When Is A Good Business Model A Scam?

Last Sunday I went to the Nebraska State Fair with my wife and 2 girls.  While walking around I came across a interesting “booth”.  Had a great eye catching headline of “Are You Going To Heaven?” with a nice red FREE sticker on the side. After eavesdropping on a couple people while waiting for my wife (and 2 daughters) to return from the bathroom, the gig is this. He asks you 2 questions. 1) What is your deepest darkest sin? and 2) Do you accept Jesus Christ as your savior?

After you answer those questions he tells you for $50.00 he will tell you if you will go to heaven or not if you passed away right now.

He needs to work on his scalability a little bit cause there was a line of about 15 people deep to talk to him but in the 20 or so minutes I was around I only got to witness 5 people go up there and talk to him. Out of those 5 people I only saw 1 person pull out money. By her reaction I am guessing she was told she was going to heaven…

No idea if a 20% conversion is high or low for him but if that was his average then he *could be* pulling in $150 a hour or $2,000+ a day. Not to shabby.

Is this a scam? Or just a REALLY good business model?

It’s not like you can get a refund if he is wrong!

5 years ago when we were planning to have our first child I came up with a interesting idea for a website. The basic concept was this:

There is a time from when you get pregnant until you can find out the sex of your baby. I forget what the exact time was but look it up if you feel the need. Anyway there are a ton of people out there who just got pregnant and are caught up in baby fever and want to know if they are having a boy or a girl. So I thought it would be cool to make a website that would predict the sex of your baby. You would answer all kinds of questions (it didn’t really matter what you said) then at the end it would charge you $49.95 to get the results mailed to you. For a extra $10 you could get a 100% money back guarantee.

So the model works out that you would be right about 50% of the time just based on the law of averages and you could even develop a algorithm over time based on reader response to tweak your percentage (or at least attempt it). Your refund policy (for those who bought the insurance) would state that you have to get a copy of the birth certificate mailed to you within 5 days of the birth of the child. Do you really think the biggest thing on peoples minds after they have a kid is getting their $59.95 refunded cause you got the sex wrong? Maybe…. but I doubt it…

Now I never built this service but think it would be VERY profitable. Would it be a scam or a REALLY good business model?