Article Writers Beware...

54 replies
I hope this will be a salutory lesson to all of us who write articles to sell affiliate products.

With the constant need to create content and the growing trend to write review-style articles to sell affiliate or CPA offers it is easy to get detached from the reality that a thinking, breathing, often scared human is reading them.

It is so important to remember that there is a real person, with real feelings on the other side of the monitor when we sit down to write an article.

Here's why.

A few weeks ago my wife started feeling an intense burning sensation on her leg and the skin there looked a little blistered.

She went to see her doctor and was give a cream to apply. She was also told the latin name for the particular condition.

We thought nothing of it, but unbeknownst to me she came home and looked up the name of the condition on Google.

The result was that the five top ranked listings turned out to be articles written by affiliates of a pharmaceutical company.

My wife read the articles, and not being involved in Internet marketing, had no idea that people can write anything they like online. She took the articles as gospel.

As they talked about the condition being incurable and that it almost invariably leads to cancer she was naturally terrified. A bright, bubbly lady was reduced to a frightened, crying, depressed mess in minutes.

Of course, the articles were painting the very worst case scenario to frighten people into buying the expensive miracle product they were pimping.

A chat the next day with a specialist confirmed that yes, the condition CAN be serious, but only in rare cases if left untreated. Delia's had been picked up very early, so is very unlikely to develop. And it is already responding well to treatment.

Now, the point of me writing all this is that as an article writer myself I know how easy it is to lose sight of the fact that someone very vulnerable might read what you've written. Personally, I don't ever write on medical matters and certainly would never give medical advice, but ailments aren't the only things we can over-egg.

I hear people saying that all's fair in marketing, but I totally disagree.

A few years ago everyone was bulding AdSense sites on a particular type of lung cancer because lawyers chasing class action clients were paying massive amounts to get their AdWord ads shown. I felt very uncomfortable about that too because there was just so much garbage being written to attract the views and AdSense clicks from people who have just learned that they, or a loved one, have a terrible disease.

It's not cool. Not cool at all.

My wife is calmer now and I've found some real authority sites for her to read, which have helped a lot. And explained to her how Google works (something 'regular' people don't understand.)

But I don't think I can easily forgive those five ambulance chasers who wrote scare-mongering garbage just to make a quick buck, and, as a result, made my wife cry.

As article writers we may not be specifically regulated, but we sure as hell should adhere to a moral and ethical code of our own - and in my book that means not preying on the scared and vulnerable.

Martin
#article #beware #writers
  • Profile picture of the author talfighel
    Martin,

    The people that write stuff on medical things don't have any clue. Although some of them have a very good education in that field so I can not bash them.

    I know that this is not really fare for people to write about health things that they know nothing about, but people will do anything for a quick buck.

    Tal
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  • Profile picture of the author Orator
    A little integrity is better than any career. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Some people want that quick buck, but someone else might suffer for it.
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    • Profile picture of the author grayambition
      Originally Posted by Orator View Post

      A little integrity is better than any career. Ralph Waldo Emerson
      Soooo true... and I'm stealing it to tweet.

      I can relate to this issue, Martin, on many levels. As a writer, I've been asked to write glowing reviews of the latest weight loss scam. I've refused.

      And as a chronic migraine sufferer, I've waded through the crap to find actual, useful info.
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      • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
        Thanks everyone.

        It is all too easy to get caught up in the 'content for cash' circus of trying to write to please the search engines - and then forget that ultimately we are writing for real people with real feelings.

        Martin
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        • Profile picture of the author allthesp
          I hate to be the devil's advocate, but:

          People second guessing their doctor's opinion is a greater concern than what some affiliate marketers do. I am sure your wife wanted more information, but that is best done by asking her doctor during the examination.

          The affiliate marketer is wrong for using sensationalist scenarios, but just as much as you are for not realizing it before you were personally affected.

          Edit: That might not be the case with the OP, but for anyone who says this is an "eye opener." Worthwhile read and very true, but it is sad this should be a revelation.
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        • Profile picture of the author ExRat
          Hi Martin,

          You're right - I sympathise and agree. I want to make some additional points, but I don't want you to think they're aimed back at you for making this post, or an attack on you of some sort. I'm not sure if I can avoid that outcome (I'm not sure it's possible to make the points I want to make without it seeming as such), but here goes -

          a) medical things are highly emotive, especially if they have links with mortality. But it think it's worth pointing out that many other topics are similar, but may not seem so at first. For example, the relationship niche. If one stops to think about it for a minute - most of the subjects can link directly to family matters (IE children). Many a person has gone over the edge through relationship/marital difficulties. But still there is a lot of crap, quickly created, misleading info being chucked out there.

          Or what about IM - if someone's livelihood is taken away, that can directly affect relationships, family, health etc. So if someone who is desperate and skint gets ripped off with hot air and has their dream temporarily shattered, how far removed is that from temporarily believing that one is doomed in the health department? It may not compare precisely, but it's still not pleasant - and there's a lot of hot air for sale.

          b) in my experience many people either avoid, or simply fail (for a variety of reasons) to expend enough effort in self-education and in particular, establishing truth. I have made this error. I have tried to make more effort, but one thing that I have learnt is that the more you seek, the more you will find. For example, I am a lot wiser currently in health matters than I was previously.

          But along with a positive result in terms of wisdom, I also have a new burden - the same anger that you have currently towards article writers, but directed towards big pharma, and also everyone who is bribed further down the chain from there - which is a huge list.

          Should one be more angry over a minor scare, than when one discovers that people have been taken away from them before their due-date unnecessarily and possibly deliberately? Or perhaps finding that the majority of us will ultimately fit into this category, and that we will most likely have paid handsomely for the privilege?

          If the latter shocks you then it is likely to make you more angry than the former (it should).

          c) Regarding what you said -

          It is all too easy to get caught up in the 'content for cash' circus of trying to write to please the search engines - and then forget that ultimately we are writing for real people with real feelings.
          Is it really all too easy? Is that a personal feeling or are you saying that 'it's all too easy' for everyone? (Not an accusation, but a question that is relevant to my next point, which applies to us all) -

          I think that the most important thought that this thread invokes for me is this one -

          When something is outright wrong, should it only matter when it affects our nearest and dearest, or should it matter to anyone who reads this, is not directly affected right now, BUT could easily be the next one affected?

          Should it just damn well matter full stop, when you see peoples' lives and happiness and peace of mind being threatened by misinformation by lazy profiteers?

          If it does, then what the hell are most people doing here?

          If these article-writing people are bad for making money by misinforming others, how much better are we if we only take direct action when the issue lands on our doorstep? Regardless of whether we contribute to the problem, if we are aware of the cause, should we not be compelled to act, or conversely just suck it up quietly when it takes its turn to bite us?

          (Again, sorry to go on but this is in no way a direct attack on you Martin - I hope you realise that - the question is to the group as a whole, including myself).

          The point is thought that most people are not as aware of how Google works as we are and tend to think that if something is published online it automatically has an aura of authority. Especially people who are already worried and have their defences down.
          But a large majority of the products sold in IM tell people how to falsely create an air of authority and target the desperate- and charge a premium for doing so and the creators expect to be worshipped as persuasion Gods for creating them.

          Point out (like I am here) the issues and consequences of that and you'll end up as popular within the marketing fraternity as ExRat or someone like that.

          A staggering amount of diverse IM products ALL focus on 'false authority' and 'targetting the desperate and vulnerable'. Whether it's (in the first instance) backlinking, bookmarking or testimonials, JVs, press releases or media manipulation - the list is absolutely endless. Or whether it's (in the second instance) opportunity seekers, health seekers/life prolongers, sexual problem solvers, relationship savers...etc.

          So where do we all draw the line? Who do we blame?

          As has been touched upon a few times, half the times doctors either spin the wheel of chance for you or look it up on the internet, before diagnosing you, in an authoritative tone.

          'I'm sorry Mr. ExRat, but it's very bad news.'

          Who's worse? The article marketer on $100 a day, or the idiot who reads it and gets paid $2000 a day to diagnose you? Or the people who put him there, or the people who turn his $500 a day into $2000 a day in exchange for him pushing their toxic over-population cure?

          Yes it sucks. But how much do we? That's what matters in my opinion, because at this point that's all that we have any say in.
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          • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
            Originally Posted by allthesp View Post

            I hate to be the devil's advocate, but:

            People second guessing their doctor's opinion is a greater concern than what some affiliate marketers do. I am sure your wife wanted more information, but that is best done by asking her doctor during the examination.
            There is a big difference between "second guessing" and educating yourself. And doctors do make mistakes, too. I did a ton of research and educating myself when my daughter was misdiagnosed and as a direct result of that, was able to help the doctor learn some new things. Of course, I don't believe everything I read and I know how to find authoritative sources. The average surfer may not have that ability.

            Tina
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            • Profile picture of the author allthesp
              May not have the ability to identify sensationalist articles when they are daily immersed in a sensationalist world? Scary.

              Also, if there is any dangerous diagnosis, you should always ask a doctor for a referral to a specialist. It was most likely a trivial issue that a pediatrician rarely sees and therefore a bit of new knowledge would be helpful but, 99.9% of the time, worthless. That or the doctor is junk, in which case you can fault the patient for continuing to use that doctor.

              Also- 99.9% of the time the only education a person needs on an issue, the doctor will and can provide, either at the diagnosis or through questioning.

              Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

              There is a big difference between "second guessing" and educating yourself. And doctors do make mistakes, too. I did a ton of research and educating myself when my daughter was misdiagnosed and as a direct result of that, was able to help the doctor learn some new things. Of course, I don't believe everything I read and I know how to find authoritative sources. The average surfer may not have that ability.

              Tina
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              • Profile picture of the author ExRat
                Hi allthesp,

                in which case you can fault the patient for continuing to use that doctor.
                With respect (and bearing in mind we live on different continents) and also in relation to the point made in the OP - what if you don't realise the doctor (or article writer) is clueless? What if you don't have the choice?

                Some examples from the last three days from one UK source -

                here,here (highly relevant),here,here and here

                Sometimes it's only when something bad happens that people realise.
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                Roger Davis

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          • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
            Roger, I understand your points, and agree with them for the most part. I don't see a conflict between your points, and Martin's main premise:

            It is so important to remember that there is a real person, with real feelings on the other side of the monitor when we sit down to write an article.
            One of the reasons I stay out of the medical and relationship niches both is because writing something authoritative enough to let me look at myself in the mirror is just too much work. And I won't take that dark road that Martin's wife stumbled onto.

            I believe that there is a special room in Hell for the kind of people who prey on innocents like Martin described. On arrival, the condemned is instantly beset with all the problems, pains and fears they fanned the flames of in life. On pleading for relief, Beelzebub hands them a laptop showing the so-called "review pages" they created...

            Stories like Martin's make me wish that no one had ever coined the term "desperate buyers"...
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            • Profile picture of the author ExRat
              Hi John,

              Thanks for your reply - sincerely.

              I'll try an alternative short version.

              I believe that there is a special room in Hell for the kind of people who prey on innocents like Martin described. On arrival, the condemned is instantly beset with all the problems, pains and fears they fanned the flames of in life. On pleading for relief, Beelzebub hands them a laptop showing the so-called "review pages" they created...

              Stories like Martin's make me wish that no one had ever coined the term "desperate buyers"
              I agree. But my first point is that is there any reason to isolate this to the medical niche?

              Are desperate buyers in IM any different?

              If so, how?

              Secondly, (again, not directed at Martin, but generally) is it right for people to get all animated about someone being mislead over medical issues, then go off and contribute to a different thread about 'how to be a great 'marketer' and 'skyrocket your income' by getting someone into your marketing funnel on the basis that your home study course and cleverly put together continuity system and upsells are going to turn them from a hopeless, suicidal loner into a high-scoring pick up artist - when the sad truth is - it's never going to, in a month of Sundays?

              Is that person's peace of mind less valuable than anyone elses - if so, why?

              If it's not right, then my third point is - what the hell are we all doing here, worshipping bull****ters and castigating and trying to convert nice people for not being good enough bull****ters?

              (Sidenote - I genuinely hope that people don't think that I'm pointlessly attacking others, stirring up negativity, or any other unproductive act. I truly feel that important questions need to be asked. I genuinely feel that being able to ask ourselves these difficult questions and find our own answers (whether privately or not) only makes us better people. I sincerely hope that that shines through above the bluntness/directness. Regardless of the follow up, I still appreciate Martin's point and the fact that he made it.)
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              • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
                Originally Posted by ExRat View Post

                Hi John,

                Thanks for your reply - sincerely.

                I'll try an alternative short version.

                I agree. But my first point is that is there any reason to isolate this to the medical niche?

                Are desperate buyers in IM any different?

                If so, how?

                Secondly, is it right for people to get all animated about someone being mislead over medical issues, then go off and contribute to a different thread about 'how to be a great 'marketer' and 'skyrocket your income' by getting someone into your marketing funnel on the basis that your home study course and cleverly put together continuity system and upsells are going to turn them from a hopeless, suicidal loner into a high-scoring pick up artist - when the sad truth is - it's not going to, in a month of Sundays?

                If it's not, then my third point is - what the hell are we all doing here, worshipping bull****ters and castigating and trying to convert nice people for not being good enough bull****ters?
                On point one...

                No reason at all to confine the discussion to medical issues. I've been happily married for almost 29 years, so I don't touch the relationship market, either. Just how good could pick-up advice be from an overweight, middle-aged man who has been with the same woman for well over 30 years?

                That aside, for a lot of the would-be PUA, the best advice one could probably give them would be to save their money and go somewhere prostitution is legal, and just pay for it.

                On point two...

                No. It isn't.

                On point three...

                I'm not quite sure how to answer that yet. Gotta think on it a bit...
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              • Profile picture of the author Snow_Predator
                An EXCELLENT post.

                Having gone into internet marketing, I've realised how much garbage there really is out there. I used to see Ezine articles as an authority, until I realised that absolutely any idiot can sign up and post almost anything he wants up there.

                I've promoted products that I don't fully believe in before, and I felt downright terrible. However I've never stooped so low as to promote some bull**** like **** Berry.

                I'm still new to IM, and I realise that sincere honest marketing can be tough on a newbie, but in the long run when you factor in repeat business and customer satisfaction, honesty pays, and rightly so.

                Thanks again for your post. I really think it should be made a sticky and put up there in the front of EVERY internet marketing forum!
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  • Profile picture of the author NicoleBeckett
    What a scary story, Martin! Hopefully this drives home the point for many IMers out there - you can never do too much research. There are plenty of people out there who figure they can write whatever they want, right off the top of their head. Or, they head to Wikipedia, change a few words and fancy themselves writers.

    If you really want to be credible in your niche, you have to know the facts. You can't cut corners, or else you'll never really be taken seriously. Think of all the horror stories just like Martin's that you never hear about!
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  • Profile picture of the author gsport11
    Thanks you for this important reminder!

    However, "thanks" is not sufficient. Your personal story brings this issue home. Getting on Google's coveted first page does not take the same sort of knowledge that a genuine product review requires. Your example deals with an extremely important issue, but we have an ethical responsibility to our readers even if we are only reviewing mouse traps.

    Regardless of the size of the commission, the anguish your wife endured can't be justified. As communicators we have a social responsibility to get it right. It is possible to make money even by being forthright.

    As a former professor, I know that it was very difficult to convince my students that just because they read it on the Internet, it isn't necessarily true. It is our job as publishers to check and verify. I fear that internet marketing is too often imitating that so called news organization named appropriate for a wily animal owned by a former Aussie and new American citizen--worry first about self interest, the rest (truth) be damned.

    Do only what makes us proud and hopefully enough money will follow.

    Thank you for such a poignantly described plea to our better natures.

    Greg
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  • Profile picture of the author nettech
    Personally, I tend to take what I read with a pinch of salt and usually head srtaight for the author's bio to see their credentials. If they don;t have a Dr. in front of their name then I'll tend to not believe what I read. However, saying that, we're all internet savvy and we know the game. I do feel for your wife though.

    I also agree that writers should write with morals and have some compassion.

    Hope your wife is better Martin. All the best

    Zaheer
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      Originally Posted by nettech View Post

      Personally, I tend to take what I read with a pinch of salt and usually head srtaight for the author's bio to see their credentials. If they don;t have a Dr. in front of their name then I'll tend to not believe what I read.
      Zaheer
      Me too. And so will my wife in future!

      The point is thought that most people are not as aware of how Google works as we are and tend to think that if something is published online it automatically has an aura of authority. Especially people who are already worried and have their defences down.

      Martin
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    • Profile picture of the author billjohdoittoday
      Originally Posted by nettech View Post

      If they don;t have a Dr. in front of their name then I'll tend to not believe what I read.
      Be careful, though. I have a Dr. in front of my name. But my Ph.D. in American Literature doesn't _really_ qualify me to write authoritative medical-related articles. And I've heard rumors (did you know that on the internet nobody knows you're a dog?) of people claiming to have degrees that they didn't actually have.

      Bill
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      • Profile picture of the author ExRat
        Hi Brucerby,

        In the credit and foreclosure niches, I see articles all the time referencing out-of-date or state-specifc information just to sell a product. Naive readers then take that and post summaries of it on other blogs and websites. Before you know it, someone Googling the same questions will see pages of dangerously misleading information. ...and the more times they see it repeated, the more it seems legit.
        You mean viral-BS? Word of (foot-in) mouth? Or even word of arse? :rolleyes:
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  • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
    Thanks for sharing your personal story. It is a good reminder for all online writers not just in the medical field. Humans will be reading the information and may base important decisions on what we write. It is easy to forget how quickly most of us can spot the hype or the clever emotional triggers. Even regular skeptical Internet users will often miss what is happening. There are many very professional LOOKING sites that have garbage and misleading content.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    I have also been on the receiving end as well ... similar circumstances. When I write medical articles I try and keep it general and along the lines of commonly accepted "medical truths." Thanks for the reminder ...
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    Very interesting post. Yes, I try to stay away from things like this. Medical advice certainly is dicey.

    Good advice to remember the end benefit of the consumer, in any niche. If you are producing the best product available, you should have nothing to worry about.
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  • Profile picture of the author thebitbotdotcom
    Great post, Martin. I took that to heart.
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  • Profile picture of the author nursewriter
    Martin

    So sorry this happened to you.

    I agree that there are too many people out there who think they can write health articles after reading a few lines on Wikipedia.

    There is real danger in misinformation that is being spread all over the Internet for the sake of a quick buck. When I write health articles I do so objectively and give the reader factual information that I have gotten from medical books or trusted online health sites.

    I know what it is like to be on both sides of the coin, so to speak, when it comes to health problems. I see the fear in people's eyes every day after the doctor has given them a poor prognosis. It is my job to help them deal with these fears the best they can.

    I have also recently received a scary diagnosis. It was funny because I just completed an article series on cervical cancer and not a week later my doctor drops the bomb and tells me I have it. The emotions that you experience when you hear the word cancer cannot be put into words.

    So when I write health articles I try to do so with integrity. If only every one who thinks they are a health writer would do the same.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoogleWarrior
    True enough... When was the last time that you actually read a review that wasn't written in order to sell a product?
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    • Profile picture of the author allthesp
      Originally Posted by GoogleWarrior View Post

      True enough... When was the last time that you actually read a review that wasn't written in order to sell a product?
      When I read a bad review .
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    Hi Martin,

    I would like to believe that everyone had a "Do unto others as you would
    have other's do unto you" kind of attitude.

    I know that may never come to be 100% in my life time but I try to believe
    humans are mostly good and a few bad apples don't necessarily spoil the mix.

    Sorry you and your wife had to come across such garbage. Then again, In
    a another way it was sort of a blessing because other than tears no one
    was hurt and others are now aware of the effects they could have on
    their readers.

    I believe the way to handle the medical info niche review style would require
    a Honest "Pros vs Cons" type of review.

    Personally, I avoid that type of niche as I don't feel comfortable writing
    articles about the subjects.

    Thanks for the reminder,
    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author nursewriter
    I agree that you should always talk with your doctor about any medical condition you may have. However, it will do you well to research your particular condition first so you are better prepared to meet with your doctor.

    If you know more about your problem you can have a list of questions to ask your doctor.

    I am a firm believer in self education.

    We have access to any kind of information we want these days. It is just a matter of being smart enough to determine fact from fiction.
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  • Profile picture of the author Robert Domino
    I saw a "cure cancer with my awesome medicinal herbs!!!111one" website for sale on Flippa the other day. Sadly, it had revenue.

    It honestly made me sick, and I reported it. But they didn't take it down.
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  • Profile picture of the author Barry Unruh
    I have written my fair share of medical related articles, and I am far from being a trained professional. I always live by the theory to give basic facts I have researched, repeatedly mention visiting with your Doctor, and discuss the alternative treatment my client has asked me to write about. Emphasizing the fact it is wise to use the alternative treatment in conjunction with your Doctor's advice, not in place of it.

    Writing a article discussing the symptoms, getting people concerned enough to take action can actually be helpful, if you just as strongly recommend they seek medical advice. Your article could be the key to produce action, instead of inaction.

    Stepping over the line to create a panic response just for the sake of a sale is irresponsible at best for any product, not just medical products.

    (Do not read this paragraph as supporting the articles content, they stepped over the line, way over the line.)
    Martin, there is an important benefit your wife and you received from the articles, even though the response was much too strong. You gained added knowledge about her condition you would not have discovered otherwise. Her feeling caused immediate action to consult with an expert who explained the actual risks, her exact situation, and gave you quality information. If she had not read those articles, not felt the panic, would you have asked those same questions?
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  • Profile picture of the author John Wilkes
    Hi Martin.Avis

    First of all, I am so sorry to hear of your wife's experience. I hope she gets well and makes a full recovery.

    As to this thread, there is a lot of hyprocracy here!

    Simply put in the words "pain problem solution" in the "search" and see the many people giving advice, especially to newbies. Find a problem, exagerate their pain and present the solution. The basic salespage recomended to all newcomers. (Take a look at the threads and see who agrees).

    It really depends if you are into IM to give value and help people or "shearing and milking" just to make money.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rough Outline
    Fully agree Martin. The ethics of business get's tossed around care free all too often, I never deal with anything I feel guilty or bad about when I'm writing articles as there are plenty of clients who can offer the same money, without the shadow looming over.
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  • Profile picture of the author christopherNV
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    • Profile picture of the author Martin Avis
      @ExRat - Roger, I didn't take what you wrote badly at all. I think we are in complete agreement. In fact, on your point that it isn't just medical matters that writers should be careful of I wrote this in my OP
      but ailments aren't the only things we can over-egg
      which alluded to the same thing.

      @John Wilkes - John, "Pain, Problem, Solution" isn't really the problem. That's legitimate marketing. The issue I am really referring to is "Pain, Over-exaggerated-scare-tactic, solution".

      Thanks everyone for a useful and thoughtful discussion.

      Martin
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      • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
        Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

        @ExRat - Roger, I didn't take what you wrote badly at all. I think we are in complete agreement. In fact, on your point that it isn't just medical matters that writers should be careful of I wrote this in my OP which alluded to the same thing.

        @John Wilkes - John, "Pain, Problem, Solution" isn't really the problem. That's legitimate marketing. The issue I am really referring to is "Pain, Over-exaggerated-scare-tactic, solution".

        Thanks everyone for a useful and thoughtful discussion.

        Martin
        Hey Martin,

        I agree with you and Roger, and yes, the scare tactics are bad enough, but don't you think it's more about not being the experts we claim to be in the fields or niches we are claiming to be one in?

        As if that isn't bad enough, we teach and recommend others to do the same so they can make money doing basically the same thing.
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        • Profile picture of the author Vogin
          Well well, one of the basic rules of copywriting is "don't write for yourself, write for your audience".

          Is it a good tactic to scare the hell out of anyone reading my article and could I enjoy possible "scared" bucks? Of course not.

          Before I publish anything, I read it after myself in several hours and ask myself "does it provide value? Is it true? Can it help?". I publish only if all 3 answers are yes.

          Although your wife probably suffered a trauma, look on the bright side - she didn't have a heart attack.
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  • Profile picture of the author Derwin
    You have written an excellent post. Article writes must be beware about that.I am Fully agree with you Martin. internet marketing is very garbage there out.I know that may never come to be 100% in my life time but I try to believe. Thank you for giving this post.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vishal Mahadik
    Hi Martin,

    I totally agree with your views. People really should think of the next person for whom they are going to write. I think the best solution to avoid this kind of problems in the future is to teach and educate Article Writers about the importance of writing relevant and realistic articles which can provide real value to the readers.

    The writers can take reference from the authoritative websites in the particular medical niche and then write only about what is realistic information. They should not make people frighten about their conditions ; rather they need to educate them properly.

    There are many official US government websites online which contains all kinds of authentic information related to all types of diseases and medical conditions. Article writers can take the reference from these authentic sites to make their content more valuable and realistic.

    This way you will provide high quality and value added content to people who seek for reliable information online. And as a writer you will also get what you want, the real interested and targeted visitors.

    Provide Value to Your Readers and You Will Get The Quality Web Traffic. Its Actually a WIN-WIN for both sides.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rien
    Great post Martin.

    What scares me is that many people read these kinds of articles and
    believe them to be true.

    I used to work for a medical related agency. One day I got a call
    about an issue I was not familiar with so I called our National office.

    The person who picked up said that they did not have anything on hand
    on the topic but would email me about it later in the day. When I checked
    my email it read "Found this article on the subject, be sure to check it out."

    The article was from EZA. The writer was obviously promoting a health remedy
    for the subject at hand.

    Scary to say the least.

    I was tempted to write an article at EZA on the topic with at least some factual
    evidence.
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  • Profile picture of the author ebizman87
    Originally Posted by Martin.Avis View Post

    I hope this will be a salutory lesson to all of us who write articles to sell affiliate products.

    With the constant need to create content and the growing trend to write review-style articles to sell affiliate or CPA offers it is easy to get detached from the reality that a thinking, breathing, often scared human is reading them.

    It is so important to remember that there is a real person, with real feelings on the other side of the monitor when we sit down to write an article.

    Here's why.

    A few weeks ago my wife started feeling an intense burning sensation on her leg and the skin there looked a little blistered.

    She went to see her doctor and was give a cream to apply. She was also told the latin name for the particular condition.

    We thought nothing of it, but unbeknownst to me she came home and looked up the name of the condition on Google.

    The result was that the five top ranked listings turned out to be articles written by affiliates of a pharmaceutical company.

    My wife read the articles, and not being involved in Internet marketing, had no idea that people can write anything they like online. She took the articles as gospel.

    As they talked about the condition being incurable and that it almost invariably leads to cancer she was naturally terrified. A bright, bubbly lady was reduced to a frightened, crying, depressed mess in minutes.

    Of course, the articles were painting the very worst case scenario to frighten people into buying the expensive miracle product they were pimping.

    A chat the next day with a specialist confirmed that yes, the condition CAN be serious, but only in rare cases if left untreated. Delia's had been picked up very early, so is very unlikely to develop. And it is already responding well to treatment.

    Now, the point of me writing all this is that as an article writer myself I know how easy it is to lose sight of the fact that someone very vulnerable might read what you've written. Personally, I don't ever write on medical matters and certainly would never give medical advice, but ailments aren't the only things we can over-egg.

    I hear people saying that all's fair in marketing, but I totally disagree.

    A few years ago everyone was bulding AdSense sites on a particular type of lung cancer because lawyers chasing class action clients were paying massive amounts to get their AdWord ads shown. I felt very uncomfortable about that too because there was just so much garbage being written to attract the views and AdSense clicks from people who have just learned that they, or a loved one, have a terrible disease.

    It's not cool. Not cool at all.

    My wife is calmer now and I've found some real authority sites for her to read, which have helped a lot. And explained to her how Google works (something 'regular' people don't understand.)

    But I don't think I can easily forgive those five ambulance chasers who wrote scare-mongering garbage just to make a quick buck, and, as a result, made my wife cry.

    As article writers we may not be specifically regulated, but we sure as hell should adhere to a moral and ethical code of our own - and in my book that means not preying on the scared and vulnerable.

    Martin
    I had the same problem about a year ago for my gastric pain. I was just browsing through google and the 1st site that came out in the ranking provides no new information at all. Well at least I was not that concerned about the contents and threatening garbages that the site gave me as I had received proper treatment from the doctors.

    Being an aff marketer and article writer, I just stayed away from health related niches as I know that I'm not a certified doctor to offer ideas and solutions. Yes I may have all the information from reliable sources to write contents, but still I'd just stay away because I just don't want to be accused of "writing garbage articles".

    It's a sad thing to see people who're willing to write crap information or becoming an overnight expert sharing tips and ideas just because they found health related niches profitable.I wish that GOOGLE has the "extra sensory" tool to detect these kind of websites and ban them forever from appearing again on search engine. LOL.!!

    Anyway hope your wife recovers fast
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  • Profile picture of the author ambitichx
    I perfectly agree Martin, Thank you
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  • Profile picture of the author Bicycle Cat
    A big plus for you. This is why I avoid medical niches, I hate writing articles targeting to people who are sick and desperate.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Martin, great post and something we should keep in mind when promoting
      our niche.

      I want to add something to this.

      Forget about the ethics side of it for a moment.

      How successful can you REALLY be with your niche marketing if you don't
      REALLY know your niche?

      For one thing, you're not REALLY going to know the hot buttons to push
      to get people to take action. Not really, not if you don't know your stuff.

      Believe it or not, not everybody out there is a blooming idiot. Many people
      can spot BS a mile away.

      By REALLY knowing your stuff, you can give information that will REALLY
      be useful to a person. That in turn will build MORE trust which will in turn
      make MORE sales.

      I know NOTHING about home repair. It would be stupid of me to try to
      pass myself off as an expert in that niche. Even people who know just
      a little will see right through the BS.

      There is only so much you can fake in this world before people find out
      that you ARE a fake. Then, when that happens, the online reviews of
      your "expertise" start to surface and your reputation is shot to hell, at
      least in that niche.

      Every niche I am in, I am extremely knowledgeable about. I am not saying
      I'm an expert. But I know enough and am responsible enough that I know
      I can market to that crowd effectively AND responsibly.

      I'm nobody's conscience and I'm not telling anybody what to do. But the
      truth is, if you really know your stuff, you'll be more successful in the long
      run.

      At least that's my opinion anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author AnnaHamer
    I have struggled with a lot of tactics people use to sell their affiliate products. I thought that I would struggle in this business as a christian with very high moral standards, and a big heart (I swear I can't even kill a spider).

    It is hard to compete sometimes with all the black hatters out there, but I just keep persevering with tactics that make me sleep easy at night, and I have had great success from it.

    I am so glad you posted this! Thanks!
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    First the medical issue -- authority isn't foolproof. You want to see the worst abuse of medical info check out the ads on TV for pharmaceuticals. That crap should be illegal. We have many drugs on the market right now that are killing people. The pharms have the money to foot the bill on the lawsuits and have even become able to keep drugs that are proven to do more harm than good on the market.

    You want to know how they get them on the market? They have writers. Writers who are so good that they can turn horror story research results around to look GOOD.

    Authority is not a solution to propaganda. Learning how to read research results and looking up the research...not just the "official" results but the stuff from the non-financially backed institutions and professionals that didn't have the capital to get their research published against the will of a voracious medical/industrial complex.

    My sister's dog has cancer. Officially there is nothing that can be done but cut off his leg or just drug him til drugs can no longer make him comfortable, then put him to sleep. I have no official medical status but am knocking the snot out of that tumor. He's almost well. How have I managed? Simple. I had to save my own butt from a medical community that outwardly lied to my parents (both fault of the Dr. and of a medical community that delivers pharmaceutical spin to the Doctors instead of a completely unbiased medical report composed from ALL research done). Simply put - I've been studying the stuff for 30 years and I don't just look at the stuff that is officially allowed distributed to doctors - that's how they get their info. And there's a lot of info so they CAN'T research it ALL.

    I won't go into all the details on how written information works in the brain, but will go into what I am seeing in IM.

    It used to take some real in-depth interest in and knowledge about a subject to start and run a business - there was a good chunk of capital investment to do so. Here comes the internet and it's almost nothing to start a business. So you get people flocking online that have severely limited educations and not much of any intentions other than to be rich.

    They come to Internet Marketing forums and what they hear is all about what niches are hot - how to turn a quick buck. Article writing. Article writing. Oh - and article writing. So now you have people with no real research skills or experience in a field picking up niches for the soul purpose of turning a quick buck. Others of their own ilk market those ideas to them to make their own quick buck. And they believe - and believe strong enough to consider some of these clowns to be "gurus" . The idiocy spreads. Like wildfire.

    It's gotten bad enough that the FTC is now cracking down on some of the people who write outlandish crap just to make a buck.

    The sad part is - we will always have people who have absolutely no integrity where there is quick money to be made.

    The other sad part is that there are people that don't know the first thing about evaluating what they read and don't know HOW to research a subject any further. They will believe anything in black and white.

    If your doctor gives you a diagnosis, and says there is nothing more that he can do for you - what do you do? Sit and wait for the end? I didn't. I got into playing hardball in research. Synthesizing the research and trying other approaches doesn't always work - but if you try enough you will find what you are looking for. It ultimately is a person's own responsibility, no matter what subject they need information about, to learn to find the best info and learn to compare everything they read. That's why people learn to read in the first place - so they can learn what they want or need to. I'd not be alive today if I hadn't understood that. Ricky wouldn't be here today if I hadn't had the years into it that I do.

    IN this world you can not count on any faction whatsoever, whether they have a seal of authority or not, to give you straight and completely correct information. Sometimes you have to count on your own ability to find and understand issues so you can sort and weed til you find the right answer. You are always more concerned about your own butt than the other person who has something to gain from you. ALWAYS. People must never forget that one.

    Am I saying that I think it's okay for people to just run out and find a niche and start writing garbage in a niche in which they have no in-depth knowledge? Not even. In fact, I think it's a travesty that a person would be so driven by gain that they would do so. Is money a god now with no reprimand for sins committed to achieve the favor of that god? How is it to sleep at night knowing that you peddle worthless or even harmful crap at people? How long do you think it will last? Sure, it's the other person's fault if they let you suck them in.......but how do you really feel inside deep knowing you are a fraud? Is it worth the greenbacks to feel so slippery? When someone asks "who are you?" -- What in God's name do you tell them?

    Another fact that needs to be pointed out is that it's marketers who have made good money teaching people IM that dish the crap that makes people believe they just need to pick up a niche and start writing. It's the marketers that have made good money writing that push writing on everyone that enters this forum. Exquisite writing isn't just a matter of knowing how to construct a grammatically faultless sentence (um...a lot of "online writers" can't, btw) - it's also a matter of being able to do real research, to analyze and synthesize the material and present it in an understandable venue. It is not grabbing a spinner and putting out trash just to spew a few keywords that will grab some search engines.

    What we have come to is a society of money grubbers. People used to know how to earn their acclaim, knew how to work hard in it - because they had a dream of being exquisite at what they do. They sometimes achieved wealth in the process - it was earned and there was extreme pride behind it.

    Now the ethos has turned to "what can I do with no education, no skills, no real background in anything, no real in-depth interest in anything they want to put their weight behind. Some think that there is no wish at all to be exquisite an longer. I disagree.

    I think that people still want to be exquisite - but in the last decade the attitude is that "exquisite" and "wealthy" became used interchangeably, essentially becoming the same perception.

    Which of us in here are guilty of aiding in the proliferation of that perception?
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  • Profile picture of the author guruslasher
    Are overweightness and obesity medical conditions? I think so. How many marketers sold **** and weight-loss supplements to people wanting to feel and look healthier? I don't condone hyperbole and alarmist sales pitches to get folk to open their wallets. It's just bad practice. However, as a Naturopath, I have used alternative treatments from the earth that reversed conditions that doctors could not do as a result of their limited, symptom-based approach to illness. Big Pharma has done more harm than good and now has targeted children in Kindergarten for prescribing anti-depressants and other drugs! The upside is that the internet has leveled the playing field betwixt doctor and patient as it relates to that "second" opinion and discovering that doctor in you (you are truly the first responder and doctor). That being said, I hope your wife is okay and I will continue to put a warning out that you should consult your physician before performing any exercise routine or taking dietary herbal supplements of any kind.
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    • Profile picture of the author seekyt
      Awesome thread. I have experienced this as well with the popularity of Web MD and the tendency of some of my hypochondriac loved ones to start diagnosing themselves with all sorts of ailments they don't really have. I think anyone writing about medical conditions should really think twice about what they post, and the impact it could have on others.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    This is so very true Martin, and happens in many important niches.

    In the credit and foreclosure niches, I see articles all the time referencing out-of-date or state-specifc information just to sell a product. Naive readers then take that and post summaries of it on other blogs and websites. Before you know it, someone Googling the same questions will see pages of dangerously misleading information. ...and the more times they see it repeated, the more it seems legit.

    But its often bad advice that could cost them their house or credit or both...
    _____
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  • Profile picture of the author Yogini
    Martin,

    Thanks for any important post. Because a number of authoritative medical sites have adsense on them as well, I don't see how the general public would be able to distinguish a made for adsense site from a well-researched one. Also, sadly many of the mfa sites in health have lots of links from blog commenting that puts them in google above sites with authors that are MDs but don't have time to market the site.

    Debbie
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  • Profile picture of the author jamespitt
    This is a sad story though, writers must be aware of their materials, it should be neutral. Thanks for a lesson learned.
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  • Profile picture of the author sarahberra
    Just be careful about self diagnosis. Some of these sites list worst case scenarios and spell out an ugly picture. Try not to worry.
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  • Profile picture of the author boxoun
    I'm deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on a general medical niche that I have content for. Most likely its a no go. Since people have given their opinions, I will give mine.

    One person said that they wont believe anything they read unless it has a Dr in front of it.
    Obviously, anyone can be anyone on the internet so lol to that.

    Another person asked where that "moral" bar should be. Whats the diffference between health niche, finance niche, emotional niche etc etc.

    Its just as bad making people pull out their wallets for a product to gain muscle fast. You might not think so because its not as obvious as a medical niche. How do you know that person is not so severely depressed and/or broke with no self esteem and now some internet marketer is here to save the day?

    Then another person brought up her Christian morals.

    Here we have a person that believes in a book without doing any kind of research commenting on whether or not browsers of the internet should believe what they read on the internet and how morally bad it is to be the content provider of certain niches but lets not go there.

    At the end of the day, I've decided that I wont go into this medical niche. Not because my moral standards are sooo high, but because the articles that I had written sucks a!#.
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