I came across Benny's blog a few months ago. I think he's a genuinely sociable guy who loves to travel and loves learning languages. I also think he really wants to connect with others and share his story and help them learn languages too.
But - since he relies on sales of his ebook to fund his life, he's trying too hard to create an profitable online business. He's trying way too hard
to use his blog readers to monetize his site, by flogging his ebook to them. He's also trying to get into the motivational self-help blogger market, and twist his language learning tips of "don't be shy, just overcome your fears and speak and you will achieve fluency" into general self-help tips.
A lot of effort has been put into making his blog a sales blog, with catchy slogans and ways to get people to sign up for more "free" marketing emails which are filled with hints to buy his book etc.
And since his site is a sales site, he has to censor comments, because would-be buyers might get put off otherwise.
I read the free sample of his book and it seems to have some nice tips but I found it far too wordy and imagine that the full version is mostly fluff with blogger interviews and some tips here and there. There are NO reviews apart from affiliate sites. It's also ridiculously overpriced.
But I don't really have an issue with him selling his book. People are not stupid. They can decide for themselves whether to buy it, or not.
I have an issue with his "fluent in 3 (or 2!) months" claims. Benny's learning tips are good and positive, but he just keeps on failing to demonstrate that he can make his own claims work. E.g. he tries to learn Tagalog, but mysteriously gives hardly any updates about his progress. Just like with Thai, which he did not learn, he didn't learn Tagalog.
But he wants you to believe he did.
And his videos in non-Romance languages like Czech (which he didn't become even near to fluent in) are not spontaneous, the texts are written by a native speaker. So what? He is supposed to go on these "missions" to provide interest for his readers and to show how his "method" works, but he's just not doing that.
April 11, 2011, 12:29 p.m.
But if both the book itself, and the way he markets it, are frankly dishonest about his linguistic achievements, then you have to ask yourself whether he is much better than a cheap con artist?
Essentially Benny is saying to people: read my book, follow the advice I give, and you can be fluent in any language in 3 months. What utter rubbish!
The sad thing is, there are quite a few people out there who are actually dumb enough to fall for this kind of thing....
I don't know about dishonest. I think he just uses what have become very standard web guru marketing techniques, like the 'change your life in 2 minutes!' message, and redefines words to fit his needs. "Fluent" means "can say a few phrases" or "can memorize a text and speak it on a video".
Benny doesn't want to create a language course, he wants to be a motivational guru with a group of followers or "supporters" as he calls them. The hook is the fantasy of travel and learning languages.
People can take the tips for free (in the main, they are tips you will find on any language forum), or they can shell out $67 for them.
It's priced so high because then he doesn't need to have so many people buy it. Just a couple a week and he's good. And someone who shells out $67 and hates what he gets is going to feel enough of a sucker not to publicize that in a bad or honestly critical review.
I think we can only criticize on what we can see, i.e., his blog posts, videos, his teaching, and even his personality. But if no one in this forum has read his book (or 'guide' as he calls it), I think it is unfair to make any criticism on it.
Aug. 6, 2012, 11:40 a.m.
Thanks for the link. I read this post by Benny with some astonishment.
Firstly he is stupid enough to use vulgar and abusive language in a police station and about a police officer? Secondly, when he is body slammed into a cell, he tries to get their sympathy by crying like a little kid who has fallen off his bike?
If true, this is a pretty sick way to behave, IMO.
Aug. 9, 2012, 9:17 p.m.
Aug. 12, 2012, 7:16 p.m.