From the comments portion of the blog comes this thought on an agency that sells an 80 page PDF download for $24.95 on the agency webite:
It is overpriced. At the same time, based on the sample at his web site, it might be well worth reading for many wannabe writers. They're clueless and prone to fall for scams anyway. The $24.95 they give (redacted agent's name) might teach them something. A reading fee paid to a scammy "agent" will be completely wasted.
What I want to make clear is I think it's the sales vehicle that is slimey, not the product. I also think if someone wants to provide useful information to "give back to the community" (a phrase Miss Snark hates with all her snarky soul) a less suspect vehicle might be the website with free access.
By offering to sell information via rejection letter or in download format on a website, the agent is in fact taking advantage of a writer's lack of knowledge. Caveat Emptor when you shop on ebay or at the knockoff artist's tables on Canal Street but agents are not flim flam artists and we shouldn't behave as such.
As a profession, we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than "well, it might help someone who doesn't know any better". To take advantage of people because we can and because they don't know any better is and remains slime.