Perry’s Greed

PerryMarketing Blog, Not on Homepqage421 Comments

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Recently I spoke at an event where numerous people asked me to meet with them, have lunch, etc. I responded: Sorry, no free lunch meetings – if you want to meet with me you need to pay my hourly fee.

I mentioned this in an email and got this reply from Dennis:


I love your stuff, you are obviously a very talented online marketer. In addition I bet your a good person, I don’t know but I get the feeling you are. However one thing really bothered me that you said in your newsletter dated Tuesday October 28th.

As far as I can deduct you where part of a program that went late into the night that people paid for and after it was over several people wanted to take you to lunch etc, to pick your brain. You response was sure, just pay me my hourly rate. Now I’m all for people getting paid for there time, God knows if you say high to a lawyer your going to get a bill. Wlth that in mind there is such a thing as going to far. It’s called GREED. It’s what the me generation did to this countries economy today. It’s the reason our economy is in such a mess.

I have been here for 58 years and have met many successful people, everyone of these people that I have asked to take to lunch and chat never charged me a dime. And myself being a very successful sales person earning over $100 K per year since 1974 have always given freely to others who asked. My opinion regaring your reponse to a request to do lunch was not being a smart business person, it was greed with a capital G. Come on, lets get real here if this kind of greed does not stop this country is headed for the dumpster.

Can you imagagine having to pay everyone who you asked for advice ? Why not put a hold on the greed and give a little back without getting paid for it. Even the blood sucking lawyers do probono work, even high priced doctors volunteer there skill to help people who can’t afford medical care. Even old John D Rockefeller realised his greed and started giving his money away. Then theres Perry Marshall he won’t go to lunch with eager students and share his knowledge without getting paid. You can rationalize all you want, but your response was arrogant and greedy. Let me summarise, what you did was Bull Shit.


This was my reply to Dennis:


Thanks for your note and I can appreciate how my comment made you feel. Yes if someone told me 20 years ago I’d be charging people $700 for lunch and turning away people asking for help, I might have felt the same way as you. As you wrote your email I think you felt more and more angry about it all the time.

My wife read your email and said, “Perry, this guy apparently doesn’t know how many people want to take you to lunch.”

Dennis, I have over 100,000 people on my email list. You have no idea how many people email my office and ask questions – hundreds and hundreds every month. I could EASILY spend all day dispensing free advice. The demand for it it ENDLESS. I could spend every single breakfast, lunch and dinner time slot dispensing free advice and the line would never stop.

"What should I do next to grow my business this year?" Take my 2-minute quiz and I'll show you where you'll get the most bang for your buck.

At the meeting, had I responded to all those requests I would’ve been out to lunch every day this week dispensing free advice. Remember: I’m not a salesman. I’m a consultant. Advice, not widgets, is what I sell. When you were a salesman you didn’t give away your goods for free and you didn’t feel guilty if they expected you to and you wouldn’t feel guilty for saying no.

There are several reasons why I don’t dispense free advice:

-It would be unfair to those who pay for it, and there are many who do

-People almost NEVER act on free advice, especially if it requires them to do something uncomfortable – so what’s the point in dispensing it?

-If people want free information there are hundreds of pages of free articles and MP3’s on my website and it’s good stuff

-If I gave away my knowledge I would not be able to be generous to those who truly are in need.

You accuse me of being greedy and not being generous. You do not know that. You do not know me at all. You have no business making such judgments. You do not know how many people and/or organizations I DO give free advice to. You do not know who or what I give my money to and it’s none of your business anyway.

Just know this: If I gave away free advice I would have no money to give to AIDS orphans in Africa.

So given that I have people lined up to pay me money (for example if you want a 1 day consultation it has to be booked 1-3 months in advance; phone consults are booked 2-4 weeks in advance) why should I allow people to cut in line and pay nothing?

Would that be right?

Finally, most of the questions people would ask me are already answered on my website or in my products. Most of the business ideas people pitch me with are a waste of time. People who have not read my books or website first usually wouldn’t understand the answer if I gave it to them.

I am known all around the world for my expertise and my time is valuable. I am a STEWARD of my time and I am responsible before God for how I use it. To give it away indiscriminately would be irresponsible and wasteful.

I will give my time to people who earn it and that is why I am then able to be generous with people who need it. Hungry children in Africa need help more than well-fed Americans who are trying to solve their business problems. If they want free advice, they can ask someone else.

When people pay for my time, they get value. In life you usually get what you pay for, and when you pay me $725 an hour [note: my hourly rate has risen since this was written, it is now $2,500] you get your money’s worth. My job is to deliver that value and make sure that knowledge is put to use for maximal effect to ALL involved – my customers, myself, and the causes that are dear to my heart.


Perry Marshall

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About the Author

Perry Marshall has launched two revolutions in sales and marketing. In Pay-Per-Click advertising, he pioneered best practices and wrote the world's best selling book on Google advertising. And he's driven the 80/20 Principle deeper than any other author, creating a new movement in business.

He is referenced across the Internet and by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, INC and Forbes Magazine.

421 Comments on “Perry’s Greed”

  1. Everything has a price but maybe it’s worth straddling the middle on this one.

    Simple solution: create a landing page for “Pick Perry’s Brain For Charity.” The landing page has a calendar that shows available time slots and the price. Perry controls his time and availability and sends the link whenever someone asks for his time outside of consulting. The link for payment goes straight to the charity Perry has selected, the charity sends a thank you to both people.

    Charity = happy; Perry = feels respected for his time and feels happy for his charity; Dennis = pays the price and has a greater understanding of how the world works and gets his questions answered at lunch, or, doesn’t pay the price and has an idea of how the world works from afar and still loves Perry.

  2. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog
    that’s both equally educative and amusing, and without a
    doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that
    not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.
    I’m very happy that I came across this in my search for something
    concerning this.

  3. Huh, I neither have the energy or time to go into a long discussion on this matter but Perry as I read this article it became very clear to me why I feel what I have always felt for years. The carelessness with my time dispensing FREE advice has cost me more money and pain, to my family, than I can even imagine! But not no more. To those who may read this I would let you know that Perry marshall has personally given me time sitting in a small church for hours sharing and giving…when he didn’t have to. Why? I don’t know but…he did.Enough said.

  4. Perry is absolutely right.

    There is a loser mentality when people believe that the world owes them a living. One of the commenters on this blog seems to think that his own financial position, his kidney problems and his past choices mean that Perry – who has presumably never met him – has an obligation to provide free consulting. Ridiculous!

    As a PR strategist, I could spend all day in meetings, giving free consulting to people. I routinely get asked by organisations to meet to “discuss” what their PR strategies should be – they are doing an internal review of their PR function etc. And startups always want a meeting over coffee in Starbucks. The thing is, I know that these sort of approaches will never lead to paid work. Good prospects are those who want to have a conversation not about what I would recommend they do, but about how we could work together.

  5. Hi Perry,

    I read thru the comment and your response as well as the other responses.
    I am sorry to say that you and most all others missed the real lessons here.
    1. it is not a question of if you are worth your hourly rate
    2. Or if you should or shouldn’t let someone take you to lunch.
    3. Or if you are greedy or not.
    4. Or how many people pat you on the back and say how right you are.
    5. Nor do you have to “defend” yourself by saying what you give or don’t give.

    What I have seen in you over the last several years is…an increased arrogance in your emails and answers. Success does that to most.
    Discernment and kindness were missing by the WAY you responded. That was the problem.

    Rather than a flippant response- sure, pay me, etc.,

    It would have been much kinder while holding your ground. That would have been what a Godly man would do.
    “Thank you so much for your kind offer to take me to lunch, I am asked several hundred times a month and I wish I could do them all. I am unable to take you up on your offer but I do have some tools on my site you are welcome to check out. Would you like that url?

    I don’t know if you remember me writing to you a few years ago warning you to “be careful” with success but I did.

    Anyway, I hope you get this and can think it thru. You have plenty of people telling you how great you are. That does you little good.
    I am your friend and appreciate you and the many you do help.

    1. Austin

      That was a good point, but is only a rewording since the reason why Perry doesn’t accept lunch invitations is because he is receiving a lot of them, demand is high, so he must filter people in some way and money is a great filter, but the way you say things is sometimes more important than the message itself.

      I also would like to invite a free lunch to Perry (since I learned from him since 2,004) when he comes to South-America, (he will go to MachuPicchu, but I guess he will be in Lima for a day or two to get there), but I know that this is very unlikely, even though he is not well known here as he is in the US.

      However, I would like to know who will be attending the 4 man intensive. Maybe 2 corporations, some real state company and some well known hosting company, because I don’t know many people using extensive use of Adwords here.

  6. I charge a lot for my time (about the same rate as Mr Marshall), my website has a few typos (still). I also guarantee my work. If someone did not receive value for the fee, they can adjust it.

    Perry is at a disadvantage in that he works with everyone, as I used to. A big problem with this process is you get the whole bell curve of people mostly with ideas that are not viable, massive time suck for consultants. Perry , heres my idea for you, create a business viability self assessment. don’t let folks near your time inventory unless they have a certain score…Theres my free advice.J

    You’re smart enough to understand he was coming at you from a sales perspective and has been giving advice away as a counsellor sales rep for years. I thought you could have been more compassionate and could have shown a bit of class in dealing with the guy, especially since you took your spat public. The biggest danger for consultants now are peer review sites like Yelp. Don’t want folks making the Gurus famous for all the wrong reasons.

    My Perry Story is my partner and I came from the Dan Kennedy learning trough. We got a hold of Perry’s Google Adwords Course for $135. Thats a lot of money for a crummy book. But I studied the book implemented the advice and quickly started receiving 2-4 inquiries a day off my website. This is a big deal given our average sale is around $40k a year. We parlayed this result into a service bureau kind of set up. We were the first EDU Marketing company to be certified by Google as Professional Partners and on and on it goes. I attribute part of our success to that ugly ‘over priced book’ we bought 8 years ago…As an aside we tithe 10% of our consulting inventory with those who cant afford our services.

    If you’re ever in Victoria BC, lunch is on me….J

    Best regards…Gregg

  7. The way I see it, you feel guilty about that man´s comment and needed some feedback to see if you acted accordingly. When I was studying my master´s degree, one of our professor used to say after someone asked a consulting question, that that was consultation and that he would gladly give him/her that advice outside the classroom with the respective charge. I probably would have answered that person explaining most of what you did and not show that I am upset by what he says by mentioning all the good things you do on your own.

  8. BRILLIANT! Took myself and my team awhile to figure out that the people who look for the free advice never want to commit to be clients.

    We now follow your idea – no free advice. We are much happier now and enjoy our clients and work again.

  9. Giving advice for free is pointless. Even getting paid for it is almost as pointless. No one ever “owns” the information for themselves until they start to use it.

    Perry could give away all the marketing knowledge he has and most of it would settle like dust because it wasn’t used.

    It would be fair to ask for credentials from those that want free advice. I hate the thought of sharing my best information with people that do nothing with it. I would be happy to give everything I’ve got to people that were going to take that information and make it their own by “doing” something with it.

    “What have you accomplished with what you have learned?”, I would ask.

    “How hard did you work to apply your new education, any success or failure aside?” I would ask.

    It would be for people that show initiative and effort that I would have lunch with and share what I know. All the rest could very well be looking for a magic bullet solution that does not exist.

  10. Hi Perry,

    the reasons you provided in your reply are perfectly acceptable. When you are in “IP” business, FREE just does not work because very few people actually act on FREE so you have wasted your time and no one actually gains from the encounter.

    It is important to be protective of your time. Keep up the great work.


  11. Dear Perry,

    I would be happy to let you know my thoughts. However, my time is not free either.
    My fee is £200 for a response to your post. Please e-mail and let me know how you would like to proceed.

    Kind Regards,


  12. It looks to me like you originally posted this story in 2008, right? I’m wondering if you would pop off with the same hourly-rate reply today, being the Perry Marshall who is five years older and wiser. It’s really fascinating to see the traction of this blog post over the years.

  13. Perry,

    The first thing that struck me was Dennis confused professionalism with greed. And his second mistake was violating the first basic principle of human relations:

    “If you want to gather honey, don’t get over the beehive.”

    I admire the way you handled that though. Looking forward to more of your emails.

    (I am a client of Kevin Thompson’s AIS)

  14. Hi Perry,
    Thank you for allowing comments. I’m sure this letter from Dennis must have been hurtful to you. Dan Kennedy says if you aren’t offending someone every now and again you’re not agressive enough. That said, maybe the how you responded offended rather than the what you said. I feel that you are a friend in that I had lunch with you and I think Michael Gage in Phoenix at a DK client appreication seminar. Back then you were sales engineer trying to make your sales easier. You were nice to me and even though we’ve never met each other since then I consider you a friend. I would shake the dust off my sandels in regard to Dennis and move on. For Dennis I’m sorry he feels you are asking too much. It took guts for you to start your own business after being an employee and I remember you writing the ic group (which I think you started) asking for advice and courage. It took courage Perry and you’ve made it, I wish I had your courage.

    1. Of course I remember you!

      Yes comments like these are hurtful – “Your time is worth nothing, at least when I demand a piece of it.” I think this does serve as a very good illustration for everyone to see. Also, Gary Halbert called asking for money “The Meat Cleaver of Humanity.” In business, generally the people who don’t give you money don’t respect you. The people who do, do.

      Strength and honor.

  15. It is sad that people who call themselves professional business men and women would have the audacity to get upset about Perry turning them down for a free hour of advice.
    The mind set of some thing for nothing is still prevalent.

  16. Dear Perry:

    Interesting how Dennis didn’t not display one ounce of wisdom (58 yrs) in his comments about your alleged greed. He mentioned the ‘me generation’ and then proceeds to view the whole situation threw ‘his eyes’, which you elegantly articulated to him. Interesting how people cannot see they are what they hate.

    Dennis believes he is special (100K>) and if he offered you his time for a free lunch you should be honored and privilege to be in his company so he can ask special questions that can show you how smart he has become.
    Then he would want to be part of your team to fix all the shortcomings your organization possesses because only he can provide the answers. You know this is true because of the depth of his knowledge that you experienced from the serious questions he asks.
    And when the lunch is over you would tell him he is the best thing to happen to you in years. You are asking him where he was all your life, and thanking him for finally showing up and completing your void.

    In all seriousness people should view the situation through other people eyes, and then the greed allegation issue would be a foolish statement. But the me generation cannot do that.

    I’ll give you an example of not being a ‘me person’. I have responded to two different Perry’s solicitation. The first was a pop up asking for phone number and they call within 24 hrs never did. The second is when I received the gorilla marketing CD with accompanying material, it said you can call to see if this is really for you and we will tell you. So I called and spoke with someone who told me they would get back to me within 24 hrs. On the first issue someone wrote back and mentioned they would investigate but never followed up. On the second they never called.
    Now if I was a Dennis I could write dumb thing however if you look at the situation through Perry’s organization you would have a totally different view.

    First it is Perry’s intent to provide information and services to people to help them achieve what they are trying to accomplish. They are not trying to swindle people. They have passion in what they do.
    Second the volume is so great it is impossible to satisfy everyone. No different than inventory shortage or lost mail there is always going to be an error factor.
    I do not believe Perry is ignoring me but based on my own actions he knows I am not going to buy now, so he can focus on the other requests, people who are signing up. Perry has to apply a triage approach based on resources and needs and if I don’t get answered did it really cause me any harm, no.
    So instead of getting mad I appreciate the complexity & challenges of running a large organization that Perry faces everyday. If anything, it shows he understands his audience and the best way to maximize his people’s resource to increase his consultancy. Increasing his consultancy lets him reach more people on his methods, which is what’s this is all about, not me.


    1. Robert,

      Sorry you didn’t get your promised phone calls. Hopefully you’ll hear from someone this week :^>

      I wonder how many people who are on Dennis’s side of this debate, ever actually took a successful person to lunch to learn from them?

  17. I can’t tell if this is an indication of how low our culture has sunk or how many fools are around at this moment, but for Perry Marshal to feel that his hourly fee is more than most of the doctors I know make, really disgusts me. Also, he has no generosity of heart at all: there are some people who deserve your time, and others who don’t. Simple as that. For years I had Marshall’s cynical, self-serving attitude, until I realized I wasn’t just put on this earth for that. There are reasons why, and I don’t think Perry Marshall can figure that out at all. Perry Brass

  18. Greed in NOT what is Wrong with this country… it is people who want something for NOTHING!

    That is why sooo many people are getting government assistance.

    WE need more people to carry their Own Weight!

  19. Hi Perry: I’m also a consultant – People get “images” in their minds of what they and other people are. When those images are threatened or broken – many don’t handle it well.
    My main mentor of 2000 years ago would “rattle” people when he “qualified” them. EX: “Let the dead bury the dead . . .”
    EX: “Eat my flesh and drink my blood . . .”
    He lost about 5000 “subscribers” that day – but kept his best “clients.”
    Neither you or I come close to His leadership, but its good to know he modeled posture and taught us how to qualify and/or let someone know they need to pay the price to follow.

    1. Curt,

      You are exactly right, and great leaders always polarize people. I do not know of any exceptions. Another case in point: “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” A lot of people say I should have just kept my mouth shut and been polite and not make waves. But you cannot make a difference in the world, or achieve any great following, by not rocking the boat.

      The number of comments on this post shows that this is a conversation that needed to happen. And how many other conversations have most people had with their friends had about THIS?

      1. 1 – The market determines Perry’s fees. If they are too high – the market place will knock them down by refusing to pay the higher rates.
        2 – There is nothing that is truly “free”. If I give a gift to my son for his birthday… the gift was ‘free’ for my son but “cost” me money to buy the gift for him. EVERTYTHING has a cost.
        3 – Is Perry Greedy? Maybe – Maybe Not. That said, as far as I can see, there is nothing in my life’s mission statement that says that I am being held accountable for rightly judging Perry’s moral character. That is a relief since my mind reading ability really sucks.

  20. I highly doubt this has anything to do with Perry feeling like he needed to defend himself. I can’t speak for him, but I’m pretty sure he saw it for what it was: a great topic and opportunity on which to educate. (And the controversy and extra incoming site traffic doesn’t hurt either.)

    Plus, it was very kind and generous of Perry to expend his time and energy responding to the (self-entitled?) gentleman and giving him some insight and explanation as to why he charges for his time.

    Who cares if he’s he’s asked others to lunch and they never charged him a dime? Completely irrelevant.

    The bottom line is, it’s not up to that gentleman or anyone else to decide whether or what Perry (or anyone else) charges for his time, and it was extremely ill-mannered, presumptuous and self-centered to take Perry to task about it.

    1. Danielle said: “The bottom line is, it’s not up to that gentleman or anyone else to decide whether or what Perry (or anyone else) charges for his time, and it was extremely ill-mannered, presumptuous and self-centered to take Perry to task about it.”

      To be fair Danielle, Perry has invited us to “take him to task” about it. And, earlier on in the comments, indicated that this was as good a place as any to discuss the wider issues it raises.

      Perry could just close the discussion, delete it or moderate replies he may not like but he doesn’t appear to do that (at least not with my comments) and all credit to Perry for taking that approach.

      1. None of us were involved in the interaction between Perry and the gentleman at the time so your comment makes no sense.

        We are only invited to comment on things after the fact, which has no bearing on anything.
        The gentleman was ill-mannered and presumptuous, period in second-guessing Perry’s position.

        It’s not any different than if some stranger or someone you barely know with whom you have no relationship came up and asked you to give him your car and then berated and chastised you because you said, “no.”

        What belongs to you (including your time and knowledge), only you have the right to decide where and with whom to share it with.

  21. interesting how the dates are all over the place, looks like this email didn’t go out “live”, but is part of the auto-responder and the replies are accumulating over the years.

    Anyway, a couple of thoughts:

    as Rich pointed out above, it’s not the first time Perry is defending himself in public.

    Well, my first thought was “why the heck does Perry even feel the need to defend himself?”.
    but, having had similarly “less than stellar” experiences with his customer support team as someone who posted earlier (guys, seriously, go through your autoresponder sequence and check the links from time to time, it’s a veritable 404 error-fest…. and a ton of the ‘direct’ emails you provide are dead or no longer monitored), maybe there is a ‘deeper’ issue here – some parts of Perry’s business work just fine, other aspects of it, well, maybe not quite ‘suck’, but are certainly not at the same level as e.g. the quality of the information Perry dispenses. Maybe that’s whey when someone criticizes Perry, he feels the need/urge to defend himself in public.



  22. Perry is basically right, I believe. There is just that little thing I find not so black/white here: “numerous people” have asked me for lunch”. See, if there are “numerous people” in the picture, their reasons are probably not the same: someone may have wanted to panhandle for free expert advice. But someone might have wanted just to say thank you and show appreciation. So, you are in the grey zone here. When I am in the grey zone, I excuse myself politely. I have to rest to focus myself on other round of lecture (or whatever). It doesn’t even have to be a little white lie.

  23. That was one long reply and to be quite honest, I don’t feel you need to justify your actions to others. If you know what you do is honest and respectable then why bother with those that question you.
    Also, like you mentioned – only when you attach value to an item, then will it become valuable. If you gave away all your information for free then you probably wouldn’t be where you are today however if your advice was truly not good then that would be a shame.

  24. Just got a taste of Perry’s Greed…I paid $29 for the USP Webinar that was fluff wrapped around a $5,000 sales pitch for a workshop…yes, you can charge whatever you like but when people begin referring to your greed you should take notice. A neurosurgeon can charge what he wants to operate on your brain and no one will call him greedy….charge $700 for a lunch or even $29 and falsely promise a teaching webinar and turn re-hashed information into a pitch fest…OK, you should not be surprised or offended when people begin to question your character..
    Boo, boo, boo…

    1. $29?!, I would have paid that all day long! I must have seen a different offer worth $499. I agree with Perry. People are too easily insulted. Get over it people.

  25. Perry, apologies for getting back into this one (I tried to let the recent raft of comments float over my head).

    But things like this …

    It astounds me how some people simply do not ‘get’ this.

    The ones that don’t are rarely customers, and if so, are never good ones.

    They think there IS such a thing as a free lunch…. and they’re always broke.

    Ironically they are more prone to being ripped off than anybody.

    … are just downright disrespectful.

    I don’t ‘get’ your response to Dennis and yet without knowing the first thing about me you’ve labelled me as a ‘bad customer’, ‘always broke’ and ‘a mug’ who’ll always be ripped off.

    You’re building a straw man to attack in order to strengthen your argument and that’s fallacious reasoning.

    I’m nobody’s mug. I sold a successful business in 2002 for enough money to pay off my mortgage and put funds away for a very comfortable retirement, and I’m undertaking a new venture at the moment that’s starting to come good, so I’m certainly not broke (although I freely admit I can’t charge the same rates you do just now).

    Whether or not I’m a ‘good customer’ depends on who you ask I suppose. I sometimes drive a hard bargain with suppliers and some of them probably don’t like me because of that, so maybe they wouldn’t call me a ‘good customer’.

    But that’s at least two out of the three accusations you made that are wrong in my case. I suspect they’re wrong with some of the other people who’ve disagreed with you here.

    It’s irrelevant anyway because you can’t just build up a caricature of people you don’t know in order to have something to shoot down in flames to strengthen your argument.

    Furthermore, speak to some people who are actually broke or have fallen for some sort of con and you might realize how hurtful those disparaging remarks are. People make mistakes and your comments appeared to cast them as ‘bad customers’, almost unworthy of your attention because of those mistakes.

    Did you start out successful? I certainly didn’t and I made more mistakes along the way than I care to remember. People have to start somewhere and at the beginning that might involve being broke, falling victim to a few snake-oil salesman and being a ‘bad customer’ who may not be able to afford your rates just now.

    Perry it’s not that I don’t ‘get’ why you charge people to let them take you to lunch. You have to earn a living and there are only so many hours in the day. I understand you’re a busy man.

    What I don’t ‘get’ – despite you attempting to explain it to me – is what any of this has to do with starving Africans and why you’d choose to mention that in your response to Dennis.

    Yes, you could say that an hour’s pay for lunch would mean you’d have more money to spend on starving Africans, but I don’t buy that.

    It just came across as a desperate defense to help justify something you weren’t particularly proud of doing.

    I don’t know you other than to say you’re a top-rate copywriter if your emails are anything to go by and you’re obviously a successful marketer.

    But – as opposed to building up a defective caricature of you to argue against – I actually tend to think you’re probably a decent bloke, although things like this:

    If you looked at the people who ‘get it’ vs. the people who don’t, the people who get it make more money, learn more, know more, have better customers, are better customers, and most importantly are MORE GENEROUS than the people here who are bitching about it.

    … I do wonder.

    I have never read such rubbish. Just because some people are disagreeing with you (which, I guess, you expected as you knew the subject matter would be controversial) they’re now less generous human beings too are they?

    Who are you to cast people as less generous because they take a contradictory view of your argument? This isn’t marketing or Adwords or copywriting. Generosity is not something you’re anymore an expert in than anyone else.

    You’re blinded by the dollar if you think a person’s generosity is judged simply by how much money they give and you’re blinded by arrogance if you think it’s judged by whether they agree with you or not.

    I would consider a poor man who gives a $1 to be more generous than a rich man who gives $10,000. You can bet that the poor man needs his dollar more than the rich man needs his $10,000.

    You should know this more than anyone if you’re involved in African famine relief. Someone giving a cup of water and going without themselves will have shown more generosity than many people who donate millions ever can.

    Generosity has nothing to do with free lunches, marketing courses, Adwords, copywriting or any of those things you do so well. I’m claiming to be at least you equal when it comes to making judgements about generosity and I’m saying the opinion of yours I quoted above is wrong. 100% wrong.

    I’m not entirely sure how you’d go about classifying generosity but I believe it’s somewhat innate and has nothing to do with social and/or financial status. I’d suggest that people who were generous when they were poor would most likely be so when they’re rich too, and those that weren’t generous when they’re poor are unlikely to be generous when they’re rich. Some people change, I think, but a lot don’t. I think you’d find fairly even numbers of generous and non-generous people across all social and financial classes.

    Anyway, after that rather lengthy reply, I’ll leave you in peace!

  26. A man can charge whatever he likes.
    A man can decide what he will agree to pay.
    A man can arrange his business in such a way as he promises secrets of success, and is constantly hawking this new doo-dad or that, irrespective of whether he can actually ~deliver~ anything but a 600 page info-product that is confused, too voluminous and not of much use.
    And when his customers cannot fathom the depths and organize the 600 pages, its THEIR problem. They aren’t smart enough. They are using it. They aren’t following directions/advice.
    But if they buy the NEW IMPROVED “X” then the back stage curtain of how the internet millionaires” do it will be lifted and their secrets can be yours…
    (rinse and repeat, ad infinitum)
    And he can target those he knows are desperate, knowing that those are good prospects, and that the last few dollars he takes are their last.

    So, a man is free to do as he likes.
    And other men are free to decide what to buy.
    Let’s just say that some professionals are more scrupulous of about delivering actual value, digestible and immediately-useful advice and are interested in truly helping and seeing progress, while others are more interested in whether the check clears regularly.

  27. I don’t think I can be objective about this because reading that person’s response, seeing his horrible grammar and his sweeping statements and assumptions based on ignorance, make me want to automatically take your side before I even read your response. But you did make some great points, especially the one saying you have many people lined up waiting to hear your advice and pay for it, so why would you let someone else cut in line–and for frre on top of it?

  28. Hey Perry,

    I am reading all your emails and other material for quite awhile. They all are very helpful to me. I even have bought Definitive Guide To Google Adwords – Deluxe version. I would buy much more if your support team was a bit customer concerned one. But that is another story.

    In my opinion that is very tricky situation. On one hand you are absolutely right asking for the fee given the status you have today in marketing field. On another hand, we all start our business, marketing etc, journey as newbies. We almost all have scarcity of money and strong desire to learn. Who knows, that might be a future marketing genius is asking you for first FREE advice ( I am not talking about the particular person but I believe you have many similar requests).

    Just couple days ago I read your post where you were talking about Joe Polish. Here is an excerpt from the post: “A long time ago – one year out of the Dilbert Cube, struggling to get my biz off the ground – I cornered Joe in a restaurant at a seminar one night, bought him a hamburger, and picked his brain.”

    You know, if Joe was worth as much as a hamburger at that time why you would share his advice which was supposed to be wise one. And, in fact, it is very wise advice. I believe that he was a well-known and respectful guy at that time. However, you got his advice for FREE (ok, for one hamburger:) )

    Today, we can credit Joe (amongst other guys) for having a genuine marketing guru – Perry Marshal.

    I truly believe that teaching people (what you are actually doing) should not be 100% business only, it could be bigger than that. Otherwise, a teacher will be forgotten on next day off the business. As Confucius said it well: “If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.”

    To all copywriters here: please do not critique my grammar, I am not a native English speaker.

    Anyway, thank you for all.


    1. Dmitry,

      I apologize for whatever customer service problems you have had. If you can describe the specific incident to bob [at] he’ll be happy to look into it.

      Adam Libman asked the same question about Joe Polish the other day and I replied to him:

      You’re right, I am not about 100% business only. I do give my time away to various people and causes.

      Plus I provide TONS of free material, teleseminars, blog posts, reports, CD’s etc. I am HAPPY to provide that stuff. According to Google, I’ve got 2500 pages of content on my site. I know that most of that is content. If 20% of it is sales pitch (which itself has just as much educational value to a marketer as the “content” is) then that’s 2000 pages of content.

      Is that enough?

      Or am I obligated to give more?

  29. I don’t think it is socialist to give something for free. The problem with the world today is indeed because we have a situation of capitalism gone mad. Moderation and humanitarianism are the need of the hour.

    Now, I think giving something for free, results in numerous intangible benefits that turn into more revenue in the long run. I am a firm believer of Robert Middleton’s philosophy.

    But having said that, in this particular instance, I think it’s fine to charge a bonus fee for a bonus service. The session was paid for no doubt. But there was no promise of a 1-on-1, which as a bonus service is eminently chargeable.

    Depends on who’s asking too. I don’t think Perry would have charged Eric Schmidt anything for lunch.

    So there is no objective way to answer this question. It’s subjective.

    If you see huge intangible benefits from a free lunch, then go for it. If you feel that the benefit would be one-sided, from you to him, then by all means charge.

    But reserve a few freebies once in a while because your business, like any other, depends heavily on advocacy, and you MUST make room for those who cannot afford to pay right now but can help you in some way in the long run.


  30. Hey Perry,

    Thank you for rendering an advantageous perspective against the person who accused you of being greedy.

    Perhaps, a solution to this entire predicament could be supplied by providing a justification or ‘because’ after declining the dispensing of free advice.

    Or (i.e.) “Sure, just pay my hourly fee – because thousands of peeps have asked me to launch already this week” –

    That way the masses don’t misinterpret – (just reminding, ha) – you know a silly or clever justification alike, can and will create less ignorant comments from others who have limited perspectives who go out of their way to prove an immaterial point.



  31. Perry:

    How IRONIC that all of these people are giving you FREE advice because you asked them to, yet you want to be paid for your advice. I would suggest that your reaction to the invitation was totally reactive which invalidates and does not empower you in this situation.

    Like you, I am a highly paid business consultant, a CEO, and have run businesses from $7-$400 million and have launched 4 successful start-ups. Like you I am not in the business of giving Free Advice.

    Here is my proposal, I would be happy to trade you 1 hour of mutual consulting with no risk. If at the end of the hour, you are not 100% completely satisfied, I am more than happy to write you a check for the number of minutes in the hour that you did not find valuable.

    I am not looking for anything for FREE, I am however, looking to enlarge my network of EMPOWERED allies. Although I don’t believe in coincidences, I happen to be in Oak Park through the end of October on Business. If you would like to engage for 1 hour, it would be a privilege to invest mutually in each other at your convenience.

    Let me know if you are willing to engage in this ADVENTURE.

    Kindest regards,


  32. Jim. The problem is the anti-greed culture AKA socialism, which, ironically, is organized by some of the most greedy people on the planet.

    As a participant in capitalism, your job is to maximize the value of your product or service…and hence your time.

    One major problem in our world: we punish the successful businesspeople while we should congratulate the successful and ethically seek to emulate them.

    If someone wants to charge $1299 for an hour and they can get it, congratulate them. Very soon, someone will come along and say, “I’m better than the guy who charges $1299 but I charge just $799 an hour.” Let the market do what the market does so elegantly.

  33. Good Morning Perry:

    I am a new comer here. I found out about you after I downloaded a course by Vic Johnson (Getting Rich with ebooks). I downloaded a few more course and your name kept popping up. So I said to myself let’s see what this Perry Marshall character is about.I was very cynical going in, but you delivered the goods. I purchased both your Ultimate Guide to Adwords and Facebook and am looking to purchasing more stuff from you. What really got me hooked wasn’t your sales letters (I have done John Carlton’s course so I can spot a good one a mile away) it was listening to a youtube video where you were talking about the Origins of Life and the existence of God. Anybody can write a book and sell a product, the hardest job we have is to see what is in a man’s heart. The reason why you come across as genuine is because you are, and you are making good money as a result.

    Perry I am not going to lie to you or anybody here. I am not a well off man, I am not even a successful businessman. I live paycheck to paycheck and I am behind on several bills. That’s what happens when you are trying to start a business and that’s what happens in life when you are not organized. With that being said, I will gladly pay $1300/hr to sit and talk with you. Now you might say “why would a guy mired in debt plunk down that kind of money?” it’s pretty simple, it’s call vested interest. Paying Perry $1300 is not what’s going to move him, I’m quite sure $1300 is not going to do much damage in your life. What it does it is shows you how serious a person is and how much information the person will absorb from you. Perry you are not eating a bite of food until our hour or two are over. I am hanging on every word. I want you guys to think about something, just bear with me here. If you won the lottery and got $30 Million after taxes, would you give it away? If a good friend ask you to buy them a house would you? Most of you would jump up and say “YES I WOULD!” and your logic would be “I have a ton of money” and you would technically be right. So you buy them a nice home house (Somewhere in your neighborhood of nice homes), who’s going to pay the taxes? Who’s going to pay for the maintenance? the won’t because there is no incentive for them to, they have no vested interest, they will just ask you because you have money. That’s their mentality (This is why children of rich parent usually don’t keep the money their parents left them). If that same friend came to you and said they are looking to buy a house and they have $80k or $100k saved up and need a little help, they are better people to help. They have showed you that they are serious and won’t rely solely on you as they have a vested interest.

    There are a few things that disturb me with Dennis’ letter. One is that Dennis seems very angry. How can you be so angry with a person who has tons of free material that they give away? Secondly and more importantly Dennis speaks about the “Greed” mentality. Who is really greedy here? Dennis wants free time. I think it’s better to have that free time allocated to someone who needs it. If you are doing well in sales and making $100k a year pay the money and let Perry’s free time go to someone else who really needs it (No not me). the mentality is like a person who wins the lottery and wants to say at work. You don’t need to stay at work. Leave the Job and let someone out there who needs it have the job. There can be struggling Mother or Father out there who is in desperate need of a job. It would be irresponsible and totally greedy to be sitting on Millions and stay employed knowing that someone else can benefit from that job you have. Dennis the decline of this country has nothing to do with the Greed you are talking about, it has to do with what I call the “Lotto” mentality (Minimal effort = $1 for a ticket, Maximum reward = Potentially Millions in return) life does not work that way for every one. but scores of people thinks it will happen to them. Just because one or a few people have done something it doesn’t make it a RULE.

    Just my two cents as I see it.


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