My friend and colleague Joel Comm has been on the cutting edge of Internet marketing for a long time — and sometimes a bit over the edge! — but his new idea about an Internet marketing reality show is a great one. Called The Next Internet Millionaire, it’s modeled after Survivor and The Apprentice, among other reality TV shows.
He’s still accepting audition videos from potential contestants if you think it’d be fun. I know I’ll have fun: I’m a celebrity judge so I’m perhaps just a bit biased.
Joel recently answered some of my questions about the program and here’s his Q&A.
Q: The Next Internet Millionaire. Hmmm… So are you a big fan of reality shows, Joel?
I started watching reality shows when the second season of Survivor came on. I heard the buzz about season one and thought it sounded interesting. I watched The Apprentice until this last season. When Trump made the losing team sleep outside in tents I had had enough. I have also been a fan of The Amazing Race, though I think it is on a downhill slide as well.
Q: From what I’ve read, many reality shows are actually pretty tightly scripted to produce drama and excitement. Is TNIM going to push people into conflict to make “good TV��??
We are going to be filming the entire series in a two-week period. That means our contestants will wake up every day to a new guest teacher who will instruct them in the topic for the day. They will then be given a task to prove how well they have grasped and can implement what they have learned. Before the day is out, there will be a winning team, a losing team, and someone will be eliminated from the competition. The next morning, it starts all over again.
I believe that combining daily in-depth marketing training with a complex challenge and the contestants desire to stay in the game will create a lot of drama for us.
Q: You’re primarily going to be delivering this program online. Cool idea. Any interest from cable channels to simulcast it or have a “best of��? special?
We’ve had a few people tell us we should pitch it to cable networks. But I really think the web is ready for long-form entertainment and I hope that the public will support us in this effort. Doing so takes some of the power from traditional media which has had a lock on the living room for too long. YouTube and other 2.0 sites have demonstrated that the true power rests with the people who now have more choices than ever before. So we’ll take this one step at a time.
Q: What are the key selection criteria that are being used to judge entrants?
We’ve got over one hundred people who have submitted video auditions so far. In narrowing the field, and then selecting the final twelve contestants, each one will be judged on a number of critera including popularity (there is voting on the site), creativity, professionalism, communication skills and overall presentation.
Q: What are the most important traits you expect to see in the winner?
Creativity and a drive to succeed. I’m not interested in someone bringing me a project idea. I’m looking for the right person to do a project with. It’s all about relationship. I want to make sure the winner is someone who has clear vision, a creative spark and the motivation to make their dreams come true.
Q: Is the winner guaranteed a million dollars? If not, what’s the name all about?
The winner will receive $25,000 cash and the opportunity to do a joint venture with me. I receive jv requests every day. Most of them do not fit with my business model. So it is my goal to select a winner who will be able to partner with me in such a way that together we launch a millionaire entrepreneur. There are many people who have the skills and talent to succeed. Sometimes we all need a little kickstart to get it going. I intend to kickstart the engine of the person who wins the competition.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about the judges? I know at least one of them, after all… 🙂
We’ve selected some of the best Internet marketing teachers in the world to join us on location and pour their knowledge and wisdom into our contestants. Each is a specialist in their own niche, so the competition will feature varied challenges. The list of teachers is a “who’s who” of our niche, including the godfather of Internet marketing, Mark Joyner (who is coming all the way from Auckland, New Zealand to do this show!). Other teachers include Armand Morin, Mike Filsaime, Jeff Walker, Rich Schefren and Perry Marshall. I think there is also some guy named “Taylor”. You may have heard of him…
Q: Walk me through a typical challenge, if you can, including how you’re planning on capturing it on video and how entrants will be winnowed down so that there’s ultimately one winner.
I don’t want to give away any surprises yet, but I will give a hypothetical situation. Perhaps our contestants will learn about writing copy that sells on a given day. The first part of writing killer copy may be to do market research on the product they will be selling. So a task may include going to the streets to interview people on what appeals to them about a certain product. They may then be challenged to write copy and present it to an audience to see which team writes the more compelling sales letter. One team will receive immunity and another will be sent to my office, where one team member will be sent home. We’ll have four cameras following our contestants at all times, so we’ll be sure to capture the best scenes for the show.
Q: Do you have any corporate sponsors for the program?
Yes, we have just signed ScanAlert, the creators of the HACKER SAFE technology. Used by over 75,000 web sites, HACKER SAFE is proven to increase security and improve sales conversions through their advanced verification system, and we are pleased to welcome them as a charter sponsor of the show.
Q: Can people still send in their audition videos to possibly join the challenge? If so, how do they do so?
The open casting call will close on June 6, 2007 at 12 pm midnight EST. It’s easy to submit an audition. Just go to the website and click the AUDITION button or link to get all the info. Remember, we’re looking for “people”, not ideas or projects. Be creative and have fun. Who knows… you might be The Next Internet Millionaire!
And a special blog bonus, here’s a few of the audition videos I thought were amusing…
If this sounds fun, maybe you should apply and, perhaps, you could be The Next Internet Millionaire!