On my iPod®, I have a 1964 Allan Sherman novelty song called Good Advice. The lyrical “hook” is, “Good advice costs nothing and it’s worth the price.” I humbly beg to differ with Mr. Sherman.

There is some free advice that is neither good or, in the bigger scheme of things, worth anything. As a matter of fact, following it can often lead to costlier consequences.

I’m talking about the Internet, here! The old World Wide Web is full of folks telling you the “right” way to do it yourself — from practicing law to performing surgery on yourself. Seriously! Search YouTube for “Self Stitching.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m an ardent do-it-yourselfer. I have re-wired my garage (under the watchful eye of a good friend, who is an electrician), built car engines, added on a sunroom, restored a 50-year old jukebox, installed a sprinkler system, converted a 45-year old car to modern Electronic Fuel Injection and haven’t been to a barber in about 15 years. These tough economic times have made me an Internet search-engine power user!

But there are some things for which you should still consult trained, skilled and certified professionals…like maybe surgery?

I’ve been working on launching our first new brand/product for AdTex AutoVation. With possible start-up funding in place, step one has been Intellectual Property Rights protection. Working on a hairline (that’s much thinner than “shoestring) budget, I tried that popular DIY legal website. After spending some hard-scrounged dough and valuable time, I discovered the site’s services were something I could have done for myself much easier. Plus, the results would still leave us subject to legal trouble. Next, I contacted a big law firm that specializes in IPR work. Eventually, I will need them. But the preliminary work they quoted was extremely costly. I was finally steered to a company that specializes in the preliminary work I needed. It turns out they’re the firm that many of the aforementioned law firms use for this work. The cost is a fraction of the law firm’s quote.

So, why are so many people turning to Internet forums, blogs, Social Media and review sites for direction and consultation for which they should be seeking professionals? I believe it’s because the “virtual” help is convenient and moreover FREE!

Loads of erroneous, fraudulent and maybe even dangerous information is out there in cyberspace for free. To make matters worse, much of it is seemingly legitimized by ads. Keep in mind that many of those advertisers and sponsors don’t care about the accuracy of the sites’ content and may not even be familiar with it. Their concern is impressions, clicks and how it can all make them more money.

That’s a free bit of advice from a retired advertising professional. Please take it for what it’s worth…apparently nothing! Happy web surfing!