Online lead generation tools – TopStorySites: Safe or Scam?

Online lead generation tools – TopStorySites: Safe or Scam?

TopStorySites Online Lead Generation Tools Safe or Scam
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We are seeing more and more online lead generation tools, and TopStorySites is one of the newest kids on the block.

So are free lead generation websites like TopStorySites safe or a scam? I purchased a subscription and went under the hood to check it out for myself.

TopStorySites Review

Name: TopStorySites
Website: TopStorySites.com
Price: From USD$17 for a starter membership to USD$97 for full Enterprise membership
Owners: Dr Amit Pareek: however on a whois search, it appears that the site has been developed by Saglus.com
Overall Rank: 2/5

 

TopStorySites Product Overview

TopStorySites is designed and marketed as an online lead generation software package predominantly for Affiliate Marketers. However, I can see this product working well in a range of sectors including real estate, business trades and services, bloggers, travel sites and for B2C or B2B promotion.

Essentially TopStorySites is a cloud hosted website builder designed to safe time for the website owner, by fetching relevant and interesting content from other sites to populate their TopStorySites website. We all know that quality relevant content which is optimized for SEO will increase traffic to a website, and TopStorySites claims that their system will drive tonnes of traffic to your TopStorySite which can, through the use of the ad campaign features, generate sales leads for your business.

Upon registration for the software, you are taken through a short setup where you choose a name for your site and niche before you access the main Dashboard landing page.
From there, you can begin to customize your TopStorySites layout and set up your campaigns.

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Pros

  • Pricing seems reasonable. It is only USD$17 for the starter package and this will give you a feel for whether the product is going to work for you.
  • There are no ongoing hosting costs – pricing is one off
  • The Dashboard is quite user-friendly and easy to navigate
  • Build a functioning website in minutes
  • Lots of training videos and support material
  • Online Help Desk and 24/7 support – and they are very responsive to support requests (my questions were generally answered within 4-5 hours)
  • Stories can be curated through direct links to interesting articles on the website or ‘fetched’ and added periodically through RSS feeds from authority sites through their automation feature. This means that fresh and interesting content is continually being added to your TopStorySites website
  • None of the external links within your curated content work. This is a plus and a minus. It means you can share content from other affiliate websites but create your own offers so that you can use your own affiliate links. However, is you are trying to link to a page that has so

The Dashboard is user-friendly and easy to navigate

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Cons

  • You must choose a domain name for your website before you can access the Dashboard. In my case I chose healthandwealth, thinking I could change it later, but realized very quickly that I’m stuck with this domain name under the starter plan. The website displays as https://healthandwealth.topstorysites.com/home
  • It appears that the only way I can give my site a .com name is through URL masking or cloaking which is less than ideal
  • The starter plan only allows for one category and five stories which is pretty limiting. You are also unable to add any additional static content or links to the site
  • It became quickly evident that I would need to upgrade my plan to unlock some expected features needed for a successful lead generation website
  • When I tried to share some content from the site with Facebook, it appears that Facebook has blacklisted the TopStorySites domain. I have put in a support ticket to the TopStorySites help desk and will be interested to hear how this can be resolved. If it cannot be sorted out, then this would be the single most important deal breaker for any affiliate marketer!

After all, if users of your TopStorySites website cannot share your content with their friends online, then where is the value?

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Who is TopStorySites For?

TopStorySites is positioned itself as a serious player in the lead generation and affiliate marketing space.

However, I think the appeal will come from non-developers and ‘lazy bloggers’ who like the idea of putting their affiliate marketing efforts on autopilot. The Elite membership would be an appropriate choice for most affiliate marketers.

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There are additional ‘memberships’ available if you wish to become an affiliate for TopStorySites and be a ‘reseller.’ These start from USD$99.

TopStorySites Tools & Training

There are plenty of training tools and tutorial style videos available which are easily accessed from within the TopStorySites Dashboard. I found these quite easy to follow but they do assume that the person watching has a good base understanding of affiliate marketing and lead generation techniques.

TopStorySites Support

Support is accessed via the Bizomart help desk where you can send in a question. This raises a support ticket. Time frames for support are within 24 hours. I found their support to be very good and support response times were within 4-5 hours.

TopStorySites Price

  • Starter $17
  • Pro $29.95
  • Elite $57
  • Enterprises $97
  • Reseller $97
  • Membership $97

It appears that I can upgrade straight from the Starter membership to the Elite by paying an additional $57. However, it would seem that Enterprises, Reseller and Membership all offer slightly different features and benefits and these are paid for separately. If you want all three then you would pay 3 x $97. Pricing is in USD.

My Final Opinion of TopStorySites

This is a fairly new product to the market and certainly offers some exciting possibilities for Affiliate Marketers. I feel that they still have a few chinks and glitches to work through, in particular the issue with social sharing.

It would be great if there was a bit more flexibility to customize your TopStorySites website, but perhaps this is a feature that will be added in the next round of dev?

As far as being a straight sales / lead generation funnel – I can see that this product will deliver what it says it will.

For me, the jury is out around the social sharing issues on Facebook, but if they can get this sorted, it could be a very good product and has unlimited business applications to generate leads and to convert sales. I have put in a support request to find out why social sharing has been blocked – and until then, I will be sticking with my starter membership.

 
TopStorySites Online Lead Generation Tools Safe or Scam
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Summary

Name: TopStorySites
Website: TopStorySites.com
Price: From USD$17 for a starter membership to USD$97 for full Enterprise membership
Owners: Dr Amit Pareek – Site with Saglus.com
Overall Rank: 3 reduced to 2/5 as at March 2018 as TopStorySites did not resolve the Facebook sharing issue during my subscription period


If you are ready to start building your online affiliate business, but haven’t found the right affiliate platform; then check out my TOP RECOMMENDATION here.

5 Responses so far.

  1. Linda Shaull says:

    Very informative about TopStorySites.

  2. Owain says:

    I was not familiar with lead generation Tools such as this so this was interesting to read.

    One thing that I was curious about was the domain name. It’s a shame that you couldn’t change this later on. So that needs to be relayed to people before they press on with this tool.

    Another thing I wondered about was the ‘topstorysites’ in the domain name. Is this only in the starter package or for all packages?

    Training and support is a big plus for me. And I feel that the glitches with this service may improve with time. So I would like to check it out and see.

    • KD Forsman says:

      Hi Owain, Thanks for raising these points. Yes the domain/subdomain issue is something I am going to do some more research on. It appears that you can ‘mask’ the original domain with your own domain but this is not ideal in my opinion. The other issue I have with this site is the potential that another user (subscriber) could participate in spamming activity through social media sites or other, and this would tarnish whatever niche you are trying to build. Something I plan to do more research on to understand the implications more around this. But say for example I set up my site as https://airbnbnews.topstorysites.com/ and another user has the subdomain https://IMATROLL.topstorysites.com/ and they go on a spamming spree… there is a possibility that the entire domain topstorysites.com be banned from other sites or be penalized by google. My advice, proceed with caution and do your homework before wasting too much time on this product. The methods promoted through use of this site certainly fly in the face of best practice, which is what is taught at Wealth Affiliate – my number one recommendation https://writingforcash.com/what-is-the-best-affiliate-marketing-software-for-writers-and-bloggers/ for any serious online marketer. Cheers, Karen

  3. Luna says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive review of TopStorySites. I looked at their unique Pricing System. I thought it would be a good idea to arrange their pricing so that all members are affiliates.

    I think in the long run it will be a costly program because you may have to buy several packages to get the features you want. I hope the Social Sharing issue will be sorted out so you can be satisfied with your purchase.

    • KD Forsman says:

      Hi Luna, thanks for your comments. I plan to add to this review as I have now thoroughly tested the features of the starter and pro subscriptions. There’s still a few significant issues with the platform – mainly around the automation of content curation which I have been unable to get working, and the fact that the site is completely blocked on Facebook. If the TopStorySites developers cannot get these two issues resolved in their basic plans (let alone any as yet undiscovered issues in the premium plans), then unfortunately this one is an absolute no go. I have wasted the best part of the week trying to sort out these issues myself (working through all the tutorials) with no success. Have now put in a support tickets through their help desk, and will update this blog post once there is an outcome – good or bad. Feel free to bookmark this page and check back for my update. Cheers, Karen

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