Tai Lopez is one of the more controversial internet marketers operating today.
To the point where we’ve even heard him referred to as “Lie Lopez.” 4
In this article, we explore some of the questionable tactics we’ve seen him use to attract your attention and sell more products.
In defense of Tai
To give this article a bit of balance, we want to start by saying that Tai Lopez has no doubt helped and inspired thousands (more likely millions) of people since he burst onto the scene in 2015 with his famous “Here In My Garage” video.
He’s probably done more than anyone in the past decade to popularize reading books, his podcast has thousands of 5-star ratings on iTunes, and we appreciate that he includes the following can’t-miss disclaimer in every message he sends to his mailing list: 5
***Tai is a professional internet marketer. His success, and the income possibilities mentioned by his students, are not typical and are not a guarantee you will make money. You could make more, less, or none at all.***
All that said, Tai is controversial for a reason.
Several reasons, actually…
1. Fake deadlines
In just a few short weeks of investigating Tai Lopez, we’ve seen him repeatedly make and break promises related to deadlines and limited-time offers.
Here are a few examples.
The everlasting 67 Steps discount
As outlined in our analysis of Tai’s email marketing, we were first given 48 hours to purchase his 67 Steps program at a $30 discount.
That deadline was then extended a further 36 hours without explanation.
Two full weeks later, we found that not only was the discount still available, but we’d been given another 7+ days to grab it…
(We eventually got around to buying the 67 Steps program. Read our review here.)
Going, going, gone… No wait, it’s still available!
In January we received the following four emails from Tai in a 24-hour period, promoting a discount he was running on several of his programs.
|When Received||Email Subject|
|Things are coming to a close (24 hours left)|
|12 hours later||This might sound corny (12 hours left)|
|4 hours later||Last day to secure $2,294 in savings (it’s decision time)|
|90 minutes later||Say goodbye to the New Year’s Bundle ($2,294 in savings – gone in 3 hours)|
True to form, we procrastinated and missed out on the offer.
However, within 24 hours we received another email from Tai:
- EXTENDED: New Year’s Bundle sale (1 more day)
In that email, Tai explained his reasoning for extending the offer:
I realized Saturday night wasn’t the ideal time for a deadline, since people are out partying or spending time with friends and family.
So, I figured it makes more sense to extend the deadline until midnight — TONIGHT — Sunday, January 13.
While Tai has years of experience as an internet marketer, that doesn’t make him immune to the occasional mistake. So we were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.
Especially since he did actually close down the sales page at the revised deadline.
Sorry, we’re closed. (Unless you want to buy something.)
A couple of weeks after those previous emails, Tai was promoting another one of his programs via email, with subject lines like this:
- 12k a month from 1 property? (new program closes tomorrow)
- Final day to join (home-sharing management company test group)
- Don’t forget! (new HSMC test group – closing tonight)
Some copy from those emails…
P.S. Once I close the group, I’m keeping it close [sic] for a while to focus on helping the people who get in. You have less than 2 days to decide if you want to be part of the HSMC test group
P.P.S. You now have less than 24 hours to join the test group. Don’t miss out! Once it’s closed, it’s closed. No exceptions.
Tonight, at midnight, I’m no longer accepting invite [sic] to my Home-Sharing Management Company test group. If you’re the type of person who waits until the final moment, this is it.
We mustered all our strength and managed to resist joining the program, but checked back more than 24 hours after the deadline to see if it was still available.
We should note here that the price of the program before the deadline was listed as “1 Payment of $49,” so it did increase 10x afterwards.
But Tai certainly didn’t shut off access to it as promised in his emails.
Watch this video before it’s too late (and it’s never too late)
There’s a public video on Tai’s YouTube channel that looks like this:
See that publish date at the bottom there?
Jul 6, 2017.
Which is interesting, because if you skip to the 2:10 mark of that video, Tai says:
I’m not going to keep this video up for long
Similar thing on this sales page for another one of Tai’s programs:
The embedded video on that page was uploaded to YouTube on Oct 17, 2017.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see this text:
Watch the above presentation now, because it will be taken down in a few days. If you miss this, you will regret missing your one big chance.
Seems that “one big chance” would be hard to miss.
2. Fake scarcity
We stumbled across a webinar by Tai entitled, How I Make Money Online: 4 Steps To Getting Started.
It looks like this:
Here’s a close-up of the offer alongside the video…
Note that the countdown timer has reached zero (another fake deadline), but more interesting to us was this text:
Only 100 Seats Available This Will Sell Out FAST!
Best we can tell (via this Google search), this particular webinar happened back in 2017.
So those 100 seats should be filled by now, right?
Clicking the orange button (followed by a blue button) takes you to a checkout page where you can still buy the program Tai was promoting on the webinar.
Note the capitalized text on the right side of the page:
LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE “ THIS WILL SELL OUT EXTREMELY FAST!
3. Exaggerated / misleading success symbols
In multiple videos, you’ll find Tai Lopez showing off some of his fancy cars.
A prime example is his famous “Here In My Garage” video:
Right off the bat there he tells us:
Just bought this new Lamborghini here.
He’s also known for showing off his fancy house…
The problem is, it seems Tai doesn’t actually own those cars, or that house.
Which we know from this video:
Key moments there:
- 2:44 – Tai says that the house is “not a rental. It’s a lease.”
- 14:04 – Tai shows paperwork that states at least one of his cars (a red Ferrari) is also leased.
Here’s a screenshot from another video of Tai driving a black Lamborghini (taken from the 6:02 mark):
There is speculation that the white item attached to the key in the ignition is a rental tag.
Of course, leasing a car or a house is totally fine, and may even be the smart move financially (especially when you can write them off as business expenses, which Tai seems to do).
The issue here is that Tai seems to have no qualms about claiming to own things he does not actually own. Or at least giving his audience the distinct impression that he owns those things.
4. Immediate discounting for non-buyers
The sales funnel for Tai’s 67 Steps course works like this:
- Step 1: Enter your email address “to claim your spot”
- Step 2: Proceed to the checkout where you can buy the course for $67.
If at this point you choose not to buy, within minutes you’ll receive an email from Tai offering you a $30 discount.
(Procrastination rewarded. Excellent.)
Say you then decide to take Tai up on that discount offer and buy the program.
You enter your payment details and hit submit.
But before you get access to what you just purchased, Tai tries to sell you on two more of his programs: the Mini-MBA Program, followed by The Entrepreneur Code.
Here’s what you see at the bottom of the first upsell page:
In case you can’t read the small print in that screenshot, here’s what it says (verbatim):
Sorry Tai, but the ONLY thing I want is your 67 Steps. I know your 67 Steps will be awesome and I’m not ready to get 3x the results at 2x the speed with your Mini-MBA program. Therefore, I flat-out refuse your generous and offer that’ll enlighten me about business management lessons I wished they taught in college. I fully understand I’m missing out forever on this one-time-only opportunity that I’ll never the chance to accept again”and by making this decision, I’m permanently locked out and blacklisted from your Mini-MBA dicount, for life.
Okay, fair enough.
So you click the big red NO THANKS button, and… on the next page…
You are immediately offered a further $100 “dicount” on the very program you just refused.
You know, the one you were told 5 seconds ago you would be “permanently locked out and blacklisted from” if you passed up the “one-time-only opportunity.”
The lesson here is clear: when Tai tells you it’s your “last chance” to do something, it’s probably not.
You may even get a better offer if you wait.
5. Adds email subscribers without permission
Remember the first part of Tai’s 67 Steps sales funnel?
You’re asked to enter your email address to “claim your spot.”
Here’s the full page:
On close inspection of the copy on that page, you’ll find no mention of Tai’s email list.
And yet, once you enter your email address and hit the blue button, you’re immediately added to that list.
No verification, no double opt-in.
This would not have been such a big deal a few years ago, but in today’s post-GDPR world, adding people to an email list without their explicit permission is not only frowned upon, but also violates data privacy law in the European Union.
(Related: we also investigated a claim that when you send a message to Tai’s personal email address – which he lists publicly – he automatically adds you to his list. Our research proved this claim to be false. More information here.)
6. Bait and switch
Here’s that YouTube video of Tai showing you around his house again:
A few seconds in, he says he’s going to give us a tour of the house, and…
…more importantly, I’m going to share with you how I went from sleeping in a mobile home, you know, with 47 bucks in my bank account, to a place like this in Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills, and ah, so I’m going to give you three things that made all the difference in my life.
But first, a quick tour of the big beautiful house he does not own.
Afterwards, at the 4:10 mark of the video, Tai says:
I’m gonna give you these three things. Actually, I’m going to do it on my website ‘cause I don’t want this to go too long. So if you click the link…
- Tai first leads you to believe that the video will reveal “three things that made all the difference” in his life.
- Then, after you’ve been watching for four minutes, he says that you’ll have to click through to his website to learn those things, because he doesn’t want the video “to go too long.”
Which makes little sense when you consider that:
- Tai regularly posts public videos on YouTube that run 30+ minutes (the longest we found ran more than 3 hours).
- Once you click through to his website, you’re immediately presented with a 79-minute video.
Here’s the landing page:
Seeing that, Tai’s real reason for sending you to his website becomes clear: he wants to get you on his email list via that form on the right side of the page.
Or, better yet, he wants you to join his 67 Steps program, which you can do further down that same landing page.
7. Must opt-out of monthly payments
With that initial payment you are also automatically signed up to Tai’s “VIP Membership” program. You get free access to that for 2-4 weeks, and then you’re billed $69.99 per month to keep it.
There doesn’t seem to be any way to buy the 67 Steps without the VIP Membership program.
So if you don’t want the latter, you must proactively cancel it from your account on Tai’s website. Otherwise, you’ll be automatically billed $69.99 per month indefinitely.
In practice, here’s how that whole setup played out for us:
- We wanted access to Tai’s 67 Steps program.
- We paid a one-time fee for that access.
- We then had to go in and cancel a recurring fee for another program we never wanted access to in the first place.
In fairness to Tai:
- It was clearly stated at the checkout that access to the VIP Program would be included and when the first monthly payment would occur.
- We had to tick a box to agree to those terms before we could complete the purchase.
- We received an email reminder about the monthly payment 4 days before it was due, with instructions about how to cancel.
Still, we felt we needed to take a shower after this experience.
Imagine if Amazon did something similar:
- You want to buy a book from Amazon.
- You pay a one-time fee for the book.
- You then have to go in and cancel a recurring fee for Amazon Prime, which you never wanted in the first place but had no choice but to sign up for to get that book you wanted.
Worse still, we couldn’t find any way to cancel the VIP Program directly ourselves.
We expected there would be a link in the account section to cancel it, but no. As per instructions in the help section, we had to contact Tai’s support team, via email or live chat, and ask them to cancel the monthly billing (which they promptly did).
Death By A Thousand Cuts
Admittedly, taken in isolation, none of the above tactics or examples are all that bad.
And you don’t have to look far to find other internet marketers pulling similar tricks.
The thing about Tai Lopez though is that such questionable marketing tactics seem to be his modus operandi.
You’re likely to find him employing at least one in every email, every video, every webinar, every sales page.
- “Once it’s closed, it’s closed. No exceptions.”
- “Watch the above presentation now, because it will be taken down in a few days.”
- “LIMITED SPOTS AVAILABLE”
- “Just bought this new Lamborghini”
- “one-time-only opportunity”
- “You have less than 2 days to decide”
When you see a man make and break his word so consistently, you begin to wonder how you can believe anything he has to say.
Read more about Tai Lopez
This article is part of an 8-part series:
P.S. What are your thoughts on Tai’s marketing tactics? Too manipulative or fair game? We’d love to hear your take in the comments below.