The Third Tribe? Is it Me Or Is This Thing Weird?

I’m in complete mixed minds over the “Third Tribe“. I keep hearing the phrase everywhere and nice, soft-sell links to it, but what actually is it and does it apply to me?

The Third Tribe was born out of a conversation or two with Brian Clark of Copyblogger and Seth Godin, and in turn Copyblogger Senior Editor Sonia Simone posted about two tribes. Taking some info from their website now:

Over the last several years, online marketing has been split into two opposing teams.

Two tribes, if you will.

One tribe is called the Internet Marketers. They use aggressive hype and obnoxious tactics to fool people into believing there really is a “get rich quick” magic bullet.

The other tribe is the Social Media Cool Kids. They reject hype and aggressive sales tactics in favor of relationships, community, and value . . . and yet seem to have taken a vow of poverty along the way.

The Internet Marketers make tons of cash, often by taking advantage of fools. Most Cool Kids make little to no money and don’t seem to understand how business works at all, which might lead some to consider them fools as well.

Obviously, that’s oversimplifying things. Here’s the real point.

The black and white division of online marketing into two tribes is not real. There’s a big (and growing) middle tribe, one that avoids spammy IM approaches while having no problem asking for the sale and making money.

This is the Third Tribe.

I agree with that on principle. I try to have no hype on my sales pages and pose realistic expectations to my clients. I even let them leave sales pages without a “STOP NOW!” last-minute discount and annoying pop-up. How very kind of me. I often refer clients to other people who know more about certain things than I do for no monetary gain.

I despise 80% of internet marketing out there as it aims to trick and deceive people into buying worthless products and services. OK, I made the 80% up, it’s probably 99%. I like the no-hype, actually useful stuff some people produce like Blog Traffic Fisher from Michael Martine, an awesome course for free to solve the traffic problems for your blog; a ridiculously cheap ebook on Guest Posting from Chris Garrett; and random acts of swearing from Johnny B Truant.

So it sounds like I could be Third Tribe as I genuinely believe that is the correct way to do things as it’s defined here. But….

…. I hate labels. I call myself Blog Tech Guy but I do more than that, I do blog consulting, some design work, mastermind training with my blogging guide, and all sorts of none blog tech things.

I’m also not sure about Third Tribe as it’s $27 per month to join.

Wait, that’s right, you have to pay a fee to be a member! I guess that sounds like Third Tribe, offering value but no problem asking for the money, but I don’t really get it. They try to explain on the Join page why it isn’t free – if you have to explain that to me, I kind of think you don’t really believe you should be charging yourself. I can tell you too that $27 isn’t “ridiculously low”, $2.70 is ridiculously low. $27 per month is a lot of money to a lot of my clients (and I would guess bloggers as a whole), and the benefit seems to be an “exclusive” club where you can call yourself a member and speak to other like minded folk.

Of course you’re paying for access to people like Darren Rowse, Brian Clark and Chris Brogan (and many others apparently). You also get live Q&A’s, an interactive forum (nothing worse than a non-interactive forum!), some ebook (I guess) guides and special deals.

Perhaps I’m missing something. Perhaps I’m one of those cool kids who don’t make any money but actually really do. Perhaps I’m the Fourth Tribe. Or Fifth. For $27 per month I’ll let you know, but if you have any thoughts, please help me understand in the comments below.