Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No thank you , really - no thank you.

This is EXACTLY WHY I distrusted the pay for play website Landscape Leadership. Just look at the latest email gimmick that I received ( below ).

I don’t know the person who is running this company and I wish him good luck with his business venture but I sure hope I will stop receiving Faxes to my office and emails to my business account to join his $ 179.00 a year website and his attempts to get me to endorse his website.

These types of letters do just the opposite. I will never endorse a website that I know nothing about and then phishes ( if that is the correct spelling for this scam trolling term ) for other people’s email addresses.

Dear Chris Heiler, I wish you the best of luck in your business venture but please remove me from your email list.

Thank you,


Michelle :
The editor of, Chris Heiler, just sent me the link to your website at Chris thinks you’d be a perfect fit to join our Affiliate Program. Our program is a great way to earn recurring, passive income.  This is not a gimmick and there is ABSOLUTELY NO COST INVOLVED.
What is an Affiliate Program and what's in it for me?
It's very simple. Website "A" (the Affiliate – that's you) agrees to endorse our website,, by posting a link to our site, or banner ad, on your website or blog. Every time a visitor clicks on the link on your site and makes a purchase on our site, you get paid a commission. In this case, the commission is 50%!  We've outlined all the details for your review in our Affiliate Program Handbook.
What's in it for LandscapeLeadership?
Again, it's very simple. By partnering with great folks like you through an Affiliate Program, we are able to keep our marketing costs down and grow our community. This is one of those rare but REAL win-win opportunities.
What is is a membership website specifically for residential landscape designers. It was started by Chris Heiler, who is a successful landscape designer located in Zeeland, Michigan. Chris is passionate about all things design and wanted to share his knowledge and "tools of the trade" with fellow designers and landscape architects.
He created a first-class online community at Members gain access to valuable resources including articles, podcasts and video tutorials. Every resource is designed to further develop the designer's skill set, create successful business strategies and promote and market the designer’s talent. There is also a Designer's Forum where members can exchange ideas, ask questions or just vent about that "special" client.
How much money can I make when I become an Affiliate?
We believe our affiliate program is one of the best because it's a service you can be proud to promote. And, of course, there's always the recurring income - - we offer our affiliates 50% commission.
Here's how the numbers work:
We offer a $15.00 monthly subscription plan.  For every member signing up through your affiliate link, you will receive $7.50.  If you sign up 10 members in one month you will earn $77.50 that month.  As long as they remain members, you receive this income each month. That’s $930 a year for every 10 members.

What do I do next?
If you want to sign up for our affiliate program, visit our Affiliate Program page. You will also have the chance to watch an insightful video about our program. You may also Download the Affiliate Handbook. It's packed with every bit of information you need to make your decision as well as get started on your path to recurring, passive income with minimal effort.
If after watching the video and reviewing the handbook, you're still not sure, please don't hesitate to contact Chris personally. He's always ready and willing to take your call, answer any questions and discuss your future partnership with
Also, do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you,

Affiliate Manager


Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Sounds like a Pyramid scheme. And it's a good way to alienate your friends at the same time!

Susan Harris said...

UGH. Thanks for posting about this. Susan

Anonymous said...

yuck. i got it too for my withpeopleinmind blog. i wonder if this is Chris's doing or if someone just ripped off his site and name for their own purposes. his website doesnt seem like a scam, but that email was just horiible.

Chris Heiler said...

Wow, I am truly blown away by this post.

I take full responsibility for the email that was sent to bloggers about the LandscapeLeadership Affiliate Program.

My assistant wrote it, but I edited and approved it. That's my fault.

My website is NOT a pyramid scheme, phishing scheme or any other type of scam. It is a website that I've spent countless hours developing to HELP professional landscape designers around the country.

And yes, it costs $14.95 per month to be a member. This is a business for me. The only way I can provide valuable resources for members is to charge a fee. I don't find value in freebies.

Affiliate Programs are run by thousands of respected businesses around the world. I've found that our industry doesn't fully understand these type of programs yet. I offer the program to people for mutual benefit- a win-win. I have many happy affiliates of the website.

After reading my email again, it's clear to me that some of the wording was to strong. Again, that's my fault for letting it out.

Regarding the press release that I sent, that's a typical press release that I send to journalists, trade publications and influential bloggers. I've sent 1 press release and intend to send perhaps one release per month (not to you Michelle :-)) That's standard operating procedure for a business.

I apologize again for sending this to you Michelle, and to any of your other readers/fellow bloggers who may have received it.

I certainly didn't intend to disrespect or bother anyone. Quite the opposite in fact.

I'ts your blog and your right to say what you will. I don't expect you to change your post, but I would appreciate it if you would remove my assistant's name and contact information.

Thank you.

Chris Heiler

Genevieve said...

Actually, Chris is legit as is his site. I've seen him around on the landscaper's forums for years, like GTX (Ground Trades Exchange).

I don't know about you guys, but I would love a thriving private community for landscapers - one where we aren't constantly being expected (in a not very nice way) to give free designs and advice like in the public forums.

I don't find it out of line to pay for a private forum, and you obviously don't always either Michelle as you used to be on the paid forums on Daves Garden, didn't you?

And many gardeners and garden writers are experimenting with ways of making money online to help them offset the cost of providing valuable info to people. Affiliate programs are a perfectly legit way of doing this as long as you truly believe in the product or service.

The folks at Garden Rant often talk in a discouraged way about the demise of newspapers and garden writing.

Well, the internet is the new frontier for finding good information, and I don't mind paying to subscribe to a quality service - either via a membership fee, by purchasing e-books or other info products from writers I like, or by clicking through affiliate links and ads to buy things.

I get a lot more out of my internet membership subscriptions than I ever did the $30 a month for the paper.

I was a member of Chris's site for two months and really enjoyed it. I only quit because I wanted to save money in the slow season and focus on projects for a few months before spending time chatting in forums again.

The letter may have been unsolicited, but I think you may have jumped to conclusions about the whole thing. It's a good site with potential to be awesome in time, and Chris is a decent guy who's been contributing to the online garden community for some time.

Deviant Deziner said...

I don't feel that I "jumped to conclusions" in feeling like I was being sold to.
I , like many other people do not like to be approached like a sales commission.
Receiving a fax to my office, two emails and another letter to endorse a website that I have no knowledge of, all within a span of 10 days, is a tad bit on the aggressive side of salesmanship for me.

You may find this acceptably fine , but I do not care for it and it is my prerogative to say so, especially on my on blog .

If you are looking for a thriving private on line community to share conversation with there are plenty on the web, many are free.
You may be interested in Land8Lounge, Garden Web, Garden Rant, Daves Garden, Craigslist, The Mediterranean Garden Society, Other landscape related blogs, ASLA, your alumni site ..... on and on.
The quality of the site only depends on your level of participation. You have the ability to elevate it or come down (or up ) to its level.

I offered and continue to offer my best wishes to Mr. Heiler and his business venture. I hope it becomes a success.
The more information available for those in the landscape industry is a good thing.
But I can do without the heavy handed sales pitch.

Tim Thoelecke said...

I, too, am a member of and think it's terrific. I'm sure there are other benefits, but in a members-only forum, members are pre-qualified my virtue of their paid membership. No lurkers.

It's not a pyramid scheme by any stretch of the imagination. Chris is a good guy and working to improve the industry.

As for other forums, you cite many related to gardening. Those are good resources for gardeners. is aimed primarily at designers.


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