For the last couple years I have been pretty frustrated and confused about how the Department of Homeland Security has been operating. I understand that after 9/11 everything changed and we needed to immediately implement massive short term security restrictions until we could get a grip on what was going on. But now, 8 years later, why the need to keep those restrictions? We know who is attacking us, right? Or better yet we know who is NOT attacking us.

I am an Internet Marketer. I see things pretty much as black and white. I target people based on the facts & numbers I have on what will give me the best return on my investment. I DO NOT target people who have or never will buy anything I am selling.

In my 5 years of being in the ringtone business, with billions of clicks, and hundreds of thousands in sales, I can tell you that we get the best conversion by targeting people who are:

Age: 18 to 26
Sex: Male

I can also tell you that we get the lowest return on our investment by targeting people who are:

Age: 45+
Sex: Female

In weight loss, we target women, ages 21 to 55, who are caucasian.

In dating, we target males, 30+ (for the best payout), all races.

And the list goes on and on.

Targeting people who give you the best return on your investment in the internet marketing industry is a no brainier. It’s smart. It’s also just common sense.

Imagine if the same logic was used by the Department of Homeland Security. Before we look at who we want to target (terrorists) lets look at who we don’t want to target. You could probably eliminate 95% of wasted resources with common sense and analytics.

How many women, or how about people in general over the age of 65 have ever committed or attempted a terrorist act against the United States?

How many US born citizens that travel more then 30k miles a year have committed or attempted a terrorist act against the United States?

How many women with multiple small children have committed or attempted a terrorist act against the United States?

I am no expert on air travel statistics and this is just a small list I could think of off the top of my head. Yet, I can’t even tell you the number of people I have seen getting worked over by TSA agents that were so elderly they could barely walk on their own. Really? Is that a good use of our resources?

Why in business when we target potential customer is it smart but when we bring up the same kind of process to the TSA we are sexists, racists, or whatever it is you can think of.

IMO statistically, racial and/or sexual profiling air passengers, while not politically correct, is the only way that makes sense. It makes sense from a resource perspective and just being effective.

Or am I way off base here?

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

74 thoughts on “What the TSA Can Learn from Internet Marketers”
  1. I totally agree. Most of TSA’s procedures are for the pretense of security and most are unnecessary. It boils my blood every time my 80 years old mom, who served in the military, has to go through security.

  2. It would never pass though because there would be too much uproar about the system being biased and racist.

    But I definitely think it would work!

  3. Can we afford a situation where Muslim travelers are screened and interrogated while all others pass airport security in minutes? Cause that’s what will happen if the security follows your line of thinking.

    1. in some perspective it is true…. we can’t afford that situation..but in the other hand, we had to do it… giving the situation about the media that over highlighted such issue…. perception can be a reality if you told it frequently…. the media should be blame for this thing… they gave the false interpretation about the real situation…

      in my opinion. moderation and secrecy is the key… πŸ™‚
      just an opinion dude….

  4. If you have a system though that someone is trying to beat or game than you need to have some obscurity and randomness in the system.

    1. On the other side, you have countries like Israel with intense flight security who do behavioural analysis and targeting (young, male, flying alone, one way ticket, high risk country etc).

      I would be surprised if the US and other developed countries are not doing something similar.

  5. Yeah, I don’t really see grandma being a suicide bomber, or a young mother wrapping the baby in C4 explosives to pull one over on TSA. Profiling is all fine for me. Then again, I guess it is pretty hard to profile some psychos. I mean, John Wayne Gacy was a clown for Pete’s sake. Who would ever expect a clown to have so many bodies under his house? o_O

  6. I appreciate your suggestions and effort Jeremy but it not that easy. I also understand the examples you have given. But for your kind information terrorists are trained to act like normal people. They disguise themselves as old people. And there are many thing. I do not want to speak much.

    The main difference between Internet Marketing and Work of Security Agencies is the matter of life and death.

    I have not much idea about US security but I hope you get my point.

    PS: I am from India. We get frequent terrorists strikes. If you read news from India, you will be understanding.

  7. At Pearson (Toronto) we were at the gate, having cleared US customs and security, a security guard pulled a middle eastern man from the crowd at the gate for an extra screen that included a pat down and a few questions – lasted 5 minutes. He protested in perfect Canadian accented English and they assured him it was totally random.

    I think they are targeting, they’re just not advertising it.

    And just yesterday….

  8. The problem with your marketing analogy is that just one person out of your targeted demographic getting through could mean a conversion for you but with homeland security it means hundreds if not thousands could die.

  9. Think about it from the other direction, what if you were a terrorist? Which system would you prefer – one where there was targeting or one where it was targeting agnostic?

    Terrorist organizations recruit on either ideology or money and there are plenty of people willing to die so that their family will be taken care of. They can come from everywhere.

    It’s not off-base but it doesn’t really apply here

  10. If the goverment had a pattern for tracking, or an “algo” that only followed.. let’s say 20 to 40 year old muslim men, I bet “terrorists” would start recruiting teenage women or the opposite to the algo etc. And that’s why I believe everyone is being monitored imho.

    Even by NOT having a pattern you ARE leaving a pattern.

    Sorry for going off-topic lol

  11. It’s impossible to come out with a profile of terrorists, since these are driven by religious fanatism.
    And the terrorists come from different countries and backgrounds.

    1. The difference is they arent selling ringtones and cant afford to test different landing pages. They get it wrong, once, and people die.

      Plus not screening old people and women with children is just like waving a green flag telling terrorists to send in the old people with bombs strapped to their legs because they get a free pass.

      One rule doesnt fit all Shoe.

  12. If we targeted a specific group of people, wouldn’t terrorists just find people to carry out those attacks who don’t fit the profile?

    I mean its great in theory, but if you miss on a project, you just move on to the next project. Your risk of ruin is pretty low. You just need to be super successful once in a while and moderately successful most of the time in order to be overall successful. The TSA has to be 100% successful. If they ever screw up there’s a public uproar (not to mention the huge tragedy).

    1. They’ve already screwed up (the underwear bomber who got on the plane, “secret documents” accidentally released to the public by their own employees, lots of obviously innocent people targeted just because, etc.), that’s why everyone seems to be talking about them these days. They can be more effective and inobtrusive, it’s just that no smart persons are willing to work for them (or the government, it seems).

  13. The profiling needs to have a huge RELIGIOUS component to be most effective. You are not off base or as crazy as you think. Getting “offended” seems to be a national sport in the US, and getting “offended” seems to also be a special superpower of religions, which when activated melts the minds of people around and allows for all kids of destructive behavior to be carried out while blurring the identification of who (what system of beliefs!) is causing mayhem and who isn’t.

    As long as folks keep ignoring the gigantic pink elephant in the room, we won’t be getting very far.

  14. Although your reasoning makes sense, people of demographics that aren’t being screened will one way or another be recruited to terrorism since it would be a lot easier to get them through security.

  15. Although I get frustrated while sitting at the airport trying to get through security, I cannot imagine the stress that all these screenings and things put on the TSA. There need to be better systems in place to weed out the suspects, but what is really the best way to do it? I don’t think anyone has the answer. Terrorist groups aren’t new and they know how to blend in with any new rules and recruit new people to get around any regulation.

  16. Maybe the US Gov should get their priorities straight?

    Odds of dying in a terrorist attack:

    – You are 13 times more likely to die in a railway accident than from a terrorist attack

    – You are 12,571 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

    – You are six times more likely to die from hot weather than from a terrorist attack

    – You are eight times more likely to die from accidental electrocution than from a terrorist attack

    – You are 11,000 times more likely to die in an airplane accident than from a terrorist plot involving an airplane

    – You are 87 times more likely to drown than die in a terrorist attack

    – You are 404 times more likely to die in a fall than from a terrorist attack

    – You are 17,600 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

    – You are 1048 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack

    – You are 12 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation in bed than from a terrorist attack

    – You are nine times more likely to choke to death on your own vomit than die in a terrorist attack

    – You are eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist

  17. I believe we should take steps on all people , like metal detectors, etc…. AND in addition pay SPECIAL attention to the to those that fit the profile.

    The arguments of “well, terrorists will just find others” is junk. They may try to find others, but the others are not doing it right now for a reason and they will be HARDER to coerce.

    Which, makes it harder for terrorists to succeed.

    The REAL solution to the problem is to expand our military attacks WHEREVER the terrorists are.

  18. They know all this already. The problem is in this arena it is known as “profiling” and while it is acceptable to “profile” for the purposes of marketing (which has not been classified in any way as a “bad thing” – yet) giving people a good going over at the airport is considered an inconvenience, and profiling for the purpose of targeting that unpleasant experience to within a particular racial group falls foul of discrimination legislation. Consequently, I think you’ll find they do it to a level as high as they think they can get away with, whilst not ever admitting it

    Even GWB would know that the risk of suicide attacks from the group “female, white, 55+” based on historical data, is low. You’ll probably notice that people in that group, while always making up a decent proportion of boarders on any flight, are rarely taken aside for special attention

  19. Love the controversy it springs up. πŸ™‚

    For those who state this is life or death, and not just a ring tone. It is exactly for that reason that the resources need to be spent efficiently. My skin is dark enough that at first glance I can easily meet racial profiling.

    In fact when we just drove over the Hoover dam last week, they had private security, I believe working for homeland security, stop each car and give us the once over before we drove across. I guarantee if I had been driving myself, I would have been looked at very differently that driving with my blondy, blond wife.

    I always say do what is logical, efficient, fair and effective that roots out the bad guys quickly and protects all.

  20. Here’s a great expert opinion in line with yours:

    But I also recommend reading about public choice theory. We are naive when we think that government’s goal is to actually provide a great service economically. If you accept that government’s goal, or an agency’s goal in this case, is to expand their budgets, you’ll realize they are doing a great job at it. Its not pessimism if its true, right?

  21. What makes me upset is this “whole body screening process”. They have the capabilities of scanning your whole body down to the bone. People don’t want this saying it’s against our rights. But hey, if you’ve got a rectal bomb in you and it’s your plane this guy is on, your going rethink your thought on having the agents see your ass and tits.

    So really, scan scan scan. Next step is to have every one secluded from their items. No carry on bags, no nothing. Everything could possibly be in another plane. Just yourself and your clothes getting on.

    And another thing, why don’t they put a TWO FBI agents on every plane that are armed. Hi-Jackers would be eliminated.

  22. This article makes crazy sense, thanks shoe.! you really should be voted for the Homeland Security πŸ˜€

  23. Sorry this is off topic, but I thought I’d let you know I just posted about the Shoemoney system πŸ™‚

    If you get a chance to read it, enjoy!

  24. Your definitely way off base here on the racial/sexual/age profiling here. They obviously cant do this without being tied up in endless litigation from lawsuits stemming from discrimination.

    But you do have a good point, 8 years later, they should have realized now that if the allocated that money into better technology for the xray scanners and technology to automatically flag problems to help the old man sitting behind the monitor, travelling would be much less painful and longgg.

    Just another agency/business caught wasting money by not embracing technology.

  25. This is because they are not after ‘terrorist’. This is to create a global track, trace and control police state to control all of the ‘peasants’. Read

  26. “targeting” when you are trying to sell something is a lot different than targeting when you are trying to catch someone.

    If you only target male terrorists under age 35, then the enemy will recruit females over 45 to use as their operatives.

    In marketing, your targets are trying to get caught (males 30+ are mostly trying to get dates) but with anti-terrorism the targets are trying to escape capture… the same tactics won’t work at all.

  27. This is by far the weirdest thing I have read so far today..

    Just because you know who is potentially targeting you as a terrorist does not mean you can become complacent about everyone else. By profiling people for extra security inspections you are creating a weakness some where else for someone to expose. Security needs to be consistent. Thats how it works. We inspect everyone all the time and treat everyone the same. Who would challenge such a consistent routine and structure.

    Also I find it racist to a degree. The failed Christmas bomber was black, should we inspect all black people even more just because we know “a” black person tried to attack us before.. same applies to all races and religions.

    as you say; You’re an “internet marketer”..
    I’m not sure you’ve scored enough dollars with TerrorSense to be a guru behind a Shoemoney Security System

  28. OK, so after reading all the comments here, I just reverted to my old opinion that if everyone would ignore the attacks, panic and fear, there would be no more criminals (except for thieves). There would be no point in doing any of that stuff if people don’t give a s***. Too bad that’s never going to happen (at least in my lifetime).

  29. Yeah, I have the same answer as many others here – it won’t work.

    First of all, terrorism is driven by fanatical religious, political and nationalist beliefs. That means that there’s no solid demographic who will *never* commit an act of terrorism. Young Middle Eastern men are *currently* the most common perpetrators (in the US at least – ETA don’t fit this description, for example) because they are the most fanatical and willing to commit such acts.

    If the TSA were to start openly screening only that group, then terrorist groups would start using other demographics. Some old people would certainly be willing, and I’d guess that few suicide bombers would hesitate to take their children along if it helps their cause. Want a white American? Plenty of religious fanatics and lunatics around. Remember, McVeigh was the most successful terrorist on American soil pre-9/11. He was driven by political rather than religious fanaticism, but the end result was the same.

    While there are ways to determine if a person is more likely to be a terrorist, none of these are based on gender, age or travel habits. Truly targeted screening would simply open up a security hole for terrorists to exploit. The real world does not operate on your marketing terms.

    1. The terrorist group would start using other demographics?!? Hilarious – Like what? The “non-terrorist” demographic of people over 65? Young kids under the age of 12? US citizen business travelers with 30k annual miles?

  30. First of all, that a**hole was already on the “do not fly” list. Stuff like this could have already been avoided if the people who wrote the rules would actually follow them.

  31. Intelligence work and communicating that work is the key. Political correctness is deadly. There is no need for the public or anyone else that doesn’t have a need to know to even have a hint as to what is actually being done. The enemy has many eyes and ears.

  32. Yeah. Or how about making the no-fly list realistic. There are only around 4000 people on it…there has to be way more people that shouldn’t be flying on airplanes.

    I put Shoe’s story on digg…digg it!

    1. Amen! We are talking about government in which case the phrase “no brainer” actually doesn’t apply well to what should be common sense.

  33. I agree, but we know why they do these things. They’d rather spend the time/money searching an 8 year old kid rather than risk being called racist by searching a guy from yemen with a turbin (who could have a missle up there for all we know)

  34. Jeremy is right but for the wrong reason. Reducing resource consumption by the TSA is a good idea. People who point out that terrorists will find members of groups not being scanned are right in the same way that the terrorists will just target other vulnerabilities in our society if airplanes were 100% secure. Perfect security isn’t obtainable in software or security.

    Therefore, we should invest most resources into police/detective work and catch as many leaders/planners as we can when we can. There will be terrorist attacks from now on. They will probably get worse as technology continues to progress in areas like explosives and detonation.

    So, reduce the TSA burden to free up resources for more effective use.

  35. The solution is to simply do a full search on everybody at all major airports. While some may think it will daft and “long”, by targeting everybody, there is no set discrimination and the chances of finding anyone who is attempting to bypass security with drugs, knives, bombs whatever is 100%. I’m sure everyone would feel much safer know that there are nil chances of terrorism while boarding a plane.

    1. I think the solution is even easier, and faster fly using the nude airline!

      However for those concerned with silly things like privacy, checking everyone doesn’t seem like the solution. It raises the price of tickets(need to hire more security guards) and doesn’t really help security when you are checking grandmothers, infants, and teenage girls.

      I think discrimination is the way to go! Let’s just hope the courts don’t go after internet marketers for discriminating..

  36. Its not that easy, just like you got scammed by dennis yu, you didn’t know that all this would happen, you thought it was all good, and boom you get fked.

  37. You are right Jeremy. Especially the part of “Why in business when we target potential customer is it smart but when we bring up the same kind of process to the TSA we are sexists, racists, or whatever it is you can think of.”

    There are just too many people who whine about certain things for anyone to get anything done. Change this, whiners appear, change that whiners appear.

    It slows down progress, and even in Texas before the Christmas event, they were double, triple checking stuff. Looked like they were doing it because they were bored and loved giving people a hard time.

  38. I certainly admire your honesty! A brave blog post that is not PC but certainly makes sense to me. Nice one!

  39. Thank you for the information you provide through this article, interesting and good content makes me want to visit your other articles.

  40. I can imagine a case where a off-demographic person carries the bomb past security and passes it to the end-point terrorist. It makes me think there is no way to be 100% safe and secure.

    But let’s face it, they TSA does so many things that are a total waste of time and show a major lack of judgement. They spent 20 minutes shaking me down one day. Why? Because I had breast milk and a commercially made freezer pack with it. The freezer pack was the “security risk.”

    I always look at the bags and bags of toiletries they confiscate int he name of safety and wish they could go to a homeless shelter or something. What a waste.

  41. Yeah, but even though you target male 18-26, there is still a slight possibility that 46+ female will make a sale as well. πŸ˜‰ Especially if they know it… May be TSA should do split testing as well, fill in hundred planes with 18-26 males and a hundred with 46+ females to see which campaigns perform better. :))))
    BTW, thanks for sharing weight loss target market, I’ve been thinking to try this niche… may come in handy. πŸ™‚

  42. sorry but your a tit. You really should get your head out of the clouds. Just because you can market on ther internet doesnt mean you have a brain.

    The nigerian plotter lived in a 6 million dollar london pad. Are you going to monitor all the wealthy people and leave the poor alone ?

    As far as I know most of the 9-11 bombers came from very wealthy families.

    Why dont we go all the way and have every nation become a stasi state then we would be 100% safe for everyone.

    Seriously if I lived in a hick place like nebraska I really would come over and beat some intelligence into you.

    Life does not work like you think, did the british stop all irish citizens or ‘american irish’ from coming to the uk during the irish conflict ? No. it would have been much simpler for the british to stop ann irisih or irrish descent from stepping foot on or living in the uk mainlaind but they saw sense that they cannot do it.

    P.S just because all your wanna be lovers praise you means nothing.

    Tell you what hit me up on email and we can have a video discussion on this.

  43. I think every so often the same things happens….I wonder why the hell I waste my time reading blogs.

    Do successful people read and comment on this type of crap? (Yes, I realize I am commenting)

    A couple blogs that I read provide thoughtful information pertaining to the industry, and the others just write whatever provocative thing comes to mind to stir the pot.

    In this case, your opinion on the matter is obviously quite clouded. The fundamental issues at hand are polar opposites. Not to mention – One has lives at stake, and the other involves suckering people (a good % of the time for most internet marketers)

    Come down from your high horse shoe, respect your readers. You are a great marketer, but this content is worthless.

    It is finally time I take a break from reading your blog…It’s like the online marketing version of TMZ.

      1. Ha! Yes, it reminds me of a recent commented on an old blog post I wrote who claimed that the content did not hold his interest at all, but yet, he logged one hour and 53 minutes writing his comments. He made terroristic threats and I subsequently reported him to the FBI. Hmm? Not interested at all, huh?

        The way I see it is that if you don’t get an occasional death threat, you just aren’t reaching enough people.

  44. I think u nailed it, but in todays pc world they will never admit to following such a strategy, but I am sure they are profiling…although they could do a better job as the latest incident shows…sometimes u wonder where the common sense in all of this is

  45. Interesting point! The problem is that if you go with efficiency, the equivalent of losing out on a few potential customers would mean losing a few lives. Statistically not such a big deal, but realistically a very big deal.

    This will be the challenge for the coming years: efficiency versus fear. Fear is a huge factor like someone else here had mentioned. If there wasn’t fear, we’d all be very happy with efficiency πŸ™‚

  46. Hush you Anarchist! You and your Astroturffers have no understanding of how government or national security works, Armchair quarterbacks … yeah, that’s what you are! Leave protecting of the nation to those who know best … POLITICIANS!

    hahaha πŸ™‚

    1. Indeed! Let’s leave it up to those fells who are there to serve our interests. Status quo is pretty safe, right? LOL with an Eyeroll

  47. Not too sure about this one Jeremy.

    Let’s be a little bit realistic here. Who exactly are you going to racially profile?
    Nigerians, Middle Easterners, Indonesians.. home grown terrorists? Where does it begin and where does it end?

    ItÒ€ℒs not viable because terrorists are not simply not exclusive to one race, or even one region in the world, and anybody who implies otherwise is obviously clueless. Instead, they are more commonly associated with an extremist ideology which is obviously much harder to detect and harder to profile.

    1. Did I miss the part where this became a race issue rather than propensity modeling?

  48. I couldn’t agree with this post more but we as a people have been taught that profiling is bad. Stereotypes are bad.

    Add in the mix of lawyers etc and profiling becomes even more unappealing to TSA.

    Logic is used to solve 99.9% of all problems. Logic is profiling. Its taking the laws of averages and choosing likely terrorists and separating them out for closer screening.

    But we can’t do this because profiling is bad.

  49. I’m a former DHS employee and a full time Internet Marketer. What you fail to realize is terrorism comes in all shapes/sizes and nationalities. You cannot profile/target based on past performance. All it takes is one missed lead to kill thousands.

  50. Government control and police state seem to be more of the agenda then security.

    In a short while all our rights will be shoved aside for the sake of ‘security’.

    Your chances of winning the lottery is better then being killed by a terrorist, and if they were that worried about it – they wouldn’t leave our borders wide open.

    This is getting stupid now.

  51. Racial or religious profiling wouldn’t have caught Reed, the shoe-bomber, because he’s a white guy and not ‘visibly muslim’, and it wouldn’t have caught our more recent pants-bomber either: no airport search procedure in the civilized world would check his underwear.

    However, there were much better methods that could have been considered: Abdulmutallab didn’t have a passport or luggage, and bought a one-way ticket with cash. Tad bit suspicious?

  52. I seriously feel bad for ladies that have to suffer those unpleasant diets or intense workouts to get a flat, attractive bellies. It’s good for boys that when we need muscles we’re going to shed all of our body fat automatically, as an upkeep price of your muscles. What I want to say is I am glad I’m a guy.

  53. This only sort of addresses some symptoms of terrorism and doesn’t at all address the root cause.

    How about stop f*cking with people around the world, bombing and killing them – then you don’t grow terrorists. People who are happy, fed and left alone don’t go out into the world to try and bomb other people.

    Terrorists are the new communists… a vague enemy that the USA military can spend trillions of dollars fighting and will never win against. Who is next when the world’s A.D.D. stops being scared of terrorists? Iran? China?

    After 10 years, trillions of dollars, hundreds of thousands dead, the economy in the tank and the good will of the USA smashed around the world – do you feel safer? Something is wrong with this picture.

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