Internet Marketing Ethics – Are You Qualified To Have An Opinion ?
Two things have happened today that inspired me to hold forth on the ethics behind internet marketing or at least my point of view anyway. The first was that I tried to log into my Clickbank account today and I had to agree to a new terms of service before I was taken to my account.
I actually read a bit of the form….surprise, surprise…as it rambles on and on and uses that legalize speak that tends to put you to sleep faster than a dozen tequila shots. One of the new conditions I noted was that you can’t have a trademarked product/name in your domain name anymore.
I noticed this because I have several domain names like product name review. Does this new term of service affect websites created before the agreement was signed ? I imagine it does. Do I have to take these sites down ? I imagine the reality of the situation is that as long as the product owner doesn’t complain then you will probably be okay. But the new condition gives the product owner and Clickbank an out if they think your website is sailing a bit too close to the wind.
And what does sailing too close to the wind mean, well, unethical strategies used to influence buying decisions. One such strategy is to create a product review site that does nothing but regurgitate the sales page of the product you are “reviewing”. It’s easy to do and because product name + review is a so called buying keyword it is more likely to convert than a more general keyword. And it could be easier to rank in Google too (or used to be anyway).
The second thing that prompted my thoughts on internet marketing ethics, particularly affiliate marketing was a post by Matt Carter. It makes for interesting reading and he is clearly changing his opinion on how to do affiliate marketing and how to review or recommend products.
He is calling for more transparency, to the extent that you have actually used the product. Then you can give an honest genuine review and genuinely add to the conversation on or around a product. I think this is the way to go too. All the products I review – well the information products anyway – I have purchased or got a review copy. And I have read through them to get a genuine idea of what the product is about.
I haven’t used all of them as things like getting pregnant is clearly never going to happen, no matter how much folate I take. With this said, you can “lend” the product to a family member or friend that might be able to use it and ask them for feedback or a review. For instance, I don’t have a dog but my sister does. So when I was promoting dog training products I asked her to try out the various products with her dog and give me some feedback.
Of course, this is a lot harder and takes much more time than just cannibalizing the sales page but it is certainly a more genuine approach.
An once you have a view on a product, are you recommending it because you make money or because you genuinely believe it is a good product ? And if you believe it is a good product, are you qualified to have this opinion ? Have you gone through half a dozen dog training products and this one has come out on top ? Are you an expert in this field or niche ? Wow, it seems to be getting harder and harder to be an affiliate marketer these days. Maybe that’s a good thing ?