Is it okay to "buy" testimonials for a WSO?

222 replies
I keep having people I don't know PM me and offer me free copies of their courses in exchange for a testimonial post in the WSO thread.

Here's the thing - I'm not comfortable giving a "testimonial" for a product you gave me for free. I'm a copywriter - if you want me to write marketing material for you, it's easy. Pay me.

Outside of that, if this is something that happens a lot, how many of the testimonials in there are just garbage borne out of reciprocity?

I don't see anywhere this is against the rules, but I'd say ethically, if you've been asked to do this and choose to comply, SAY SO in your "testimonial" fakey review sales post.

I like when I can tell the difference between actual user feedback and bribed puffery. Anyone have a different opinion about this practice? Even if it's not against the rules, I'm curious what others think.
#buy #testimonials #wso
  • Profile picture of the author Imran Naseem
    Banned
    I get a lot of people messaging me for a testimonial. However, I make sure I go through the product - if it is worth a testimonial I will give one. If it is an overnight garbage that is rushed then I am not going to bother.
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    • Profile picture of the author annaa
      Hi
      The free product shouldn't be given in exchange for a good testimonial. It should be given free, so the reviewer can actually get to know the product and then write a review. If the review is poor then he doesn't have to publish it. How do you honestly review a product without getting to know it first?
      Regards
      Anna
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      • Profile picture of the author Robert Puddy
        Originally Posted by annaa View Post

        Hi
        The free product shouldn't be given in exchange for a good testimonial. It should be given free, so the reviewer can actually get to know the product and then write a review. If the review is poor then he doesn't have to publish it. How do you honestly review a product without getting to know it first?
        Regards
        Anna
        thats not a testimonial...thats a review two very different animals

        A testimonial can only be given by a customer who bought and paid for it. otherwise its just a review
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          I can state unequivocally that I have never "sold" a testimonial.

          I have, however, agreed to write reviews as a favor to a handful of people who asked me. Here are the conditions under which I will agree to do so.

          1. I have to like or respect the person asking. Unsolicited requests from total strangers, especially the kind Colin mentioned in his OP, get deleted unanswered.

          2. I will give my honest opinion and I will disclose the fact that I was asked for my comments and that I received the product for free.

          3. I will send my comments directly to the product owner along with the the question "are you sure you want this posted publicly? The answer is either yes or no - no negotiating edits"...

          4. If the answer is yes, I post the comments in the appropriate place - WSO thread, usually.

          On a side track, even if you post or give a real testimonial or review, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the truth in the future.

          I recently traded PMs with another Warrior who saw my name as a testimonial for a very expensive coaching program. They asked if the John McCabe in the testimonial was me, and if the testimonial was true - did I really endorse the product?

          I told them that I had offered the testimonial for a standalone product which appeared to be part of the new package. I could vouch for that small section, assuming the material had not been changed in the last four years, and that I'd never seen or commented on the remainder of the package.

          So be selective in the testimonials you do give, should you decide to do so, and you may want to keep records of what you say and when...
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          • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
            I told them that I had offered the testimonial for a standalone product which appeared to be part of the new package. I could vouch for that small section, assuming the material had not been changed in the last four years, and that I'd never seen or commented on the remainder of the package.
            That is a really hinky thing to do. I hope that you asked them to remove that feedback as that's pretty deceptive. I know if it was me, I'd lose a lot of respect for anyone that I knew did that.

            Tina
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    • Profile picture of the author AidenChong
      Originally Posted by Imran Naseem View Post

      I get a lot of people messaging me for a testimonial. However, I make sure I go through the product - if it is worth a testimonial I will give one. If it is an overnight garbage that is rushed then I am not going to bother.
      I'm doing similar thing like Imran here. The only thing is, if it's not that good or I personally think that it needs any kind of improvement, I will let the product owner know about it, before posting the comment, so he might be able to somehow update his product, and update his other customers about it, etc...

      I am going to give credit to the author if the product is really a good one.

      Else, I will just tell the product owner the truth, that he needs improvement in his product.

      But I heard people saying that they got burned and called bxxch just because they are giving out constructive criticism to the product owner who is asking for a review in return of giving out their product for free...

      Not sure how the "paid" review works, but this is what I get from some free-review kind of story.
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  • Profile picture of the author DotComBum
    I'm totally against paying for testimonials. The preferred way is to give out your product to some people for their honest opinions.
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  • Profile picture of the author theemperor
    Colin - I am building up a list of WF members to ask to review my new product for a testimonial. Maybe I'll add you to it :-)

    I plan to say "take my product for free - and write an honest review - good or bad"

    I only want honest reviews and people who actually want to write the testimony and have no feeling that they were bribed.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vitaliy K
    Sometimes I have also people which are asking for a testimonial to give, but I am very sceptical about it. I am working only with my own customers and always happy when they give me honest testimonials on my WSO or a product.
    :-))
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  • Profile picture of the author Imran Naseem
    Banned
    There is even one guy who is using a "Skype Testimonial" and the testimonial looks really "false" that says "Please write a good testimonial for my WSO".
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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
      Originally Posted by Imran Naseem View Post

      I get a lot of people messaging me for a testimonial. However, I make sure I go through the product - if it is worth a testimonial I will give one. If it is an overnight garbage that is rushed then I am not going to bother.
      See this is the problem with it, because the people who will just say "It's great" because they got a free copy will mislead people. Folks like you who can actually make a fair evaluation don't say peep. It creates distortion in the public perception of the product. I feel like if you take the bait and it's bad, you have a duty to go in the thread and say it's bad.

      Originally Posted by DotComBum View Post

      I'm totally against paying for testimonials. The preferred way is to give out your product to some people for their honest opinions.
      If you get the product for free, you are by definition, incapable of giving an "honest" opinion unless you disclose that you were given the product for free. Most people don't, I'd guess. If you've been given a gift, you're biased. Period. Law of reciprocity works no matter if you're aware of it, or even if you think you can reason outside of it.

      Originally Posted by theemperor View Post

      Colin - I am building up a list of WF members to ask to review my new product for a testimonial. Maybe I'll add you to it :-)

      I plan to say "take my product for free - and write an honest review - good or bad"

      I only want honest reviews and people who actually want to write the testimony and have no feeling that they were bribed.
      If you are giving them free whatever in exchange for a review, you are bribing them no matter how you want them to feel. If you want to bribe reviewers with free stuff, that's fine. They just need to disclose that they got it for free. But the issue with that scenario is that only the people who like it will bother to say anything.

      You as the marketer get all the benefit, the consumer only gets half the story. As a marketer and copywriter, hey, I get it. I know WHY doing it this way is beneficial. But I don't agree with it. It's just one step away from just making up good testimonials yourself. You're manufacturing them.

      I don't put bad testimonials on my salesletter, right? But I don't solicit opinions or bribe for them either, and if ever I have, they've been qualified as such.
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      • Profile picture of the author theemperor
        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        If you are giving them free whatever in exchange for a review, you are bribing them no matter how you want them to feel.
        Ok I think I see what you are saying, so how would you go about it then?

        You launch a new product. No customers yet because it is brand new. But you want potential clients to see testimonials such that other people have used and recommended the product. How do you achieve this?

        What if the reviewers were using a time-limited trial (software), and as such were getting nothing for free?
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        • Profile picture of the author Marty S
          I don't have a problem giving testimonials to Warriors that send me a review copy, but I usually warn them in advance that a free copy does NOT automatically mean a positive review from me.

          I would also like to read more realistic WSO reviews however, especially from reviewers that only had the product a day or so, and then throw up a testimonial claiming it has changed their life - well you know what I mean.

          If you just got the product and had a look, then say it - there is no harm in that.

          More on realistic reviews here:

          http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post2297479
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        • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
          Originally Posted by theemperor View Post

          Ok I think I see what you are saying, so how would you go about it then?
          Unsolicited testimonials are the only kind that are valid. The reason they work at all is because people assume they are unsolicited. If you make a good product, people will say good things. When they do, ask their permission to use what they said in your marketing materials.

          It's easy. But requires ethics, patience and discipline.

          Originally Posted by theemperor View Post

          You launch a new product. No customers yet because it is brand new. But you want potential clients to see testimonials such that other people have used and recommended the product. How do you achieve this?
          You can't put the cart before the horse. You might want testimonials but if it's a new product, deal with it. You won't have any. Just because they boost conversion doesn't mean you don't have to earn them the right way.

          Sell some copies at a discount or with a great bonus since it's new, offer it to your existing customer base before rolling it all the way out. Then ask those people for feedback, then do as above.

          This is typically called a "soft launch" and happens all the time in marketing. You don't have to have the all out testimonial filled letter for a new product if you can't legitimately have the testimonials. Sometimes you need to wait a while to get those.

          You don't start at the top of the mountain with a giant snowball - you start with a small one and it gets bigger as it rolls down the mountain. Testimonials should be earned within the market. Not artificially created to break into the market.

          Originally Posted by theemperor View Post

          What if the reviewers were using a time-limited trial (software), and as such were getting nothing for free?
          If you give them anything for free, they need to disclose it in their opinion. Doesn't matter what the time frame is. It's very hard for someone to present a fair opinion when they aren't out of pocket.

          As someone pointed out, lots of tech reviewers get free stuff. The ethical ones return the stuff when done. I used to work in the computer industry, and we sent product to tons of reviewers. Those guys get paid to write the reviews by the publisher. They don't get to keep the goodies, and they can't take bribes from us.

          In a world where marketers are selling to other marketers, and the thing we sell is information, it's a lot easier to create fantasy testimonials, and a lot of people will be okay with that conceptually, because hey, we're all marketers, right?

          Not really.

          Listen, I'm not saying NOT to do this, and I'm not saying it's WRONG at all. I'm saying if you're going to do it as the vendor, make it clear that you want good and bad points posted PUBLICLY. Or else don't give it to me after it's released and tell me to post my opinion directly in the WSO thread.

          If you want a pre-release review, that's different too, but not in question here. The ones I'm talking about are explicitly - get this for free and write in the WSO thread. I would say that's almost violating the primary principle of the WSO forum, because if I get a free copy, that's not the best deal available, is it? Especially if I get it for free without even wanting it first.

          If you do this as a reviewer, like I said - if you take the freebie, it's you DUTY to post negative if it's negative and not just avoid the wasted time. If you didn't want to have to maybe post a negative review, you shouldn't take the free candy.
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          • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            This isn't a testimonial, it's a review.
            I agree, but that's not the language being used, and I have to assume that some of the other people contacted for such are not such sticklers for semantics.

            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            It's against the rules to offer or request review copies in the public forums.
            Yeah, seems like unsolicited PMs to do the same thing is skirting the rule, no?

            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            As far as disclosure, I usually open the review with something like "I had a chance to review this before release" which gets the point across.
            Pretty reasonable. If you were approached directly and asked to do the review, I'd share that, too. That makes a difference vs. something you sought out to be involved with on your own.

            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            I've also given several Warriors, both new and established, reviews that amounted to "this product is crap and you should be ashamed of yourself." Those don't tend to be posted.
            What if you were offered the product for free and explicitly asked to post your opinion in the ongoing WSO thread?

            What if the request said you had to comply with your "testimonial" within 48 hours, you know, so they will really matter and juice up the thread while it's hot? I mean, it seems like blatant gaming of the system to me.

            As a guy who basically tells lies for a living, that's saying a lot coming from me.
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

              Yeah, seems like unsolicited PMs to do the same thing is skirting the rule, no?
              Actually, PMs are precisely where it's supposed to be done. If it's unwelcome, report the PM as spam. People have been, and continue to be, banned for PM spam.

              What if you were offered the product for free and explicitly asked to post your opinion in the ongoing WSO thread?
              You mean so I can say whatever I like and the WSO author can't edit or alter it in any way at all? I rather like and prefer that arrangement. Especially if the WSO is garbage, and I get to go in the thread and say "Joe asked me to review this, but it's such absolute crap I can't finish it."

              Careful what you ask for, you know?

              As far as "please do this within 48 hours," I generally do get to things within 48 hours, but I still inform the author that I will get to it when I damn well get to it and if that's a problem he can get his review somewhere else.
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              • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
                You should never ask for testimonials like that anyway. I get asked all the time to look at someone's products. When they give me a time limit, they ain't getting it. When they ask me for a testimonial, they ain't getting it.

                However, someone who says they respect my opinion and could I take a look and give my honest feedback, they'll get exactly that.

                Tina
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                • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                  Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

                  When they ask me for a testimonial, they ain't getting it.
                  It's not always a directive, but an assumption. Why is it somehow wrong for a product creator to think his product is clearly awesome and you will obviously love it and want to rave about it? If he didn't, he probably shouldn't be releasing products.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
                    people should be ashamed ... asking for testimonials when supplying a review copy .

                    They should learn from a true hillbilly and just send a $10 bill with every copy .
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                • Profile picture of the author Troy_Phillips
                  Tina ,

                  I can promise you , if I didn't want an honest answer... I wouldn't ask you lol.

                  And that is exactly how it should be .

                  Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

                  You should never ask for testimonials like that anyway. I get asked all the time to look at someone's products. When they give me a time limit, they ain't getting it. When they ask me for a testimonial, they ain't getting it.

                  However, someone who says they respect my opinion and could I take a look and give my honest feedback, they'll get exactly that.

                  Tina
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                  • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
                    CD,

                    For the record, I worded it the way I did I have even been asked to post a testimonial without the person showing me the product! I have also had people point blank tell me after getting honest feedback that they wanted me to only say good things and could I change my words to reflect that.

                    Um...no.

                    Tina
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                  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
                    Colin,

                    I think the FTC might view the asking for testimonials vs reviews as slightly more than a semantic matter.

                    This issue was covered in depth in this thread:

                    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...-requests.html

                    My suggestion would be to point those pestering you via PMs to there.


                    Frank
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                    • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
                      WSO's tend to be reviewed in the thread by the product buyers so it kind of attracts testimonials that way. And although I never see blatant negative ones you often see "only buy this product if...." or "it fell short on this aspect..."
                      When I posted a somewhat negative review of a WSO that I purchased, I was in effect offered a bribe to remove my comments from the thread.

                      I wonder how common that is and if that is the reason one does not see many negative reviews in WSO threads.

                      Marcia Yudkin
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                    • Profile picture of the author theimdude
                      The only TRUE testimony is that of a real buyer that give feedback as all others are fake. On of the reason I stop buying WSO's as a wso is posted then all of a sudden there are plenty testimonies but no real sales.

                      I have purchased a WSO and gave true feedback and then the seller PM me asking me to remove my true feedback as it is hurting there sales
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                      • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
                        The only TRUE testimony is that of a real buyer that give feedback as all others are fake.
                        I disagree. I can give just as truthful an opinion whether I pay for the product or not. If someone can't do that, that's on them.

                        Truthfully, the WSO testimonials are really truly testimonials, anyway. They are opinions based on reading and/or watching the product 99% of the time. Most of us only count these if we know who gave the opinion.

                        A real testimonial is when you put the information to use for a while and come back and say "man, I used this method for the past two weeks and I've made $xxx of money (or whatever the goal was for the product)".

                        Of course, not all products in the WSO forum are direct, actionable make money advice, either.

                        Tina
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                        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                          Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

                          A real testimonial is when you put the information to use for a while and come back and say "man, I used this method for the past two weeks and I've made of money (or whatever the goal was for the product)".
                          When it's mindset stuff, and the purpose is to change the way you look at things or think about things, a review sort of is a testimonial.

                          But when it's a system, you're completely right. The only way you get a testimonial from someone who just reads the material is if they're already doing the same thing.

                          I once got a request to give a testimonial on a product they wouldn't let me see, too.

                          I sent back "I loved it. It was much better than Cats. I did it again and again."

                          It was posted on their Clickbank sales page for a couple weeks, and then it disappeared. I guess someone blew the whistle on the joke. Oh well.
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                          "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                          • Profile picture of the author KathyK
                            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                            I once got a request to give a testimonial on a product they wouldn't let me see, too.

                            I sent back "I loved it. It was much better than Cats. I did it again and again."

                            It was posted on their Clickbank sales page for a couple weeks, and then it disappeared. I guess someone blew the whistle on the joke. Oh well.
                            Good one. But even if they didn't know the reference, you'd think they'd get a bit suspicious? Cats??? LMAO (Disclaimer: Seen Cats several times, love it. But still...)
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                      • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
                        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post


                        I keep having people I don't know PM me and offer me free copies of their courses in exchange for a testimonial post in the WSO thread.

                        Thats just pathetic. To me, if you have to ask in that way, you already know its boaderline or outright crap, just a fast buck johnny.



                        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post


                        I like when I can tell the difference between actual user feedback and bribed puffery.
                        Yeah, especially some guy with no rep or whatever saying "Yes, highly recommend" with no factors of depth on why one should purchase this.

                        "Yes, highly recommend"..., umm, who are you , anyways?
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                        • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
                          If these guys had any ethics at all about serving up good , useful product for their customers AND cared about repeat business they should solicit pre-review copies to respected , proven warriors.

                          A pre-review copy would be a copy to several warriors as to what they need to improve it or why its a waste of time of rehashed stuff and should NOT be pursed....., that they should present useful information that can ACTUALLY be used successfully by purchaser.

                          The pre-reviewer should be BRUTALLY honest.

                          By working with the pre-reviewers, IF the project is worth pursuing , the pre-reviewers can look at the reworked product BEFORE public announcement and when most say it is acceptable , can THEN solicit for unbiased reviews, knowing it already went through very brutal pre-reviewing stages.....they would KNOW that they have a useful product.

                          I would say the selection of the pre-reviewer is most critcal..., just pickin some joe who NOBODY knows is not going to cut it.

                          The pre-reviewer would either get a free copy, or some limited rights for assisting final product development.

                          The 13th Warrior
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                    • Profile picture of the author AndyBeard
                      Originally Posted by Frank Donovan View Post

                      Colin,
                      I think the FTC might view the asking for testimonials vs reviews as slightly more than a semantic matter.
                      This issue was covered in depth in this thread:
                      http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...-requests.html
                      My suggestion would be to point those pestering you via PMs to there.
                      Frank
                      The fun thing about WSO testimonials?

                      If people have paid $2 for a product and give it a glowing testimonial, saying what amazing value something is, as a testimonial for continued sales around the $2 price it is fine.

                      However you are playing with FTC fire if you think that testimonial would pass the sniff test when that same product, or even a lesser value one goes on sale for $37.

                      I have seen this very recently, a highly popular WSO that many in this thread probably bought, and so did I, just to see if it was possibly worth promoting as an affilaite.

                      The problem is those raving testimonials from the WSO ended up on the sales page, and the only way I could be honest with my audience promoting it would be.

                      1. Telling them I only paid $2 for the product for a less restricted version
                      2. Telling my audience not to trust the testimonials, because all those people only paid $2 as well

                      If you happened to have promoted such a product and are aware that all the testimonials were generated in such a manner, in many ways you are just as guilty as the product owner.

                      The problem... the product owner is most likely not in the US or Europe where the laws are such that it would be looked on as too much risk to promote something in this way.

                      You will probably find 50%+ of products sold as a WSO that eventually get promoted to a larger audience, the testimonials would get the product author in trouble with the ftc if the ftc had the resources to come calling.
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      • Profile picture of the author 1960Texan
        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        If you get the product for free, you are by definition, incapable of giving an "honest" opinion unless you disclose that you were given the product for free. Most people don't, I'd guess. If you've been given a gift, you're biased. Period. Law of reciprocity works no matter if you're aware of it, or even if you think you can reason outside of it.
        That's true in some cases, but not all. Manufacturers of physical products give their stuff away to qualified reviewers all the time. Software, iPhones. laptops, digital cameras, etc. As far as creative products, movie reviewers watch free films all the time and music reviewers get loads of CDs in the mail, yet it's rare to see five star reviews on the majority of what ultimately gets released to the public.

        The key is to send your product to a qualified, unbiased reviewer.

        Will
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by 1960Texan View Post

          Manufacturers of physical products give their stuff away to qualified reviewers all the time.
          However, for precisely this reason, you are generally expected to return the product after you've reviewed it. Since they've only "loaned" you the product, you're not actually being compensated and there's no ethical grey area.
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          • Profile picture of the author 1960Texan
            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            However, for precisely this reason, you are generally expected to return the product after you've reviewed it. Since they've only "loaned" you the product, you're not actually being compensated and there's no ethical grey area.
            Right, that covers physical products, but what about movies and music? I still maintain that there are qualified, unbiased reviewers out there.

            Will
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          • Profile picture of the author psresearch
            Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

            However, for precisely this reason, you are generally expected to return the product after you've reviewed it. Since they've only "loaned" you the product, you're not actually being compensated and there's no ethical grey area.
            The FTC doesn't agree:

            " What if I return the product after I review it? Should I still make a disclosure?

            That may depend on the product and how long you are allowed to use it. For example, if you get free use of a car for a month, a disclosure is recommended even if you return it. But even for less valuable products, it’s best to be open and transparent with your readers."

            The FTCs Revised Endorsement Guides: What People are Asking
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            • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
              Originally Posted by markquinn View Post

              The FTC doesn't agree
              It's not an issue of disclosure. It's an issue of whether it's ethical to review a product you got for free in the first place. When you don't get to keep the product, most people agree that it's ethical to review it and your review will be sufficiently impartial.
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              • Profile picture of the author psresearch
                Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                It's not an issue of disclosure. It's an issue of whether it's ethical to review a product you got for free in the first place. When you don't get to keep the product, most people agree that it's ethical to review it and your review will be sufficiently impartial.
                Understood - and I certainly wouldn't hold the FTC as the final arbiter of ethics (a lot of their thinking seems particularly dumb) - but it is something they think about and it is their view of ethics that DRIVES their disclosure policies so I thought it might be worth throwing their opinion in the ring.
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      • Profile picture of the author shaggard
        [DELETED]
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        • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
          Originally Posted by shaggard View Post

          Colin,

          You seem to be contradicting yourself. You say

          Here's the thing - I'm not comfortable giving a "testimonial" for a product you gave me for free. I'm a copywriter - if you want me to write marketing material for you, it's easy. Pay me.
          Then you say

          If you want to bribe reviewers with free stuff, that's fine. They just need to disclose that they got it for free.
          By asking for pay, are you not asking for a bribe? Are you not wanting people to bribe you for a good review?
          You're confusing separate points. In the first, I'm saying that people who are offering me free product for a "testimonial" are essentially asking me to write free sales copy. I'm talking SPECIFICALLY about the ones who don't actually WANT an honest review - they only want a positive post in the thread.

          To them I say, if that's what you want, don't try and mask it and bribe it out of me indirectly - pay me. It's what I do for a living.

          The other point is pretty direct, no? If you have been given something for free and asked to "review" it or even just give a testimonial, the RIGHT thing to do is include that information in your review or testimonial. Depending on the value of the item given, you're actually talking about a legal responsibility on both parties.

          The two points are not directly related, and I think you're reading them out of context. Hopefully I explained them better.

          Originally Posted by shaggard View Post

          I don't think you know what a review is. When someone asks you for a review, they are not asking you for your skills as a copywriter. They are asking you for your opinions on their product.
          I know very well what a review is. I used to write them for a living, and then I worked the other side where I worked for a company which shipped very very expensive equipment off for journalistic review in magazined that we paid for advertising in.

          I know the ethics of the journalism and the advertising probably better than a lot of folks here who haven't actually dealt with it outside the IM world. You don't know me, so don't presume.

          Originally Posted by shaggard View Post

          I agree with Imram who said

          It is like saying "MY NAME IS BOND, JAMES BOND NOW PAYPAL ME $10 FOR A REVIEW!".
          You are just full of yourself. If you don't like it, then don't do reviews. But don't bash people who do reviews for taking bribes and don't say people asking for reviews are giving bribes.
          Again, you're misreading me. I never said anything of the sort. If you do "reviews" and you don't disclose that you got the product for free or that it was solicited, you could be breaking the law.

          If you offer a free product and tell me to go post my "testimonial" on your thread without you yourself posting the proper disclosures, you might be breaking the law in that case too.

          I can't say for sure - the FTC only issues "guidelines" but you could definitely argue both scenarios break the rules. These things are not just my opinion - there are actual questions of legal and business ethics here.

          If the discussion is over your head, it's okay. Just be quiet and let the grownups talk.

          Originally Posted by shaggard View Post

          You, my friend, are just trying to get paid. In that case it is NOT a review but a PAID Testimonial.
          You could not have missed the point of my post farther if you tried. I'll try and explain it one more time even though you're an idiot and a rude one.

          If you give me a free product unsolicted and ask me to post a positive "review" to a product that's already for sale and NO DISCLOSURE happens, my point is you are ALREADY PAYING for a testimonial. Which is illegal and unethical.

          What I was trying to say using HUMOR (which was a little too complex for you) is that if you're doing that with ME, I'm not fooled by the attempt at such manipulation, and if you want free marketing copy, you can't get it from ME.

          I'll do reviews for free - as I posted a link to already, but they will be fully disclosed and might not be positive.

          I'll give testimonials for free too - if I buy a product and like it, then it doesn't need disclosure.

          If you want to give me a free product and give you an ENDORESMENT, I'll do that for free too as long as it's disclosed properly as such.

          But we both know that's not what some of the people sending these PMs want, as has been talked about in detail. It's all there if you'd like to go back and read it. Try not to miss the point this time.
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  • Profile picture of the author mlord10
    I agree. I have gotten a few of these requests, and they only way I will write a positive review is if I think the product can genuinely help the warrior community. If it can great, but if not then I am not going to contribute to the problem of people publishing B.S. reports and selling them as WSOs.

    Don't get me wrong, I have bought a lot of great WSOs, and reviewed a few good ones too. But based on some of the things that I have bought I can tell you that some of the stuff floating around over there makes me cringe.
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  • Profile picture of the author Imran Naseem
    Banned
    See this is the problem with it, because the people who will just say "It's great" because they got a free copy will mislead people. Folks like you who can actually make a fair evaluation don't say peep. It creates distortion in the public perception of the product. I feel like if you take the bait and it's bad, you have a duty to go in the thread and say it's bad.
    Yes but if the product is quality and worth giving a review then I do not mind.
    Just because I am a marketer with a big list and a glowing reputation does not give me the right to look down on people like one guy is doing.

    He has a WSO running, and he is on other forums boasting and making fun of "customers".

    If someone approached me and kindly offered me a product to review I will go through it and if it does deserve a review then I will give one.

    Why would you ask for money? That is pathetic.

    It is like saying "MY NAME IS BOND, JAMES BOND NOW PAYPAL ME $10 FOR A REVIEW!".
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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
      Originally Posted by Imran Naseem View Post

      Yes but if the product is quality and worth giving a review then I do not mind. Just because I am a marketer with a big list and a glowing reputation does not give me the right to look down on people like one guy is doing.
      I'm saying if the product is bad quality and NOT worth reviewing, and someone has said "hey review this and leave a testimonial" then I feel like if you've accepted the free product, you have a duty to your fellow consumers to go and give the bad review.

      Originally Posted by Imran Naseem View Post

      If someone approached me and kindly offered me a product to review I will go through it and if it does deserve a review then I will give one.
      First, the people who ask this aren't approaching with any personalization at all. The ones I've gotten are form letters. Second, I don't think there's "going through it to see if it's worth reviewing" - if you take the free product, you should review it good or bad.

      Originally Posted by Imran Naseem View Post

      Why would you ask for money? That is pathetic.

      It is like saying "MY NAME IS BOND, JAMES BOND NOW PAYPAL ME $10 FOR A REVIEW!".
      Pathetic? Don't you value your time and work?

      That's foolish. I write for a living - specifically, I write words that make people want to buy things. I get paid to do this. Giving me a free product I didn't need in exchange for a review IS essentially paying me.

      Except I didn't want the product in the first place. I'd rather not work for free, so pay me if you want me to write your marketing materials.

      I promise if the product is good, you will get a testimonial that's probably going to convert better than your salesletter. That's what I do. I get paid a lot to do it.

      Bribing me for a good testimonial is nothing more than a veiled attempt to get me to write sales copy for free anyway. And that's not just for pro copywriters, that's EVERYONE. If you're compensated to provide a public opinion, you literally have been paid to create sales material.

      To think otherwise is to buy into the manipulation that's occurring anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
      Originally Posted by Imran Naseem View Post

      Just because I am a marketer with a big list and a glowing reputation does not give me the right to look down on people like one guy is doing.
      That 'glow' is from radiation.

      There's nothing wrong with offering a product for free in return for a review or testimonial.

      There may be required disclosures. There is no requirement that the review or testimonial be positive.

      Each of us has different Warriors for whom a recommendation is valued. If Warrior #1 provides a testimonial I may buy strictly based on that - without reading anything about the product.

      But if Warrior #2 provides a testimonial I may avoid the product just because they're involved and are a known scammer.

      For someone else, the situation may be flipped.

      So testimonials are important and I think a product seller would be smart to find out whose authority can result in sales and to offer free products as an inducement for a review.

      Depending on the authority, they'd be smart to pay for that review.

      IMHO, if you approached someone like Allen and requested a review, and he said it would cost a hundred bucks to make use of his time, you'd be a fool not to pay that hundred bucks as fast as possible just to get his insight and evaluation - even if it was not favorable. And if you got a favorable testimonial - how many thousands would that be worth to you?
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
        Originally Posted by kindsvater View Post

        IMHO, if you approached someone like Allen and requested a review, and he said it would cost a hundred bucks to make use of his time, you'd be a fool not to pay that hundred bucks as fast as possible just to get his insight and evaluation - even if it was not favorable. And if you got a favorable testimonial - how many thousands would that be worth to you?
        Brian, The computer is calculating that answer and as soon as the green light comes on I'll let you know!

        Let me just say the number could be mind boggling.

        Have a Great Day!
        Michael
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    • Profile picture of the author rapidscc
      Originally Posted by Imran Naseem View Post

      It is like saying "MY NAME IS BOND, JAMES BOND NOW PAYPAL ME $10 FOR A REVIEW!".
      LOL! This made my tired day..err..early morning...

      I agree that there are people here asking for reviews.

      And in my opinion it's alright as long as you have enough time to really review their product and give your honest opinion.

      Anyway there's a benefit on all parties, you get to have a copy of their product for free, they get your honest opinion about their product and warriors will know the real score about their product.

      There's nothing wrong with that right? Other warriors here can even benefit because they'll know first hand if the product indeed delivers.

      What's not good is if you gave a positive review without even looking at the product or because you were paid.

      Best,
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    I keep having people I don't know PM me and offer me free copies of their courses in exchange for a testimonial post in the WSO thread.
    This isn't a testimonial, it's a review.

    I don't see anywhere this is against the rules, but I'd say ethically, if you've been asked to do this and choose to comply, SAY SO in your "testimonial" fakey review sales post.
    It's against the rules to offer or request review copies in the public forums.

    As far as disclosure, I usually open the review with something like "I had a chance to review this before release" which gets the point across.

    I've also given several Warriors, both new and established, reviews that amounted to "this product is crap and you should be ashamed of yourself." Those don't tend to be posted.
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    • Profile picture of the author psresearch
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      As far as disclosure, I usually open the review with something like "I had a chance to review this before release" which gets the point across.
      Agreed. I can't see how there can be a problem with that. Sounds like complete transparency to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author Damien Roche
    I think, at minimum, you should mention you received a review copy (and I have seen some disclose this).

    If I had a WSO, I would probably give out some review copies but I wouldn't do that and then ask for a testimonial. If I believed in my product enough, I'd be content at waiting for the reviews. That way I feel it is less contrived.

    It's hard, because on one side you want honest testimonials from the get-go in order to make your WSO run good from the start, but you have little choice in that you can only gain those testimonials by giving out review copies.

    I suppose you could sell some copies prior, but that kinda defeats the point. Maybe you could sell your review copies for a $1.

    I dunno...having a bit of a brain fart here. lol
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  • Profile picture of the author theemperor
    Colin

    Thanks for the detail reply, this has really helped me.

    I think I will launch the WSO with testimonials that are unsolicited and then some later when they arrive in my inbox.

    WSO's tend to be reviewed in the thread by the product buyers so it kind of attracts testimonials that way. And although I never see blatant negative ones you often see "only buy this product if...." or "it fell short on this aspect..."

    I need to be less greedy and less obsessed with perfection at the launch. It's hard!
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  • Profile picture of the author Trent Brownrigg
    When I am asked to review something I always tell them if I do it I won't give them a positive review just for the sake of it. I make sure they know they will be getting my honest opinion and if I don't like it I will say so. If they still send it to me that indicates they are confident in their work and usually they are right, but not always. Those that know their product is crap never send me a reply back once they realize I am not going to sugarcoat it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    I get asked quite often. If it's a product I'm not interested in I just say no. If it's a product I am interested in I say something like, "I'll take a look at it but I'm no shill. The only obligation I have is to be honest, good or bad. Still want a review?"

    I've never kept track of this, but I'm guessing about 30-40 percent never get back to me. I think it scares anyone off that doesn't have confidence in their product. Those who do, usually have good reason to feel that way. I usually let people know I received a review copy as well.

    As for you being a copywriter, personally, I would view it differently than you do. You're not obligated to help sell the product, nor to put the time into a review that you would paid sales copy. You'd be giving up the same few minutes the rest of us do to offer a few casual, honest thoughts. You're under no obligation to try to make sales, or to go into details, or to position the product in any manner. But, that's my thinking; I can understand why you'd think differently.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pluton
    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    I keep having people I don't know PM me and offer me free copies of their courses in exchange for a testimonial post in the WSO thread.

    Here's the thing - I'm not comfortable giving a "testimonial" for a product you gave me for free. I'm a copywriter - if you want me to write marketing material for you, it's easy. Pay me.

    Outside of that, if this is something that happens a lot, how many of the testimonials in there are just garbage borne out of reciprocity?

    I don't see anywhere this is against the rules, but I'd say ethically, if you've been asked to do this and choose to comply, SAY SO in your "testimonial" fakey review sales post.

    I like when I can tell the difference between actual user feedback and bribed puffery. Anyone have a different opinion about this practice? Even if it's not against the rules, I'm curious what others think.
    A testimonial, whether it is from a purchase or a "freebie" should reflect your views on that product.
    If you think it is good just say so and also say why. If it's not very good also say so and say why. There's no mystique - just say what you think but truthfully. If they don't want to use what you write then tough.
    I suppose it's down to your own ethics !!
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    I see nothing wrong with providing a free copy for a testimonial as long as the testimonial is an honest review of the product. I would never give a great review for a product that I thought was garbage, whether I got it for free or not.

    A real testimonial can get some sales started on a WSO and it doesn't bother me to help someone out in that way if I believe in the product.
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  • Profile picture of the author ShaneRQR
    Reviews and testimonials are a grey-zone, at best. No matter how you twist and turn it.

    Of course, everyone who's going to mention it here is giving honest reviews only and that's the way reviews should be. But even for a terrible product, you can find people who'll say good things and it's not like the negative reviews will get published on a sales-page.

    Paying people for testimonials or faking testimonials seems really wrong, but is it all that different? Don't get me wrong, I'd never bribe or fake a testimonial, but the point is: One way or another, you're gonna get those enthusiastic quotes from other people on your sales page.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Colin, here's how I handle it as a product creator.

      I don't give out free copies. All testimonials come from people who bought
      the product from me.

      I used to give out free copies when I was just starting out, but now, I don't
      bother.

      On the other end, if somebody does give me a free copy, I tell them up
      front that they will get an honest evaluation of the product. Which means,
      if I don't like it, I will say so.

      Some people have no problem with that. In fact, they welcome it as a way
      to improve their product. Others says, "Thanks, never mind" which tells me
      they're just looking for some positive feedback.

      The whole testimonial thing, IMO, is another one of those areas in IM
      that I'm not overly fond of. I think, for the most part, the system is
      broken. It's too much "Wash my hands and I'll wash your face" and I
      just can't be bothered with that nonsense.

      IOW...you have to take testimonials with a grain of salt.

      Now, if you want to charge somebody to look at their product, I see
      nothing wrong with this as long as you tell them that the payment does
      not guarantee a positive review.

      If you mean it, you can get quite a rep as a reviewer. I know there are
      people who do this and make quite a bit of money at it.

      It's not my personal cup of tea, but like I said, personally, I think the
      testimonial game is corrupt beyond redemption, with very few exceptions.
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      • Profile picture of the author The 13th Warrior
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post


        On the other end, if somebody does give me a free copy, I tell them up
        front that they will get an honest evaluation of the product. Which means,
        if I don't like it, I will say so.

        Some people have no problem with that. In fact, they welcome it as a way
        to improve their product.

        I bet you can count on one hand this category/caliber of marketer.
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          Originally Posted by The 13th Warrior View Post

          I bet you can count on one hand this category/caliber of marketer.
          Less than one hand....sadly.
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          • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
            Originally Posted by The 13th Warrior View Post

            I bet you can count on one hand this category/caliber of marketer.
            Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

            Less than one hand....sadly.
            Well, part of what prompted this is that I wasn't otherwise busy, so I actually completed one of these requests here:

            http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...ml#post2305623

            As you can see, that's before I posted this thread - what prompted this was the THIRD such review request I got in the same day. Mind you, not all through the WF PM function, but that's the only one I talk about because it's the one I think is applicable, what with being the same product selling mechanism and all.

            That being said, I put my disclosures and gave what I feel was actually a negative review, but I at least tried to keep it balanced and again, was as honest as I could be about it.

            I'm not posting that to toot - I'm actually curious - Steven, is this the kind of review that you meant? Because if this is what people want, I will gladly accept payment to write these kinds of reviews all day long.

            It feels a lot like consulting. Because that's pretty much also giving people a negative review for money.
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            • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
              Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

              Well, part of what prompted this is that I wasn't otherwise busy, so I actually completed one of these requests here:

              http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...ml#post2305623

              As you can see, that's before I posted this thread - what prompted this was the THIRD such review request I got in the same day. Mind you, not all through the WF PM function, but that's the only one I talk about because it's the one I think is applicable, what with being the same product selling mechanism and all.

              That being said, I put my disclosures and gave what I feel was actually a negative review, but I at least tried to keep it balanced and again, was as honest as I could be about it.

              I'm not posting that to toot - I'm actually curious - Steven, is this the kind of review that you meant? Because if this is what people want, I will gladly accept payment to write these kinds of reviews all day long.

              It feels a lot like consulting. Because that's pretty much also giving people a negative review for money.

              Yes, that is exactly the kind of review I'm talking about. That was
              excellent.

              You don't see many of these.
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              • Profile picture of the author Shawn Gourley
                I like to ask people first if they would mind taking a look at my product and telling me what they think. After they get back to me and give their opinion I will then ask them if they would be willing to give a testimonial.
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            • Profile picture of the author Mike Anthony
              Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post


              That being said, I put my disclosures and gave what I feel was actually a negative review, but I at least tried to keep it balanced and again, was as honest as I could be about it.
              Good for you. One thing you can't get rid of and hasn't been mentioned is that some testimonials are part of a JV (edit: Steve I see kind of touched on that). Hopefully the people have done their homework and are honest about the product and the people they do JVs with but sometimes thats not the case.
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              • Profile picture of the author sanssecret
                It's never ok to 'buy' a testimonial, either with cash or a free copy of the product/software. Unless you're someone who is of course motivated only by dollar signs and don't give a stuff for the actual people out there who may very well be influenced by your testimonial.

                Reviews are a different matter. I don't see them as testimonials, (though a lot of times they're written as though they are.)

                Hopefully, folks will look to see who's given the review. If they're a respected Warrior then you know it's info you can rely on. If not, then you're pretty much stuffed. And if you're new and don't know who to trust you might as well just stick a pin and see where it lands.

                Personally, I'd much rather be told what was wrong so I could put it right than have someone worry about hurting my feelings and risk p****ng off customers because of it. If you offer a 'review' copy, that's exactly what it is. It's a copy for you to review, which means you're supposed to look at it critically and give your opinion as to whether it's good or bad. If you agree to review something and all you do is write a post that says it's good, you're cheating everybody concerned.
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                • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                  Banned
                  Originally Posted by sanssecret View Post

                  Reviews are a different matter. I don't see them as testimonials, (though a lot of times they're written as though they are.)
                  So what's the intent of the person looking for a review? To get feedback? Not to parlay any positive feedback into a testimonial.

                  I don't know....I think you give someone a copy for review, you are expecting a positive testimonial. The product is usually finished...you think the product owner is going to change anything based on feedback? Doubt it.

                  If you called the guy on the phone and told them about how great their product was and gave them a few points of improvement, you don't think they'll ask you to put it in an email and write it to them for a testimonial?
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

            Less than one hand....sadly.
            Have to disagree.

            In the average month, I receive over a dozen products for review.

            Three-quarters of them are crap.

            More than half of the people I tell "your product is crap" want to know more so they can fix it.

            That's more than five people a month who take my criticism and try to improve their product.

            I don't know about you, but my hands only have five fingers.

            I think there are a lot more honest and hardworking people out there than we credit the field with having. And I think as you rise in the hierarchy of marketers (where, Steven, you have risen quite far - whether you know it or not), you see fewer of them simply because honest and hardworking isn't always the path to success. And when it is, that success is quiet, not ostentatious and loud.
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            • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
              Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

              Have to disagree.

              In the average month, I receive over a dozen products for review.

              Three-quarters of them are crap.

              More than half of the people I tell "your product is crap" want to know more so they can fix it.

              That's more than five people a month who take my criticism and try to improve their product.

              I don't know about you, but my hands only have five fingers.

              I think there are a lot more honest and hardworking people out there than we credit the field with having. And I think as you rise in the hierarchy of marketers (where, Steven, you have risen quite far - whether you know it or not), you see fewer of them simply because honest and hardworking isn't always the path to success. And when it is, that success is quiet, not ostentatious and loud.

              Caliban, you could very well be right. I can only go by what I see and it's
              not a pretty picture.

              Of course I also turn down more review requests than I accept for a
              variety of reasons (no time, no interest in the product, no knowledge of
              the area in order to give a review that is meaningful, and so on.)

              So I don't really see a lot of products anymore anyway.

              But years ago, when I did, it went something like this...

              "Hey, give me a good testimonial for my new <whatever> and I'll promote
              one of your products to my list"

              Or

              Them - "Can I get a testimonial?"

              Me - "Are you asking me to honestly review it or just tell people it's good?"

              Them - "Well, it is good."

              Me - "Hmmm, thanks I'll pass"

              I can count on one hand, less than one hand, the products I've openly
              endorsed this year. This is why I don't do a lot of affiliate marketing in
              the IM niche. Most of it is outside of it.

              But like I said, that's just my experience and yours may be totally different.

              I hope so. It gives me some hope for this industry.
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    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
      Originally Posted by ShaneRQR View Post

      Reviews and testimonials are a grey-zone, at best. No matter how you twist and turn it.
      I'd like to point something out that non-product-creators never see.

      Occasionally, I'll promote a product in some market, and someone will ask me privately for a free copy on the grounds that they gave me a good testimonial on the last product.

      In other words, even the unsolicited testimonial of a paying customer is suspect - because you don't know for sure whether they did it in the hope of getting a free product in the future.

      It's the twisted flip side of "pay it forward."
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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
    Banned
    Eh, these threads are always kinda funny cause everyone wants to come off sounding like an angel.

    Everyone bribes for testimonials....they give away a discount on the next product, they give away something, or they enter people into a contest to win something. This is how you go from getting 1 testimonial per week to getting 100.

    Even people that give pure unsolicited testimonials in IM do so with ulterior motives, such as creating some goodwill for the future or getting a link off a site or whatever.

    PM'ing random dudes to get reviews/testimonials is kinda strange though. I don't why people are defending that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

      Everyone bribes for testimonials....they give away a discount on the next product, they give away something, or they enter people into a contest to win something. This is how you go from getting 1 testimonial per week to getting 100.
      That's just not true, Ryan. I ALWAYS tell people I'm not asking them to compromise their integrity and endorse my product if they don't like it. I tell them they are free to say what they want whether it's good or bad. I never offer any recompense either, current or future, other than giving them the review copy in the first place.

      You will find people here that will back that up, too.

      Come to think of it, I've only been bribed once, and I've been offered quite a few review products.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

        That's just not true, Ryan. I ALWAYS tell people I'm not asking them to compromise their integrity and endorse my product if they don't like it. I tell them they are free to say what they want whether it's good or bad. I never offer any recompense either, current or future, other than giving them the review copy in the first place.

        You will find people here that will back that up, too.

        Come to think of it, I've only been bribed once, and I've been offered quite a few review products.
        Well, that's what I say too. That's what everyone says. It doesn't change the fact that you're essentially paying people to write a testimonial for you. And there's always the sliver of people that feel compelled to be positive because you gave them something for free.

        Besides, what do people do with negative testimonials? They read them and then delete them. So sure, anyone can write anything they want....but no way in h*ll they are going to be used. Right?

        But anyways, I'm not knocking bribery as a way to get testimonials...or even that what they are saying isn't true. It's a good way to people to put something on paper.

        But anyone in IM knows how it works. There are very few testimonials that are 100% unsolicited and done without anything expected in return. It could be just to get some goodwill, to get some spotlight on their site, or for a free bonus or download. In any case, something is being given to get the person to take action on the testimonial.....bribery?
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          Well, that's what I say too. That's what everyone says. It doesn't change the fact that you're essentially paying people to write a testimonial for you. And there's always the sliver of people that feel compelled to be positive because you gave them something for free.

          Besides, what do people do with negative testimonials? They read them and then delete them. So sure, anyone can write anything they want....but no way in h*ll they are going to be used. Right?

          But anyways, I'm not knocking bribery as a way to get testimonials...or even that what they are saying isn't true. It's a good way to people to put something on paper.

          But anyone in IM knows how it works. There are very few testimonials that are 100% unsolicited and done without anything expected in return. It could be just to get some goodwill, to get some spotlight on their site, or for a free bonus or download. In any case, something is being given to get the person to take action on the testimonial.....bribery?

          While there is a lot of what you say going on, to insist that nobody is
          honest and that everybody is just looking to get something out of giving
          a testimonial shows you have a very dim view of this industry, which
          makes me wonder...

          Why do you want to have anything to do with it at all?
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          • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

            While there is a lot of what you say going on, to insist that nobody is
            honest and that everybody is just looking to get something out of giving
            a testimonial shows you have a very dim view of this industry, which
            makes me wonder...

            Why do you want to have anything to do with it at all?
            Well, I don't have a dim view of the industry. It is what it is. I buy products I think will help me....some work/some don't, but all in all it's a positive ROI. That's why I'm involved with the industry...if you want to say that, I don't sell anything to IM'ers. I don't buy that much because most of it is worthless to me.

            I might have sounded like i was saying 100% of the people have ulterior motives, it was mostly for dramatic purposes. I realize there are some genuine testimonials out there.

            But the industry, as a whole, is shady as hell. Even from the top dogs in the industry. Every pitch is the same..."This guy knows what he's talking about..he makes 7 figures a week....even if you get one thing out of this, it'll pay for the course....there are no secrets, but this comes pretty close...he had people blown away...this is for serious entrepreneurs....this is for advanced marketers, unless you're willing to work really hard to make a lot of money....blah, blah, blah....."

            They are trying to make you money by selling you more stuff. They view their list as a way to do that. Sure, you meet them in person and they are great guys. I have no doubt about that. But writing to a big list lets them showboat a little bit and desensitizes them from what they are actually doing...which is probably just selling people a dream and then taking a bunch of money for it. You know that if their best friend was looking to get into IM, they wouldn't be steering them into these products.

            Personally, I don't really care. I'm smart enough to know what I need to buy and stick with it.
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

            While there is a lot of what you say going on, to insist that nobody is honest and that everybody is just looking to get something out of giving a testimonial shows you have a very dim view of this industry
            I think it's entirely possible to regard perfect honesty as an unachievable ideal, and thereby to accept varying degrees of dishonesty as normal while still refusing to accept degrees beyond a personal threshold.

            I've been very seriously examining the question of honesty lately. I've also been rapidly working my way through a bottle of rum today. It's almost 2 in the afternoon, and I think I just passed the halfway point on it.
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            • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
              Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

              I think it's entirely possible to regard perfect honesty as an unachievable ideal, and thereby to accept varying degrees of dishonesty as normal while still refusing to accept degrees beyond a personal threshold.

              I've been very seriously examining the question of honesty lately. I've also been rapidly working my way through a bottle of rum today. It's almost 2 in the afternoon, and I think I just passed the halfway point on it.
              Save some for FNC.
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              • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                Save some for FNC.
                Oh, I'll need a new one by then.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          Well, that's what I say too. That's what everyone says. It doesn't change the fact that you're essentially paying people to write a testimonial for you. And there's always the sliver of people that feel compelled to be positive because you gave them something for free.
          I don't equate giving someone a review copy as bribery. Especially when you inform them you're only asking for an honest review. The review copy compensates them for their time. Offering them further compensation for a positive review would constitute bribery. A request for their honesty does not, your cynicism notwithstanding.
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          • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            I don't equate giving someone a review copy as bribery. Especially when you inform them you're only asking for an honest review. The review copy compensates them for their time. Offering them further compensation for a positive review would constitute bribery. A request for their honesty does not, your cynicism notwithstanding.
            I *kinda* get where he's coming from, in that being given free stuff and asked for an opinion are both things that could easily bias someone. But I think as you said, as long as the relationship and context are disclosed, people can fairly assess the "review" in the proper light.

            So I totally agree with you - it's not the practice that's wrong necessarily. Just the same as if I gave a fakey testimonial would be perfectly fine if properly disclosed.

            "The guy who makes this offered to give me this for free and told me to come in here and tell you it's great in exchange, and I agree! The free stuff they gave me is great, and I came here to tell you, because that's how I got it for free! Thanks! P.S. It's great!"

            See, I know where to put that.
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          • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
            Banned
            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            I don't equate giving someone a review copy as bribery. Especially when you inform them you're only asking for an honest review. The review copy compensates them for their time. Offering them further compensation for a positive review would constitute bribery. A request for their honesty does not, your cynicism notwithstanding.
            Yeah, just giving someone a review copy doesn't mean you're bribing them. But you honestly don't think that most people are going to give a glowing review to them? You gave them something for free, so how bad does it need to suck for them to say something bad about it......they didn't pay for it.

            The electrician that gets a hand written note from an old lady for doing such a great job, THAT'S an honest testimonial.

            Two marketers reviewing each other's products really isn't. It's the equivalent of two political candidates endorsing each other. Sure, it might be an "unsolicited" endorsement for the guy running for office...but don't think that dude's not getting a phone call down the road for something.

            Like Don Corleone said "Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this justice a gift on my daughter's wedding day."
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            • Profile picture of the author Marty S
              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

              Two marketers reviewing each other's products really isn't. It's the equivalent of two political candidates endorsing each other. Sure, it might be an "unsolicited" endorsement for the guy running for office...but don't think that dude's not getting a phone call down the road for something.
              I think this is a really good point that I tried to hit on earlier. For example in the review section Brad Callen came in and tried to pump up John Reese's recent launch. I am NOT saying Brad was exaggerating or being misleading, but since I already know these two guys will be pumping whatever the other puts out, I simply scan over the "routine" accolades they will undoubtedly throw at each other.

              These affiliate relationships always extend past just a single deal, which is why I would MUCH prefer realistic reviews which actually point out what is good and not-so-good about a product.
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            • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
              Banned
              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

              Yeah, just giving someone a review copy doesn't mean you're bribing them. But you honestly don't think that most people are going to give a glowing review to them? You gave them something for free, so how bad does it need to suck for them to say something bad about it......they didn't pay for it.

              The electrician that gets a hand written note from an old lady for doing such a great job, THAT'S an honest testimonial.

              Two marketers reviewing each other's products really isn't. It's the equivalent of two political candidates endorsing each other. Sure, it might be an "unsolicited" endorsement for the guy running for office...but don't think that dude's not getting a phone call down the road for something.

              Like Don Corleone said "Some day, and that day may never come, I will call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day, consider this justice a gift on my daughter's wedding day."
              Sorry ... but simply not true for a lot of us here. You are assuming that all of us marketers have the ethics of politicians, which just ain't the case. It doesn't matter if someone gives me something for free to review ... the cost is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the product provides enough value to the customers who will be paying for it to have my name associated in any way with it.

              I don't have a great big name, like Frank Kern at al, but I value my reputation just as much and I don't lie about products, and a lot of others here don't lie about products.

              There's plenty of you scratch my back and I'll scratch your back going on and because of that, I don't even read reviews or testimonials, but not everyone is a party to that.
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              • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                But you honestly don't think that most people are going to give a glowing review to them?
                Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                You are assuming that all of us marketers have the ethics of politicians, which just ain't the case.
                Emphasis mine. That ain't even what he said. Not calling you out, just pointing out who has made the assumption. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE a good argument.

                Carry on.
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              • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                Banned
                Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                Sorry ... but simply not true for a lot of us here. You are assuming that all of us marketers have the ethics of politicians, which just ain't the case. It doesn't matter if someone gives me something for free to review ... the cost is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the product provides enough value to the customers who will be paying for it to have my name associated in any way with it.

                I don't have a great big name, like Frank Kern at al, but I value my reputation just as much and I don't lie about products, and a lot of others here don't lie about products.

                There's plenty of you scratch my back and I'll scratch your back going on and because of that, I don't even read reviews or testimonials, but not everyone is a party to that.
                If you are a marketer that does not sell products to the IM niche, nor has any plan to, then I'll agree with you...Maybe. You're still getting a free product and that effects your review...whether you realize it or not.

                If you stand in line for 5 hours, buy an Iphone 4 without the contract and spent $750. You're going to be more critical of the products short-comings. If you're a blogger out there and Apple just sends you one, you really think you're going to be AS critical as a consumer that bought it off the shelf??? If you're not as critical, then you were influenced by the marketer. IF you say yes, you are kidding yourself.
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                • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                  Banned
                  Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                  If you are a marketer that does not sell products to the IM niche, nor has any plan to, then I'll agree with you...Maybe. You're still getting a free product and that effects your review...whether you realize it or not.
                  Sorry, but just because you say so doesn't make it so. There are people who value their reputations and will not endorse anything that they don't think is a good product that provides value for the customer. It's as simple as that. I rarely ever even accept free products, even if I've done a favor for someone and I will not have my name associated with any product that is crap.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                    Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                    If you are a marketer that does not sell products to the IM niche, nor has any plan to, then I'll agree with you...Maybe. You're still getting a free product and that effects your review...whether you realize it or not.

                    If you stand in line for 5 hours, buy an Iphone 4 without the contract and spent $750. You're going to be more critical of the products short-comings. If you're a blogger out there and Apple just sends you one, you really think you're going to be AS critical as a consumer that bought it off the shelf??? If you're not as critical, then you were influenced by the marketer. IF you say yes, you are kidding yourself.
                    Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                    Sorry, but just because you say so doesn't make it so. There are people who value their reputations and will not endorse anything that they don't think is a good product that provides value for the customer. It's as simple as that. I rarely ever even accept free products, even if I've done a favor for someone and I will not have my name associated with any product that is crap.
                    This argument is still nothing more than RyanD saying "Most" and sbucciarel arguing against it as if he said "All". What Ryan is saying accounts for exceptions like you, sbucciarel, because he said "Most". When you say "nuh-uh not me!" that's not disagreeing, really.

                    Just because YOU can exert the willpower it takes to resist reciprocity (which is a well documented default human response) AND you happen to have the ethical knowledge that you even SHOULD in this case...

                    Neither of those makes it less true that MOST people, marketers or not, will respond in the default way which is to cave to reciprocity. Whether they consciously realize it or not.
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                    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                      If you are a marketer that does not sell products to the IM niche, nor has any plan to, then I'll agree with you...Maybe. You're still getting a free product and that effects your review...whether you realize it or not.

                      If you stand in line for 5 hours, buy an Iphone 4 without the contract and spent $750. You're going to be more critical of the products short-comings. If you're a blogger out there and Apple just sends you one, you really think you're going to be AS critical as a consumer that bought it off the shelf??? If you're not as critical, then you were influenced by the marketer. IF you say yes, you are kidding yourself.
                      Maybe I'm in the small group excluded by saying 'most', but I believe that I'm likely to be even more critical as a blogger getting a freebie than a consumer with money sunk.

                      > I have a reputation to maintain if my reviews are going to continue being believed. If I candy-coat everything, I go from critic to shill.

                      > I don't have any emotional stake in the game. If I stand in line for five hours and pay full retail price for something, I have an emotional stake in having that choice be right. So I'm going to focus on the cool stuff and gloss over some of the shortcomings.

                      > If I buy the product based on the blogger's recommendation, and the product is ultimately a piece of crap, I'm going to lash out at both the seller and blogger who recommended the product. The former for being a crook and the latter for being either in on the deal or stupid.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                        Maybe I'm in the small group excluded by saying 'most', but I believe that I'm likely to be even more critical as a blogger getting a freebie than a consumer with money sunk.
                        Yes you are in the smaller group simply because you A. care about the points below, and B. are even aware that they are important.

                        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                        > I have a reputation to maintain if my reviews are going to continue being believed. If I candy-coat everything, I go from critic to shill.
                        We're not talking about just established personalities who work in this niche, John. We're talking about any old forum denizen here who could be a hobbyist a fan or a nobody... or even a high-end PPC/CPA earner who doesn't give a crap about reputation or understand the ethics involved.

                        You must admit that there are many many more people in IM specifically who don't care or invest one second into developing a reputation than there are who do, right?

                        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                        > I don't have any emotional stake in the game. If I stand in line for five hours and pay full retail price for something, I have an emotional stake in having that choice be right. So I'm going to focus on the cool stuff and gloss over some of the shortcomings.
                        That's for a review, not a testimonial. But arguments can be made on both sides as to whether an impartial or biased review is better. Take movies for example. I don't want an impartial reviewer. I want a reviewer with the exact same biases I have. I'm not saying one or the other is better, just that it doesn't necessarily raise or lower the stake as to how valid or useful the review is overall.

                        If you disclose the nature of the review, it's irrelevant anyway, because the reader has the proper information to decide for themselves what they want to do with your recommendations.

                        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

                        > If I buy the product based on the blogger's recommendation, and the product is ultimately a piece of crap, I'm going to lash out at both the seller and blogger who recommended the product. The former for being a crook and the latter for being either in on the deal or stupid.
                        Again, you are in the minority because you care, and that skews your view to presume that ANYONE ELSE would also care. I mean, take the point in my OP.

                        I was TOLD I was contacted as a respected poster. But it was also a form letter. Just because I post a lot here doesn't mean I have any stake to protect - not everyone here even posts under a real name. I didn't even used to myself.

                        So I still think what Ryan says is correct - you are the exception - there are probably a LOT of exceptions reading this thread. That's because the people who wouldn't care aren't interested in this thread anyway.

                        It's the people who WOULD care IF they knew BETTER - that's who will benefit the most from this discussion. Regardless of how big a slice of the pie comprises "Most" or not. I mean, 50.1% is "Most".
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                        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                          Look, I will be the first to admit, based on what I've personally seen, that
                          a lot of people don't give a crap what they put their name behind as long
                          as they make a buck.

                          As to what percentage, who knows? I have no idea. But based on some
                          reviews I've seen for products I've also seen, I know these people are
                          either just looking for a buck or stupid.

                          But...and here is the but...there are those of us who actually care about
                          what we promote. And to say that we are in the minority, definitively, is
                          a bold statement without actual data to back it up.

                          If I were a gambling man, I'd probably say we were, but without proof, I
                          wouldn't gamble more than I was prepared to lose because when it's all
                          said and done...I'm not all that sure that the majority of marketers are
                          just in it for the money and to hell with integrity.

                          Am I wrong? Maybe. But I don't think anybody knows for certain.
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                    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                      Banned
                      Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                      This argument is still nothing more than RyanD saying "Most" and sbucciarel arguing against it as if he said "All". What Ryan is saying accounts for exceptions like you, sbucciarel, because he said "Most". When you say "nuh-uh not me!" that's not disagreeing, really.

                      Just because YOU can exert the willpower it takes to resist reciprocity (which is a well documented default human response) AND you happen to have the ethical knowledge that you even SHOULD in this case...

                      Neither of those makes it less true that MOST people, marketers or not, will respond in the default way which is to cave to reciprocity. Whether they consciously realize it or not.
                      Since you are the acting referee here, in none of his posts did he say "most" and in none of my posts did I say "all". I can only speak for myself and I have. I have also seen quite a few marketers in this forum with the same opinion ... that they would not endorse a crap product ... whether it was free or not.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                        Since you are the acting referee here, in none of his posts did he say "most" and in none of my posts did I say "all".
                        Are you serious? See THIS THREAD posts number 82 where he said "most". Then post number 84 where you QUOTED WHAT HE SAID when you replied and said "all". Then post 85 where I quoted the both of you RIGHT AFTER. Scroll up a little.

                        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                        I can only speak for myself and I have. I have also seen quite a few marketers in this forum with the same opinion ... that they would not endorse a crap product ... whether it was free or not.
                        Yep, and we are all in a minority. Wouldn't you agree?
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                        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                          Banned
                          Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                          Are you serious? See THIS THREAD posts number 82 where he said "most". Then post number 84 where you QUOTED WHAT HE SAID when you replied and said "all". Then post 85 where I quoted the both of you RIGHT AFTER. Scroll up a little.

                          Yep, and we are all in a minority. Wouldn't you agree?
                          Whatever Colin. I was responding to him and his post, not you. You don't need to referee every post. I have no desire to debate you or I would have responded to your post instead of his.
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                          • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                            Whatever Colin. I was responding to him and his post, not you. You don't need to referee every post. I have no desire to debate you or I would have responded to your post instead of his.
                            I mean, I can't make you stay on topic, but I did start the thread. I know you were responding to him, because you quoted him when he said "most" and you responded by saying he was wrong because not "all" marketers were that way.

                            I felt it was niggling point that was causing unnecessary umbrage on both sides due to miscommunication over a single word. I wasn't even singling you out at first except for this last exchange with you, because you didn't seem to notice that my post was referring to the previous bit I quoted.

                            I was pointing out that you guys were seeming to take opposite sides when I know for a FACT you agree that self-aware, ethical marketers like we consider ourselves to be are in the minority. We've had that conversation in other threads previously.

                            That being said, if you take his comments to refer to "most" marketers instead of "all" do you still disagree with him? I'm not looking for a debate here, I promise. Just a discussion that stays somewhat on track without derailing into whether or not good-guys outweigh bad-guys.

                            So can we have that discussion? That's all I was getting at.

                            If Steven is right, and we're NOT actually in the minority, we need to be more vocal and visible, because it sure seems like we are the minority. And maybe if we ARE the minority, being more vocal and visible might help change the behavior of others to match our own.

                            Which is good, right?
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                • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                  Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                  You're still getting a free product and that effects your review...whether you realize it or not.
                  I don't think it's all that much of an effect.

                  If you give me some piece of crap, I'm not going to go "well, heck, it was free crap which is better than no crap at all." I mean, honestly, no crap at all actually is better than free crap.

                  Likewise, if you give me some awesome product that's exactly what I need, I'm going to be a little more excited about it because it was free... but it's still an awesome product that's exactly what I need.

                  In general, I think the reviewer gives a slightly more favourable review than if the product was bought and paid for, but if it's on your sales page everyone with half a brain knows you cherry-picked your reviews anyway.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                    I don't think it's all that much of an effect.

                    If you give me some piece of crap, I'm not going to go "well, heck, it was free crap which is better than no crap at all." I mean, honestly, no crap at all actually is better than free crap.

                    Likewise, if you give me some awesome product that's exactly what I need, I'm going to be a little more excited about it because it was free... but it's still an awesome product that's exactly what I need.

                    In general, I think the reviewer gives a slightly more favourable review than if the product was bought and paid for, but if it's on your sales page everyone with half a brain knows you cherry-picked your reviews anyway.
                    I think we've shifted away from the discussion where we're all assuming that the person doing the reviewing/testimonial is a person trying to build a rep and be a respectable figure in whatever niche.

                    The problem with the scenario is that if I'm joe average and I think the free product sucks, I'm just not going to say anything. Only the people who like it are going to go and post. That's just psychology.

                    So basically, it's a low-risk proposition to just ask random active Warriors to do this, because only the ones who liked it or were swayed to do what they were asked will be inclined to post something good. Even if the odd person who knows better SHOULD say something, but won't.

                    And because this is about WSOs and NOT a sales page where the comments can be cherry picked, it can lead to a situation where people get the false impression that no one has something bad to say about a given product.

                    In general, outside this specific use case, I think you're generally right, that good stuff gets good reviews, and bad stuff gets slammed. But here, there are different machineries at work.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                    Banned
                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                    I don't think it's all that much of an effect.

                    If you give me some piece of crap, I'm not going to go "well, heck, it was free crap which is better than no crap at all." I mean, honestly, no crap at all actually is better than free crap.

                    Likewise, if you give me some awesome product that's exactly what I need, I'm going to be a little more excited about it because it was free... but it's still an awesome product that's exactly what I need.

                    In general, I think the reviewer gives a slightly more favourable review than if the product was bought and paid for, but if it's on your sales page everyone with half a brain knows you cherry-picked your reviews anyway.
                    Well right, they cherry pick reviews...that's the point. I'm sorry but think about this.

                    1) The product creators goal is positive testimonials
                    2) The reviewer, wanting to maintain integrity, says they'll only give a positive testimonial if they like the product
                    3) Product creator sends out 100 copies, figuring 90 will write a good testimonial.
                    4) The ethical marketer submits his review and slams the product.
                    5) The product creator throws the bad review out and keeps the 90 that praise the product.
                    6) The ethical marketer basically accomplished nothing and was played for a pawn in a pointless exercise. If an ethical marketer slams a product and KNOWS that nobody will hear it, did he actually actually ever slam the product? And is he/she really being ethical KNOWING this is how the process works?
                    7) I still maintain that paying and LOVING something is way different than NOT PAYING and loving something. You can't act like you paid for something.

                    Again, not really saying right/wrong, But get off your high horse with your pre-conditions to reviewing a product. You are participating in a completely pointless exercise going in and you know it.
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                    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                      Again, not really saying right/wrong, But get off your high horse with your pre-conditions to reviewing a product.
                      WTF are you talking about?
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            • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
              Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

              I *kinda* get where he's coming from, in that being given free stuff and asked for an opinion are both things that could easily bias someone. But I think as you said, as long as the relationship and context are disclosed, people can fairly assess the "review" in the proper light.

              So I totally agree with you - it's not the practice that's wrong necessarily. Just the same as if I gave a fakey testimonial would be perfectly fine if properly disclosed.
              Well said. See my next comment for more.

              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

              Yeah, just giving someone a review copy doesn't mean you're bribing them. But you honestly don't think that most people are going to give a glowing review to them? You gave them something for free, so how bad does it need to suck for them to say something bad about it......they didn't pay for it.
              Ryan, you originally said, "Everyone bribes for testimonials....they give away a discount on the next product, they give away something, or they enter people into a contest to win something."

              Which was what I refuted in the first place. Now you're saying, "Yeah, just giving someone a review copy doesn't mean you're bribing them. But you honestly don't think that most people are going to give a glowing review to them?"

              That's another statement entirely. You're reframing your words in such a way that if I agree it looks like I'm conceding to your point. The thing is though, I never said a free review copy wouldn't color a review for some people. My point was, and is, that EVERYONE does not bribe to get a review or testimonial. Whenever I contact anyone for a review or testimonial, all I ever ask for is their honest opinion. I have confidence in my products. There is no discussions of any compensation or future considerations.

              People are capable of giving fair reviews when given a review copy. Colin provided a good example with his review that he linked to earlier. It's not a "glowing review" by any means. He does say some good things about the product, but also points out what he thought were its flaws. It appears to me to be a fair review; fair to the product creator and fair to the readers of the WSO.

              Whether receiving the review copy colored his opinion only Colin knows, but it appears to me he tried to be fair, balanced, and objective. That's all a product owner can and should ask for. Colin gets two thumbs up from me for his review, which frankly, is more believable than many reviews that only say positive things.

              The electrician that gets a hand written note from an old lady for doing such a great job, THAT'S an honest testimonial.

              Two marketers reviewing each other's products really isn't. It's the equivalent of two political candidates endorsing each other. Sure, it might be an "unsolicited" endorsement for the guy running for office...but don't think that dude's not getting a phone call down the road for something.
              By inference, it seems you equate asking someone to review a product with being dishonest, judging from that first sentence. Ryan, let me ask you something . . . do you have a hard time being honest when someone gives you a product to review? If so, perhaps you're projecting your difficulty onto others. If not, then why don't you give the same credence to others? My first loyalty is to my own integrity, not to someone who offers me a review product.

              That said, I will try to find something nice to say about the product, but that doesn't mean what I say is dishonest. Most products do have good points. Like Colin, I'm not afraid to point out a product's shortcomings if I think it's important to someone making a decision to buy. I will admit these are judgment calls -- but that's where your personal integrity comes into play. If you follow your integrity rather than some misplaced loyalty because you received a gift, then you are capable of giving an honest review.

              I'm not going to point out spelling errors and other trivial points if they don't affect the usefulness of the information. That would be nitpicking. I would point out if a product requires additional purchases, or if a technique taught violates copyrights, or anything else that I believe should be disclosed in order for a buyer to make an informed decision.

              Ryan, a lot of marketers are ethical. Just because some backscratching occurs in the field, leaping to the conclusion that there is something dishonest or unethical going on in all cases is simply not true.
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              • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                Banned
                Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post


                Ryan, you originally said, "Everyone bribes for testimonials....they give away a discount on the next product, they give away something, or they enter people into a contest to win something."

                Which was what I refuted in the first place. Now you're saying, "Yeah, just giving someone a review copy doesn't mean you're bribing them. But you honestly don't think that most people are going to give a glowing review to them?"

                That's another statement entirely. You're reframing your words in such a way that if I agree it looks like I'm conceding to your point. The thing is though, I never said a free review copy wouldn't color a review for some people. My point was, and is, that EVERYONE does not bribe to get a review or testimonial.

                People are capable of giving fair reviews when given a review copy. Colin provided a good example with his review that he linked to earlier. It's not a "glowing review" by any means. He does say some good things about the product, but also points out what he thought were its flaws. It appears to me to be a fair review; fair to the product creator and fair to the readers of the WSO.

                Whether receiving the review copy colored his opinion only Colin knows, but it appears to me he tried to be fair, balanced, and objective. That's all a product owner can and should ask for. Colin gets two thumbs up from me for his review, which frankly, is more believable than many reviews that only say positive things.
                Well, I'm not using the word "bribe" in a pejorative sense. I'm more referring it as a method for getting people to take action and give a testimonial. And I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with it. Personally, if someone gives you a review for a product and you give a testimonial, I don't really care. I assume that all testimonials have a hint of bias in there for some reason.

                Normally, I wouldn't really care. But people come into this thread and act like Mr Rodgers. They say they layout these very clear terms for when they accept review copies so they are unbiased. I'm calling BS on that....because accepting a free product, reviewing it, and giving a testimonial is NOT the same thing as buying a product and sending in an unsolicited testimonial.


                By inference, it seems you equate asking someone to review a product with being dishonest, judging from that first sentence. Ryan, let me ask you something . . . do you have a hard time being honest when someone gives you a product to review? If so, perhaps you're projecting your difficulty onto others. If not, then why don't you give the same credence to others? My first loyalty is to my own integrity, not to someone who offers me a review product.
                No, like I said I'm not in IM so I don't get products to review for testimonials. I get products that people want me to sell for them (hardgoods). I just say "Thanks, but it doesn't fit into our plans right now". Like I said before, I'm not saying that people aren't being honest when they give a good review to a product. My objection was to people pounding their chests in the threads about the conditions they layout to maintain their integrity. My point was, hey, you might think you're not being swayed...but just by giving you a free product to review, they've already got some goodwill!

                Simply put, you CAN'T put yourself into the situation of having just bought the product. If someone gives you a book for $50 and you say "I liked it, good points, and yes I would say it's worth $50". You're not able to put yourself in the same position as someone who actually SPENT the $50 and gave it a glowing review. It's not unethical, it's just a reality. They're giving a review with the reality of the money having left your pocket. You're trying to review it AS IF the money left your pocket.
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                • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
                  Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                  Well, I'm not using the word "bribe" in a pejorative sense. I'm more referring it as a method for getting people to take action and give a testimonial. And I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with it. Personally, if someone gives you a review for a product and you give a testimonial, I don't really care. I assume that all testimonials have a hint of bias in there for some reason.

                  Normally, I wouldn't really care. But people come into this thread and act like Mr Rodgers. They say they layout these very clear terms for when they accept review copies so they are unbiased. I'm calling BS on that....because accepting a free product, reviewing it, and giving a testimonial is NOT the same thing as buying a product and sending in an unsolicited testimonial.
                  I have little disagreement with this latest reply, but it has a very different feel and meaning to it than saying, "Everyone bribes for testimonials....they give away a discount on the next product, they give away something, or they enter people into a contest to win something."

                  Not using "bribe" in a pejorative sense? I wasn't aware there were any other ways to take it. I'm not trying to hammer on you or embarrass you, so suffice it to say your word choice was one that invites debate, to say the least. I'll leave it at that . . . unless you don't.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                    Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

                    I have little disagreement with this latest reply, but it has a very different feel and meaning to it than saying, "Everyone bribes for testimonials....they give away a discount on the next product, they give away something, or they enter people into a contest to win something."

                    Not using "bribe" in a pejorative sense? I wasn't aware there were any other ways to take it. I'm not trying to hammer on you or embarrass you, so suffice it to say your word choice was one that invites debate, to say the least. I'll leave it at that . . . unless you don't.
                    I think what he's trying to say is that he has clarified what he meant subsequently to that post, but you're still arguing that one. Is there any reason to keep pushing the semantic argument, because I agree with you that he's changed his phrasing and is talking about something else.

                    I don't know that he changed his MIND, I think he's just clarified the language. Am I missing something, or is there some other reason not to discuss what he's currently saying instead of what he said a page ago?

                    Not trying to be snarky, I just like the discussion when it manages to move forward without getting stuck on the rocks.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
                      Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                      I think what he's trying to say is that he has clarified what he meant subsequently to that post, but you're still arguing that one. Is there any reason to keep pushing the semantic argument, because I agree with you that he's changed his phrasing and is talking about something else.

                      I don't know that he changed his MIND, I think he's just clarified the language. Am I missing something, or is there some other reason not to discuss what he's currently saying instead of what he said a page ago?

                      Not trying to be snarky, I just like the discussion when it manages to move forward without getting stuck on the rocks.
                      Not trying to derail your thread, Colin. I would have let it go if he didn't say he stands by his bribe statement. I OFFERED to let it go unless he didn't, and he didn't.

                      Sorry, but threads do evolve in ways we don't always want. It happens to everyone.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

      Eh, these threads are always kinda funny cause everyone wants to come off sounding like an angel.

      Everyone bribes for testimonials....they give away a discount on the next product, they give away something, or they enter people into a contest to win something. This is how you go from getting 1 testimonial per week to getting 100.

      Even people that give pure unsolicited testimonials in IM do so with ulterior motives, such as creating some goodwill for the future or getting a link off a site or whatever.

      PM'ing random dudes to get reviews/testimonials is kinda strange though. I don't why people are defending that.
      Absolutely false. I have never asked for a testimonial in my life. I rarely ever give them either. The only time I give them is when I've bought or used the product and am thrilled with it.

      I recently gave an pure unsolicited testimonial in a WSO thread because I had just paid $200 for the product and absolutely love it, so you are dead wrong.

      As for testimonials on sales pages that are mine ... I don't have any. I don't use testimonials on sales pages. Period.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
        Banned
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Absolutely false. I have never asked for a testimonial in my life. I rarely ever give them either. The only time I give them is when I've bought or used the product and am thrilled with it.

        I recently gave an pure unsolicited testimonial in a WSO thread because I had just paid $200 for the product and absolutely love it, so you are dead wrong.
        I'm talking about people that are actively looking for testimonials. Not people that don't care if they get em. Yeah, I used to get them too when i didn't ask. Now I get 100x the amount that I do ask.

        And good for you, I'm glad you liked the product.
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        I rarely ever give them either. The only time I give them is when I've bought or used the product and am thrilled with it.
        I can vouch for this. Suzanne is one of the people whose testimonials really "pop" for me, precisely because they are so rare.

        One day, I'll get one. Until then, I'll know I'm not good enough.
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

          I can vouch for this. Suzanne is one of the people whose testimonials really "pop" for me, precisely because they are so rare.

          One day, I'll get one. Until then, I'll know I'm not good enough.
          Ok ... now you've done it. Made me feel guilty, but thank you for the comment.

          I only buy WSOs from signature files from people I respect and I've been in your fan club for some time. I am now purchasing your SEO product because I think you may have a lot of knowledge in that area and I can always use that. I'm also purchasing Zombie Blogger because it has a weird name.

          I'm on dialup and the Zombie is over 2 MB so it's still downloading. Poor me. Then I'll have to do it all over with the SEO product. Then I'll actually have to read and think about them. I don't know if Zombie blogging will be for me, but I'm expecting big things from the SEO product, so stay tuned folks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sfrew
    One of the big things in the FTC rule revisions that are now in effect indicate that reviews and endorsements have to have full disclosure -- are you an affiliate, are you a business partner, was the person given a free copy to review, was it a paid post, or not? That's the first answer.

    The second answer is that your personal reputation becomes married to the product in the search engines if you give a testimonial -- and that is a lot of power to give to someone else. It might not look like such a great idea in 6 months or 6 years.

    So, give testimonials rarely, be objective, and if you are reviewing a free copy or affiliate product just say so in the course of the review. Oh yah, also check your insurance policy coverage.
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  • Profile picture of the author colinph970
    go CDarklock......only half to go, sounds like you are a half empty man!
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  • Profile picture of the author sylviad
    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    I keep having people I don't know PM me and offer me free copies of their courses in exchange for a testimonial post in the WSO thread.

    Here's the thing - I'm not comfortable giving a "testimonial" for a product you gave me for free. I'm a copywriter - if you want me to write marketing material for you, it's easy. Pay me.

    Outside of that, if this is something that happens a lot, how many of the testimonials in there are just garbage borne out of reciprocity?

    I don't see anywhere this is against the rules, but I'd say ethically, if you've been asked to do this and choose to comply, SAY SO in your "testimonial" fakey review sales post.

    I like when I can tell the difference between actual user feedback and bribed puffery. Anyone have a different opinion about this practice? Even if it's not against the rules, I'm curious what others think.
    Some time ago, I stopped reading testimonials because they all started to sound like the same old fake reviews. It's especially evident when you keep seeing the same "experts" promoting a wide assortment of products - these are people any of us would recognize. I find it hard to believe they actually review all of the products they endorse.

    Proof of sales in sales pages go ignored, too, because I have no way of knowing what's real and what isn't or that it's even that person's account. And of course, there's the simple fact they can be faked as well. Besides, just because the person has made a ton of sales supposedly with his system, we have no idea if the sales came from promotional efforts over the past year or are from recent marketing efforts.

    For my own products, however, I prefer to get testimonials from people who are interested in the topic, not just another marketer looking to do a favor.

    As far as ethical, I don't really see anything ethically wrong with giving away a copy to get a review. It happens all the time in the media. You send them your latest book and ask the editor to write and publish a review.

    My biggest concern is whether or not the testimonials come from people who actually looked at the product, which you can not guarantee, and if they are just doing someone a favor.

    From my understanding, you cannot ask for reviews here in exchange for a free copy. Isn't there a thread at the top? Can't look at the moment, but it seems to me there is.

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    • Profile picture of the author sanssecret
      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post


      I don't know....I think you give someone a copy for review, you are expecting a positive testimonial. The product is usually finished...you think the product owner is going to change anything based on feedback? Doubt it.

      If you called the guy on the phone and told them about how great their product was and gave them a few points of improvement, you don't think they'll ask you to put it in an email and write it to them for a testimonial?
      I guess it depends on the product creator, but I would hope they'd change it wherever possible. And if someone does give your product a glowing review, and it's honest, then why wouldn't you want to use that as a testimonial?

      The point of offering review copies is so you can get the feedback to see what needs changing (if anything). If you've already decided it's finished and you've no intention to change anything regardless of what your reviewers say, then you're not really asking for a review, you're asking for a testimonial.
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  • Profile picture of the author Istvan Horvath
    Usually, the long threads are boring because they resemble the treadmill: creating the illusion the discussion goes somewhere... and on page 5 you figure out it didn't move anywhere

    But this one is an exception; I find it interesting.

    Now, before doing IM in my previous life I used to be a critic - I wrote about books and theatre performances. I got either a free copy or free ticket. It was considered normal... and nobody ever expected from me to give a "testimonial" in exchange. It was just the traditional courtesy toward the journalist/critic. And I wrote my reviews (or critique, if you like that term better) to the best of my knowledge without ever thinking that somebody "bought" me (my opinion) by giving me free access to the product.

    I would like to emphasize it again: it was the norm to offer a free copy/ticket for the critic.

    With the background described above this forum confused me several times: either because some members use the words testimonial and review as synonyms or because in PMs I was offered a product "for review and give a testimonial".

    For requests like those I always have the same answer: If you think it is in my area of expertize I'd gladly review it and tell you my honest opinion, although I cannot promise it will be as positive that you would like to publish it. I am too old to waste my time with niceties therefore you will get a blunt opinion/critique of your stuff. Do you still want me to review it?

    On the other end of the same issue I have asked for reviews for a product of mine; I even made changes after receiving them in private and never used any of them as "testimonials" even if I was allowed to do it.

    And for my one and only WSO the "testimonials" are posts where real buyers gave their feedback - unsolicited.

    So, to answer the question in the title: no, it's not OK. But I might be an old-fashioned dinosaur from another world...
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  • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    I keep having people I don't know PM me and offer me free copies of their courses in exchange for a testimonial post in the WSO thread. Here's the thing - I'm not comfortable giving a "testimonial" for a product you gave me for free.
    Why not just hit the "REPLY" button and let them now where you stand? Problem solved! Right? Being the savvy and seasoned copywriter that you are, who better to express immense disdain of their of tactics with the type of articulation that will insure your mailbox will become less cluttered with these impromptu interruptions of your time?

    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    I'm a copywriter - if you want me to write marketing material for you, it's easy. Pay me.
    The next logical step in that case would be to send them your FEE structure or pricing point(s) along with your reply.

    Or, you could just simply ignore them.

    Or, you could warn them that the next time they randomly solicit a testimonial from you, you will consider their PM as spam and be forced to put them on blast.

    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    Outside of that, if this is something that happens a lot, how many of the testimonials in there are just garbage borne out of reciprocity?
    This is a fact of life in IM. It's also a fact of life in the WF. Everyone knows the value of testimonials; it's no secret. BUT, if anyone can determine, which ones are genuine and which ones are just garbage borne out of reciprocity, that person can make a mint in the Stock Market, Foreign Exchange, IPOs, Gold, Platinum and silver markets.

    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    I don't see anywhere this is against the rules, but I'd say ethically, if you've been asked to do this and choose to comply, SAY SO in your "testimonial" fakey review sales post.
    Why would the review be fake? If you go into most Publics Grocery Stores they usually have vendors within store providing free samples of goods and in turn they solicit testimonials and sales. So are the recipients bound to say in their review that they received a free sample?

    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

    I like when I can tell the difference between actual user feedback and bribed puffery. Anyone have a different opinion about this practice? Even if it's not against the rules, I'm curious what others think.
    First, I read the review you wrote on the Clickbank product and quite frankly, the individual with the WSO should have put the brakes on that WSO since you identified those easily correctable glaring issues. That was bad marketing on his part for not doing so; which is now, in all probability costing him sales.

    What he should have done was corrected the issues you stated and then released his WSO. That is the purpose of a TRUE REVIEW. And as CDarklock so aptly pointed out in Post #16, there is difference between a review and a testimonial.

    Technically, you can't provide a genuine authentic testimonial unless and until you have actually personally used, tasted, driven, slept in, ate, smelled, etc., etc., the product, service, tool or subscription service, etc., etc.

    IMHO, if people are asking you for reviews, which in the case of the Clickbank product was an actual PRODUCT EVALUATION, I'd say charge them for your services. What smart business person would expect you to do any otherwise?

    On the other hand, if they are brazenly plugging you for artificially concocted testimonials on a product for which you have absolutely no experience with, for the purposes of deceiving the masses about the actuality of their offering... ...a person of integrity is bound by their conscience to put the spurious marketers in their place.

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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      Why not just hit the "REPLY" button and let them now where you stand? Problem solved! Right?
      Well, I did, but the point of the post was to see what other people thought, and if this was a common occurrence. I'm not really a veteran here, so I didn't really know the context in which I was being approached. So I thought I'd ask. And then, you know, discuss. Which is the point of the forum, right?

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      Being the savvy and seasoned copywriter that you are, who better to express immense disdain of their of tactics with the type of articulation that will insure your mailbox will become less cluttered with these impromptu interruptions of your time?
      No one, but my post wasn't meant as a "woe is me" complaint - I rather wanted to start a conversation about it, which seemed to go fine for two pages, so I don't know why you want to be all condescending about it. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you didn't mean to sound as jerky as I'm reading you.

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      The next logical step in that case would be to send them your FEE structure or pricing point(s) along with your reply.

      Or, you could just simply ignore them.

      Or, you could warn them that the next time they randomly solicit a testimonial from you, you will consider their PM as spam and be forced to put them on blast.
      Or yet another option - start a thread in the forum without naming names, just to spur awareness and discussion. Is that an invalid option? I wasn't even asking what I should do, really, though I appreciate the advice. I was just posing a situation, and offering my opinion, and asking people to share theirs.

      Of your suggestions, which would you pursue? What's your actual thought on the matter, besides the cheeky tongue?

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      This is a fact of life in IM. It's also a fact of life in the WF. Everyone knows the value of testimonials; it's no secret. BUT, if anyone can determine, which ones are genuine and which ones are just garbage borne out of reciprocity, that person can make a mint in the Stock Market, Foreign Exchange, IPOs, Gold, Platinum and silver markets.
      But the problem visible even here is that some people who call themselves "marketers" actually don't even know the very important LEGAL distinction between a testimonial and a compensated review. It's worth discussing in public for the benefit of everyone.

      The comment is irrelevant, because no one was denying its existence anywhere - just talking about its existence here. Specifically on this forum.

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      Why would the review be fake? If you go into most Publics Grocery Stores they usually have vendors within store providing free samples of goods and in turn they solicit testimonials and sales. So are the recipients bound to say in their review that they received a free sample?
      You misread me. My fault for being unclear. If you've been compensated for a review, and you present it as a "testimonial" (in snarky quotes here as in the original statement), then it is indeed a fake or false testimonial.

      Per your question, the recipients don't have to disclose it, but you can be sure that the vendor has to say so in order to use those testimonials in their advertising.

      Which I guess could happen in the WSO area too, but since we're all marketers here... I just felt that if you're being approached because of one's alleged "respected" status - keep earning it and be honest about your relationship to the product.

      Again, not a whine or complaint. Maybe more of an imploring? Would that ruffle your skirt a little less?

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      First, I read the review you wrote on the Clickbank product and quite frankly, the individual with the WSO should have put the brakes on that WSO since you identified those easily correctable glaring issues. That was bad marketing on his part for not doing so; which is now, in all probability costing him sales.
      Yeah, I might very well have discussed this in private with him, but that's not what I was asked to do, whether it was what he expected or not, I can't say. I give the guy credit for taking it well, but I agree - he could have scored a home run by saying "I fixed it and added XYZ".

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      What he should have done was corrected the issues you stated and then released his WSO.
      He asked me to review it after it was already for sale. I tried to make it clear that this one was different than the one I posted about (which is why I included it only later when the discussion went there). So just clarifying, in the example there, such a scenario wasn't possible.

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      That is the purpose of a TRUE REVIEW. And as CDarklock so aptly pointed out in Post #16, there is difference between a review and a testimonial.
      I would say if you're "reviewing" it before it's public, it's more like a critique. Which I guess is yet another classification. I could have done that, too. But again, that's not what was being asked for. In this case or the others that led me to post here.

      I get the difference, personally. And probably the people asking might too. But maybe not the people responding. So I think the public discussion vs. a private exchange is more beneficial at least in this particular community.

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      Technically, you can't provide a genuine authentic testimonial unless and until you have actually personally used, tasted, driven, slept in, ate, smelled, etc., etc., the product, service, tool or subscription service, etc., etc.

      IMHO, if people are asking you for reviews, which in the case of the Clickbank product was an actual PRODUCT EVALUATION, I'd say charge them for your services. What smart business person would expect you to do any otherwise?
      Again, in the case of the clickbank product example I cited, I was contacted AFTER it was posted as a WSO, unsolicited, and when I said I'd take a look, I got sent the d/l link and the link to the thread where it was already for sale, and I was asked to post my "testimonial" in the thread.

      We wouldn't even be having this discussion here if I'd been asked to evaluate a product before public release.

      Originally Posted by Crew Chief View Post

      On the other hand, if they are brazenly plugging you for artificially concocted testimonials on a product for which you have absolutely no experience with, for the purposes of deceiving the masses about the actuality of their offering... ...a person of integrity is bound by their conscience to put the spurious marketers in their place.
      Or at the very least, bring up the topic with colleagues and peers to get a consensus view about community norms and expectations. I know there are lots of folks that start threads to grief or proselytize, but sometimes we REALLY DO want to discuss it with others.
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      • Profile picture of the author Crew Chief
        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        Well, I did, but the point of the post was to see what other people thought, and if this was a common occurrence. I'm not really a veteran here, so I didn't really know the context in which I was being approached. So I thought I'd ask. And then, you know, discuss. Which is the point of the forum, right?
        Yep! Well, at least that was the original intent of the forum (intelligent discussion) but some people may tend to disagree.

        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        No one, but my post wasn't meant as a "woe is me" complaint - I rather wanted to start a conversation about it, which seemed to go fine for two pages, so I don't know why you want to be all condescending about it. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you didn't mean to sound as jerky as I'm reading you.
        And it wasn't taken that way!

        I receive a constant barrage of requests from individuals whom have never interacted with me, don't know me from Adam's apple, requesting that I provide glowing testimonies for a product, service or ebook that I have zero knowledge of or experience with. My Skype is constantly abuzz with these requests. Hence, my statement about the interruption.

        Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt because you were definitely reading me wrong. condescending? Not hardly! I was paying you a compliment as to your penmanship skills. It obviously didn't go over to well. No harm no foul.

        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        Of your suggestions, which would you pursue? What's your actual thought on the matter, besides the cheeky tongue?
        Ha, ha, ha... show me the money...


        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        But the problem visible even here is that some people who call themselves "marketers" actually don't even know the very important LEGAL distinction between a testimonial and a compensated review. It's worth discussing in public for the benefit of everyone.
        Personally, for me, its just a matter of saying, "NO!" I'm not obligated to review anyone's product. They ask, I say, "NO!" End of story. I'm a nice guy and all that, but if pushed by an insistent marketer, I will escalate to DEFCON 1.

        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        You misread me. My fault for being unclear.
        Thank you...

        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        Again, not a whine or complaint. Maybe more of an imploring? Would that ruffle your skirt a little less?
        I never took the thread as engaging in whining or complaining. Some people handle things differently, and my response reflected that.

        As far as the actions the individual took to promote the WSO, as I stated, that was a bad business decision on their part. Hopefully others who have intentions of launching a WSO will take a cue and wake up to the fact that they might be better served paying for an in depth pre-launch product evaluation - as opposed to hastily launching and getting slammed and blasted over easily correctable issues.


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  • Profile picture of the author E. Brian Rose
    Many folks that create products often begin their threads by giving away review copies. This is a widely accepted practice. The fact that the reviewer received a "review copy" doesn't mean that they are obligated to write a good review.

    I have worked in the news media business most of my life and we received countless books from publishers for the same reason. It is a widespread practice.

    Another case in point is the fact that movie reviewers and entertainment media are often given sneak peek showings of movies before they come out. This is done so that the reviews are published before opening day.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
    Banned
    I stand by my "bribe" statement because it's true. Most people that get a lot of testimonials do something in order to get it. They are just flowing in from paying customers without any follow-up/prodding on their part.
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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

      I stand by my "bribe" statement because it's true. Most people that get a lot of testimonials do something in order to get it. They are just flowing in from paying customers without any follow-up/prodding on their part.
      I send people a written questionnaire that's designed to make people phrase their testimonial in the best, most detailed, focus way possible. They are very, very leading questions.

      I don't compensate them, but I won't lie when I say the questionnaire is attached to an extremely flattering and deliberately disarming piece of copy. It's designed to psychologically pressure them into giving me the testimonial.

      It's designed to get me a testimonial that will be of maximum sales value down the line, too.

      So yeah, I agree with you - it may not be bribery, but the very act of using testimonials in your sales material exists only because of the psychological influence factors they create.

      It's a way to artificially generate the benefits of word of mouth. In some form or other, you're buttering anyone you ask for a publishable testimonial, just by asking. Asking in itself is flattering, and triggers reciprocity.

      I agree with Dennis that the word "bribe" was the wrong word, and he's not going to let it go until you admit it.
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      • Profile picture of the author marciayudkin
        In some form or other, you're buttering anyone you ask for a publishable testimonial, just by asking. Asking in itself is flattering, and triggers reciprocity.
        This is not always the case! If you ask someone for a testimonial who is much more famous than you are, they hardly ever feel flattered and may feel either burdened, indifferent or annoyed. If the work they are asked to look at is very, very good, that negative feeling disappears.

        Many famous authors do look at work from less famous people and are willing to write blurbs for them in order to help them *if the work truly merits their praise.* This is why a new thriller writer will be incredibly excited if Stephen King writes a blurb (i.e. testimonial) for their book. Because book buyers understand that King wouldn't bother to do so for a book that was crap. The famous person has a lot to lose if he/she endorses something awful.

        The dynamics of asking are somewhat more complicated than some people have portrayed them in this thread, and the dynamics of how endorsements/testimonials/blurbs are perceived are rather complicated as well.

        Marcia Yudkin (author of 11 published books, and experienced in the art of asking for, writing and refusing to write book blurbs)
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      • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

        I send people a written questionnaire that's designed to make people phrase their testimonial in the best, most detailed, focus way possible. They are very, very leading questions.

        I don't compensate them, but I won't lie when I say the questionnaire is attached to an extremely flattering and deliberately disarming piece of copy. It's designed to psychologically pressure them into giving me the testimonial.

        It's designed to get me a testimonial that will be of maximum sales value down the line, too.

        So yeah, I agree with you - it may not be bribery, but the very act of using testimonials in your sales material exists only because of the psychological influence factors they create.

        It's a way to artificially generate the benefits of word of mouth. In some form or other, you're buttering anyone you ask for a publishable testimonial, just by asking. Asking in itself is flattering, and triggers reciprocity.

        I agree with Dennis that the word "bribe" was the wrong word, and he's not going to let it go until you admit it.
        This is a forum and I'm speaking loosely. I don't get why people would get so hung up by the word "bribe" even after I clarified what I meant. I'm not accusing any person (BY NAME) in this THREAD of bribing or being unethical. I'm saying that the process you participate in, ethically or not, has one result....the marketer getting positive testimonials.

        You can rip the product to shreds and tell him/her nobody should pay good money for it, but that "review" won't see the light of day. It's not like leaving a review on Amazon.com where the publisher is a third party.

        And not to be a d*ck, but honestly everyone can save me the stories about how they get tons of testimonials that are glowing and unsolicited. Good, great for you...you're a saint and I'm glad that you are bestowing your blessings upon the world. I expect those responses in forums where people sell services.....I just don't necessarily believe ALL of them.

        And yes, I'm an extreme cynic when it comes to anything IM related. I think it's warranted too!
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          And not to be a d*ck, but honestly everyone can save me the stories about how they get tons of testimonials that are glowing and unsolicited. Good, great for you...you're a saint and I'm glad that you are bestowing your blessings upon the world. I expect those responses in forums where people sell services.....I just don't necessarily believe ALL of them.

          And yes, I'm an extreme cynic when it comes to anything IM related. I think it's warranted too!
          So you ridicule those who are able to get testimonials without asking for them simply by selling great products by calling them saints and saying you're glad that they are bestowing their blessings on the world. ... and then say that you don't necessarily believe them ... so you are a cynic and believe most marketers are liars and shills.

          Rather pointless to even respond in that case. I'm sure anything I say is falling on deaf ears, since most of us are liars and shills anyway.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          This is a forum and I'm speaking loosely. I don't get why people would get so hung up by the word "bribe" even after I clarified what I meant.
          You don't get to make up your own meaning for a word with a well-established meaning, so maybe that's why. The word "bribe" is a pejorative. It's not logical to use it in a non-pejorative way, and it's extremely illogical to expect others to realize you were making up your own meaning.

          You can rip the product to shreds and tell him/her nobody should pay good money for it, but that "review" won't see the light of day. It's not like leaving a review on Amazon.com where the publisher is a third party.
          The OP is about WSO's, not independent websites. If someone buys a product or is given a review copy of your product and they post a bad review in the WSO, that is their right. As long as the negative points are not personal, and are valid points about the product, the negative review stays. A WSO poster cannot cherry pick which comments stay as long as the person commenting is a buyer or solicited reviewer, so long as the reviews stay within the rules. I can show you where I've left negative comments if you want to see them.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

      I stand by my "bribe" statement because it's true. Most people that get a lot of testimonials do something in order to get it. They are just flowing in from paying customers without any follow-up/prodding on their part.
      Well, go ahead and take a peek at my Flip Ace link in my sig. First off, I sold this site awhile ago and because I support my buyers of significant sites for a year, I keep the link in my sig for a year. Since the product was mine and I endorse the product, nothing wrong with that.

      Buy anyway .... every single testimonial or comment in that thread is unsolicited. I never ask for testimonials from my customers ... ever.

      You might want to consider that what some people do to get a lot of testimonials is to offer a product that is so high quality, that the customers feel like leaving a comment. That's the case with Flip Ace and it's fairly easy to spot WSOs and sales pages with a bunch of contrived shill comments over one that the customers are genuinely happy with the product.

      Same with my niche sites. Never have asked a single person to leave a comment in my sales threads, but they do anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

      I stand by my "bribe" statement because it's true. Most people that get a lot of testimonials do something in order to get it. They are just flowing in from paying customers without any follow-up/prodding on their part.
      bribe
      * noun: payment made to a person in a position of trust to corrupt his judgment
      * verb: make illegal payments to in exchange for favors or influence

      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

      Everyone bribes for testimonials...
      Still standing by your statement? You did not say most, you said EVERYONE. You're casting aspersions on every person in this forum that has ever offered a review or asked for one.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Leatherman
      Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

      I stand by my "bribe" statement because it's true. Most people that get a lot of testimonials do something in order to get it. They are just flowing in from paying customers without any follow-up/prodding on their part.
      Ryan,

      I have been around the WF for 5 years now and my friend you have used a very broad paint brush to say "most people" and that includes me. And frankly I resent what you said.

      The fact is when you offer a worthy product to the Warriors many will come back in and offer an unsolicited testimonial, without being asked or given a bribe.

      I think you need to wash out your brush (or your mouth). Even after you do that you owe a lot of Warriors an apology. Now put up or shut up.

      Ken Leatherman

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      • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
        Originally Posted by Ken Leatherman View Post

        I have been around the WF for 5 years now and my friend you have used a very broad paint brush to say "most people" and that includes me. And frankly I resent what you said.
        Regardless of how anyone feels about Ryan's attitude, I'm confused as to why when he says "most marketers are skeezy" (paraphrasing) some folks latch onto the "most" part and assume they're in that group, instead of the "skeezy" part and assuming "oh, he must be talking about those OTHER jerks".

        I may not be as cynical as he is, but let's be real. There's a reason that people look upon "marketing" with disdain most of the time. Mind you it may be due to just a few bad ones doing MORE than the good ones do, but out in the wild, that's essentially the same thing, right?

        Does anyone here really deny that there is not good reason why marketing and sales and all that gets a bad rep in general? It's what I do for a living and it's my passion and I'm perfectly fine with the fact that I'm a rogue ecologist in a field of scammers.

        In fact, it's actually kind of COOL to be all Robin Hood among the bandits.

        But I digress. When someone says "most people suck" I automatically think "yeah, those guys DO suck", not "that guy says I suck!" Maybe I'm the odd one out.
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        • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

          But I digress. When someone says "most people suck" I automatically think "yeah, those guys DO suck", not "that guy says I suck!" Maybe I'm the odd one out.
          Exactly. That's what I don't understand about the people griping. I'm saying I have a general distrust to people that are selling me stuff because there are tons of shady people out there. I would expect the honest ones to not take offense to that. Instead, the "honest ones" are getting pissed that someone would question their integrity.

          I find that extremely funny. I'm very sorry that you people don't understand why someone would distrust what a salesperson is saying. Haha.
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          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
            Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

            Exactly. That's what I don't understand about the people griping.
            I think it's primarily the part where you do things like tell people to get off their high horse about their pre-conditions.

            What, it's somehow condescending of me if I personally won't do something I think is unethical? You have a problem with that? Well, eat my entire arse, buddy.
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            • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
              Banned
              Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

              I think it's primarily the part where you do things like tell people to get off their high horse about their pre-conditions.

              What, it's somehow condescending of me if I personally won't do something I think is unethical? You have a problem with that? Well, eat my entire arse, buddy.
              Haha. Are you kidding me? I don't know how many times to explain this to you. I told people to get off their high horse because they were trying to be tout their ethics in a completely POINTLESS exercise.

              1) You take a product and promise an honest review.
              2) You tout your ethics by only giving testimonials to great products.
              3) Meanwhile 100 other marketers have the same product for review
              4) You know he/she won't use your comments if you slam the product. If you praise the product, it's still a farce because you're evaluating it AS IF you paid for it.
              5) The marketer gets his 90% positive testimonials.
              6) The 10% negative ones get tossed in the garbage, never to be seen.
              7) Ethical marketer pats himself for not falling victim to selling his integrity.
              8) He just contributed to the reason that the marketer got all these fluff testimonials. He threw stuff at the wall and saw what stuck.

              Lesson Being: Take the review, give the testimonial if you like it. Just don't pat yourself on the back for being a saint...you're just playing the game no matter how you cut it.

              Nothing wrong with it though.
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              • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                I told people to get off their high horse because they were trying to be tout their ethics in a completely POINTLESS exercise.
                No, Ryan, you just don't know what the point is.

                The point is for me to be honest and ethical myself.

                It isn't to create some sort of lasting effect in the world. It's just for me. It's purely selfish. You don't get a damn thing from it, and I don't care. I have morals and ethics because I find value in them.

                I advertise this, not because you are supposed to find value in ME being honest and ethical, but because you are supposed to think "hm, perhaps I should try this honest and ethical thing myself." This, too, is selfish. I would like you to be honest and ethical because it makes my life easier.

                But if you do try this honest and ethical thing, you won't say to yourself "gee, other people's lives are easier when I am honest and ethical." You will say "gee, MY life is easier when I am honest and ethical."

                And if you don't do that at all, I don't care. Because dishonest, unethical people tend to get what they deserve... usually at the hands of other dishonest, unethical people.

                He just contributed to the reason that the marketer got all these fluff testimonials.
                How does it contribute to other people lying when I tell the truth?
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                • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                  Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                  No, Ryan, you just don't know what the point is.

                  The point is for me to be honest and ethical myself.

                  It isn't to create some sort of lasting effect in the world. It's just for me. It's purely selfish. You don't get a damn thing from it, and I don't care. I have morals and ethics because I find value in them.

                  I advertise this, not because you are supposed to find value in ME being honest and ethical, but because you are supposed to think "hm, perhaps I should try this honest and ethical thing myself." This, too, is selfish. I would like you to be honest and ethical because it makes my life easier.

                  But if you do try this honest and ethical thing, you won't say to yourself "gee, other people's lives are easier when I am honest and ethical." You will say "gee, MY life is easier when I am honest and ethical."
                  I really like the selfish explanation of altruism here. Especially since I don't believe in altruism in the first place. Not that there's anything wrong with being selfish - it's our genetic imperative. But that's no reason to be a jerk. I enjoyed that bit.

                  Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                  How does it contribute to other people lying when I tell the truth?
                  Yeah, I think he got that bit wrong too. I think it's more that it's negative effort. But I don't think you'd knowingly take the time to write a negative review if you knew it was never going to see the light of day, right?

                  I had a thought about this along the lines of if they WERE to ****can your review, there's nothing stopping you from publishing it yourself, right? In fact, I feel like if it was me, I'd feel like I HAD to if I know I reported some serious flaws that didn't get corrected.

                  Here's the thing I want to talk about now:

                  I'd actually LIKE to do more honest reviews like the one I posted before, because I think they're needed. But I also don't want to come out of pocket to buy a bunch of crap.

                  If I get known as a guy who does this, people will obviously stop asking. So what would work? Would people donate to the "buy some crap to do a fair review from a knowledgeable person"?

                  Anyone have any ideas on how we, as a community, could systematize something like this? Would it be worth it? I think it would be valuable, no doubt. But worth it?
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                  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                    Anyone have any ideas on how we, as a community, could systematize something like this? Would it be worth it? I think it would be valuable, no doubt. But worth it?
                    We could create a membership site where we pool our money to do "group buys" of IM products. Then we could digitise them, and use a torrent tracker to distribute those products only to our members, and have a comment and rating system on every product's torrent listing so you can leave a review.

                    Wait, this sounds familiar
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                    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                      We could create a membership site where we pool our money to do "group buys" of IM products. Then we could digitise them, and use a torrent tracker to distribute those products only to our members, and have a comment and rating system on every product's torrent listing so you can leave a review.

                      Wait, this sounds familiar
                      I hope you're being cheeky.

                      I didn't say "pool buy" I said "donating to the cause" - no one gets the product but the reviewer. But I suppose that's imperfect just for the fact that the reviewer can't NOT benefit from the information. It could be seen essentially as "buy me the IM stuff I want" donations if there wasn't also some kind of community based selection mechanism.

                      Or maybe just take it the straight journalism route, put them on a blog and sell ads based on the traffic. That could work, possibly. It would have to be ads though, and not affiliate sales - I don't think that would work to have fair and balanced reviews mixed in with reward-based compensations.
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                      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                        Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                        I didn't say "pool buy" I said "donating to the cause" - no one gets the product but the reviewer.
                        There's something I'm intending to do with a membership site by year's end...

                        Basically, I get a lot of stuff with rights to include it in a paid membership site.

                        So I was going to make a site with three levels of stuff in it: free, paid, and premium. (Some stuff requires a minimum monthly fee for the site.)

                        And now I'm thinking: throttle the downloads for reviews. You download something, you owe the site a review on it. And since you're paying for the access, you've actually "bought" the product, so there's no ethical issue here.

                        If it got a large membership base, I'm betting some product authors would start donating their products to the site to get the reviews.
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                        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                        • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                          There's something I'm intending to do with a membership site by year's end...

                          Basically, I get a lot of stuff with rights to include it in a paid membership site.

                          So I was going to make a site with three levels of stuff in it: free, paid, and premium. (Some stuff requires a minimum monthly fee for the site.)

                          And now I'm thinking: throttle the downloads for reviews. You download something, you owe the site a review on it. And since you're paying for the access, you've actually "bought" the product, so there's no ethical issue here.

                          If it got a large membership base, I'm betting some product authors would start donating their products to the site to get the reviews.
                          Well, if they're paying, and yet required to do work, you're probably not going to get very well done reviews. And then who gets to be the judge who decides if a reviewer is good enough to download stuff from the site he pays to be a part of?

                          Maybe I don't quite understand the model.
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                          • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                            Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                            Well, if they're paying, and yet required to do work, you're probably not going to get very well done reviews.
                            Okay, I'm thinking out loud here, so the system probably isn't perfect.

                            Every member is allowed a certain amount of downloaded content. Say, 500 megs.

                            When they post a review, it's run through a moderation queue. If it's rejected, it goes back to the member for revision.

                            If it's accepted, they get that amount of their download quota back.

                            Every month, the amount resets. So if you really don't want to write reviews, then you just have to live with 500 megs a month.

                            Of course, for this to work, the archives need to contain several gigs of desirable material from day one.
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                            "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
                    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                    If I get known as a guy who does this, people will obviously stop asking. So what would work? Would people donate to the "buy some crap to do a fair review from a knowledgeable person"?
                    I actually had a request for this very thing from one of my newsletter subscribers. The writer wanted me to be the guy, and subscribers to chip in to buy products. So, I put it out there for the subscribers to comment on.

                    Out of 10,000+ subscribers, I got about 20 comments. A few liked it, a few asked questions like, "who will decide what software to buy," and a few didn't want to see that kind of content in my newsletter.

                    It was probably the least commented thing I've ever asked for comments about. Maybe people just don't want to pay for something if they don't get the something, even if they're only contributing a little bit?

                    Maybe someone else's mailing list would get better results, but it sure fell flat with my readers.
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                  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                    Banned
                    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                    Anyone have any ideas on how we, as a community, could systematize something like this? Would it be worth it? I think it would be valuable, no doubt. But worth it?
                    Ok ... time to divulge my *secret* method for free. I won't even charge for this.

                    1. Create an outstanding product
                    2. Put it up for sale
                    3. Provide outstanding customer service along with your outstanding product
                    4. People buy and leave great testimonials

                    Too simple ... right? Guess what, it actually works.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                      Ok ... time to divulge my *secret* method for free. I won't even charge for this.

                      1. Create an outstanding product
                      2. Put it up for sale
                      3. Provide outstanding customer service along with your outstanding product
                      4. People buy and leave great testimonials

                      Too simple ... right? Guess what, it actually works.
                      That's never been the issue - we know how to do it the right way. The issue is that through manipulation, there are people creating that same appearance to the outside observer without actually doing step 1, 3, or even 4 because the "testimonials" they have don't come from people who bought.
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                • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                  Banned
                  Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                  No, Ryan, you just don't know what the point is.

                  The point is for me to be honest and ethical myself.

                  It isn't to create some sort of lasting effect in the world. It's just for me. It's purely selfish. You don't get a damn thing from it, and I don't care. I have morals and ethics because I find value in them.

                  I advertise this, not because you are supposed to find value in ME being honest and ethical, but because you are supposed to think "hm, perhaps I should try this honest and ethical thing myself." This, too, is selfish. I would like you to be honest and ethical because it makes my life easier.

                  But if you do try this honest and ethical thing, you won't say to yourself "gee, other people's lives are easier when I am honest and ethical." You will say "gee, MY life is easier when I am honest and ethical."

                  And if you don't do that at all, I don't care. Because dishonest, unethical people tend to get what they deserve... usually at the hands of other dishonest, unethical people.

                  How does it contribute to other people lying when I tell the truth?
                  I guess I don't understand what you don't get about this. You don't buy the product, the product owner censors your response if it's negative, and you seem to think that this puts you on some kind of ethical high ground because you told the truth.

                  How does it contribute to other people lying when I tell the truth?


                  Because the entire process is a sham to the customer who ends up buying the product. You brag about your ethics, but there's nothing ethical about it. Your negative comments never saw the light of day. The owner cherry-picked the testimonials. And you knew that was going to happen from the start.

                  It would be slightly more favorable if someone approached you to review their product on your blog and were going to publish your findings regardless..and when a product sucked, you actually ripped it to shreds. But still, getting a free copy for evaluation is not the same as buying it.

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                  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                    Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                    you seem to think that this puts you on some kind of ethical high ground because you told the truth.
                    And you seem to think that when SOMEONE ELSE tells a lie, that somehow affects MY ethical standing.

                    Because the entire process is a sham to the customer who ends up buying the product.
                    Whose fault is that? Mine, for giving an honest review? Or the vendor, for pretending he didn't get it?

                    Don't blame me for someone else's lies. They're not my responsibility.
                    Signature
                    "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                    • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                      Banned
                      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                      And you seem to think that when SOMEONE ELSE tells a lie, that somehow affects MY ethical standing.

                      Whose fault is that? Mine, for giving an honest review? Or the vendor, for pretending he didn't get it?

                      Don't blame me for someone else's lies. They're not my responsibility.
                      You knew the product owner expects a testimonial and a "review" that bashes the product don't get published.

                      Who is more ethical?

                      Journalist A-Agrees to interview the president only if he realizes the entire story will get published and he will ask tough questions.

                      Journalist B-Agrees to interview the president with the understanding that the president will have final editorial review and may choose to can the interview if he comes off looking bad.
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                      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                        Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                        You knew the product owner expects a testimonial and a "review" that bashes the product don't get published.
                        However, a product that gets bad pre-release reviews may get improved before it's released. Or it may never be released at all.

                        So the bad review may contribute to a better product, or to a marketplace with one less piece of crap in it.

                        Sometimes it doesn't, and the owner releases it anyway.

                        But that's what he would have done without the bad review, anyway. With it, he gets to make a choice.

                        And I don't get to make it for him. But if I don't give him the review, and I'm the only one who would have given him an honest one... I sort of do make it for him, don't I?
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                        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                  • Profile picture of the author psresearch
                    Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                    I guess I don't understand what you don't get about this. You don't buy the product, the product owner censors your response if it's negative, and you seem to think that this puts you on some kind of ethical high ground because you told the truth.



                    Because the entire process is a sham to the customer who ends up buying the product. You brag about your ethics, but there's nothing ethical about it. Your negative comments never saw the light of day. The owner cherry-picked the testimonials. And you knew that was going to happen from the start.

                    It would be slightly more favorable if someone approached you to review their product on your blog and were going to publish your findings regardless..and when a product sucked, you actually ripped it to shreds. But still, getting a free copy for evaluation is not the same as buying it.
                    I understand your point, but there are so many OTHER problems with reviews even if they are completely unfiltered...

                    Even if both negative and positive reviews are posted with no censorship and no incentive...

                    1) The customer typically has no idea what qualifications the reviewer has who is doing the review so has no idea how to weigh the merit of EITHER a positive OR a negative review.
                    2) In certain fields it would be impossible to really establish qualifications (in certain fields it would be somewhat easier - say in Chess where there are established rating systems)
                    3) Even if qualifications were established most customers probably wouldn't understand what they mean anyhow.

                    Now, even though I do reviews I actually think their pointless and when someone asks on my blog "how do I know I can trust you" - I actually answer with some variation of "you can't know" which I believe is essentially true at some absolute level - and I explain WHY I believe they usually can't "know".
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                  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                    Banned
                    Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                    I guess I don't understand what you don't get about this. You don't buy the product, the product owner censors your response if it's negative, and you seem to think that this puts you on some kind of ethical high ground because you told the truth.

                    Because the entire process is a sham to the customer who ends up buying the product. You brag about your ethics, but there's nothing ethical about it. Your negative comments never saw the light of day. The owner cherry-picked the testimonials. And you knew that was going to happen from the start.
                    Well, you would certainly be the authority on what is a sham and what is not since you've already admitted that you bribe people for testimonials, which is an unethical practice in which not *all* of us engage in.

                    You are the second person this week to *share* with us marketers in a rude, inflammatory fashion and to say .... it's alright because you aren't my target market. I don't market to marketers.

                    So ... what is your point. Did you join an Internet Marketing forum to learn all the nasty, devious tricks we have up our sleeves? Or perhaps you're just a troll and like to insult people ... kind of makes you feel bigger or something, when it's fairly obvious to *some* of us that are ethics are indeed superior to yours.

                    Oh, and did you hire that baby to make you appear like a *nice* guy? That would be a really neat trick. It works for Dennis ... with that adorable puppy he hired .... But wait ... he actually is a nice guy.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                      Banned
                      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                      Well, you would certainly be the authority on what is a sham and what is not since you've already admitted that you bribe people for testimonials, which is an unethical practice in which not *all* of us engage in.

                      You are the second person this week to *share* with us marketers in a rude, inflammatory fashion and to say .... it's alright because you aren't my target market. I don't market to marketers.

                      So ... what is your point. Did you join an Internet Marketing forum to learn all the nasty, devious tricks we have up our sleeves? Or perhaps you're just a troll and like to insult people ... kind of makes you feel bigger or something, when it's fairly obvious to *some* of us that are ethics are indeed superior to yours.

                      Oh, and did you hire that baby to make you appear like a *nice* guy? That would be a really neat trick. It works for Dennis ... with that adorable puppy he hired .... But wait ... he actually is a nice guy.
                      Like I've said countless times, there's nothing wrong with anything that I've said here. It doesn't make someone unethical at all. But don't think that any process you layout to maintain your integrity is really doing anything. The process is rigged from the get-go.

                      And yes, that boy is an international model.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                        Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                        Like I've said countless times, there's nothing wrong with anything that I've said here. It doesn't make someone unethical at all. But don't think that any process you layout to maintain your integrity is really doing anything. The process is rigged from the get-go.

                        And yes, that boy is an international model.
                        My black book is getting bigger by the day.

                        Hey Ryan, please send me a list of all your sites so I know which ones to
                        stay far, far away from.
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                        • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                          Banned
                          Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                          My black book is getting bigger by the day.

                          Hey Ryan, please send me a list of all your sites so I know which ones to
                          stay far, far away from.
                          Yes, I'm the guy you should watch out for. It's the equivalent of backing away from the sweet innocent puppy dog while you're backpeddling into a lion. (I'm the puppy in the example, FYI)
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                          • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                            Banned
                            Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                            Yes, I'm the guy you should watch out for. It's the equivalent of backing away from the sweet innocent puppy dog while you're backpeddling into a lion. (I'm the puppy in the example, FYI)
                            Actually Ryan, since you admit to bribing for testimonials, you are exactly the kind of seller that I do not trust. It's usually fairly obvious to me when testimonials are contrived or when they are real and for those who use contrived testimonials, I take that as an absence of real feedback combined with the intent to deceive potential buyers with contrived testimonials.

                            Call it a puppy if you will, but that's one pup I'd put in the pound.
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                          • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                            Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                            Yes, I'm the guy you should watch out for. It's the equivalent of backing away from the sweet innocent puppy dog while you're backpeddling into a lion. (I'm the puppy in the example, FYI)
                            Ryan, the problem is, I don't like the way your mind thinks. You have a view
                            of this industry that is, IMO, warped.

                            In my experience, people who view things that way do so because they
                            themselves would do things that I would personally find distasteful.

                            I recognize that there is bad in IM. But I don't go around proclaiming that
                            they're all a bunch of crooks or whatever. I recognize that there are some
                            decent people out there who don't try to put one over on others.

                            You don't. You flat out said that everybody who gets testimonials has
                            ulterior motives or whatever it is you're arguing...that we're all no better
                            than used car salesmen.

                            Think I want to do business with somebody who thinks like that?

                            And why would you want to do business with me? If you think I'm no
                            better than anybody else, aren't you afraid that I'll do whatever I can
                            to stab you in the back the first chance I get?

                            I want to work with people who basically believe that there are some
                            honest and ethical people out there.

                            You don't appear to be one of those people who believe that.

                            Thus, I want nothing to do with you.

                            Clear enough?
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                            • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              Ryan, the problem is, I don't like the way your mind thinks. You have a view of this industry that is, IMO, warped.
                              Do you really think that's not an attitude that even a reasonable person might arrive at? I think a lot (even most) marketers are shifty. Sometimes not even on purpose, because we aren't required to take ethics to practice, and some of the people who teach are sociopaths.

                              Bad habits and practices proliferate. I think this. It's not indicative of anything wrong with the way my mind works, right? Cynicism is just jaded skepticism, and skepticism is a VALUABLE thing to teach to marketers and laypeople alike, no?

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              In my experience, people who view things that way do so because they themselves would do things that I would personally find distasteful.
                              If a lawyer says "most lawyers are crooks" does that mean he is a crooked lawyer? Not really. Could actually mean the exact opposite. You're right in only some of the cases, and if you're painting it with a broader brush than that, how is it any different than him using a broad brush to paint "most marketers" in a bad light?

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              I recognize that there is bad in IM. But I don't go around proclaiming that they're all a bunch of crooks or whatever.
                              Again, I'm pretty sure we worked around that, and if that part of it is still bugging you, it's because you won't allow him to amend his own statement for clarity.

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              I recognize that there are some decent people out there who don't try to put one over on others.
                              He does too. When has he not?

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              You don't. You flat out said that everybody who gets testimonials has ulterior motives or whatever it is you're arguing...that we're all no better than used car salesmen.
                              That's twice now you use "whatever" to imply that you don't quite have all the details in place, but yet you're talking about black-booking the guy. If you're soliciting testimonials for the purpose of using them to influence subsequent customers to buy, that's inherently a process of crafting done by the marketer, right?

                              You're collecting a bunch of lumber, and you're going to pick the best pieces to build your message out of. You can do this and not be unethical. Ulterior doesn't mean bad, it just means "not obvious".

                              To the non-marketing educated customer who doesn't know the concept of "social proof" or WHY we put testimonials in public view, I think that layperson would say that such a motive is an ulterior one to why THEY might think you're asking for a testimonial, right?

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              Think I want to do business with somebody who thinks like that?
                              A realist? I'm still not sure why being a skeptic or even a cynic automatically transforms you into the villain whose behavior has led you to that attitude.

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              And why would you want to do business with me? If you think I'm no better than anybody else, aren't you afraid that I'll do whatever I can to stab you in the back the first chance I get?
                              That's a little bit of a ridiculous example. It's not out of the question to assume that the people you do business with might do as much as they can to get the best end of the deal. It doesn't have to go straight to a "knives out" situation for skepticism of anyone, even the shiniest of saints, to be a smart thing to bring into any relationship.

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              I want to work with people who basically believe that there are some honest and ethical people out there.
                              That's fair enough. I don't think Ryan's excluded himself from that as far as I can tell, unless you want to focus on a purely semantic argument which I think he's clarified himself well past.

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              You don't appear to be one of those people who believe that.
                              Really? He's a cynic and a skeptic, not a nihilist. Jeez. I don't pick that up at all.

                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                              Thus, I want nothing to do with you.

                              Clear enough?
                              It's within your rights, but I don't see it as a reasonable response to the full spectrum of information that's been presented in the thread. You're a fair guy, I don't think you're giving him a fair shake.

                              But that's, just, like, my opinion, man.
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                              • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                                @ Colin

                                If you're wondering why I thanked you, it's because you brought up some
                                good points.

                                It doesn't change my opinion of the person. Skepticism is one thing and yes,
                                it's healthy and important to have a little bit of it. I always tell people to
                                do their research on a marketer before doing business with them because
                                yes, there are some really nasty people out there. I haven't buried my head
                                in the sand to that.

                                But this guy comes off as just over the top to me. Please don't ask me to
                                explain it. Call it a gut feeling if you like. I'm usually a pretty good read
                                on people and this one screams at me, "I'll do whatever I can to take
                                advantage of you IF we ever do business together."

                                He's all but flat out admitted it in his views of this industry.

                                And yes, it's nothing more than my opinion based on the tone and content
                                of his posts...regardless of whether he meant all or most.

                                Simply put...he appears to have more cynicism inside of him than I am
                                comfortable dealing with, and thus leads me to believe that I would not
                                be able to trust him in a business relationship.

                                Now, if you want to say I'm being unreasonable, that's certainly within
                                your right.

                                Just as it's within my right to refuse to do business with anybody I simply
                                don't trust.
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                                • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                                  Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                                  Now, if you want to say I'm being unreasonable, that's certainly within your right.

                                  Just as it's within my right to refuse to do business with anybody I simply don't trust.
                                  Thanks for the thanks!

                                  But I have to admit, a guy who built his business around the "Honest Income Program" - which as I understand it, was created due to the proliferation of bad guys selling DIShonest ones, I find it a little bit hypocritical of you.

                                  You clearly agree with him in principle - at least as far as your marketing messages go. Maybe all he needs is to work with more people like yourself for his cynicism to shift back into skepticism.

                                  But if you're making a gut judgement, that's fine - I appreciate you clarifying that, because the post I first responded to looked like you were trying to justify it logically.
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                                  • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                                    Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                                    Thanks for the thanks!

                                    But I have to admit, a guy who built his business around the "Honest Income Program" - which as I understand it, was created due to the proliferation of bad guys selling DIShonest ones, I find it a little bit hypocritical of you.

                                    You clearly agree with him in principle - at least as far as your marketing messages go. Maybe all he needs is to work with more people like yourself for his cynicism to shift back into skepticism.

                                    But if you're making a gut judgement, that's fine - I appreciate you clarifying that, because the post I first responded to looked like you were trying to justify it logically.

                                    Sometimes my logic and my emotions get in the way of each other and
                                    when that happens, the logic end usually takes a hit. In this case, I will
                                    freely admit it.

                                    Truth is, outside of a pure declaration "I am a thief and not to be trusted"
                                    there is no logic to whether or not you do business with a particular
                                    person. It's almost always a gut feeling unless you find some real damning
                                    evidence.

                                    And the smart cons usually don't leave any of that stuff around.

                                    If I'm going to be perfectly honest, in my 7 years plus online, I would
                                    say there are about a half dozen people who I have gotten to know
                                    who I would do business with.

                                    The rest, I either learned were outright scum or people who I simply
                                    don't know enough about.

                                    It's certainly not a great testimony to the honesty of this profession if
                                    that's all I can come up with in 7 plus years.

                                    But like I said, this is more gut than anything else and I still want to
                                    believe that there is more good than bad in this industry.

                                    I don't automatically believe the worst, expecting to be proven I'm wrong.

                                    That is the impression I got from Ryan's attitude...and that's if he could
                                    even be proven that he's wrong.

                                    Could we work together? Who knows? Maybe. Ironically, he might end up
                                    to be the best business partner I ever had.

                                    But with so much at risk (I've been in partnerships before that ended up
                                    in disaster) I dare not even take the chance.

                                    Actually, that's kind of ironic when you think about it.
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                                    • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                                      Banned
                                      Let me summarize everything I've written in this thread....

                                      1) I've already said I don't BRIBE for testimonials, I used the term loosely because I didn't think Webster's Brigade would hit me with a definition. I sell stuff to my customers, I email them asking for a review of the product/service, and I give them a coupon for doing so. Either way..good/bad. They still get it. I call it a "BRIBE", because 90% of them wouldn't do it unless I contacted them.

                                      2) I don't think someone is unethical because they give testimonials in exchange for a free review. The whole reason it was brought up because you'd have people saying "I would never give my testimonial for a free review. That's unethical and shady. I would give my review of a product though".

                                      And my point was, what's the difference? The outcome is pre-determined by the product owner. I don't hold judgement over either way of doing it, but I don't think one way is better than the other one either.

                                      3) I stated I don't believe that giving a review/testimonial for a free product is the same as a customer who purchased it actually doing it. It's not even in the same ballpark actually. A customer that comes to my site has to determine the trust level (Through the roof because it's me), price point, service level, shipping, and product itself. Me sending them a free product to someone doesn't give them a real experience of the company.

                                      4) Yes, I'm extremely skeptical of people that are trying to sell me lots of stuff. And I don't apologize for it. And it doesn't mean I think they'd steal my car if I left it running. Nobody can look out for your best interests like yourself.....and marketers will always oversell their product. So I am cautious with what I buy. And, knock on wood, I've NEVER regretted a purchase I've made in IM and I've spent a lot of money.

                                      5) If someone holds the door for me, I don't ask "I wonder what the h*ll that guy wants from me?"
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                                      • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                                        Banned
                                        One more thing....if you think I'm WAY TOO SKEPTICAL and don't understand your customer. Because whatever I said in this thread probably happens in about 3 seconds when a customer gets to your sales page...

                                        Chart Showing Traffic Figures -- How do I know he didn't just run through adwords, traffic swarm, or other paid traffic to pump up their numbers.

                                        Chart Showing Income --How do I know what the profit is on this product? What's the actual bottom line?

                                        Testimonials --Good for them, they got their buddies to say nice things about them.

                                        Bonus A, B, C --More worthless bonuses.

                                        Act Now, Price Increase --Oh, of course. Limited copies of a digital product. I better act before it's too late!

                                        Downsell If I Try To Leave--Wow, how come he didn't offer this earlier?
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                                        • Profile picture of the author dsprank
                                          Downsell If I Try To Leave--Wow, how come he didn't offer this earlier?[/QUOTE]

                                          Down selling is in almost every sales situation out there. I have sold very few cars at full asking price. And many things I bought have been discounted because they want to make a sale. I would rather take less money than no money at all. It is just business.

                                          Last year I bought an engagement ring for my finance, I liked the ring, knew she would like it, but I wanted to shop around first. The sales lady dropped $1500 because of a "Sale" that was supposed to be happening next weekend. She made some money, even though not as much, and I stopped shopping around.

                                          Dave
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                                          • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                                            Originally Posted by dsprank View Post

                                            Down selling is in almost every sales situation out there. I have sold very few cars at full asking price. And many things I bought have been discounted because they want to make a sale. I would rather take less money than no money at all. It is just business.

                                            Last year I bought an engagement ring for my finance, I liked the ring, knew she would like it, but I wanted to shop around first. The sales lady dropped $1500 because of a "Sale" that was supposed to be happening next weekend. She made some money, even though not as much, and I stopped shopping around.
                                            Downselling a real world object is different than trying to downsell a digital product. Here's why:

                                            1. The real-world item has a clear cost - you can tell the car and the diamond didn't just grow on trees. It's also obvious to most everyone that these vendors didn't manufacture these items themselves.

                                            There's a cost factored in, which the customer can use to try and estimate how much of a deal they are getting when they are downsold the same item or offered a discount for immediate purchase. In those cases, the customer feels like they are getting a deal, and the dealer is feeling the rake.

                                            In the case of digital media, there's no perceived production cost involved, and usually the seller is the manufacturer. There's nothing to compare your price point to, so when you drop it if they were going to walk away, that doesn't feel like money you're giving up to make the deal.

                                            It feels like you were giving them the rake on your initial offer. It devalues the product and the seller.

                                            2. There's inherent value in the physical objects. The value inherent in a car or a diamond is a function of the object itself. In other words, you know a car is valuable in and of itself. The sales person doesn't have to sell the customer on the value of having a car.

                                            The same with the diamond - the jeweler doesn't have to tell you that diamonds are expensive because they are scarce. You know the diamond is literally physical value.

                                            With a digital product, it's nothing but potential value. In order for a potential customer to put any value in it at all, you have to fully explain to them WHY it's worth the asking price. Sometimes it's a measure of time saved, or effort reduced, or whatever - but in the sales copy, you basically have to make the case for the price from whole cloth.

                                            When you then turn around and downsell the exact same item, it will totally break whatever spell you managed to weave in the salescopy of the previous page. It's yet another way to drastically reduce the value of the product and the seller, and it's counter-productive because good copy is EXPENSIVE.

                                            3. The car and the diamond are not unique items. People CAN go shop elsewhere and get it. There's an understanding of competition. If you aren't sacrificing a little to give them a deal, they can threaten to take their business elsewhere. It doesn't reduce the value of the purchase, just the amount you are perceived to get.

                                            With a digital product, they're typically unique to the seller, and since they're purely IP, it can't be very closely copied. When a prospect decides to walk, it's never to shop around. They've decided to do without because the cost is too great for the value implied.

                                            When you offer a downsell of that same item, you bring down their cost, but you also can't help but bring down the value as well, because there's not an easily comparable item available elsewhere.

                                            They can't have the internal conversation where they say "Well, this diamond would cost me at least $1800 anywhere else so this is a deal!"

                                            4. The seller takes a loss when they lose a physical sale. They have money invested in the merchandise in stock. They have a specific timeframe in which to turn that into a profit, or else they start losing money. Holding too much stock without moving it can bankrupt most any brick and mortar business.

                                            With a digital product, there's obviously no loss involved if you don't make one sale. You're not out anything at all if a customer walks away. In both reality and in the customer's eyes, the product is almost purely profit for you to begin with. The presumption is that you're being fair about the value.

                                            When you downsell it, there's no factual mitigating of loss. It just shows you were always willing to take less, which makes it seem like you were being greedy with the initial asking price.

                                            That's what immediately comes to mind.

                                            However, that does NOT mean you can't do effective downsells in IM. The trick is you MUST reduce value as well as cost. Usually the ideal is to have the cost go down more than the value, so as to sustain the desire for the initial value proposition, but eliminate the cost opposition.

                                            An easy way to do this with any product you're already selling is to add 20% more value on the front end offer. Then on the downsell, take away whatever it is you added - bonuses, certain features, whatever.

                                            You don't have to break apart an existing offer to remove value from the downsell, just add value to the front end.

                                            Not to sidetrack the thread or anything.
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                                            • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                                              Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                                              But here's my problem.

                                              If I told you that those things above are things I did legitimately, you
                                              wouldn't believe me.

                                              You've already made up your mind that I'm just a shifty marketer.

                                              That's where I have a problem with your whole attitude.

                                              Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me that if I told you I was an ethical marketer and
                                              didn't do the things you mentioned in the post I quoted that you believe
                                              me.

                                              If you're honest with me and yourself, you know that you can't.

                                              Maybe now I've made my point.
                                              You've made A point, but it's still not clear to me why you're mad at Ryan for having the attitude, and not mad at the majority of shifty marketers who gave him (and all our customers) that bad attitude?

                                              It sucks, but it's not his fault any more than it is yours.
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                                        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                                          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                                          One more thing....if you think I'm WAY TOO SKEPTICAL and don't understand your customer. Because whatever I said in this thread probably happens in about 3 seconds when a customer gets to your sales page...

                                          Chart Showing Traffic Figures -- How do I know he didn't just run through adwords, traffic swarm, or other paid traffic to pump up their numbers.

                                          Chart Showing Income --How do I know what the profit is on this product? What's the actual bottom line?

                                          Testimonials --Good for them, they got their buddies to say nice things about them.

                                          Bonus A, B, C --More worthless bonuses.

                                          Act Now, Price Increase --Oh, of course. Limited copies of a digital product. I better act before it's too late!

                                          Downsell If I Try To Leave--Wow, how come he didn't offer this earlier?

                                          Does the above go on? Absolutely. Won't even argue it as I've seen it
                                          myself.

                                          But some of what you see does not fit into this category.


                                          The traffic figures are legit and attainable.
                                          The income is attainable and expenses are minimal
                                          The testimonials are real because the product actually is good
                                          The bonuses are not worthless.
                                          The price increase is legit (just check my WSOs if you think I'm kidding)

                                          As for the downsell, I don't do those so I can't comment.

                                          But here's my problem.

                                          If I told you that those things above are things I did legitimately, you
                                          wouldn't believe me.

                                          You've already made up your mind that I'm just a shifty marketer.

                                          That's where I have a problem with your whole attitude.

                                          Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me that if I told you I was an ethical marketer and
                                          didn't do the things you mentioned in the post I quoted that you believe
                                          me.

                                          If you're honest with me and yourself, you know that you can't.

                                          Maybe now I've made my point.
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                                          • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                                            Banned
                                            You missed the point entirely. You accused me of being too skeptical of marketers. What I've said in this thread is what goes through the minds of visitors to most IM salespages. Whether people say it or not, they are skeptics of IM'ers. You can either accept it, or get offended when you THINK someone is accusing you of being shady.

                                            Seriously, I have no idea why you think I said you were a "shifty marketer". These are things you are making up in your mind somehow. I've never looked at any of your stuff, I've never visited one of your pages, and I don't read most of your posts. Don't take it personal.

                                            Which newbie is more likely to get ripped off more?

                                            Newbie 1--Is skeptical as hell about everything marketers say and decide, on a one-by-one basis, which ones they feel they can trust or buy from. Realizes nobody knows their own needs like themselves.

                                            Newbie 2--Realizes that most marketers are good people and honest. So they don't question what they read on salespages and buy when something sounds good.


                                            You seem to take everything very personal. I mention I'm skeptical of the claims of IM'ers and you think I'm skeptical of YOUR claims, even though I've never looked at your stuff. Haha. Hey, I feel your pain man. Skeptical prospects make your job harder.
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                                            • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                                              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                                              You missed the point entirely. You accused me of being too skeptical of marketers. What I've said in this thread is what goes through the minds of visitors to most IM salespages. Whether people say it or not, they are skeptics of IM'ers. You can either accept it, or get offended when you THINK someone is accusing you of being shady.

                                              Seriously, I have no idea why you think I said you were a "shifty marketer". These are things you are making up in your mind somehow. I've never looked at any of your stuff, I've never visited one of your pages, and I don't read most of your posts. Don't take it personal.

                                              Which newbie is more likely to get ripped off more?

                                              Newbie 1--Is skeptical as hell about everything marketers say and decide, on a one-by-one basis, which ones they feel they can trust or buy from. Realizes nobody knows their own needs like themselves.

                                              Newbie 2--Realizes that most marketers are good people and honest. So they don't question what they read on salespages and buy when something sounds good.


                                              You seem to take everything very personal. I mention I'm skeptical of the claims of IM'ers and you think I'm skeptical of YOUR claims, even though I've never looked at your stuff. Haha. Hey, I feel your pain man. Skeptical prospects make your job harder.

                                              I'll take that as a no since you didn't directly answer my question.

                                              Personally, I don't care what you think of me. I was just using it as an
                                              example.

                                              Again, I never said skepticism isn't good. You seem to take it to an
                                              extreme and seem to believe that everybody else does as well.

                                              Based on what?

                                              Have you personally received tons of emails from prospects telling you
                                              that they don't believe a damn thing on your sales page?

                                              If so, makes me wonder what your sales pages are like.

                                              I rarely get those kind of emails. Do I get them? Sure. But because I am
                                              pretty straight forward with my sales copy (yeah, I know...not good
                                              salesmanship) most of my prospects trust me.

                                              I don't know what kind of people you regularly run into that you feel the
                                              way you do but whatever. It isn't my intent to change you. That would
                                              be futile at best and a total waste of time at worst.

                                              I just want you to understand why your attitude about this industry (one
                                              that I have plenty of problems with myself) rubs me the wrong way.

                                              I think you're an extremist.

                                              And extremists make me feel uncomfortable.
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                                              • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                                                Banned
                                                Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                                                I'll take that as a no since you didn't directly answer my question.

                                                Personally, I don't care what you think of me. I was just using it as an
                                                example.

                                                Again, I never said skepticism isn't good. You seem to take it to an
                                                extreme and seem to believe that everybody else does as well.

                                                Based on what?

                                                Have you personally received tons of emails from prospects telling you
                                                that they don't believe a damn thing on your sales page?

                                                If so, makes me wonder what your sales pages are like.

                                                I rarely get those kind of emails. Do I get them? Sure. But because I am
                                                pretty straight forward with my sales copy (yeah, I know...not good
                                                salesmanship) most of my prospects trust me.

                                                I don't know what kind of people you regularly run into that you feel the
                                                way you do but whatever. It isn't my intent to change you. That would
                                                be futile at best and a total waste of time at worst.

                                                I just want you to understand why your attitude about this industry (one
                                                that I have plenty of problems with myself) rubs me the wrong way.

                                                I think you're an extremist.

                                                And extremists make me feel uncomfortable.
                                                If I didn't know better, I'd say you were purposely distorting what I had to say just to be a PITA.

                                                You want me to tell you that you're an ethical marketer? How could I possibly do that? Because you want me to believe that you're an ethical marketer? I've never seen your sales materials, bought your product, read your posts, or experienced your service.

                                                I don't have salespages because I don't sell IM products or info-products. I've never gotten an email questioning what I write. The point was that people are CONSTANTLY QUESTIONING SALES LETTERS AS THEY READ THEM. You know it happens because people make fun of them all the time in here. Yet you think I'm an extreme skeptic because I tell you that this is what happens. Haha.

                                                Using the Steve Wagenheim line of thought, because you called me Extreme. I associate that with radical islam. And radical islam is about blowing stuff up. So you are accusing me of blowing things up.

                                                How could you do that to me steve????
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                                                • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                                                  Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                                                  You want me to tell you that you're an ethical marketer? How could I possibly do that? Because you want me to believe that you're an ethical marketer? I've never seen your sales materials, bought your product, read your posts, or experienced your service.
                                                  You want to call marketers unethical? How can you possibly do that? Because you want us to believe they're unethical? You've never seen their sales materials, bought their products, read their posts, or experienced their service.

                                                  The point was that people are CONSTANTLY QUESTIONING SALES LETTERS AS THEY READ THEM.
                                                  No they're not. If they are, that's a bad sales letter. A good sales letter pulls the prospect out of his intellectual questioning space and into the emotional persuasion space FROM THE HEADLINE.

                                                  All the intellectual bits going down the sales page are just to shut that intellectual part up. If you don't see ANYTHING rational or logical on the page, your left brain starts ringing an alarm and going


                                                  So you put bulleted lists and graphs and charts and stuff just so the right brain goes "ooh, data, there's data" and it shuts up.

                                                  And then the user hits "buy now" and you make your sale and you have money.

                                                  And this is where the ethical marketer differs.

                                                  The user gets his product, and his left brain has now calmed down. And we hit the stage people call "buyer's remorse." For many people, this is also called "your wife" - you spent how much on what?

                                                  And that's when you come back to the sales page and start showing the right-brain stuff to someone - either yourself or a skeptic - who quite rightly accuses you of buying based on a state of emotional vulnerability.

                                                  If the data doesn't hold up, or your product doesn't make good on your claims, you get refunds and chargebacks.

                                                  The unethical marketer doesn't think that far. He thinks the only purpose of the sale is to get the money. If he can make you give him the money, he's done, and he'll run off.

                                                  And like I said, the world takes care of this, so I don't have to.
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                                                  "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                                                  • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                                                    Banned
                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    You want to call marketers unethical? How can you possibly do that? Because you want us to believe they're unethical? You've never seen their sales materials, bought their products, read their posts, or experienced their service.
                                                    I don't call them unethical or ethical if I don't know them or their material. Is that very strange to you? Steven wanted me to say that he's an ethical marketer because he doesn't lie and I wouldn't say that because I don't know him.

                                                    No they're not. If they are, that's a bad sales letter. A good sales letter pulls the prospect out of his intellectual questioning space and into the emotional persuasion space FROM THE HEADLINE.
                                                    You should maybe consider outsourcing your amazing ability of reading people's minds as they read salespages. That could take a lot of guesswork out of testing.

                                                    I'm saying, be skeptical as hell because it will serve you better.

                                                    You're saying, the world takes care of those bad sellers because bad products means bad things for bad product sellers.

                                                    My way, the outcome is the buyer never spends $1997 and gets ripped off when the alarm bells go off.

                                                    Your way, is that the buyer does get ripped off, but Karma takes over when the seller gets what's coming to him.
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                                                  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    You want to call marketers unethical? How can you possibly do that? Because you want us to believe they're unethical? You've never seen their sales materials, bought their products, read their posts, or experienced their service.
                                                    I dunno. I've seen way more unethical ones than ethical ones.

                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    No they're not. If they are, that's a bad sales letter. A good sales letter pulls the prospect out of his intellectual questioning space and into the emotional persuasion space FROM THE HEADLINE.
                                                    Yeah, but that's a gross simplification. There's no person with an identical location for the emotional/logical switch, and even with the same person, it's different from product to product and need to need. Even the most persuasive salesletter in the world still needs to overcome at least a minimal bit of skepticism just to get the headline read.

                                                    In fact, the best headlines will even tickle skepticism, and then agitate it in the lead copy. The one legged golfer letter comes to mind.

                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    All the intellectual bits going down the sales page are just to shut that intellectual part up. If you don't see ANYTHING rational or logical on the page, your left brain starts ringing an alarm and going

                                                    [LEFT]
                                                    So you put bulleted lists and graphs and charts and stuff just so the right brain goes "ooh, data, there's data" and it shuts up.
                                                    Yeah, I agree with that - the existence of any semblance of logical justification at all often IS enough logical justification if you can create a strong enough emotional connection.

                                                    My favorite thing to do is be so tight with the list and have them so deeply desirous of the product during prelaunch, the the existence of a salesletter is enough justification - they skip over it and go straight to the cart!

                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    And this is where the ethical marketer differs.
                                                    Well, hopefully before that, because what were initially talking about was how the testimonials were generated. If the ethical and unethical guys differ only in what happens after that sale, and would use the exact same tactics on the sales page, what are we even arguing about?

                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    The user gets his product, and his left brain has now calmed down. And we hit the stage people call "buyer's remorse." For many people, this is also called "your wife" - you spent how much on what?
                                                    Not being argumentative - just want to add to the discussion - I feel there's a distinct phase BEFORE "buyer's remorse" called "cooldown" where they are still basking in the glow of acquisition and the realization of expenditure hasn't clicked.

                                                    You can engage the customer here directly with what I call a "value bomb" communication which essentially segues from cooldown directly into consumption, and the buyer skips over the remorse phase because there's no window in which it can occur.

                                                    To do this in practice, I've used a thank you page re-direct that goes to a blog post which delivers a massive pure content piece comprised of presenting the seller/mouthpiece for the information as having shared personal values with the customer by way of telling example stories.

                                                    Then you ask them for comments about what it is that they expect to get from the course and what their hopes are.

                                                    NEVER EVER ask them about their "buying experience" at this phase. You want to get them to anchor the hope and expectation directly to the consumption BEFORE they think about how they just paid for something.

                                                    Anyways, you might find that valuable.

                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    And that's when you come back to the sales page and start showing the right-brain stuff to someone - either yourself or a skeptic - who quite rightly accuses you of buying based on a state of emotional vulnerability.
                                                    I dunno - I tend to think the rationalization's only really in play when trying to create and sustain the emotional state. Having to fall back on the logic when in a depressed mode like "why did I even buy this?" - that IS what happens with buyer's remorse, but you should try to avoid that phase altogether.

                                                    And IF they have to go back to reference the logic, you need to ALSO re-stir the emotion - the logic doesn't justify the sale, it justifies the FEELING the sales material is creating.

                                                    To do this, I like to make sure I do Feature > Advantage > Benefit bullets, where the benefits are tightly synched to creating the emotional acceleration, so that by the time they get to the end of the "features" list, they are convinced of this solution's myriad advantages, AND they're already imagining the eventual benefit.

                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    If the data doesn't hold up, or your product doesn't make good on your claims, you get refunds and chargebacks.

                                                    The unethical marketer doesn't think that far. He thinks the only purpose of the sale is to get the money. If he can make you give him the money, he's done, and he'll run off.
                                                    Some lower end unethical marketers don't think that far. Some unethical marketers think even FARTHER than this. For example, some of the copy stories I use in "cooldown" are co-opted from a study I read about what con artists do when the mark wises up after the game is run, but before the scammers can vanish - so they can "cooldown" the mark enough to accept the screw, and not go to the cops.

                                                    I'm sure someone will probably say it's unethical of me to use this material in this way. I say whatever, because I can pick and choose the people I write for, and I choose authentic ones.

                                                    Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                    And like I said, the world takes care of this, so I don't have to.
                                                    The environment only weeds out parasites, not predators. Predators are smart enough to move to match their prey no matter how evasive they get. It's the predators who are the most dangerous, because their prey are groomed to become zealots and evangelists, and if they're real snappy, they get traded up into the predator big leagues themselves.

                                                    I don't have a solution for that, but it's not "let the world take care of them" because they only got where they are in the first place by effectively manipulating the world around them.
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                                                    • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                                                      Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                                                      I dunno. I've seen way more unethical ones than ethical ones.
                                                      That's because the unethical ones can get their stuff out there faster. Good cooking takes time, but you can shovel Hot Pockets out of the microwave every four minutes. In the time it takes me to make two calzone, you can prepare several dozen Hot Pockets.

                                                      And when the customer comes along, he'll say "man, I see way more Hot Pockets than I do real food."

                                                      Yup. That's how it works. Quality takes time. And when you find it, you'll notice it's not cheap. You can bitch all day about how Hot Pockets are cheaper and still have the same basic sauce, cheese, and meat wrapped in a crust. If you think that's all that matters, buy the Hot Pockets.

                                                      There's no person with an identical location for the emotional/logical switch, and even with the same person, it's different from product to product and need to need.
                                                      My sales letters tend to be written for one product and one need, with an expectation that our traffic is going to be roughly the same kind of person.

                                                      Yeah, I agree with that - the existence of any semblance of logical justification at all often IS enough logical justification if you can create a strong enough emotional connection.
                                                      Marketers generally face the biggest decision of whether to become unethical when they figure out that having what people want is hard - and it's much easier to just make people want what you have instead.

                                                      Well, hopefully before that, because what were initially talking about was how the testimonials were generated. If the ethical and unethical guys differ only in what happens after that sale, and would use the exact same tactics on the sales page, what are we even arguing about?
                                                      It's not the exact same tactics. It can't be. The unethical tactics work, even when they're obvious, because the buyer is in a susceptible state. It's like the drunk chick in your bed demanding that you ravish her - it doesn't matter whether she'd let you do it NOW, it only matters if she'd let you do it in a rational state.

                                                      If you know damn well she wouldn't, and is only doing this because she's drunk, you have to say no. You can't "deliver" your "product."

                                                      Heh.

                                                      But if it's something she'd do when she was sober, hey, sound the "all clear" and place the order.

                                                      You can engage the customer here directly with what I call a "value bomb" communication which essentially segues from cooldown directly into consumption, and the buyer skips over the remorse phase because there's no window in which it can occur.
                                                      None of this affects or impacts the "your wife" variant.

                                                      And IF they have to go back to reference the logic, you need to ALSO re-stir the emotion - the logic doesn't justify the sale, it justifies the FEELING the sales material is creating.
                                                      See above. The "your wife" variant doesn't feel that emotion. She's not your prospect. She's not your market. You probably can't stir the emotions at all.

                                                      some of the copy stories I use in "cooldown" are co-opted from a study I read about what con artists do
                                                      If you are in marketing and you don't study con games, you are an idiot.

                                                      Incidentally, you should also be studying acting, street performing, and stage magic. Mime is optional.

                                                      The environment only weeds out parasites, not predators.
                                                      There is a big difference between the environment and the world. Predators usually have their own predators.
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                                                      "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                                                      • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        That's because the unethical ones can get their stuff out there faster. Good cooking takes time, but you can shovel Hot Pockets out of the microwave every four minutes. In the time it takes me to make two calzone, you can prepare several dozen Hot Pockets.
                                                        I understand WHY we see more of them, but the analogy here, no matter how hungry it's making me, doesn't fit. I was talking about how it's not unfair to honestly arrive at a blanket conclusion like "most marketers are unethical".

                                                        That's precisely because they're more visible. The point I failed to make originally was that I'm a marketer myself, one who makes a fair attempted at being as ethical a liar and manipulator as possible, and when I look around my full contingent of self-described colleagues...

                                                        I see more unethical than ethical - whether it's deliberate or not. Some are just dummies who don't know better, and they would never have done it that way anyway if someone hadn't put a photocopied homemade treasure map in their hands.

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        My sales letters tend to be written for one product and one need, with an expectation that our traffic is going to be roughly the same kind of person.
                                                        Fair enough. Our target clients paying us for copy are different then.

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        Marketers generally face the biggest decision of whether to become unethical when they figure out that having what people want is hard - and it's much easier to just make people want what you have instead.
                                                        Yeah - that's a nice way to put it, although I don't think it's unethical to be good at making people want what you have instead having what they want. As long as I'm not selling something that's an unfair price, or that will harm them, I try to make as many people as possible want what I'm pushing REAL BAD. Would you consider that unethical?

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        It's not the exact same tactics. It can't be.
                                                        I just misunderstood what you were saying - it seemed like you were stating that the difference between ethical and unethical was only in the post-sale portion of the exchange.

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        The unethical tactics work, even when they're obvious, because the buyer is in a susceptible state. It's like the drunk chick in your bed demanding that you ravish her - it doesn't matter whether she'd let you do it NOW, it only matters if she'd let you do it in a rational state.
                                                        So would you say it doesn't matter whether or not you make the customer happy after the sale, it's wrong to get them to buy something they weren't being rational about wanting?

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        If you know damn well she wouldn't, and is only doing this because she's drunk, you have to say no. You can't "deliver" your "product."

                                                        Heh.
                                                        I dislike the analogy, because it compares writing really emotional copy with rape kinda. I don't think we can be talking about the same thing, because that seems a little harsh.

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        But if it's something she'd do when she was sober, hey, sound the "all clear" and place the order.
                                                        So to make sure I understand, they have to bring the desire to the table beforehand? I'm not sure if you're saying it's not okay to put people into an emotional state with copy to sell them something they wouldn't want unless they read your copy... :confused:

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        None of this affects or impacts the "your wife" variant.

                                                        See above. The "your wife" variant doesn't feel that emotion. She's not your prospect. She's not your market. You probably can't stir the emotions at all.
                                                        No, but if I can juice you up emotionally, you're more inclined to not let her have a say, either. That's why a lot of copy has the whole "master of your own destiny" and male-centric pleas to the desire to provide. That's all caveman-brain "Daddy Pants" stuff.

                                                        Then you go into talk about how many times they've been talked out of "going for it" in their lives, just because someone else told them their dreams were stupid, futile, flimsy things. But they're not.

                                                        Those dreams are bedrock, and you can start building a FUTURE on them right now. Today. And show all the people who ever said or thought that nothing you ever did in your whole life would ever matter.

                                                        Give the prospect something like that, they'll say just about anything to anyone to defend and justify the deep urge to satisfy a desire that scratches that deep.

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        If you are in marketing and you don't study con games, you are an idiot.

                                                        Incidentally, you should also be studying acting, street performing, and stage magic. Mime is optional.
                                                        Also psychology, biology, epistemology, memetics, political propaganda, and comic books. Especially comic books from the 70s and 80s.

                                                        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                                                        There is a big difference between the environment and the world. Predators usually have their own predators.
                                                        Who are the predators to "bad guy" marketers though? I don't know who there is that takes them the way they take others. At least, not beyond one or two now and again.
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                                                        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                                                          @Caliban & Colin

                                                          I have no problem with salesmanship. I'll whip up the most compelling copy
                                                          that I can to make that prospect take out his wallet and punch in his
                                                          credit card number.

                                                          What I won't do is sell him a product that I damn well know won't do jack
                                                          sh*t for him.

                                                          There has to be something of substance inside the box when they open it.

                                                          Otherwise, your copy is an insult to everybody in this profession.

                                                          I have turned down copywriting jobs after looking at the product because
                                                          the product sucked.

                                                          How many copywriters will do that?

                                                          Not many. Most will find a way to make that horse manure in the box
                                                          smell like roses in spring.

                                                          Well, if you can look at yourself in a mirror, I guess that's okay.
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                                        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
                                          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                                          One more thing....if you think I'm WAY TOO SKEPTICAL and don't understand your customer. Because whatever I said in this thread probably happens in about 3 seconds when a customer gets to your sales page...

                                          Chart Showing Traffic Figures -- How do I know he didn't just run through adwords, traffic swarm, or other paid traffic to pump up their numbers.

                                          Chart Showing Income --How do I know what the profit is on this product? What's the actual bottom line?

                                          Testimonials --Good for them, they got their buddies to say nice things about them.

                                          Bonus A, B, C --More worthless bonuses.

                                          Act Now, Price Increase --Oh, of course. Limited copies of a digital product. I better act before it's too late!

                                          Downsell If I Try To Leave--Wow, how come he didn't offer this earlier?
                                          I may actually be more skeptical than you when it comes to the first three items on your list. I don't believe traffic or income images ever because they're too easily faked. Testimonials I'll believe if I know the person and trust them, otherwise I take them with a grain of salt.

                                          Bonuses can be worthless, but they can also be great. I create all my own bonuses and tailor them to the product being sold. For example, I have an ebook that teaches CSS. The bonus is another ebook with 31 CSS reference charts. Very appropriate to the product being sold, and is, in fact, also sold as a separate product.

                                          Scarcity, upsells, and downsells are marketing tactics. They can be good for the customer and marketer, or the tactics can be abused, but I see nothing inherently wrong with them.
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                                          • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
                                            Banned
                                            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

                                            I may actually more skeptical than you when it comes to the first three items on your list. I don't believe traffic or income images ever because they're too easily faked. Testimonials I'll believe if I know the person and trust them, otherwise I take them with a grain of salt.

                                            Bonuses can be worthless, but they can also be great. I create all my own bonuses and tailor them to the product being sold. For example, I have an ebook that teaches CSS. The bonus is another ebook with 31 CSS reference charts. Very appropriate to the product being sold, and is, in fact, also sold as a separate product.

                                            Scarcity, upsells, and downsells are marketing tactics. They can be good for the customer and marketer, or the tactics can be abused, but I see nothing inherently wrong with them.
                                            Steve, Dennis is questioning your integrity. :rolleyes:
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                                            • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                                              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                                              Steve, Dennis is questioning your integrity. :rolleyes:

                                              Dennis can question my integrity all he wants.

                                              This whole conversation, for me anyway, has really become pointless.

                                              Ultimately, here is the bottom line and I don't think there is a person here
                                              who can argue it.

                                              Each person has to run their business the way they feel is best and each
                                              person can choose to do or not do business with whoever they feel is
                                              best for their business model.

                                              Now maybe we can all get along and play nice. :rolleyes:
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                                            • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
                                              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                                              Steve, Dennis is questioning your integrity. :rolleyes:
                                              I realize that was tongue in cheek, but do you realize I never questioned your integrity? My issue with you was with your sweeping accusations about others, never about how you conduct your own business.

                                              And I'll thank you not to use me to take a jab at Steve.
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                              • Profile picture of the author Marty S
                                Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post


                                I want to work with people who basically believe that there are some
                                honest and ethical people out there.

                                You don't appear to be one of those people who believe that.

                                Thus, I want nothing to do with you.

                                Clear enough?
                                Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                                That's twice now you use "whatever" to imply that you don't quite have all the details in place, but yet you're talking about black-booking the guy. If you're soliciting testimonials for the purpose of using them to influence subsequent customers to buy, that's inherently a process of crafting done by the marketer, right?
                                Yes Colin, there are some Warriors here who seem to always spend too much time here pushing their own high moral ground in spite of the realities of the marketplace, of which Ryan has, IMHO, expressed better than everyone in this thread so far.

                                Although I am not entirely in agreement with Ryan, (or anyone else) in this mega-thread, I can tell you from personal experience that when anyone in this forum goes out of their way to tell another Warrior that THEY will NOT do business with them because of THEIR so-called business ethics, well, let's just say, you still have nothing to worry about, and YOU - Ryan - are better off.

                                However, it's entirely ok to disagree and debate, it's not Ok to publicly call someone out as an untrustworthy business person.

                                That tactic in itself is unprofessional and beyond the scope of debating controversial topics. Neither party looks better for it. JMO.
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                          • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                            Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                            Yes, I'm the guy you should watch out for. It's the equivalent of backing away from the sweet innocent puppy dog while you're backpeddling into a lion. (I'm the puppy in the example, FYI)
                            Yeah, honestly I'm not sure if I missed a turn somewhere or what. I know some people got real hung up on how they thought you called them all bribers or whatever, but I thought we'd cleared up how you meant "bribe" in the sense that giving someone a freebie for opting in is a "bribe", and that by everyone, you meant "most everyone".

                            I don't have a problem with the way you said you "bribe" people into giving you testimonials either. If someone wants to blacklist you for semantics, they certainly can, but I don't really find myself disagreeing principally with anything you've said, especially since you clarified what you meant.

                            "But I thought you meant something else, therefore I want to keep arguing that!"

                            I don't get it myself. I see you as saying "a lot of marketers are shifty characters - you should assume some construction and crafting was done to their messaging, possibly to distort or decontextualize it, so don't judge a book by its cover."

                            For the people standing up and saying "But I'm Not Shifty And My Buddies Aren't Either!" - well, that's not really disagreeing with the point. So arguing that against it won't go anywhere, because I don't think you're even trying to defend "All marketers do this".

                            Stripping aside cynicism and snarky tone, I agree with you. I have to go pretty far out of the way to misunderstand that into "everyone buys testimonials inappropriately and therefore it's okay" or whatever it is that people want to blacklist you for.

                            But hey, maybe they just really hate that baby you got. You dick.
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                      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                        Banned
                        Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                        Like I've said countless times, there's nothing wrong with anything that I've said here. It doesn't make someone unethical at all. But don't think that any process you layout to maintain your integrity is really doing anything. The process is rigged from the get-go.
                        I don't need a process to maintain my integrity. My integrity is just a part of me and I don't need you to acknowledge that *some* of us possess that quality. My customer's opinions of the way I do business are the only opinions that matter to me.

                        Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                        And yes, that boy is an international model.
                        I suspected as much.
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                        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                          Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

                          I don't need a process to maintain my integrity. My integrity is just a part of me and I don't need you to acknowledge that *some* of us possess that quality. My customer's opinions of the way I do business are the only opinions that matter to me.



                          I suspected as much.

                          Can I ask a stupid question. Why are you wasting your time arguing with
                          this, um, person?

                          He's not worth it. In fact, next to the blog spammers, I'd pretty much say
                          he's the last person I'd ever want to do business with.

                          Now, can somebody tell me where I can get a new black book?

                          My old one is all filled up.
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                          • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
                            Banned
                            Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                            Can I ask a stupid question. Why are you wasting your time arguing with
                            this, um, person?

                            He's not worth it. In fact, next to the blog spammers, I'd pretty much say
                            he's the last person I'd ever want to do business with.

                            Now, can somebody tell me where I can get a new black book?

                            My old one is all filled up.
                            lol. I don't know Steve. I always end up in these controversial threads and somewhere along the way end up smacking myself upside my head for even bothering.
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                      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
                        Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

                        But don't think that any process you layout to maintain your integrity is really doing anything. The process is rigged from the get-go.
                        Ryan, you seem to have some problem understanding that not doing what you want isn't the same as not doing anything.

                        If another marketer wants to lie to his customers, I can't stop him.

                        The only person I can control is me.

                        If you ask me something, I can tell you the truth.

                        If you go "hmm, I don't like the truth - I'll tell lies instead," that's not my problem.

                        It isn't my job to make you tell the truth. There's a system out there for that. When you give me a product and I say "this is crap," and you sell it anyway, the people who buy and pay for that crap are going to be mad.

                        They'll complain about it. If you don't do anything, they'll demand refunds. If you don't give them, they'll do chargebacks. And once enough people do chargebacks, your merchant account will shut you off and you can't sell your crap anymore.

                        I can't protect you from that, either. But if you're smart, when you get my review that your product is crap, you'll do something about it. And if you're not, well, stupid is as stupid does.

                        Reviews aren't just about your sales page. They're about market analysis. If you don't know that, and just want crap to post on your sales page, you're a moron. You shouldn't be selling things. I don't have to tell you that; the world will tell you that. And the world has a way of fixing those things.

                        In general, you're better off if you fix these things yourself instead of letting the world do it. The world tends to be a little permanent about these things.
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                        "The Golden Town is the Golden Town no longer. They have sold their pillars for brass and their temples for money, they have made coins out of their golden doors. It is become a dark town full of trouble, there is no ease in its streets, beauty has left it and the old songs are gone." - Lord Dunsany, The Messengers
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                        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
                          Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

                          Ryan, you seem to have some problem understanding that not doing what you want isn't the same as not doing anything.

                          If another marketer wants to lie to his customers, I can't stop him.

                          The only person I can control is me.

                          If you ask me something, I can tell you the truth.

                          If you go "hmm, I don't like the truth - I'll tell lies instead," that's not my problem.

                          It isn't my job to make you tell the truth. There's a system out there for that. When you give me a product and I say "this is crap," and you sell it anyway, the people who buy and pay for that crap are going to be mad.

                          They'll complain about it. If you don't do anything, they'll demand refunds. If you don't give them, they'll do chargebacks. And once enough people do chargebacks, your merchant account will shut you off and you can't sell your crap anymore.

                          I can't protect you from that, either. But if you're smart, when you get my review that your product is crap, you'll do something about it. And if you're not, well, stupid is as stupid does.

                          Reviews aren't just about your sales page. They're about market analysis. If you don't know that, and just want crap to post on your sales page, you're a moron. You shouldn't be selling things. I don't have to tell you that; the world will tell you that. And the world has a way of fixing those things.

                          In general, you're better off if you fix these things yourself instead of letting the world do it. The world tends to be a little permanent about these things.

                          That was beautiful. I can't wait for FNC tonight.
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

          Regardless of how anyone feels about Ryan's attitude, I'm confused as to why when he says "most marketers are skeezy" (paraphrasing) some folks latch onto the "most" part and assume they're in that group, instead of the "skeezy" part and assuming "oh, he must be talking about those OTHER jerks".
          Fair question.

          Colin, I don't believe "most" marketers are "skeezy" (lol - is that really a word?). The marketers I know are ethical, decent people. Granted, my circle of marketing friends can only represent a small part of the entire field, but that's true of anyone. To say "most" is injecting opinion as fact, because the fact is, he doesn't know "most" marketers, he only knows the circle he runs with. We're not arguing fact, we're arguing against his opinion, and his opinion, in my opinion, unfairly paints a negative picture of my career field.

          I believe one of the main contributing reasons the field has a bad rep is because people tend to want to blame others for their lack of success. Hence, when someone doesn't give an honest effort at following a marketing plan, for example, rather than admit a lack of success is their own fault and their own responsibility, many will blame the product or the marketer.

          I'm not saying there are no bad apples, just the tree produces more good fruit than bad in my opinion. I've bought dozens of marketing products, and I've only asked for one refund. That says more to me about the integrity of the marketplace than one broad and cynical opinion uttered from someone who admits to bribery and assumes everyone does it.
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          • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            Colin, I don't believe "most" marketers are "skeezy" (lol - is that really a word?). The marketers I know are ethical, decent people. Granted, my circle of marketing friends can only represent a small part of the entire field, but that's true of anyone.
            Well yeah, you're not going to hang out with the jerks if you want to keep feeling good about yourself. Nor will you seek them out, or seek out the places where they congregate. But they're out there.

            Skeezing it up left and right, I tell you!

            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            To say "most" is injecting opinion as fact, because the fact is, he doesn't know "most" marketers, he only knows the circle he runs with. We're not arguing fact, we're arguing against his opinion, and his opinion, in my opinion, unfairly paints a negative picture of my career field.
            Why do you say that when he expresses his opinion, that it's automatically "fact" - we argue opinions all the time. He says "most" and that's what he believes, but he even adds that he's cynical.

            I'm not as cynical, but I happen to agree if not in number, in perception, because the bad guys go bigger.

            That being said, while you might have more faith in your peer group as marketers, in the word at large, I would think you would admit that it's best to approach all salesmen and marketing with full awareness, right? Not just assume that what's shown is what's what - that in itself is actually GOOD advice, vs. "trust all marketers because most are good!"

            Put both into practice and see where you end up. And you don't have to go far, just go in the WSO forum and buy as if it's all fact. You'll end up broke, banned, and battered up all over the web.

            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            I believe one of the main contributing reasons the field has a bad rep is because people tend to want to blame others for their lack of success. Hence, when someone doesn't give an honest effort at following a marketing plan, for example, rather than admit a lack of success is their own fault and their own responsibility, many will blame the product or the marketer.
            Yeah, I actually write copy that makes people feel that way on purpose to keep refunds down. Guilt over laziness is a great stick mechanism, because while not all people are smart enough to use any given info product, we ALL suffer from laziness. And we all feel guilty over it.

            That's got no bearing whatsoever in how the products are sold or marketed, or whether they even actually work even IF implemented accurately.

            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            I'm not saying there are no bad apples, just the tree produces more good fruit than bad in my opinion.
            And you're entitled to your opinion, and to defend it. I just think maybe your own little tree is an exception in the orchard. The problem with powerful marketing and persuasion is that it works no matter what the user's intent for the target.

            Because of that, OF COURSE it attracts the more sociopathic elements in our culture - essentially, if you're flexible with ethics, marketing is as close as you can get to outright legal con-artistry.

            After all, the guidelines we have for operating are just that - guidelines. Until a specific case is brought in, things aren't clad in iron. That's GOOD because it allows room for innovative practices, methods, and opportunities inside things like technological innovation.

            It's bad because as long as those areas are grey, there are people who will skirt the blackest end of the gradient because it's how THEY ARE, so they don't think there's anything wrong with it.

            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            I've bought dozens of marketing products, and I've only asked for one refund.
            I would say that's less due to the quality of all products available for sale, and more to do with how you know enough about marketing in practice and in reality to pick the GOOD from the BAD. Not everyone does.

            Also, to offer a counter example, the only IM product I ever refunded was actually GOOD - just not QUITE as thorough as the salesletter implied, and it was unclear of the level of practitioner it was aimed at (it was a comprehensive beginner course, I needed the intermediate info, which wasn't included).

            Just because you refund doesn't mean it's bad, and just because you're good at picking good vendors doesn't mean that you're not getting a diamond in the rough every time.

            Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

            That says more to me about the integrity of the marketplace than one broad and cynical opinion uttered from someone who admits to bribery and assumes everyone does it.
            It says more about you and the kind of person you are - one of integrity - than it does about the market. The same blanketing he's doing is what you're doing. Your blanket is nicer and doesn't make people uncomfortable, but you're still looking through your own lens and seeing yourself out there. Just like he is.

            If one were to balance between yours and his differing opinions, would it be fair to say that the following advice would apply equally well to both?:

            "Hope for the best, plan for the worst."

            or maybe

            "Trust but verify."
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            • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
              Man, what a wild thread.

              Let's get back to the original question.

              The OP asked, "Is it okay to buy testimonials?"

              If you contact a prospect and say, "I'll give you $10 if you provide me with
              a good testimonial for my product" then, IMO, that is outright bribery and
              flat out wrong.

              However, if you contact the prospect with the following:

              "Hi. I have a new product that I think is pretty good. I'd like you to take
              a look at it and let me know what you think. Also, if you can think of any
              way to improve it, I'd like to know that too. I'd like to use your feedback
              as a testimonial if you like the product. Let me know if I can send you a
              copy of it"

              I see nothing wrong with this.

              I mean for crying out loud, none of you have ever gotten those free tubes
              of toothpaste or box of crackers in the mail?

              I kind of miss those days. I don't seem to get them anymore. But I love
              getting free stuff so I can get to try it before I commit to buying it. If I
              like it, I have no problem telling the product creator I liked it. If I didn't
              like it, it saves me the trouble of having wasted money on it.

              I in NO way feel obligated to tell Proctor & Gamble that their "Rooty Tooty
              Peppermint Toothpaste" was good if it sucked.

              So why is it people here have so much trouble with this concept?

              It isn't hard. Hell, a child understands it.

              Kid: Daddy, can I try that gum.
              Dad: Sure sweetie. (hands kid gum)
              Kid: (chews gum) Yuck...daddy that's awful!

              I mean how hard is this folks?
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              • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

                Man, what a wild thread.

                Let's get back to the original question.

                The OP asked, "Is it okay to buy testimonials?"

                If you contact a prospect and say, "I'll give you $10 if you provide me with
                a good testimonial for my product" then, IMO, that is outright bribery and
                flat out wrong.

                However, if you contact the prospect with the following:

                "Hi. I have a new product that I think is pretty good. I'd like you to take
                a look at it and let me know what you think. Also, if you can think of any
                way to improve it, I'd like to know that too. I'd like to use your feedback
                as a testimonial if you like the product. Let me know if I can send you a
                copy of it"

                I see nothing wrong with this.

                I mean for crying out loud, none of you have ever gotten those free tubes
                of toothpaste or box of crackers in the mail?

                I kind of miss those days. I don't seem to get them anymore. But I love
                getting free stuff so I can get to try it before I commit to buying it. If I
                like it, I have no problem telling the product creator I liked it. If I didn't
                like it, it saves me the trouble of having wasted money on it.

                I in NO way feel obligated to tell Proctor & Gamble that their "Rooty Tooty
                Peppermint Toothpaste" was good if it sucked.

                So why is it people here have so much trouble with this concept?

                It isn't hard. Hell, a child understands it.

                Kid: Daddy, can I try that gum.
                Dad: Sure sweetie. (hands kid gum)
                Kid: (chews gum) Yuck...daddy that's awful!

                I mean how hard is this folks?
                Well that was the title of the post, but if you actually read it, your example is not what I was talking about at all. If the example you give is what I (and I assume others) were being asked for, there wouldn't even be a discussion.

                And to be fair, when Proctor and Gamble sends you free toothpaste, it's quite a bit different than when someone who is part of the (admittedly very large) community you are a part of sends you a private message.

                A little bit of a bad analogy there, but you're otherwise right. Yes, we know this is how it should work, but it's not. And some people don't know better, as evidenced throughout the thread.

                So your last point about even a child getting it isn't accurate either.

                But thanks for weighing in with the Wagenhiem perspective on how it ought to be.
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            • Profile picture of the author NicheMayhem
              In a perfect world people would be more aware of themselves. They would take into account the possibilities of good and bad repercussions of their actions and words.

              I'm not going to quote anyone here but attempt to make a broad statement:

              It is easy to reflect one's self by displaying an outward opinion of others.

              Now to give an opinion on the discussion:

              I think it is possible that the person who approached Colin for a review did so by taking into account the benefit Colin's talent in copywriting could have on his WSO's thread. In the end Colin showed his obvious analytical and thorough way of digging far into things. He left a honest and ethical review of the product which began by pointing out flaws in the copy and then continued to analyze the copy as it reflected the product. To me as having seen many posts by Colin and know that he is in copywriting, that is what I would expect. But, nothing changes the fact that I doubt Colin really needs the product and simply agreed to offer his thoughts and review out of the goodness of his heart.

              The author though intelligently acknowledged the fair and just review as a testament to the honesty his customers can expect, a smart move and a good attempt to quell the negative impact those flaws being pointed out may have. Who knows what the overall impact will be, but Colin seems to feel slightly invested and may have put some more of his flare in if he had a benefit. Nothing wrong with that in my book and you gave what was asked so really there is no more you could have done and already went above and beyond.

              Those who ask for reviews from people with the impression they can benefit should do so with regard to that person's expertise and offer something in return. Paying an expert or someone with some pull in the neighborhood to allow their name to be attached to a product is not at all wrong in my book. It is entirely up to that person doing the reviewing however to appoint ethics into the equation or not. If I bought that product which Colin said was good but had some flaws and come to find out it was total junk (NOT THAT IT IS, I DON'T KNOW) I wouldn't only lose respect for the product creator. It is risky business to attach yourself to something and regardless of if you take your reputation into account or not, consumers will.

              It is easy to sit and be critical of if giving out copies warrants reviews but it is often more difficult to predict exactly the effect that review could have on your reputation.

              Those who show their ethics and honesty in here, I commend you and take note of it, as it pertains to offering up your dignity in aiding a stranger for little in return. In business though, why scratch the back of those who cannot scratch yours? Comes down to compassion and being a goodhearted individual. Honesty though is always dependent upon the individual to uphold, which in Colin's profession is probably a very hard thing to maintain but the assumption should never be made that the benefit his skills give to paying customers will be offered to those who ask just because they give a copy.

              This aspect of marketing hints on the overall subject of a previous thread about another topic. In this case though it seems there is a bit of entitlement being thrown around, as a humbled and respectful marketer myself I would put the same value on an opinion which is positive or negative when my product was reviewed by so and so but that is obviously not the overall belief. It should be though, it really should. Whether it is positive or negative the opinion of an expert is a valuable thing, unless you plan to replace yourself as the expert and remove them of their status. Super cocky but not uncommon.

              I think Colin's original intent was to discuss if paying for a review is ethical. In my opinion it is, but that review should always be as honest as possible while still adding in the sizzling flare which gives the paid amount reason to exist, sounds pretty tough to accomplish doesn't it?

              Disclosing the fact that it was a paid review would immediately and drastically reduce the weight those words within the review could sway my decision to buy, therefore I do not think it would be wise to enter into this realm with monetary gains on the horizon. Movie critics end up having a huge group on both sides of the fence and I know I wouldn't want that exposure to reflect my main business interests. Can't please all the people all of the time and stepping into other peoples business to offer opinions simply sounds too risky and full of headaches. Just my opinion though.
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            • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
              Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

              Well yeah, you're not going to hang out with the jerks if you want to keep feeling good about yourself. Nor will you seek them out, or seek out the places where they congregate. But they're out there.

              Skeezing it up left and right, I tell you!
              I don't don't doubt they're out their, I don't think they are the majority. It can't be proven either way.

              Why do you say that when he expresses his opinion, that it's automatically "fact" - we argue opinions all the time.
              Well gee Colin, maybe because he stated it as fact. He didn't say "I think" or "I believe" or "in my opinion." When you state something as fact, especially using inflammatory words like "bribe" and accuse everyone of doing it, I think you should expect a few contrary voices.

              That being said, while you might have more faith in your peer group as marketers, in the word at large, I would think you would admit that it's best to approach all salesmen and marketing with full awareness, right?
              Sure, but wouldn't you agree that it's wise to be prudent in all things? If so, then why should it be any different with salesmen? In my opinion, there are a lot of crooked lawyers, plumbers, accountants, and any other profession you want to name. But I'm not going to accuse them all of bribery.
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Ken Leatherman View Post

        Ryan,

        I have been around the WF for 5 years now and my friend you have used a very broad paint brush to say "most people" and that includes me. And frankly I resent what you said.

        The fact is when you offer a worthy product to the Warriors many will come back in and offer an unsolicited testimonial, without being asked or given a bribe.

        I think you need to wash out your brush (or your mouth). Even after you do that you owe a lot of Warriors an apology. Now put up or shut up.

        Ken Leatherman

        The Old Geezer
        I'm sure he has offended quite a few people by painting most with his broad brush ... and yet, he's the one here admitting to bribing people for testimonials.

        I bribe people for them and I admit to that. I don't offer the discounts to get better reviews, I offer it to get more testimonials. But I'm not naive enough to say it doesn't influence the reviews.
        And he then says ... trust me. Right. As far as I could throw him.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Ken Leatherman View Post

        Ryan,

        I have been around the WF for 5 years now and my friend you have used a very broad paint brush to say "most people" and that includes me. And frankly I resent what you said.

        The fact is when you offer a worthy product to the Warriors many will come back in and offer an unsolicited testimonial, without being asked or given a bribe.

        I think you need to wash out your brush (or your mouth). Even after you do that you owe a lot of Warriors an apology. Now put up or shut up.

        Ken Leatherman

        The Old Geezer

        I'm not going to apologize, I never accused any person by name of doing anything wrong.

        I said I am highly suspicious of the things people say when they are trying to sell me stuff.

        I'm really sorry I just totally blew people's minds here and said that. I didn't realize that it's so offensive to people that I don't trust every word that comes out of a salesperson's mouth.

        You want to more credibility with me? Drop all your signatures and then I'll put more trust in what you have to say. I don't expect anyone to do that, but don't feign outrage over this.

        Did you take offense to what Seth Godin says?

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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          I'm not going to apologize, I never accused any person by name of doing anything wrong.

          I said I am highly suspicious of the things people say when they are trying to sell me stuff.

          I'm really sorry I just totally blew people's minds here and said that. I didn't realize that it's so offensive to people that I don't trust every word that comes out of a salesperson's mouth.

          You want to more credibility with me? Drop all your signatures and then I'll put more trust in what you have to say. I don't expect anyone to do that, but don't feign outrage over this.
          I'm not trying to sell you anything. In fact, if you give me your paypal email address, I'll go into DLGuard and ban you from buying anything from me.

          Which part of my signature would you like me to remove ... the two free ebooks, or the Flippa site that I've already sold, or maybe the Flip Ace product that I no longer own? lol. How about my main product ... the gorgeous little niche sites for a whopping $27?

          Personally, I'm happy for the signatures. When I see products that interest me in the sig files of people I respect on this forum, I check it out and have never been disappointed.
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          • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
            Banned
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            I'm not trying to sell you anything. In fact, if you give me your paypal email address, I'll go into DLGuard and ban you from buying anything from me.

            Which part of my signature would you like me to remove ... the two free ebooks, or the Flippa site that I've already sold, or maybe the Flip Ace product that I no longer own? lol. How about my main product ... the gorgeous little niche sites for a whopping $27?

            Personally, I'm happy for the signatures. When I see products that interest me in the sig files of people I respect on this forum, I check it out and have never been disappointed.
            No need to ban me, I don't buy that many IM products. Plus I don't want to get money stolen from my paypal account somehow. (Heh, heh)

            ***Disclaimer***For the ultra-sensitive, I was just kidding on the above statement. I realize that I am dealing with the most upstanding people on the planet and I would never dare question anyone's intelligence.***
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            • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
              Banned
              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

              No need to ban me, I don't buy that many IM products. Plus I don't want to get money stolen from my paypal account somehow. (Heh, heh)

              ***Disclaimer***For the ultra-sensitive, I was just kidding on the above statement. I realize that I am dealing with the most upstanding people on the planet and I would never dare question anyone's intelligence.***
              Once again, so condescending. Of course you wouldn't question anyone's intelligence ... it's just their ethics that you don't believe.

              I rather suspect that you believe "most" people to be the same as you and that is perhaps why you have such low opinions of their ethics.
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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

            What is so hard to understand about that? People claim they will review products and give the conditions in which they would do so (They will be honest, etc). I pointed out that it's a pointless exercise because bad reviews don't get used, and they know it.
            It's not a "pointless exercise" to me. If I agree to a private review, the product owner can do whatever they want with the notes. If I give permission to publish, they can publish or not.

            If I'm asked to post feedback on a running WSO, one of my conditions is that I post it in the thread where the seller can't change it, delete it, etc. If that condition is not acceptable, then no review. Simple.

            Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

            I'm not ridiculing anyone. I get unsolicited testimonials all the time. But I get a lot more by simply asking people to leave their product review at the website and I'll give them a discount. I give the discount to ANYONE who leaves a review, but I'm not so naive to think that giving them a discount doesn't get me more positive reviews.
            This is different, at least in my perception, than "bribing for testimonials"...

            I have no problem with this practice of yours at all because

            a) the offer is right up front where anyone can see it (you do tell people about the reward up front, right?). and

            b) you give the discount to reward the act of leaving a review as opposed to rewarding the content of that review. I'm also risking the assumption that you use all reasonable reviews, not just the glowing ones.

            Rather than calling it "bribing for testimonials", I'd call it rewarding participation. "Bribe" is a loaded word, and I think you know it even though you've taken the position of having to defend it.

            Maybe it's because I've taken a few more trips around the Sun than you appear to have taken, but I'm leery of perfect products with only glowing reviews. Even bikini models have flaws, or there would be no need for photo editing or airbrushing...
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        • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          I'm not going to apologize, I never accused any person by name of doing anything wrong.
          You're right, you accused EVERYONE of bribery. You don't have to name names when you accuse EVERYONE, because, well, EVERYONE includes EVERYONE so there is no need to include names.
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  • Profile picture of the author shaggard
    I don't get why people would get so hung up by the word "bribe" even after I clarified what I meant.
    You don't understand why people are hung up on it? Really? Have you heard of fighting words? Some words in the English language are inflammatory. bribe is one of them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Ryan D, I'd love to tell you just what I think of you but I've already been
      banned once from this forum, so I will refrain.

      However, I pity anybody who is so cynical that they feel like you do.

      It must be a very bitter and angry life to believe there is no good in the
      world of Internet marketing.

      And if we're all like that, what does it say about you?

      Or are you the exception?

      Just sayin.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
        Banned
        Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

        WTF are you talking about?
        What is so hard to understand about that? People claim they will review products and give the conditions in which they would do so (They will be honest, etc). I pointed out that it's a pointless exercise because bad reviews don't get used, and they know it.

        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        So you ridicule those who are able to get testimonials without asking for them simply by selling great products by calling them saints and saying you're glad that they are bestowing their blessings on the world. ... and then say that you don't necessarily believe them ... so you are a cynic and believe most marketers are liars and shills.

        Rather pointless to even respond in that case. I'm sure anything I say is falling on deaf ears, since most of us are liars and shills anyway.
        I'm not ridiculing anyone. I get unsolicited testimonials all the time. But I get a lot more by simply asking people to leave their product review at the website and I'll give them a discount. I give the discount to ANYONE who leaves a review, but I'm not so naive to think that giving them a discount doesn't get me more positive reviews.

        It just is tiring that whenever some question, no matter what it is, there are 5 pages of people claiming they operate their business like Mr. Rodgers. And I'm talking about stuff that I don't even consider a big deal, like offering review copies for testimonials. You just have pages and pages of people trying to make themselves sound like Mother Theresa. I'm sorry, but I think when your customers are reading the board, most people would go overboard when it comes to sounding more ethical than they are.

        I know people will get pissed at this. I'm just speaking from my opinion.

        It's the equivalent of not swearing around your customers or or avoiding drinking around your kids. Is that wrong? You might swear or drink normally, but you're trying to make a better impression on certain people. It's the same thing here....I can't believe that people think there isn't a little over-compensating going on.
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          I'm not ridiculing anyone. I get unsolicited testimonials all the time. But I get a lot more by simply asking people to leave their product review at the website and I'll give them a discount. I give the discount to ANYONE who leaves a review, but I'm not so naive to think that giving them a discount doesn't get me more positive reviews.
          So ... you buy testimonials. I don't. I don't buy them and don't ask for them.

          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          It just is tiring that whenever some question, no matter what it is, there are 5 pages of people claiming they operate their business like Mr. Rodgers. And I'm talking about stuff that I don't even consider a big deal, like offering review copies for testimonials. You just have pages and pages of people trying to make themselves sound like Mother Theresa. I'm sorry, but I think when your customers are reading the board, most people would go overboard when it comes to sounding more ethical than they are.

          I know people will get pissed at this. I'm just speaking from my opinion.

          It's the equivalent of not swearing around your customers or or avoiding drinking around your kids. Is that wrong? You might swear or drink normally, but you're trying to make a better impression on certain people. It's the same thing here....I can't believe that people think there isn't a little over-compensating going on.
          And I'm just speaking my experience and my opinion, although you the skeptic don't believe anyone who is telling you that their ethics are different than yours or somebody else's.

          I have been known to drink in front of my children and swear around my customers. As for testimonials, I do not buy them, ask for them or give them unless they are honest.
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          • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
            Banned
            Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

            So ... you buy testimonials. I don't. I don't buy them and don't ask for them.
            .
            I bribe people for them and I admit to that. I don't offer the discounts to get better reviews, I offer it to get more testimonials. But I'm not naive enough to say it doesn't influence the reviews.

            We'll agree to disagree. But this is the way I view it......I assume that there is a business reason to come into this forum for most people that have 4-5 links to products in their signature. Given that, I also assume that the person with the big signature will not admit to doing anything that appears unethical, as there are tons of potential customers in here. It doesn't mean the person is unethical or a bad person. It just means that the conditions aren't such that there isn't a reason for them to be completely honest.

            It's the equivalent of a car salesman talking to people by the coffee machine, that he sometimes gets people to focus on the monthly payment instead of the full cost of the car. Mostly because he can charge a higher price. It's not unethical for him to do that, it's just a sales technique. But there is no upside in telling people that he does that....all downside. So I proceed with caution when I hear things out of the mouths of car dealers.

            And trust me, IM'ers are probably worse than car dealers.
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            • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
              Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

              I bribe people for them and I admit to that.
              That explains why you think everyone does, I suppose. Your reality is not the reality everyone else experiences.
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              • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

                That explains why you think everyone does, I suppose. Your reality is not the reality everyone else experiences.
                Doesn't that go both ways? It's a common bias. Honestly now, the fact is that the truth is in the middle somewhere, and we're all only seeing our own sides.

                If there WEREN'T people here on this VERY FORUM who think and behave the way Ryan says "most" do, I wouldn't have been able to even start the thread. Yeah, the people commenting here are probably MOSTLY ones outside of his broad brush strokes.

                But that's because we're the ones sitting here discussing it instead of PM spamming with free stuff to get "testimonials" seeded. No one discussing it here puts themselves in the "unethical" bucket. And even if we were and knew it and did it on purpose anyways, as Ryan said, no one would dare admit it.

                What is the argument here even about? Some marketers are bad, some are good. You're both right. Some people "buy" the social proof they feel the need, some don't. Some operate in a grey area. We're still all right.

                Where's the disagreement still. I know you said threads can go off the rails and you know, that's fine and all. I just wish we could move past the bull**** and actually make a salient point instead of just bouncing back and forth on something that, as far as I can tell, we ALL ACTUALLY AGREE about.

                If it's the size of the pie slices on each side, can we just agree to disagree and move things somewhere else, or am I the only one bored with the bit by bit deconstruction of the same thing over and over.
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                • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
                  Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                  Doesn't that go both ways? It's a common bias. Honestly now, the fact is that the truth is in the middle somewhere, and we're all only seeing our own sides.
                  Sure it does, but I'm not the one that accused everyone of bribery. When you make accusations that opens your bias up to disagreement. The last time I checked, I'm included in "everyone." Everyone does NOT bribe. Period.
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                  • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                    Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

                    Sure it does, but I'm not the one that accused everyone of bribing...and then says he didn't mean it as a pejorative. The last time I checked, I'm included in "everyone." Everyone does NOT bribe. Period.
                    But now you're going back to focus on that point of "everyone" when he's now adjusted it to say "most". We've moved past that, we're not talking about "everyone" anymore. Only you are when you keep falling back on it. By the time he even got to "bribe not in the bad sense" we'd already moved past the "everyone" bit.
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                    • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
                      Originally Posted by Colin Theriot View Post

                      But now you're going back to focus on that point of "everyone" when he's now adjusted it to say "most". We've moved past that, we're not talking about "everyone" anymore. Only you are when you keep falling back on it. By the time he even got to "bribe not in the bad sense" we'd already moved past the "everyone" bit.
                      No Colin, "we" haven't. His last statement about it was, "I stand by my "bribe" statement because it's true."

                      And that statement followed my statement offering to leave at what had already been said. And once again, I'll leave it at that if others do the same.
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                      • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
                        Originally Posted by Dennis Gaskill View Post

                        No Colin, "we" haven't. His last statement about it was, "I stand by my "bribe" statement because it's true."

                        And that statement followed my statement offering to leave at what had already been said. And once again, I'll leave it at that if others do the same.
                        Well, at least you've finally made it clear that all you're interested in is a semantic argument. Which is fine, but I don't need to participate anymore.
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        • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
          Originally Posted by Ryan D View Post

          I pointed out that it's a pointless exercise because bad reviews don't get used, and they know it.
          Not on the sales page, no.

          But I've given (and gotten) bad reviews that led to product rewrites.

          I've also given bad reviews that kept products off the market entirely.

          I don't consider that pointless.

          And even if you just throw my review in the garbage, I don't give a toss. You wanted a review, you got one. What you do with it is none of my concern. You can print it out and stuff it in your arse crack for all I care.
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      • Profile picture of the author Ryan D
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

        Ryan D, I'd love to tell you just what I think of you but I've already been
        banned once from this forum, so I will refrain.

        However, I pity anybody who is so cynical that they feel like you do.

        It must be a very bitter and angry life to believe there is no good in the
        world of Internet marketing.

        And if we're all like that, what does it say about you?

        Or are you the exception?

        Just sayin.
        Haha. I would love to hear what you think of me because I'm sure it's wrong. But that's ok. My broad assumptions on the motives of people trying to sell me stuff has served me well in the world of IM. It actually is something most people could use a lot more of.....if they had it, they wouldn't get ripped off as much.

        Hey, I'm not trying to piss people off, but who are you crappin? There is a ton of straight-up shady stuff that goes on in IM and there is a ton of stuff that is a little less so. Little things like trying to appear "real" by telling people that a certain product won't make them rich overnight...but then later mentioning that another dude got rich overnight by doing this. Haha.
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  • Profile picture of the author shaggard
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    • Profile picture of the author Colin Theriot
      Originally Posted by marciayudkin View Post

      This is not always the case! If you ask someone for a testimonial who is much more famous than you are, they hardly ever feel flattered and may feel either burdened, indifferent or annoyed. If the work they are asked to look at is very, very good, that negative feeling disappears.
      What you're talking about is an endorsement. That IS different, but being in a position of such acclaim to be asked for your endorsement IS flattering. Until you hit a point where ego overtakes humility. But I defer - your experience exceeds mine in that market.

      Originally Posted by shaggard View Post

      You sure are up on a high horse to assume you know what people want.
      I'm not sure what you mean.

      Originally Posted by shaggard View Post

      I too write sales copy for the "real" world as you so put it. I do know the difference. When someone is asking for a review, they are not asking for sales copy. It is completely different. If they were, you should get paid.
      I clarified this for you already, and there have been multiple examples in the thread. If you refuse to understand what I'm talking about, I can't help you. I'm talking about how this particular instance works right here on this forum. If you want to talk about something else, that's fine. No one else here seems to be taking the interpretation you have.

      Originally Posted by shaggard View Post

      When I right