What Is A Guru?
This page is an informational treatise on what a guru is and how its meaning has changed over the years. I have included it to help clear up some misconceptions associated with the term.
Most of us who have been on the Internet has undoubtedly become aware of the term “guru” as being some great Internet marketing master who makes “boatloads” of money and pushes programs that promise the same outcome to those who buy their programs. Unfortunately the unscrupulous efforts of many individuals out there has given the “guru” a bad name. In this short article, which I’ve placed here at the top of my Internet Marketing Guru list, I will briefly go over what we are dealing with here.
Let’s look at what a “guru” is and is not…
The Guru in Pre-Western & Pre-Internet Ages
In Sanskrit and other Indian languages, the word (deriving from devanagari) means a “disperser of shadows, gu meaning shadow and ru, meaning a disperser, thus gu-ru. In Indian religions, the guru was a teacher or bringer of knowledge. Akin to being a disperser of shadows, the guru was an enlightener, or one who enlightens. This was certainly restricted to religious connotation.
Let’s look at the Sikh religion. The ten first leaders of the Sikh religion were designated as gurus. In some sects of the Sikh religion, there are eleven such leaders, considered to be divinely endowed with enlightenment, and are considered having been of the divinity in embodiment form. This religion formed in India during the early 1500s in a period when the Muslim and Hindu religions were in the height of war with each other. The monotheistic faith designated its first ten masters as being of “the ten Gurus” with no other successors.
Thus, these are spiritual teachers and were, (and are) the authorized ones to impart initiation upon the religion’s followers. They are often revered as divine or one with divinity, residing in the places of deity.
In such works as the Bhagavad Gita, the guru is often depicted in vibrant, brilliant colorful artwork, as shown on the right. He is often shown as an anthropomorphic being, relevant to his powers as here, one with an elephant’s head.
The Guru in the West
In the late 1800s, the first guru from the east had entered into the Parliament of Religions in Chicago, though it would not be until 1965 when the Chinese Expulsion would introduce a large influx of Asian gurus into the United States. During the uprising of the countercultures of the 1960s and 1970s during the anti-war movements, the attention of the hippies went from a political stance to the religious. In their attempt to disembark the traditional American lifestyles, many of these individuals turned to such cults as the Hire-Krishna and similar eastern religions brought over from the East.
Thus the traditional, and not so traditional kinds of gurus came into contact with the West, to satisfy the disdain for conservative Americanism to favor the mystic religions of the East. Great respect and popularity for the gurus in the West both satisfied both the youths’ need for drug use and the getting “high” without the use of drugs. One such means was the adherence of transcendental meditation (of which I personally sought in the 1970s myself.) From these times on, the concept of the guru stuck in the West.
The original usage was retained when it came over to the United States and other Western countries, however, the term began to be used to designate the master or thought-leader of anything besides religion, though this usually means anything that is not easily mastered or learnt.
It refers to anyone who is a master at any one thing that requires skill, such as a trade or a profession, besides religion and spirituality. The original meaning of the term, though in the back of most folks’ minds as carrying a religious connotation, has lost its meaning in the forefront at the advent of the personal computer and the Internet.
The Guru in the Cyber Realm
One of the ways in which the term guru has come into use in modern times is in Internet marketing, and is almost wholly devoted to this industry. In this regard, the guru is the leader with a follower, who has become wildly successful in whatever methods he/she used to attain the success. The term quickly lost its original meaning, or took on new ones besides the old.
The Internet is not the only newer designation or repurposing of the the term guru. To name a few, investment guru, video game guru, plumbing guru, etc.
In these ways, the meaning of the term has become perverted from its original meaning and is in serious misuse today amongst the Internet marketing communities. Though, in a technical sense, but loose sense, the term can mean any teacher, in the strictest sense, it refers only to spiritual leaders (and in some cases, a book) of Indian religions.
The term came under perverted uses as well, in other words, new meaning was added or has replaced the old. It has come to the point where the word usage bears no resemblance to the original meanings…
The Self-Proclaimed Guru
Matt Bacak wrote in an article entitled, Tips for the Self-Proclaimed Guru. It begins with the following…
In spite of the adjective, this isn’t a guru at all. This is what gives the idea of being a guru a bad name.
While it is true a person like this has mastered something in his/her chosen field, proclaiming one’s self as a guru can have devastating effects on both the person doing the proclaiming and the ones that person is trying to condition to believe that person a guru. So many people having done this have failed so badly that some people being recognized by one by others is shunned.
Today, the Internet marketing industry has been ostracized by the general public for its “gurus,” especially the self-proclaimed varieties. One of the issues with this is that many people who ought not wear the title do in fact, convince themselves that they are what they are not.
That the term, guru, has been made to fit designations originally not intended is simply the dynamics of language, so for those who are (or have self-designated themselves to be) gurus are found in this section of this website. Here I will attempt to come up with as many known gurus in the Internet marketing realm and within each biographic, will link to review of their works, whether good or bad. Certainly there are some very good programs out there, some actually being of great value, other, pure unadulterated horse manure.
How Do You Spot Bad Internet Guru?
1. They Flaunt Their Wealth
Even bad gurus get wealthy. The revere themselves as gods – the ultimate gift to the world! They may have great manners and have irresistible charm. Albeit, they can be showy, prideful and flash what they have in their presentations, homes, cars, game rooms, tennis courts, and bank accounts.
2. They Hide Behind Their Auto Responders
Most “gurus” make it impossible to be personally reached at all. Your e-mails go unanswered. Phone numbers that don’t work or no phone number at all? They often have terrible customer service
3. Outlandish “Perceived Value”
These are the $500, no! $299, no! $199, NO! $99, NO! $47, No! Not even $27, Get it today only at $7! (See #11)
Because the quality of their products and services suck, they need to place unethical trickery in their sales copy. They do anything they can to get their prey to believe riches will be had overnight! Sometimes they claim this in HOURS!
5. They Sell the Dream, Not the Product
You find depictions of exotic imagery and dreams on the sales copy. Money rains from the skies or bursts through a laptop monitor, scenes of exotic beaches, palm trees and mansion. You find shiny Lamborghinis and yachts. You often see a picture of some priviledged marketer laying in a hammock between two palm trees with a flowered shirt on, pretending he’s tapping away on a laptop with one hand and a sparkling martini in the other.
6. “You Can Even Do This in Your UNDERWEAR”
How many times have seen that? Would you do it in your brick-and-mortar business? Probably not. While it is true the home office doesn’t require business attire, getting dressed, at least casually, will help you prepare your mind for your business activities. Most marketers who encourage this kind of disrespectful behavior in their promotions leave little to be desired. It’s pure HYPE!
Yes, some of these can be somewhat disconcerting. Guarantees that last for over two months are those that are likely to be forgotten about. They know this and is why they do it. Some do not have guarantees at all. Now, for online business communities and memberships, due to their nature, this is true and is not always a bad sign.
8. Clickbank, Bank Statment Proofs
You will see “proof” of income showing bank statements, checks, or any other instrument showing purported wealth in any of these programs. Yes, you may see data tables from clickbank and other applications as these are used as illustrations for testimonial proof. NO GOOD … these are easily FORGED!
9. Customer Testimonials
Great to have these important credentials, and most marketers use them to help subsequent sales and gain trust. Marketers know it’s unethical to make up false testimonials however, many unscrupulous marketers are known to do. Make sure the testimonials you are looking at are verifiable.
10. Sales and Specials
Many marketers slap up exhorbinant pricing with strikethroughs, sometimes several consecutively without ever having charged such prices. I don’t have a problem with a marketer who occasionally has sales or specials and displays the original price with a strike-through. Sometimes however, these claims are sheer misinformation. Refer to #3.
11. “Sliding Sense of Urgency Calls”
Many marketers use scripts that puts up an announcement similar to, Place Your Order by Friday, November 27, and Receive “X” for Only $$$! If this date moves with the calendar, you are being fed what I call the Sliding Sense of Urgency Call! Yes, this tactic does boost sales, but it’s tacky! A script gives you the announcement based on your computer’s clock! It’s downright misleading. Finding the special you thought was ending at midnight still up two weeks later is frustrating to find.
12. Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
You see, “Get it now before it’s gone!” Even worse, “Get this now before he comes to his senses and takes it down!” Good products persist year after year though they may be updated. Only high quality products and services can last like this. You will NOT see vast quantities of product launches like this in reputable products and services. Usually these lines mean “Stay away from this product or service!”
Many marketers pitch-pitch-pitch! You see it in every email broadcast. That’s fine once in awhile, but I believe it’s far better to include a lesson or two in most emails – something to offer the reader – something valuable to learn, or at least a story. I’m not against sales pitching – just that I believe the better marketers give more than just that.
14. e-Zines and Newsletters
The same goes for newsletters and ezines – and all the more for these because they are more like magazines. Who wants to have garbage like this accumulating in their in-boxes let alone read such periodicals with nothing but sales pitches in them – or worse, the same loaded with all kinds of hype?
Bad marketers do not use opt-in or double-opt-in their email campaigns and even worse, sell or rent out their lists.
16. You Were Not Born Just Yesterday
Some marketers put things in their email as if their readers were born just yesterday! How many times have you seen, “I just got off the phone with my good friend…blah…blah,” as if he just couldn’t get to his autoresponder without falling all over himself to get that all-important phone message to you? C’mon!
What Is This Section All About?
I have created three sub-sections here…
- Gurus (I’m A Guru!)
- Non-Gurus (I’m NOT a Guru!)
- Other Authors of Interest
Gurus In all retrospects, these authors and business owners openly regard themselves as self-proclaimed gurus. These CAN be appointed by their followers as gurus without qualms and readily accept this title. Many of these individuals are heavy-hitters and engage with their audiences on more superficial levels. They go for the numbers.
Non-Gurus A non-guru is an author or business owner that rejects being called a guru or being known as one for the very stigma the term implies. They regard themselves as thought leaders, coaches, teachers, and so forth. You will find that many of these individuals are more outside of the lime-light of flash and glitter. These tend to be more down-to-earth and engage with their followers in far more intimate ways. They care about quality, not so much quantity and the usually take very good to excellent care of their people. A great example of two co-owners that reject such designation and go all out to give their people the best they can find are Kyle & Carson of Wealthy Affiliate.
Other Authors In this section, we look at authors and business owners not specializing in online marketing. Here I look into authors such as Robert Kiyosaki (financial education) and others that teach entrepreneurship. There will also be favorite and top-pick authors in the personal-development and health/wellness industries.
My goal with this website is to make it holistic, therefore, it is not limited to one industry conducive to the encouragement of self-empowerment and entrepreneurship.