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Pop Quiz: Name This Business

Here is a business formula that (shudder) apparently, or so I was told by somebody I have reason to believe, made a "Fast Freddy" type a lot of money.

  1. Establish a website selling digital cameras and related equipment.
  2. Advertise major brand name cameras, popular models, at impossibly low prices.
  3. Price crawler websites will find those prices and feature that website.
  4. Develop bundles with cases and batteries and other add-ons that make the sale profitable, despite the low price of the key item.
  5. Make your website not work right when people try to order only the impossibly low-cost item by itself. Make it work fine when they order the item along with higher-margin add-ons.
  6. Train telephone answerers to simply hang up on callers trying to order just the impossibly low-price item.
  7. Change your business name and website name every three or four months when the bad customer feedback catches up with you.

A few years ago I taught a University of Oregon undergraduate working his way through school doing website programming. He had done most of it for the same business, although the business; legal entity changed every three months.

I met him walking by a couple years later. The "Fast Freddy" had sold his business for several million dollars.


  • Charles Robinson says:

    Do you really want me to name names? I could. 🙂 I always go to to get feedback on any company I do business with. (I don't mean to spam your blog, and feel free to edit that out.)

    Being a software developer there is always the lure to do the wrong thing for fast money. I had one instructor at a certification course who made us all pledge "I promise to use my powers only for good, never for evil." That is an ethos I have always held, but apparently not everyone is so conscientious.

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