Only the TRUTH about ECommerce
Using AI For ECommerce Marketing - Be Very, Very Careful!
There are some frauds so well conducted that it would be stupidity not to be deceived by them. - Charles Caleb Colton
They lie about Amazon. They lie about eBay. They lie about 'Retail Arbitrage', Private Labeling, SEO, Importing, Site Builders, Sales Funnels, Importing from China, what they sell, how they sell it, how much money they make, and everything else they talk about.
Question: So why would they suddenly tell the truth about AI?
Answer: They don't.
When they're collectively (and very successfully) ripping people off for literally billions of dollars a year with all those lies, why would they do something stupid like telling the truth?
Yes, I'm talking about the ECommerce "Gurus" that have completely overwhelmed YouTube and Google like a fuzzy fungus in a bag of rotten fruit.
I do like to watch their videos on YouTube, though. Because (1) they're great for a laugh, and (2) they're so ridiculous that they give me great topics to warn you against on my blog and in my videos.
Recently I watched a video from some YouTube bubblehead who tried to get me to believe that I could have 100 amazing websites (what does anybody need with 100 websites?!) for only $3 a month total, and AI would design them all for me in less than one minute per website. All I had to do, he said, was provide a subject for each website, and AI would do the rest.
So, I watched the whole video demonstration, which was quite long for a junkfomercial. The "AI" actually did finish a "website" in less than a minute, but that's not a surprise when he showed the website.
It was nothing more than the same kind of half-empty home page template that people have been giving away for free online for more than 15 years. Utterly useless.
Then in the guy in the video started telling me that of course, I would have to create all the rest of the website's pages, create and add the appropriate images, use CSS and HTML code to make it all function properly, add links and buttons, add some kind of undefined shopping cart, do the SEO (with no AI help), etc., etc., etc., myself.
I honestly don't think he expected anybody to make it that far in the video. He had to be assuming that people would see "100 successful websites for $3 built for you by AI", scream "Wheeeee!!" and start whipping their credit cards at him like ninja throwing stars.
The problem is most people WOULD.
Let's get real here. (Hey, it's gotta happen somewhere, sometime). There are several things you need to know about the recent so-called "AI Revolution" when it comes to home-based online business. None of them will make you particularly happy, but ALL of them will save you a lot of time and money. So here we go.
THE 'SUDDEN' RISE OF AI
There are a LOT of AIs out there, but there have been for a long time. AI is not new. Google, for example, has been running on AI since 2011.
In fact, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Tesla and even NETFLIX (and many more) have been using AI in their products and services for over a decade.
It's estimated that Google alone has spent more than $200 BILLION dollars on AI in the last decade. Those other really big companies have spent a lot of big money as well.
So why hasn't everybody been drooling over AI on a daily basis until just recently? Again, it's not a new thing; why all the noise now?
It's because while these big companies developed AIs of their own many years ago, they didn't share. They kept their AI engines to themselves for their OWN products and services. So smaller companies who couldn't afford the huge bucks to develop them had no access.
Then, along comes Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI. His company created ChatGPT. What was different about this?
He virtually gave it away. While he didn't make his AI engine "open source" (freely available to everybody) in the traditional sense, OpenAI has freely released research, free AI frameworks, and free AI tools to the public. He also collaborated with many open-source communities and organizations to advance open-source research in AI.
Suddenly every company (and government!) with a hundred million or so in available cash had access to an AI platform they could build all kinds of tools on without spending billions. And did they ever. Overnight everybody was claiming they were including "AI" in fields like Virtual Assistants, Language Translation, Video Analysis, Medical Image Analysis, Disease Diagnosis, Drug Discovery, Stock Trading, Robotics, Education, Agriculture and a lot more.
That got the attention of the news media bobbleheads, and they all started bobbling like ferrets on a straight caffiene diet at the same time. They're still at it. That's why it seems like AI has suddenly exploded and is now available in everything from medical science to cheap toasters from China.
Why does it still cost so much money to develop? Well, ok, since you asked...
WHAT IT TAKES TO MODIFY REAL AI MODELS FOR BANKING, MEDICAL SCIENCE, AGRICULTURE AND EVERYTHING ELSE
Like I said, OpenAI has released research, frameworks, tools and so on. But it takes more than just that to create a truly dedicated AI in all those different fields.
A significant portion of the money is used for research and development. This includes conducting research to develop additional AI algorithms and technologies that fit the specific purpose (banking, medical science, etc.), as well as specializing existing algorithms.
Attracting top AI talent is essential for successful development. Companies need to hire experienced AI researchers, engineers, data scientists, and machine learning experts, which is very costly due to high demand in the field.
Training and running AI models, especially large-scale models (similar to GPT-3 or GPT-4) requires tons of computing power. Companies need to invest in powerful hardware, cloud computing resources, and data centers to support AI tool development.
High-quality data is crucial for training AI models. Companies need to invest in data collection efforts and data annotation to create large and diverse datasets. Building the necessary infrastructure and software stack to support AI development is very costly as well. This includes developing specialized tools, frameworks, and platforms for AI research and deployment.
Extensive testing and evaluation are required to ensure the AI platform's reliability, accuracy, and safety. This involves the development of testing environments and frameworks.
Compliance with AI ethics, safety, and regulatory standards also add to the cost. We all know governments like nothing better than regulations. Companies need to allocate resources to ensure that their AI technology meets legal and ethical requirements.
After the initial development, ongoing maintenance, scaling, and improvements of AI systems require ongoing investments. This includes addressing issues, optimizing performance, and staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field.
If a company is using OpenAI's technology, there are licensing or royalty fees associated with its use, depending on the terms and agreements between the company and OpenAI.
Ensuring the security of AI systems is crucial, and companies need to invest in security measures to protect against potential vulnerabilities and threats.
Now, does anybody think the grinning ninnies hawking "AI-based ECommerce Tools" on YouTube spent that kind of money and that kind of time developing them?
Of course not. They just FAKE it, like they fake everything else they charge you ridiculous amounts of money for. We'll talk about how they do that, but first let's understand what AI really is.
THE ILLUSION OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
No matter who develops it, from Google to Microsoft to Netflix, AI is not actually intelligent in the way we define intelligence. Instead, AI operates by manipulating and processing data that's already been created by humans. There's a profound distinction between genuine intelligence and what AI does. At its core, AI is developed to perform specific tasks or solve particular problems. It relies on algorithms and vast datasets, often referred to as "training data," to make statistical predictions, recognize patterns, or generate specific outputs.
These algorithms are designed by human engineers who carefully structure them based on their understanding of the application they're trying to create. The AI system's performance is directly linked to the quality and relevance of the training data and the accuracy of the humans who develop the algorithms. The fundamental shortcoming of AI is its inability to understand the world independently. We're humans. We're ACTUALLY intelligent. (Well, a lot of us, anyway.) We can adapt to new situations. We can create new things that have never been seen before.
AI can't. It can only gather and/or reorganize information that ALREADY EXISTS. It isn't capable of true understanding, consciousness, thought or originality. Instead, while it processes and reorganizes vast amounts of data and performs repetitive tasks really fast, it's always stuck within the limits of its human programming.
The "ECommerce AI Tool" doofuses use FREE basic programming elements that try to simulate AI, but they fall far short of even the limited capabilities of 'real' AI.
For example, they use open-source data libraries and frameworks such as TensorFlow or PyTorch to access small pre-built AI components without having to develop them from scratch. These libraries are freely available and can provide the appearance of AI integration, even though the tool's actual AI capabilities are not really there.
Pre-trained NLP (Natural Language Processing) models like GPT-3 or BART can generate human-like text. They use these free models to produce product descriptions, reviews, or chatbot responses that mimic human language, creating the impression of personalized AI-generated content.
They use free template-based content generators that use AI-related techniques to combine pre-written phrases or sentences. While these generators can produce text variations, they lack true AI function.
They use basic chatbot frameworks to create the illusion of AI-powered customer support or virtual assistants. These chatbots follow scripted responses rather than using actual AI.
They leverage publicly available image recognition APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) to claim AI-driven image creation. While these APIs can identify objects or features in images, they don't provide the nuanced understanding and context that are required for successful marketing, and they're not AI.
They create simple rule-based systems that mimic AI behavior. For instance, they might use open source (free) rule-based algorithms to suggest product recommendations or automate simple design choices, giving the appearance of AI-driven personalization.
They use free web scraping tools to collect data from various sources, which they present as AI-driven market research, grpahics or site designs. Scraping is gathering data from other people's websites, and while it's legal for some public information, it's illegal when it comes to copyrighted content and images. You could easily end up with copyright violations against your business using these so-called "AI" tools.
Again, the "amazing AI tools" that these jokers plaster all over YouTube present the illusion of AI but are not AI, and some of them could actually land you in legal trouble.
AI "SEO TOOLS"
One of the fundamental limitations of AI is its inability to exhibit true creativity in the context of SEO. AI systems can recognize patterns, but they don't have any imagination or any ability to think outside the box. SEO involves coming up with unique and engaging strategies for each individual ECommerce website.
Effective SEO doesn't rely just on keyword optimization and technical aspects. It also requires a deep understanding of the target audience, industry trends, and the context in which a website operates. Even REAL AI simply can't grasp these nuances. Real AI may optimize content for search engines based on simple keyword analysis but fails to consider the broader context. The fake "AI" that's built into these "tools" can't even come close.
Keep in mind that SEO isn't just about ranking high on search engine results pages either; it's also about delivering a seamless and engaging user experience. REAL AI may use certain formulas to TRY to optimize web pages for search engines, but even the real thing falls far short in ensuring that the content resonates with human users. Creative SEO involves tailoring content to provide value, answer questions, and engage website visitors. It requires a human touch to craft an experience that genuinely connects with the audience.
Fake AI SEO tools use black-hat techniques that have been around since the early 2000's, such as keyword stuffing, link farms, or cloaking, which violate search engine guidelines. These tactics may show very limited short-term gains but lead to long-term penalties and serious damage to a website's reputation with the search engines.
Fake AI SEO tools make extravagant claims, promising quick and guaranteed results, such as instant page-one rankings on search engines. These exaggerated promises exploit the desperation of website owners seeking rapid improvements in their search engine rankings. The marketers of SEO Tools and services that claim to be AI-driven are lying to people who are simply looking for legitimate help in improving their online visibility.
They'll hurt you, not help you.
"AI" WEBSITE DESIGN TOOLS
When it comes to all the fake AI in website design, several approaches are used to make these "systems" look like AI when they're not.
Rule-Based Automation: These fake AI tools implement basic automation features that mimic AI-powered behavior. For instance, they may automate the placement of elements on a webpage based on user input (like the junkfomercial I told you about). While this may APPEAR to be intelligent design, it relies on simple hard-coded rule-based choices rather than any kind of actual personalized creativity.
Superficial Personalization: The YouTube hammerheads tout their tools as offering those personalized website design experiences. However, their idea of personalization is limited to randomizing choices from a set of predetermined templates that already exist. When they tell you that the "AI" is "creating" a "website" for you, it's simply giving you a random copy of something hundreds or even thousands of other people already have.
Fake Image Recognition: They claim to employ AI-driven image recognition for selecting and placing images on websites. In reality, their image selection process lacks context and relevance, leading to websites with generic or mismatched imagery.
Limited Learning Algorithms: They rely on rudimentary (read that "free") learning algorithms that fall far short of the capabilities of true AI. A genuine AI website design tool continuously analyzes user behavior and feedback to enhance the website's design over time, but that's the multi-billion dollar Facebook AI that Facebook doesn't share with anyone. Scam tools, however, completely lack the sophistication to create that kind of site or provide this ongoing improvement.
"AI" EMAIL CREATION TOOLS
Again, the email tools the "gurus" are throwing in your face are not actually AI-driven, although they claim that they are. Instead...
Basic Personalization Algorithms: The junk marketers use open-source libraries to implement basic personalization in their email tools. These algorithms analyze customer data to suggest email subject lines and basic text. However, they rely on rule-based techniques and lack genuine personalization depth.
Template-Based Content Generation: Some junk email tools rely on template-based content generation to mimic AI-driven content creation. These templates allow for variations in email text, but the content tends to be formulaic and lacks the depth of understanding and context-awareness.
Rule-Based Email Sequences: Scammers might incorporate rule-based email sequences that trigger specific emails based on user actions or predefined rules. They call it "AI", but it's actually a function that email services have been using forever, and has nothing to do with AI.
Data Scraping and Aggregation: They use web scraping tools (sound familiar?) to gather data about products or customer preferences from various sources. They present this data as AI-driven market research or insights, even though it's not.
Basic Chatbots: Scam email tools may integrate rudimentary chatbots to simulate conversational interactions with users. These chatbots follow SCRIPTED responses and do not possess advanced natural language understanding or context-awareness, making interactions extremely limited and far less genuine.
Predictive Analytics: Some fraudulent email tools claim to use predictive analytics for email campaign optimization. However, their predictive models are simplistic and lack the depth of analysis and accuracy associated with genuine predictive analytics systems.
These elements serve as smoke and mirrors, creating the illusion of sophisticated email marketing capabilities while lacking the substance and effectiveness of genuinely advanced systems. They will not deliver the promised benefits but WILL lead to ineffective and misleading email marketing campaigns. You can't afford to have that happen to your business.
"AI" MARKETING CONTENT TOOLS
This one is a double-edged sword. You can't use REAL AI (like ChatGPT) to create marketing content, and you can't use FAKE AI (like everything on YouTube) to create marketing content either. Let's start with ChatGPT and other AI's like it.
Lack of Authenticity: AI-generated content lacks the authenticity and human touch that resonates with audiences. Customers will detect a robotic or generic tone, which negatively impacts sales conversion and brand perception.
Risk of Plagiarism: AI can inadvertently generate content that resembles or duplicates existing copyrighted materials, leading to accusations of plagiarism and legal issues.
Inaccuracies and Bias: AI models produce inaccurate and biased content if the training data contains biases or inaccuracies. This leads to misinformation or offensive content being distributed.
Loss of Creativity: AI can't produce truly produce creative, unique, or emotionally resonant content, which is crucial for effective marketing.
Ineffective Communication: AI doesn't understand the nuances of specific industries, products, or target audiences, leading to messages that fail to effectively communicate key points or resonate with customers.
Now let's talk about the the FAKE AI content tools that the semi-vertabrates are slinging all over YouTube. These scammers fake AI-driven marketing tools through various tactics:
Template-Based Content: Scammers often use templates or predefined structures to create content that appears AI-generated. While this method can produce variations in text, it lacks true depth of understanding and creativity.
Basic Natural Language Processing: Fakes employ basic natural language processing techniques to automate content generation. These techniques may involve simple algorithms to manipulate text but are definitely not AI.
Misleading Branding: Scammers often market their tools with AI-related branding, such as using terms like "AI-powered" or "machine learning-driven," to create the illusion of advanced capabilities.
Plagiarism: Scammers plagiarize content from other sources, presenting it as AI-generated material. This deceptive practice can lead to ethical and legal issues.
Rule-Based Systems: Scam operators use open source rule-based systems that mimic AI behavior but lack genuine learning or adaptability. These systems follow predefined rules and scripts, limiting their effectiveness.
THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS
I'm not talking about some of the "AI tools and systems" that these so-called "gurus" are hawking on YouTube and Google. I'm talking about all of them. These people do not have the tens of millions of dollars it costs to take open-source AI stem programs and develop them into the real tools they CLAIM they are. Even if they did have the money, they wouldn't spend it creating anything real. It's too easy for them to keep the money and just lie to you. That's their business model.
They are preying on the natural human desire to believe that everything can be quick, easy and profitable. That's not real either. ECommerce can be extremely profitable when done right, but the words 'quick' and 'easy' are not part of that equation, ever.
THE COUP DE GRACE
Here's the most serious issue:
Google's considers any AI-generated content that is intended to assist that website in ranking on a search engine (which means ALL content!) to be SPAM. Plain and simple.
These days, all the junk marketers are either pushing their own fake AI tools or telling you to use REAL AI like ChatGPT, Bard, Jasper, etc. They tell you to do that because it makes ECommerce sound easier, and they want you to think it's easier so they can sell you all their other garbage tools more easily.
The problem is, as I said, that Google sees AI-driven marketing content as SPAM. Since Google owns more than 94% of the world's search traffic, that's BAD.
Google defines spam as any attempt to deceive search engines or manipulate their ranking algorithms. AI-generated content, when employed for the purpose of improving search engine rankings, lacks the authenticity and relevance that are vital for a positive user experience. This deceptive intent to manipulate rankings raises red flags for Google. You NEVER want to raise a red flag for Google.
Google's algorithms prioritize the quality of content over its sheer quantity. While AI can produce a large volume of text quickly, that doesn't guarantee the quality, relevance, or value of the content. Google's algorithms increasingly focus on rewarding high-quality, informative, and engaging content while penalizing websites that prioritize quantity over quality.
They place significant importance on the user experience. Content that's generated solely to cater to search engines rather than addressing the genuine informational needs of users disrupts this experience. AI-generated content lacks user-centricity and fails to provide real value to visitors.
Google wants to connect users with content that's relevant to their queries. AI-generated content lacks context, coherence, and genuine relevance to users. Such content leads to a disconnect between what users are searching for and what they find, which Google considers a very, very bad thing.
To fight the growth of spammy (all!) AI-generated content, Google continually refines its algorithms and uses machine learning to seek out and de-index websites that market themselves using straight AI content in their Category Descriptions, Product Descriptions, Articles, Blog Posts and Social Media. For Google, that's their way of insuring that they only rank websites offering valuable, user-centric content in search rankings.
GOOGLE'S WEB SPAM TEAM
It's really important to understand that Google thrives on VALUE. If you’re creating valuable content, Google wants you on page #1. Their entire system is designed to get only the best-quality websites on page #1. Which is why they've had a Web Spam Team since the very beginning. The web spam team's job is to identify and get rid of websites that don't provide value.
The web spam team has its own AI. It's called SpamBrain. Yes, really. SpamBrain, among other functions, can smell the patterns inherent in AI-generated content a mile away. And as I said, it's programmed to seek and destroy.
Remember that almost everything you do with your online business generates content that SpamBrain will read. SEO, page creation code, marketing material, social posts, etc. If any of that material contains AI-driven content, you're getting off the bus at the next stop and not getting back on. Your website or other online presence gets dropped from the Google Search Index, and that's the end of it.
Remember, too, that this includes "Real" AI like ChatGPT, etc., and FAKE AI like all the junk tools that are all over YouTube.
Yes, I know. You can search Google on the term "Does Google penalize AI content?" all day long and come up with hundreds of articles and blog posts that say they do NOT. But if you look at all those articles and posts very carefully, they're all trying to sell you some fake AI tool or service!
You need to listen to what Google says, not what the online marketing spin doctors want you to believe. And Google says DON'T DO IT.
And that's all you need to know.
IT WOULD BE EASIER FOR ME...
It actually would be easier for me as well if Google didn't have a problem with AI-created content. I've been successful in this business for more than 30 years, and I've been teaching it for over a decade. The Content Creation courses in my Education are highly comprehensive and take a good deal of my time to teach properly. So, if I could just say "Go use AI!" that would save me a good deal of time.
But I can't, because it won't work.
Look, you can use real AI to simply gather facts and information. But you can't publish that stuff. You need to reorganize that information and rewrite it in the proper format yourself, with a serious understanding of good copy writing and of your target market and what they need to hear. So, you need to learn to write that real human content that'll cause Google to see you as a high-value content creator that they want on page #1!
That's the only way to get there. Don't believe anybody who tells you different.
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- Using AI For ECommerce Marketing – Be Very, Very Careful!
- The Truth About… (#1) Retail Arbitrage
- EEK! It’s Another Google Update!
- Marketing Online: AI is the New Article Spinner
- Trademarks – Do You Need One For Your Online Business?
- Shopify Does It BACKWARDS – Here’s Why
- Product Videos: Do You Need Them?
- How To Price Products for Maximum Sales
- Top 20 Wholesale Tips
- Home-Based EBiz: The Unvarnished Truth
- Wholesale Backorders: The Butterfly Effect
- What sells online, what doesn’t, and why
- Still Room to Compete?
- What happened to eBay?
- Setting Up Your Business Name
- Retail Arbitrage
- Private Labeling
- Paid Advertising – Do I Need It?
- Fulfillment Centers
- Amazon – Bad Idea for Home Business
- Automatic Product Feeds: Good or Bad?
- Free Shipping-Should I Offer It?
- Free Trial Websites
- Gold Rush
- Liquidations-Good or Bad?
- Importing from China
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Most ECommerce Marketers are actually just part-time salespeople who push whatever pays them the highest commissions, no matter how bad it is, as long as they get paid. You CANNOT listen to those people.
I've spent over 30 years actually running successful business in this market, and really HAVE made millions in it. I'm one of just a very few people who can answer ANY question you have about ECommerce.