based on the very factors I notice as an experienced Warrior. I thought of 8 of these factors (which I named Trust Factors), structured the results around them, and set up the product using WSO Pro.

All ready to go.


The WSO Trust Offer

The other decision to make before launching a WSO is how to price it.

I’ve had some success with $1 WSOs before, and I wanted to make this product attractive to new Warriors, so I decided to offer this at $1.

In order to introduce a little scarcity to the offer, and make early sales, I decided to limit the $1 copies of WSO Trust to the first 100 buyers. After that, the price would be $5.

The $5 price would be warranted based on the good feedback from early buyers, and still being low based on the potential money saved on poorer quality WSOs.

I also considered that $5 would be more attractive to affiliates, coupled with 90% instant commission using WSO Pro (the only reason for not offering 100% commission was to prevent people signing up as an affiliate solely to purchase through their own affiliate link).

A side reason for running this WSO was to add buyers to my WSO email mailing list, both through the initial offer, and the affiliate promotion.

The Results Of The WSO

WSO Trust

As of the time of writing, the results of the WSO are 58 sales, with 49 going to me and 9 to affiliates.

All these 9 affiliate sales have been to the same affiliate, warriorplus. This is largely because of how the WSO Pro system operates. When you launch a new WSO, previous customers get an automatic affiliate linked email from WSO Pro, which then receives the affiliate commission. There are also a number of places where the WSO is advertised in the WSO Pro site itself, and in other emails.

The downside of running a $1 WSO is that around one third of the income goes in PayPal fees. So, the income after fees to me from the WSO was around $32.

That doesn’t sound too bad at first glance, until I say that to get there cost a WSO post and a bump (total $80), the WSO Pro licence, as well as an email to my list, a number of posts around the Warrior Forum to get my signature link seen, plus the time taken to develop and set up the product in the first place. Definitely not a good return on the time spent.

I added a handful of new leads to my mailing list, who entered through a good value product, which is promising, but this doesn’t really make up for the way that WSO Trust performed.

Feedback from buyers on the WSO thread was also excellent – probably the best feedback I’ve ever had for one of my products. But, that didn’t equate to convincing other people to buy.

The $5 part of the WSO plan never materialised, and it was really necessary to get there for this WSO to work.


Why WSO Trust Failed

This has taken some thought, but there are a three main reasons why I think WSO Trust failed.

(1)   I got the pricing strategy wrong.
I think people equated the $1 low price of WSO Trust as equalling a low quality offer. And, the 100 person grouping of the first price point was siply too many people.
Setting this at $1 for the first 50 people would have worked better, or perhaps going straight to the $5 price. I could also have run this as a dime sale, starting at $1 and putting the price up for 10c each sale. That’s worked for me before.

(2)    I mailed my list too late.
I usually try and mail my list as soon as the WSO goes live, but with this WSO being less planned than normal, I already had a mail scheduled. I mentioned the WSO at the end of another email, and then mailed properly the next day, but with the speed the WSO moves down the Warrior Forum, that was too late.
I must admit, I did anticipate that this $1 offer would be immediately attractive to new Warriors, but with only around 20 copies sold the first day, that obviously wasn’t the case.

(3)   The offer was clearly not valued!
What I anticipated as being a selling point for new Warriors, differentiating between good and bad WSOs, clearly didn’t work at all for the target audience.
It’s either a problem that marketers have to meet themselves, or the more experienced Warriors thought that this information was beneath what they needed.
Thankfully, these are all factors which I can address when planning (and releasing) future WSOs.


What Now With WSO Trust?

The consensus of knowledge says that there will always be offers that don’t work. In that case, you should use this as a learning experience and move on to another product.

I don’t want to do that with WSO Trust, as I feel that this information is really necessary for new Warriors. But, by the same token, I can’t put a lot more work into a product which won’t bring a return.

I’ve thought about adding a video or webinar component, where I look at some WSOs a break down the offers based on the Trust Factors, but that largely looks like the ‘work with no return’ mistake.

I want to keep the WSO alive, but without bumping it, so that other Warriors may buy some of the remaining copies. I also hope to still interest the right affiliates who can see the value of improving the offers on the Warrior Forum.

Apart from that, I may consider some form of rights deal to help this product to get out into more hands. There are also other products I can release for which this would make a good bonys.

But, this is still very much up in the air for the present and open to ideas.


Over To You!

In this post, I’ve outlined some of the reasons I think that WSO Trust didn’t do well, but I’m sure there are other obvious factors.

I welcome any thoughts about why the offer didn’t work, or any comments on this post you’d like to add.

Just reply below to share your thoughts.

34 replies on “My Worst WSO Of All Time”

Hmm… I'm thinking there's some kind of possibility to appeal to WSO sellers more than you have. Make it a universal standard for WSOs to have a WSO trust rating. How you'd do that aside from either having one or two people review WSOs they were sent, or having sellers do it themselves, is unclear, but it could end up being self-policing.
Say I post a WSO that I say is "WSO Trust Rating 8" and someone comes along and disagrees, the group could correct it.
Just thinking outside the box a little here. If it were standardized enough to be useful to both buyers and sellers…

Great idea, Zabrina. But, I suspect the only people who would go along with a plan like that would be the Warriors who are already very trusted.

Definitely worth a try, of course.

I do think this would appeal to WSO sellers if they could work backwards and look at WSO Trust as the kind of things they should be doing to make their WSO look legitimate. I might add it as a bonus to Insider WSO Tips, or similar products, just to get it circulated.


Maybe you mis-assumed that 100+ people would be interested? 
I bought the product, for one reason only– It was YOU!  I have several of your products and they are all good.  I took a risk with the dollar and bought a copy. 
The content was good, but to be honest, only the newest warriors needed this book.  If it were anyone else, it would have been, at best, a coin toss for me to buy it at $1, but I would not have given it a second glance at $3 or more. 
Strangely enough, I think these are the things WSO seekers want most:
1) Traffic – By a country mile!
2) Hyped up How to Make Money is next!
3) PLR
4) Tools
5) Things of high value that are not direct money makers (quality keywords, etc.)
Actually, I don't think anything else was  a real problem in the success of this WSO.  If your WSO drops to the second or third page, that is the best time for your list to buy.  If they post a comment, it bumps you back to the top.  No bump fee (unless there is something I don't know.)
It really isn't uncommon for even the most successful marketers to have a bad launch.   I have read of Mike Filsaime and many other big-named marketers having bum products even after they were great successes.  It just happens. 

Buck, thanks for the useful comments.

I agree, maybe the market for that one was wrong (well, it obviously was, based on the response). I based the 100 sales based on my last WSO of that type, which sold 50 copies (the $1 level) in the first hour, and the next 50 copies (the $2 level) over the next 24 hours. Because those previous 50 copies went almost too quick, I was looking to keep the price low for longer.

Presumably, there's a sweet spot somewhere between 50 and 100.

I largely agree with your list of topics, although I hate #2 of course!

I use the 'Related Posts' plugin everywhere, as it usually makes a good attempt to link appropriate posts, and it improves the internal links within the blog as a whole (good for SEO). That model in Post #1 has worked for me multiple times, and maybe I should go back to that (the Dime Sale WSO) next time.


There is one more thing you might consider.  Redirect the WSO to a squeeze page, drop the price to FREE and build your list. 
If you are really brave, offer a second free report for comments on your free wso.  That will keep it bumped and you continue to build your list.  The more names you get, the less each costs.  If each name is worth $1/month, you could be in the black in 30 days or less.

Of course, I realize I am preaching to the preacher…. lol

And, thanks as well for this one.

I know a WSO not making money isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I always think of WSOs as being a long-term business, so you can't just take the results of a single WSO as red.

I did the arithmetic, and my "cost per new lead" (i.e. people not already on my mailing list) is somwhere around $3 each. I'm sure there will still be a few sales from searches even though the WSO is a few pages into the WSO section of the Warrior Forum. A lot of business would be more than happy to acquire leads for that price, so as a long-term business plan, even a slightly unsuccessful WSO can be a winner.

I'm always a little anti the idea of selling something and then giving it away for free straight after, as I feel it's slightly mean to the people who have paid money for a product. Maybe down the line, or as a War Room product, but not immediately. The other way is to offer it as a bonus to another product, which somehow seems more acceptable.


Thom.. another thing to consider is that most of the WSO's have a money back guarantee or refund policy of some kind & its something that I personally always look out for. If there is no refund or guarantee in place I simply don't buy the WSO. I also look out for which payment method is being used, such as WSO Pro or Paypal. Which comes in handy if there are any problems or refund requests.

Richie, that's true. I do have a guarantee on that WSO for that reason. I haven't had any refund requests for it, and I understand my refund rate is very low compared to most WSOs anyway, but a guarantee is definitely something I check.

In fact, I do mention both the need to check for a guarantee and to see if the payment mechanism is sensible inside WSO Trust. There's a lot more detail inside the report, but I'd struggle to see how anyone running a WSO which didn't use PayPal (either directly, or via WSO Pro or similar systems) could expect to make sales.


Once again, great post Thom and thanks for being so honest and genuine when analysing your WSO.

I'm launching my first WSO next week, so I can't be super critical.
Here's my take:
If no one has ever heard of Thom Lancaster before ( especially a newbie) then not having a picture of yourself on the Forum may be a problem. I've been on several discussions on forums before and it comes up time and time again that having no picture hurts sales.
Is this true?
I have no idea, and I suppose it's something worth testing.
Your previous WSO's have probably gone really well since they're based on "making money", therefore the target crowd is a lot bigger than the crowd "not wanting to get burned by purchasing WSO's".
When it's a "make money" product, people are more flexible when whipping out that credit card, regardless who the product creator is ( and no pic). If it's a topic off the "make money" niche then people need to know who they're dealing with.
I purchased the WSO for a few reasons and being honest, the content wasn't really one of them since I like to feel I can pick out a bad WSO from a good one.
If I see a WSO seller doing really well I like to reverse engineer what it is that makes them so successful. You're also another Brit, and future networking with you would be a lot easier.
For example, I love the way you deliver your WSO and the clear emphasis on getting affiliates to promote your products. At every stage of the selling, purchasing and delivery of your products you're offering affiliates the opportunity to promote. This is great! and one tip I've stored in the memory bank.
Now I don't know if that side of things is working for you, but I believe it's the right way to go, especially if you build up a sizable following.
That being said, I've enjoyed your WSO's and feel your personality comes across really well. I'll probably continue to purchase them based on you "Thom" at not the product.
@Buck I may be wrong here? and if I am you can correct me, but the vast majority of threads in the WF get bumped when there's a new comment, but this doesn't apply in the WSO section.
The only way to get your WSO on the first page is to place a new offer or pay the price and bump it. Otherwise people would just get Tom, Dick and Mary to place carefully timed comments on ALL of their WSo's. I may be wrong here though?
My 2c

Cheers Des, lots of good ideas there!

Do I release 'make money' products? I suppose so, but I don't really think of them that way. I always have the view that making money is seeing what other people have done, and what works well for them, and then putting a new twist on it. So, these don't end up as the typical "make $472 in the next 48 hours" type products.

The affiliate strategy for all products is very important, and particularly for WSOs. That's probably worth a post (or a report) in its own right at some point. I do definitely think that you need to mention the affiliate opportunities regularly, as customers are the best people to promote.

Regarding photos, being a part-time marketer, I've always steered away from having a photo on the Warrior Forum. It hasn't really hurt previous WSOs, but I do know there's a sector of the audience who like photos. For me, I do know of fake photos on the Warrior Forum, so unless I know the seller personally, I never pay that much attention to the photos. Some of the best known Internet Marketers are just characters invented to appeal to different audiences, each with their own set of posed photos. Definitely something to think about, of course.

You're quite right in how bumping WSOs work. They're bumped when making a payment only. However, posting comments can still be valuable, as the threads with the most recent comments appear on the main page of the Warrior Forum – and of course, a thread with a lot of comments looks 'popular' for people viewing the forum.


Hi Thom.
I think it is too bad that not more got it until now. You had some very good points in there.
I don't know why this wasn't a bigseller. It should have been when you understand what it cover. And especially for the price. But I guess, there are some psychology in selling. You have to get inside the head of the customer, and just because you manage to do that 1, three or five times, it doesn't mean that it looks the same the sixth time. The mind changes all the time.
However, you can always promote it in more ways. You have got a mail from me where you have one opportunity to do that.

I got value out of the report, that I can say.

Stefen, yes psychology is so important. I obviously didn't communicate the value, or just aimed this at too narrow an audience who wouldn't yet see the value behind a product like this.

It's a learning experience.

One way of thinking about this is – once you have a reputation, stick to delivering products for the audience for whom you've earned that reputation.

Within marketing though, there's always a need to continue to appeal to appeal to an existing audience, but also grow a new audience. That means continuing to develop new entry point products. Something for me to think about what those entry point products should be – and maybe 'free' is the best solution…


Hi Thom,

I'm really surprised that your Trust wso didn't do well,I jumped all over it as i saw the value.
One thing that did come to my mind when i bought it was that it seemed to me you were too hung up on hammering tre point that you weren't giving legal advice.

It's possible that some people de-valued it because of that statement.
I thought you may have hammered that point a little too much,and maybe not,just my opinion and wanted to share it for what it's worth.

Hi Thom,
interesting discussion… well, with that $40 fee per WSO, it's easy for a WSO to bomb, and I find it pretty challenging to even make my money back with some of them.
One thing… Buck mentioned that if people leave comments, the WSO gets bumped back to the beginning. That's not the case (unless I missed something BIG). That's only for the regular posts…
But of course it's possible to benefit from that bumping mechanism in other threads by putting an ad for you WSO into your sig (which you do, for all I can remember right now).
And yes, using WSO's for lead building is a very good use for it, and if you sell them at a buck, you're getting buyers rather than freebie seekers, and that might make them a better class of leads. 
As far a s things I like to buy…  I actually have a suggestion…
It helps if you're clear on what is in the WSOs and who is the ideal audience for them.  I.e., beginner in this one.
At this point, I'm avoiding things for beginners because there is rarely anything in those products that I don't know yet (or have sitting on my hard drive somewhere).
I find the list of popular products above really useful.  And encouraging.  Traffic and PLR are two things I'm getting into personally, and the combination could be a real winner (I think I'll get to work on that myself).
Thanks for this enlightening blog post and the discussion.  I really appreciate your willingness to share this info.

@DesDree and Thom,
Thanks for the update on how the WSO bump works.  About the time I wrote the statement, I felt there was something obviously wrong there so I added the "unless…" statement. 
I don't like seeing those super-hyped sales letters, but they sell. I think MataClear has the current super-WSO going.  I see he is still selling backlinks as faster than he can answer the comments to the WSO.  Its been going strong for 8 months or so now, I think. 

People like pre-made websites as well.  They seem to be hot sellers for the newcomers.   The problem with them is people start crying 'Refund!' if the site hasn't paid them back in 48 hours. 

People want anything proven to work, as long as it will work for them, and even more so if it doesn't look like they have to work to get it. 
Maybe they are looking for business-in-a-box products.  I can rubber-stamp WP sites so fast it would make a VA blush, but getting them to make consistent money is a whole different thing!

Elisabeth, yes, I agree maybe the beginners market puts people off. And, even when people are beginners, they don't always want to be reminded of it (or, you could look at it another way, and see that sometimes people think they know more than they really do).

PLR works well, but I can't see a way of getting that priced at $1 and getting a short or long-term business out of it.

Buck, I've seen a lot about 'Business In A Box' recently. If you can get all the systems in place to almost automate productions of unique sites, you can have a very good business. To work, it's really got to come down to outsourcing it. Any 'done for you' service sells well, even if it's already prepared and so not subject to your specifications.

Probably a market I should get into – but we're reaching 'Fingers In Too Many Pies' territory. 🙂


Hey Thom

I would change the angle and add to it for example make it into a helpful guide when creating WSOs/products for those who sell them.

You could also look at it from the affiliate angle, meaning… "how to find out if a WSO is good enough quality to promote to your list"

I get that you're trying to attract newbies but it's an idea
By the way thanks for promoting my WSO, I'll be sure to return the favor

Great to see you here Jeff, and thanks for joining in the discussion. Always happy to support your WSOs as I know you put out high quality products.

Yes, I guess I could easily spin out a couple more products following those ideas. I particularly like the affiliate angle, as that's lower competition.

Attracting newcomers to Internet Marketing with the right product is a whole new different discussion. I've not got the right answer yet, but will have to give it more thought.


I have not sold a WSO yet – it seems like there is a certain strategy that I just have not looked into enough.  I have thought about posting something in the Classified, but there is even a free for that.  I know people make decent money with WSO's, but I guess you really have to know what you are doing.  I also think having a good reputation is beneficial!

People are weird anyway. I produced my first free war room report where I gave people an insight into one of my experiments:

This experiment was based on my own experience and I wanted to share it with other Warriors. This was on the basis that they run the experiment themselves to see if it works.
All of the comments came back fine, however, I received a couple of PM's critising the fact that I didn't put any stats within the report.
I suppose you can't please everyone, and to try is virtually impossible. No matter what you do, for some it isn't enough and they want more.
We'll probably never know why the WSO didn't do as well as your others. I suppose we could put it down to the target crowd not being big enough for this topic.
Once again, great for you to share.

@Jeff Great point and I agree. It seems most guys that have done well out of selling WSO's always seem to bring out A WSO about WSO's. They generally do really well.
@Thom I reckon WSO's can be good for list building (like we discussed) but I think offering some type of service or software is a better long term business strategy.
I own a cleaning company, and by far the best income generator is from my window cleaning clients where the income is recurring. They are also more likely to purchase extra services since we already have a relationship. This is also more valuable if I wanted to sell the business in the future. Investors like to companies that have a recurring income. I reckon IM's the same.

Julie, yes reputation is definitely important.

Des, thanks for showing me your upcoming WSO. I'm sure you're onto a winning strategy there. I think it's very clever as well how you're preselling through the War Room report (which is where you build your reputation).

I haven't had a lot of luck with the War Room, as there's a lot subjectivity in which moderators are on and which offers get approved, but definitely something I need to work on.


To date, I've added around 75 subscribers with this report, so I'm happy with my little experiment. However, I used a technique of replying to my comments at specific times (the busiest) that WAS working well until the moderators decided to clamp down on this.

So, for fear of getting banned, I only reply to specific questions and don't thank people personally as a reply.

Hello Thom,
I am glad I came across this…it certainly puts the WSO "opportunity" into a more realistic light.
I have bought many WSO's, and I have a couple of friends who have both succeeded, and not, with WSO's….But, considering the amount of money I have spent on them, I want to try make some money back.
This is good, realistic, down-in-the-trenches stuff.

Hi Nick,

The fact is that not all WSOs work out in profit, no matter how experienced you are at running WSOs, or what kind of contacts you have.

The more you've run, the more chance you have of them succeeding, but that's it.

If you're looking to run a first WSO, it's now very hard to break into the marketplace, unless you can team up with someone more experienced (and with more name value).

Thanks for the positive comments. I've made quite a few WSO related posts here, with actionable information, and will continue to do so whenever I get good ideas which don't overlap too much with what I've covered before.


Good post. I’m glad to hear of others failures, makes me feel more normal!! I know I often struggle with pricing strategies.

Too few people like to write about their failures Mark, even though it’s a totally natural part of any business.

The most important thing is to know that they’ll happen and to learn from those failures down the line.


The perception that higher price equals higher quality is very real. A wine marketing experiment once concluded that if we think it costs more, it tastes better, regardless of the real cost.

That’s true, Jessica. Perception about the value of information is the key. That’s why many of the big gurus sell “home study packs” which are sent through the post, consisting of physical books and well-presented DVDs. The information doesn’t differ substantially from a product sold online for a tenth of the price, but the presentation gives the product the perception of high value.


I think it’s great that you shared the details of a project that didn’t go well along with your insights about what went wrong. There’s a reason why many Harvard MBA case studies focus on the projects that go sideways, not just those that are runaway successes. One of my favorite quotes: I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~Thomas Edison

Adam, I enjoy reading how other people have approached projects, even when they’ve not gone right, so that’s why I’m happy to share my own failures.

I really wish that more people would do so.

Generally, I focus the blog around things that work, things that don’t and ideas that I have which need to be tested. There’s a lot of information here that I know would sell as products or as WSOs, but I hope all the readers, like yourself, get excellent value from it.


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