Ethics of Info Marketing...

26 replies
I get in this debate with people all the time. Many people out there argue that somehow informational products are not ethical.

In my opinion, that is pure rubbish. There is value in information and there is nothing morally unacceptable with selling something of value. Even if the information is widely available out there, you can still provide value. Instead of somebody searching for 5 hours to learn how to train their dog to do push-ups, they can buy an ebook where all that information is written out in a centralized and organized fashion. They are willing to spend $20 to save the 5 hours of research time...nothing wrong with that to me

If you think about it, most professions (service and non-service) are based around freely available information.


Do you think info products are fundamentally unethical?
#ethics #info #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author GeckoTribe
    If the information delivers the value that was promised, then there's no ethical problem. If selling things that were available free were unethical, selling books that are available at the library would be unethical. And selling information that's no available free would suddenly become unethical as soon as somebody, somewhere revealed it for free.

    When you sell something that's available for free, you're being paid for the convenience of having it all in one place without having to look further, for expressing ideas clearly, for any support you may give to those who have questions (within reason based on what they paid, of course -- they don't own you just because they bought a $7 eBook from you), for the format you're delivering it in (eg. are you the only one packaging it for the Kindle?), etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Micah Medina
    There aren't many things out there that are more ethical than info products. It's amazing that if you've got a pressing problem, there's a reliable person out there somewhere that can teach you how to do it step by step! Like a private tutor for one pressing issue?

    It's nuts how spoiled we are at that kind of convenience. And info marketers are some of the most honest and friendly people online.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Ken,

      People talk about the time savings as though it were the only thing making info-products worth buying. And for some people, that may even be true. But for others...

      Yes, there's a ton of information available out there for free. And a very large chunk of it is incomplete, ineffective, or downright wrong. I suspect the majority of it fits the latter category.

      Training materials that can point you to processes and techniques that actually get the desired result are worth much more than whatever hourly wage you think goes with research. They speed up your business growth and flatten the learning curve. That brings an opportunity return that flips the cost of research and flop time on its head.

      And yes, there are info-products that are full of incomplete, ineffective or downright wrong information, too. It's usually not that hard to differentiate the two sets, if you ask around. Which is what the review section here and the review option in WSO threads are all about.

      Not to mention that really good info-products will often present a coherent mindset and system that can be more effective than what you'd cobble together doing the research on your own, even assuming you knew enough to figure out which info was right.

      That said... A lot of info-products really are just crap. Not most, perhaps, but a lot.


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  • Profile picture of the author Bruce NewMedia
    Originally Posted by Kenster View Post

    I get in this debate with people all the time. Many people out there argue that somehow informational products are not ethical.

    ....Do you think info products are fundamentally unethical?
    Ken, I have this debate with my own family members! lol

    But they see "income oriented" info products as worse than any other type.

    I know you're sincere in raising the question, but to me, it's absurd. Of course info products are ethical as a product CATEGORY, and sure, there are some that don't measure up, as well.

    I think it's the "make money" info products that generate most of the negative attention.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sebastian Batiste
    I think information products are ethical if they are put together properly and come through on their promises. If they are problem solving e.g how to lose manboobs or fix your credit and they actually give what they say they will they can be incredibly effective as well as ethical as the product is directly helping individualls
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  • Profile picture of the author WriterWahm
    Funny debate. So would info products have more value if they were published on hard paper, maybe with hard covers too? I think info products are ethical. The problem would be when a certain expectation is promised but not delivered. Like saying make $$$$ in zero minutes but the info is vague and impossible to implement. That is where the ethical issue would probably come in.
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    • Profile picture of the author Brenny76065
      I don't think info products, in and of themselves, are unethical. What is considered trash by one may be considered treasure by another. I think where the ethical line becomes blurry is in the sales copy. Knowingly making exaggerated or false claims clearly crosses the line for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author A.Green
    Well, I certainly think mine are ethical because they provide valuable information that helps people and I presume the people who've written to thank me for that info agree.

    I guess some people think restaurants are unethical, too, because you could get the basic ingredients of the dishes for cheaper from a grocery store or even for "free" if you grow a garden or raise livestock/hunt/fish.

    Another issue is that the very act of paying for an info product can help a person make a psychological investment in accomplishing whatever their goal is. That is, people are more likely to take action on a paid product than on free info. Free products just sit on people's hard drives; paid ones make people want to get their money's worth.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ram
      There are a lot of self-appointed ethics cops out there. A lot on this forum, too.

      Info products are ethical if they do what they say. Period.

      If you sell a system that will make money if the buyer follow the steps provided, it's ethical. If not, then no.

      Some say it's unethical to sell "rehashed" PLR stuff to newbies. If the product delivers what you says it will, there is nothing unethical about it.

      Some say it's unethical to sell "how to make money online" stuff if you haven't made money online. Well, if the info is good and you don't claim to have made money online, it's not unethical. There are people selling dog training stuff who have never trained a dog. There are people selling weight loss stuff who never had to lose weight. People who never went through bankruptcy selling bankruptcy recover. Etc.

      It's unethical to only send offers and no useful content to your list. It's unethical to promote too aggressively or email every day. It's unethical to used canned affiliate messages. It's unethical to advertise on social media because that's not what it's there for. It's unethical to ignore Google's rules and dictates. It's unethical to promote cigarettes or porn or gambling or payday loans. It's unethical to do this, that or the other thing. You can read all about what some people find unethical all day long on this forum.

      Well, no it's not. It's unethical to lie, cheat or steal. It's not unethical to treat your business like a business, your customers as income sources, not friends. Now, you can argue whether doing such things are good or bad business all day, but ethics aren't part of the equation. The only thing would be personal ethics regarding what you will or will not promote. But those are YOUR ethics, they are not universal no matter how much you want them to be.
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  • Profile picture of the author angela99
    Originally Posted by Kenster View Post

    I get in this debate with people all the time. Many people out there argue that somehow informational products are not ethical.

    In my opinion, that is pure rubbish. There is value in information and there is nothing morally unacceptable with selling something of value. Even if the information is widely available out there, you can still provide value. Instead of somebody searching for 5 hours to learn how to train their dog to do push-ups, they can buy an ebook where all that information is written out in a centralized and organized fashion. They are willing to spend $20 to save the 5 hours of research time...nothing wrong with that to me

    If you think about it, most professions (service and non-service) are based around freely available information.


    Do you think info products are fundamentally unethical?
    Interesting...

    OK, I'm an info product creator (I've been writing books for the past 30 plus years), so I need to put aside a surge of blood to the head.

    Here's why the surge of blood: if someone said to me, with a straight face, "your products are unethical", chances are that I'd slap their face first, and then settle down to a discussion... :-)

    I assume from what you're saying that you imagine that ALL info product creators copy and paste information, with slight rewording to create "products."

    If that's what someone does, then I think yes, I do have a real problem with it (I wouldn't go as far as to suggest it's unethical... maybe morally suspect), because they're not "creators".

    Being a creator implies that someone creates something from their own creativity.

    I forget the quote, but someone once said that stealing an idea from one person was theft, but stealing ideas from many was research.

    So, no one creates from nothing.

    You create from:

    * Your knowledge (gained from experience, or from others);

    * Your experiences;

    * Your thinking about a problem;

    * Your intuition and imagination (if you're writing novels or short stories, which are info products too).

    Kenster, your question: "Do you think info products are fundamentally unethical?" is like the old question: "When did you stop beating your wife?"

    In over 30 years of creating info products in one form or another, NO ONE has ever asked me this question.

    As stated, if I were asked this question, I'd react badly. You say that you "get in this debate with people all the time" -- may I respectfully suggest that you're mixing with the wrong crowd? :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Faber
    A good info product is anything but unethical. Considering the time and possible monetary investment incurred in product creation, the creator deserves to be compensated. Failure to do so would be unethical, not the reverse.

    In addition, most business owners view things from an ROI perspective. If they can use their info product investment to earn more than purchasing the info product cost them, the positive ROI renders the purchase a sound business decision.
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  • Profile picture of the author Ottosh
    http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...fiverr-18.html

    there not the sales copy.. read the countless BAD reviews in this thread he is literally stealing peoples money by only having a link after paypal transaction after the billing is paid.. he gives you the run around tells you to contact him but he never contacts you back.. and YET he is STILL doing business...

    UNETHICAL
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  • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
    Originally Posted by Kenster View Post

    Many people out there argue that somehow informational products are not ethical.
    Books are an informational product. Are books ethical?
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    • Profile picture of the author Melanie Crouse
      Originally Posted by CDarklock View Post

      Books are an informational product. Are books ethical?
      That's what I came in here to say. Caliban beat me to it.

      How on earth can info products be unethical? People have been writing them since biblical times or before! They started out as hieroglyphics, moved up to stone slates, then on to scrolls or whatever, then books, now digital.

      Some books are crappy. Some digital info products/ebooks are crappy too. But to lump everything into a category of "unethical" is narrow-minded, unintelligent, silly and...well...unethical!!

      OK. Done my rant now. Going for cheesecake.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Redlinger
    I have heard a lot of people complain that some authors leave things out of their products, some crucial element that can make a big difference. Although this could be through no bad motivation on the part of the author I have heard it said it is often done deliberately. I personally cannot see any reason to act this way and I do not believe it.
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  • Profile picture of the author stephenwaldo
    I certainly think there's a difference between scraping together as much content as possible, even if it's not all entirely your own, into one product and selling it for the sake of making money and legitimately approaching a niche, identifying their problems, and helping them fix it with genuine information that WORKS.

    I guess it comes down to intent, are you in it to help people and make money or just make money? That's how you'll know if it's ethical or not.

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  • Profile picture of the author PhiladelphiaSeo
    I've spent thousands on college classes that have not helped me make a dime. In fact, I dont think my degree has helped me make a thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rick88
      Originally Posted by PhiladelphiaSeo View Post

      I've spent thousands on college classes that have not helped me make a dime. In fact, I dont think my degree has helped me make a thing.

      I agree as my MBA did not prepare me for anything but being a slave in a J.O.B. So does that make it unethical?

      However I did come across Rich Schefren and Eben Pagen so were they full of it? I should say NOT!

      Info products are worth what someone is willing to pay for it. After all are encyclopedias unethical? Some say not the encyclopedia but the saleman was!


      What I found out is that the ones who say that are jealous and have blinders on. Just saying.
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      • Profile picture of the author Kenster
        Originally Posted by Bruce NewMedia View Post

        Ken, I have this debate with my own family members! lol

        But they see "income oriented" info products as worse than any other type.

        I know you're sincere in raising the question, but to me, it's absurd. Of course info products are ethical as a product CATEGORY, and sure, there are some that don't measure up, as well.

        I think it's the "make money" info products that generate most of the negative attention.
        _____
        Bruce
        Yep I agree. Make money products do generate the most negative attention because there are countless people out there that abuse the niche and put out pure garbage. It's unfortunate because it taints the good products and even makes the good products put in a lot of hype just to keep up.


        Originally Posted by Rick88 View Post

        I agree as my MBA did not prepare me for anything but being a slave in a J.O.B. So does that make it unethical?

        However I did come across Rich Schefren and Eben Pagen so were they full of it? I should say NOT!

        Info products are worth what someone is willing to pay for it. After all are encyclopedias unethical? Some say not the encyclopedia but the saleman was!


        What I found out is that the ones who say that are jealous and have blinders on. Just saying.


        I am just considering applying for an MBA in entrepreneurship this week. It's something I don't think I need, but it's something I want
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Before the internet people had to pay for info or at least go to a library. Just because it is easier to get now does not mean it has less value.

    But many ebooks out there are over priced. But if they have a refund policy people should use it. Vote with your pocket book and they will go away.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
    Originally Posted by Kenster View Post

    I get in this debate with people all the time. Many people out there argue that somehow informational products are not ethical.

    Do you think info products are fundamentally unethical?
    I think the response should be more along the lines of finding out where these people are coming from instead of debating the issue. It is hard to debate/argue if you don't get into their head and define the issues ahead of time.

    Hmmm, sounds like that is what most marketers preach and do .

    It is rare that I find such arguments/discussions that are not comparing apples and oranges.

    Marvin
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    • Profile picture of the author Kenster
      Originally Posted by Marvin Johnston View Post

      I think the response should be more along the lines of finding out where these people are coming from instead of debating the issue. It is hard to debate/argue if you don't get into their head and define the issues ahead of time.

      Hmmm, sounds like that is what most marketers preach and do .

      It is rare that I find such arguments/discussions that are not comparing apples and oranges.

      Marvin


      Most of the people end up reverting to the argument that all information SHOULD be free. And then I clearly explain why most information in this world is free. Legal questions, accounting questions, pretty much every service industry...it's all free information out there.

      You aren't paying for the information but rather the convenience, the consolidation, the organization of that information and in some cases, simply an analysis of the information.

      I just get so heated when people tell me info marketing is unethical because it's like selling bottle tap water.
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      • Profile picture of the author Marvin Johnston
        Originally Posted by Kenster View Post

        You aren't paying for the information but rather the convenience, the consolidation, the organization of that information and in some cases, simply an analysis of the information.

        I just get so heated when people tell me info marketing is unethical because it's like selling bottle tap water.
        Try agreeing with them next time and watch their response .

        Unless I am VERY familiar with what someone is trying to say, I ask questions to find out where they are coming from, and why they take that position. If your questions are framed correctly, they will soon begin to see the errors in their thinking ... without you pointing it out.

        Or you will change your mind .

        People will be willing to change their mind if they think of it. Not so much if they are being told they are wrong.

        BTW, I totally agree with your position along with (I hope) most people on the WF.

        Marvin
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  • Profile picture of the author Dean Jackson
    Unrealistic promises are unethical.

    Dean
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    Originally Posted by Kenster View Post

    If you think about it, most professions (service and non-service) are based around freely available information.

    Yep. I know how to make my own hamburgers, but sometimes I am willing to pay a premium to What-a-Burger for a really tasty, fast-food hamburger.
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  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    I think this is the wrong place to ask that question

    Recently I've been searching the net to get into some kettlebell training and found heaps of sites and videos. More information that I could handle.

    I ended up picking up a digital product because it would teach me the basics, get me started (injury free) and take me through a well-rounded programme -- not something I through together half blind.

    An information product.
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