Please stop/ban, "Is this a scam?"

by sitemarketer 18 replies
I think this technique tarnishes the reputation of everyone involved with Internet marketing. Can we raise the bar?

My argument is here:

--> John Reel’s Blog Blog Archive Please stop/ban, “Is this a scam?”

Please consider it and take action if you can. If you're using this technique, I encourage you to look for better ways that doesn't make this entire industry look like scum.

Thank you,
John Reel.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #is this a scam #stop or ban
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  • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
    Sorry, but if it works then why fix it?

    It is marketing and advertising. It's meant to get the buyers attention.

    A buyer is very likely to click on a link that might show them a problem with the product before they lay down their cold hard cash.

    If someone is going to tell me what techniques are allowed in promoting their product up front then fine. I'll choose to promote it or not promote it.

    Is avenuegirl a scam? Does this make you want to look me up and search me out? I hope so. I have nothing to hide, so I would not be offended if affiliates used it. As long as the conclusion provided on the page that the ad leads to is not a lie.

    JMO
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  • Profile picture of the author Domination
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by Domination View Post

      I agree with avenue girl many of my PPC campaigns have this format and you know what they make me money!
      My point exactly. If I have affiliates promoting for me, and the technique is making them money and making me money and there is no libel or slander involved then have at it.
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    "Sorry, but if it works then why fix it?"

    He answered that in the first sentence of his post.

    "I think this technique tarnishes the reputation of everyone involved with Internet marketing. Can we raise the bar?"

    Just because something "works" doesn't make it right.The OP is suggesting that there are other ways of selling that work and are less offensive.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by KimW View Post

      "Sorry, but if it works then why fix it?"

      He answered that in the first sentence of his post.

      "I think this technique tarnishes the reputation of everyone involved with Internet marketing. Can we raise the bar?"

      Just because something "works" doesn't make it right.The OP is suggesting that there are other ways of selling that work and are less offensive.
      I think I answered this by giving advice to the product creators - they have every right to tell their affiliates not to use this technique - but it should be a condition of the affiliate agreement.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      John, I read the post you linked. I found parts I agree with, and parts where we differed...

      People create adword ads or e-mail subjects with titles like, ”Is product Y a scam?” or some other variant. These purposefully induce fear of getting scammed to get people to click on a link that is actually promoting the very same product, or a similar competing product, for affiliate commissions.
      I don't think those titles induce anything. They play to the normal fear that is already there, whether it's an internet marketing product or a new car.

      Advertisers were using headlines like that long before the Internet was commercialized, promoting everything from potions and lotions to financial advice.

      Catching the attention of a reader/surfer by addressing a belief already present is a legitimate tactic. Robert Collier called it "joining the conversation already taking place in the reader's mind."

      Where I do agree with you is here:

      Both promote competing products, and I suspect both are affiliate links, as opposed to ads created by the product owners. Worse, both make John Reese look like a potential criminal, even though neither landing page makes any reference to him! Yet, the first thing anyone doing research on John Reese would assume is that he’s an evil scammer, and that they should not get involved with him in any way.
      Invoking a well-known name simply for attention is deceptive. It does just the opposite for many people - they click through looking to answer the question in the ad and find something totally different - and the scam meter starts buzzing.

      On a side note, you may want to edit that post to note that Mr. Reese is indeed an honorable businessman. Otherwise, you're simply adding to the research fodder.

      If I ran an ad with "Is John Reel a Scammer?", and the landing page was a review of a John Reel product, I see no problem. [Disclaimer for future researchers: I used John's name simply because he was the original poster.]

      If I used the same headline, and tried to get readers to 'turn the corner' by saying "no, but my product is better and here's why...", still no problem.

      Another side note: Anyone aspiring to 'guruhood' might consider trademarking their name. That way, anyone wishing to use that name in an ad would need a license to do so.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Forey
    I agree if it works, I'm not going to change it. Just look at all the election ads - it works!

    Michael Forey
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  • Profile picture of the author KimW
    I see people either don't "get" the original poster's point, or are just ignoring it , or just don't care about impression of the field they are in.
    That's ok and your right,but don't be surprised if people place your profession in the same ranks of tele-marketers.Of course, he was thinking of everybody,not just himself.
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    • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
      Originally Posted by KimW View Post

      I see people either don't "get" the original poster's point, or are just ignoring it , or just don't care about impression of the field they are in.
      That's ok and your right,but don't be surprised if people place your profession in the same ranks of tele-marketers.Of course, he was thiking of everybody,not just himself.
      I "get" what he is saying. But I have also witnessed first hand how powerful negative ads about a product you are promoting can actually be.

      Perhaps an example of how this works wonders in pushing people to do better.

      I had a product I was promoting, we'll just call it xyz. My ad says, "problem with xyz, read this before you buy." So, my customer goes to see what is the problem with xyz. Turns out xyz is just fine, but if you add abc to it - which I am the only one offering abc - then xyz works two times faster. Xyz works, but the problem is it works too slowly. Add my special abc to the mix and you have a real winner. Now, in order to get abc to go with your xyz you need to sign up for my list.

      Is xyz a scam? this could be an ad, and the result on my page would say, why gosh no, xyz is not a scam but if you don't get abc to go with it then you are scamming yourself.

      Now, the creator of xyz if he is smart will say, hey, how come this affiliate is making so many sales? what are they doing? So the creator digs into how I am selling his product, and decides to make an even BETTER version which he can now sell and in return I as the affiliate will need to find other bonuses or creative ways to sell for him.

      No ones reputation is tarnished. Better products are created.

      If you have a good solid product to begin with and are not trying to pull a scam then there is nothing to fear with this advertising technique.

      I care about the field I'm in and I'm looking for the holes in the products I'm creating.

      I'm not ignoring anything, just presenting an valid argument (I believe) on why I disagree and don't see anyone's reputation being harmed - except for those that really are a scam.

      And for me personally, the negative advertising works. I look for the problems with things before I buy them. If most of the ads are positive, and there is one negative ad sitting there I'm going to click it.

      Which affiliate do you want to be? The one getting all the clicks to your site or the one wondering why your ads aren't getting clicks?

      Now, whether your sales page and offers convert to sign-ups that is a whole other problem.
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      • Profile picture of the author Takuya Hikichi
        I think Mike Filsaime came in here and talked about this once.

        He was on his way to FOX for TV appearance and had to stop taxi driver because the station called him and said to cancel the air because of what they saw on Adwords.

        Also marketers have family friends who know little about IM and they ask you why word SCAM is associated with your spouse's name when they look up online. Many people don't understand the difference between Adwords ads and organic listings.

        I can understand why marketers wouldn't want their names tarnished like this.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        As for John R - as I recall, he is not allowing this type of ad for his own product these days. The seller can set limits for affiliates and he does so.

        As for the rest - starting out working online does not turn people into instant "professionals" and most using this tactic are searching for dollars and not worried overmuch about appearances or "ethics".

        It will be done as long as it works - and as the public catches on and starts ignoring it, there will be a new fad headline.

        kay
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          You know what works REAL good for me?

          "The Real Truth About..."

          As a matter of fact, I have a whole video series on "real truths" and when I
          do the real truth about a product, let me tell you, sales come in like crazy.

          I do an extensive review so consumers can make an informed decision.

          So, you CAN do the "Is this a scam?" thing using a different angle and
          actually feel good about it.

          Of course I'm not going to impose my ethics on others. But I just think
          there's a better way.

          Oh, and if I do find something that I do believe is a scam, I do come out
          and say it.

          There is nothing wrong with that.
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          • Profile picture of the author radhika
            “John Reese Fraud?
            91% of Them are Scams
            There is Only 3 That Really Work.”
            Fraud is a very bold comment. If anybody new to IM, gets first negitive thought about John Reese.

            That ad CERTAINLY increses entusiasm in the reader and bring clicks. But people before coming to the web site, they already had their mind set on the word 'Fraud'. So not sure how many sales that affiliate gets ...

            "91% of Them are Scams"? An average person new to IM thinks - "When that person saying he is scam, how do I buy his product?"

            If the product is for newbie IMers/no knowledge about Adwords, marketing techniques, better to avoid this ad used by affiliates.


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  • Profile picture of the author Pete223
    Hi John,

    I feel the "Is This A Scam" way of doing it
    is alright... i expect to get somebody's
    opinion on the product...

    But when I see the "XXX product IS a Scam"
    and realize after clicking that it's only an affiliate
    promoting the product... now that should be banned!

    Regards, Pete
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    • Profile picture of the author Bearded
      I'm tired of these arguments. Here's what I replied on the blog:

      It REALLY depends on what lies on the other side of that link.

      If I had an ad that said:

      Is John Reel a Scammer?
      Don’t buy GTT2 until you
      read my extensive review…

      And then on the page I go on about how I’ve been burned before by internet marketers, and GTT2 sounded too good to be true, and then I tried it, and I liked it, and recommend it.

      It’s just a sales tactic that brings them in, and gets them engaged.

      That’s NIGHT AND DAY different from someone who had a similar ad, accused you of actually being a scammer, and then recommends a DIFFERENT product.

      The truth is, the best affiliate sales letters are the ones that GET INTO THE HEAD of the prospect.

      Who is the prospect for an IM product?

      Most of them have information overload, and are tired of scammy crappy products. They’ve been burned before and it is a REAL CONCERN that they will be again.

      That’s why these ads are effective.

      I don’t think you should lump the first type with the second type.

      Joe
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    • Profile picture of the author Scott Burton
      Originally Posted by Pete223 View Post

      Hi John,

      I feel the "Is This A Scam" way of doing it
      is alright... i expect to get somebody's
      opinion on the product...

      But when I see the "XXX product IS a Scam"
      and realize after clicking that it's only an affiliate
      promoting the product... now that should be banned!

      Regards, Pete
      The QUESTION "Is X a Scam?" is not a method of marketing I am comfortable with, but it is better than some of the things I see out there.

      The "Product X is a scam" "Product Y Scam" "Guru A scammed me" "Guru B is a Scam" type advertisements just irritate me in the extreme.

      "The Truth about C" doesn't convey the same kind of negative implications as "Scam"

      Not only do these play on the natural fear of being taken advantage of, but they also induce concerns among those who are not internet marketers. There are many people who see the ads, never click them, and just assume from how often they see a product or person's name associated with 'Scam" "Fraud" etc. This produces a negative impression of the person or product, and frankly hurts that product or persons reputation.

      I've actually had people ask me how I can associate with 'person A' or 'product Y' with all the scam/fraud issues they've seen. Only to find out that they are basing this entirely on the ad headlines and never seeing the site at the other end of those links.

      What's really bad is when I find people who think I must be a bad person/scammer because I am in some way affiliated with the name they's seen listed as a scam/fraud so many times. Guilt by association with a product, service or provider; whom had wrongfully been presumed a scam or fraud by non internet marketers who saw ads like these.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
        Scott, you have some very valid points.

        It's all in the wording and how it is used.

        If someone tells me "product x is a scam" or "guru b is a scammer" they had better back up their claims.

        I do have to honestly say though that my eyes are more attracted to "guru b is a scammer" then to "the truth about guru b."

        Just human nature - but again the claims need to be backed up or no one gets a sale from me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nicolaas Theron
    Another danger of this type of advertising is in people not knowing how to use it. I've had people advertise one of my products in Adwords more or less like this:

    "Product X scam"

    And then they linked directly to my sales letter. Not to a review page or something to give the positive twist, but straight to my website. So this will obviously cause two things: 1) the advertiser probably won't make any sales because their ad is telling people outright it's a scam and 2) it pretty much amounts to my product being labeled a scam.

    So if you want to advertise like this, at least learn how to do it properly, otherwise you're crippling both your own efforts and harming the reputation of the merchant.

    I'm not against this method (I use negative advertising myself), but in ignorant hands it can cause damage.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
    I read different advertisings for 55 years now, there were negative campaigns then already. This is not new thing, we face it day after day in the newspaper, in a TV, the politicians may win elections by this for example. The negative publicity, that we wish even even not, works after all.

    What concerns to the IM business, I've experienced that negativity in headline grab the attentions right away (tanks to the human nature). In itself this is not bad thing and works. But it is not possible to use without sense and it is not possible to hurt others with it because that may hit ourselves back. I would make one like this for no money.

    So my conlusion is that you need to make an agreement with your affiliate and need to pointing out what kind of ad is possible and what kind is prohibited.
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