Schemes on Your Screens: A 2023 Recap and 2024 Predictions

Schemes on Your Screens: A 2023 Recap and 2024 Predictions

As 2023 comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on the year that was and make some predictions about what lies ahead in 2024.

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Now, before we predict what’s next, we thought we should talk about the year that was. We looked through our past episodes and what we discussed on the Patreon episodes (which you can join here).

Many of these trends were economy-related, so let’s start there.

#1. A Shifting Target Market Due to a Wonky Economy

Before discussing the web celebs’ shift in the target market, we need to talk about the economy. 

It’s been wonky. While all the economic indicators tell us that the economy is growing, we are experiencing what some call a Vibe Session.

This economy has hit online businesses hard. Overall, so many businesses’ revenue is down or holding steady. If this year was rough for you, please know that you’re not alone. 

The web celebs seemed to realize that online business was experiencing contraction/correction. So many shifted their target market away from business owners…to those who were employed. In the Patreon, we did a deep dive into Amy Porterfield’s book Two Weeks Notice, which is a good example of someone pursuing this market.

#2. A Return to Services and/or Launch Frenzy

For years people have shit on 1:1 services. You know the whole “stop trading dollars for hours” messaging. For years services providers have been encouraged to go “high ticket” so you don’t even need to talk to people on a sales call to get them to plunk down 10K or more. 

The vast majority of these business owners who have championed this message suddenly announced that they felt called to do something they haven’t done in years… offer services. Now, in 2023 you could work with them 1:1. 

The other trend we saw was some business owners serially launching new program after new program after new program. Some of these programs weren’t very different from each other. To us, when people constantly launch something new at risk of burning out their list, it’s an indicator that revenue is down.

#3. Intentional De-Scaling of Their Business

This is the last economy-related one, but a lot of people have been marketing on how much money they make and their luxury lifestyle making public statements about how they were intentionally de-scaling their business for simplicity’s sake.  

Which looked like firing their teams, reassessing what they offer, and talking about making less money, but it is a choice. I’m cynical if it was a choice, or was it just the reality of what needed to be done?

#4. The Rise of “Super Events”

All right. All right. All right. We need a palate cleanser after all that heavy talk about the economy. Plus, we think this is something we will probably see more of in 2024 – the rise of “super events”

This Matthew McConaughey, along with his buds Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi, put on The Art of Living. It was the first time mainstream Americans were exposed to the manipulative tactics of online businesses to sell a course. It was so mainstream that even John Oliver on Last Week Tonight commented on it. 

#5. A Spotlight on Scams & Grift

We’re currently in a golden age of content about scams, grifts, and cults. Frankly, we’re here for it. Here are some of your favorite podcasts or documentaries from this past year:

The FTC is also spotlighting business coaching scams, and that’s a good sign!

Predictions for 2024

We’re reticent to make predictions for 2024. It’s an election year here in the States, and it’s a pretty terrifying election that we believe could determine whether the US is still a democracy. 

I predict that I’ll be asking my doctor for anti-anxiety meds before next November.

And for Maggie, she says it’s hard to say with the election. “I think that will cause a lot of uncertainty. I think at the beginning of the year, we’ll see the correction of the online space start to taper off. Some people will close their businesses and decide to get jobs.”

What new grifts or scams do we see on the horizon?

  • Everything old is new again.
  • Weaponization of generosity.

Do we think we’ll see talk of government regulation of online business?

We do think we’ll see a few more FTC cases coming down the pipe.

What gives us hope about online business?

Threads is giving me hope. I see a lot of skeptical and savvy people on that platform. The posts that perform well on LinkedIn, like how to make two million dollars a year, are oversimplified BS, get trashed on the Threads. Yes, many people want to believe, but there are more people pausing and saying…wait a minute.

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