A question of ethics...

17 replies
When you advertise a service or product, and tell people that the price is going up if they don't purchase today, is it ethical to turn around a few days later and offer the same service at an even lower price? This is an issue I am dealing with from someone I outsourced a function to.

Not only did they claim the price was doubling, they then turned around and held a firesale a few days later for an even lower price then the alleged "bargain price"..

My sense is that you should be allowed to lower the price again after a couple of weeks, but only if it is the case that you discovered that you could not sell at the new, higher price. We do want to create the sense of urgency, but there has to be some integrity and ethics in this business.
#ethics #question
  • Profile picture of the author vMartin
    Whatever makes YOU sleep at night.

    It's a question that you can only answer yourself.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by koahost View Post

      It's a questions that you can only answer yourself.
      I think you've confused "ethics" with "morality", Koahost: whether you think it's "moral" is a question you can answer only yourself.

      "Ethics" operate and are judged, by definition, on the basis of a consensus - not on an individual basis.

      This is neither ethical, nor even legal (in most countries): it's straightforward fraud. In the US there are FTC regulations about its use online (and in Europe, EU equivalent rules), and so on.

      Originally Posted by write27 View Post

      We do want to create the sense of urgency
      Sometimes we do, yes; but the example above isn't one of urgency, anyway: it's only "false urgency". (Which is what vendors tend to inflict on people when their sales page has been written by someone who's a "false copywriter" ).
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      • Profile picture of the author vMartin
        Originally Posted by Alexa Smith View Post

        I think you've confused "ethics" with "morality", Koahost: whether you think it's "moral" is a question you can answer only yourself.

        "Ethics" operate and are judged, by definition, on the basis of a consensus - not on an individual basis.

        This is neither ethical, nor even legal (in most countries): it's straightforward fraud. In the US there are FTC regulations about its use online (and in Europe, EU equivalent rules), and so on.
        Ethical can be seen as right or wrong in conduct. It's a question about morality.

        When he has the chance to make a lot of money to/ or still promote this product then that is up to him how he feels about this.

        I can't tell someone what is right or wrong. We can only state the facts of legal reasons to stay away from this (FTC).

        This "little trick" has been used for years and can defiantly do wonders for the conversion rates.

        Clickbank for example has only started taking action against this recently.

        There are literately hundreds of different "tricks" to increase there conversions, but where do you draw the line?

        Whatever way you want to do business.

        In your case it's illegal but there are plenty of tricks within the law that are certainly not honest.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          Originally Posted by koahost View Post

          Ethical can be seen as right or wrong in conduct. It's a question about morality.
          Nobody's disputing that, Koahost.

          It's a semantic point, but the specific distinction between "ethics" and "morality" is that "ethics", by definition, operate on a basis of consensus, whereas "morality" is individual.

          Ethics are the rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group or culture.

          Dictionary.com | Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary.com
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          • Profile picture of the author vMartin
            Well Alexa you certainly defined "ethics".

            No matter how you put it, It remains a question on how you want to do business.

            I don't see the point in discussing what someone should or shouldn't do.

            My interpretation of the question in matter seems to be different then yours.

            PS: Another dictionary / debate website coming up?
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    • Profile picture of the author write27
      Originally Posted by koahost View Post

      Whatever makes YOU sleep at night.

      It's a questions that you can only answer yourself.
      I realize everything is not black and white and there are shades of gray, but it seems there should be at least a few objective ethical standards that go above and beyond what is legal.

      For example, creating urgency by saying "This offer won't last forever" is, in my mind, perfectly legit. It is a true statement, in most cases.

      But I have a problem with getting people to purchase on the supposition that the price is going up in 24 hours...then turning around and lowering the price even more.
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      • Profile picture of the author Raydal
        Originally Posted by write27 View Post

        But I have a problem with getting people to purchase on the supposition that the price is going up in 24 hours...then turning around and lowering the price even more.
        I'm not defending whomever did this, but you should never
        buy just because a price is going up. You should only buy because
        you think it's a fair price. So I think that you are pushing a little
        beyond the issue if you indicate that the seller somehow pushed
        you to buy with the promise of an increased price.

        I don't like to see a product at a cheaper price after I bought
        it for full price either, but the seller is free to do what he wants
        with his product even if you see it as unethical. Situations
        often change and people do change along with the situations.

        I try to keep the promises I make in my copy even if it does
        hurt me sometimes but I wouldn't hold anyone to the same
        standards.

        Isn't it interesting that WalMart prices keep going down but you
        can't get anything for free in the store?

        -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author RobHiness
      Originally Posted by koahost View Post

      Whatever makes YOU sleep at night.

      It's a questions that you can only answer yourself.
      I couldn't agree more. At the end of the day, it's your name or brand at risk.
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  • Profile picture of the author J Cohen
    To me I think it is more of a legal issue.

    It is about time people stopped lying on their sales page. If they say the price is going up in 24 hours they should put it up or they are just downright lying and deserve what they get.

    Jay
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  • Profile picture of the author Val Wilson
    Apart from the ethics or morality of it, it is a very short sighted policy. I've joined lists and been shown a 'one time offer' at a special discounted price, only to be offered it again (and again) over the next few days, at the same 'discounted' price. I just unsubscribe from such lists, and I'm sure I'm not alone. If you directly lie to people, you lose business - and rightly so.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohammed Hammad2
    I think you are the ONLY person who says whether it is ethical or not, because it differs from one person to another.

    To me it is EXTREMELY not ethical

    To other people they may have other opinion.

    Think about what would make you feel better and do it
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  • Profile picture of the author WBO
    You can't lie, if you say you will do something you need to stick to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author edwood
    I think it's both unethical and bad business.

    To further lower the price 24 hours later is no way to treat your customers/subscribers. It suggests a product that wasn't selling well so the vendor hoped that dropping the price would help. (It probably didn't.)

    Michael
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    • Profile picture of the author lyricaldeb
      Originally Posted by edwood View Post

      I think it's both unethical and bad business.

      To further lower the price 24 hours later is no way to treat your customers/subscribers. It suggests a product that wasn't selling well so the vendor hoped that dropping the price would help. (It probably didn't.)

      Michael
      Hi Edwood,

      You hit the nail on the head.I have had that very scenario happen to me from a respected internet marketer. I paid $500 for his product. I noticed less than 2 weeks later it was now $300.So my thinking was as you mentioned that the product wasn't selling well.

      That to me is both ethical and morally wrong.It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    Hey it's the Net.....check our ethics at the door :-(
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  • Profile picture of the author Benjamin Ehinger
    Originally Posted by write27 View Post

    When you advertise a service or product, and tell people that the price is going up if they don't purchase today, is it ethical to turn around a few days later and offer the same service at an even lower price? This is an issue I am dealing with from someone I outsourced a function to.

    Not only did they claim the price was doubling, they then turned around and held a firesale a few days later for an even lower price then the alleged "bargain price"..

    My sense is that you should be allowed to lower the price again after a couple of weeks, but only if it is the case that you discovered that you could not sell at the new, higher price. We do want to create the sense of urgency, but there has to be some integrity and ethics in this business.
    It all depends really. I am a writer and will often change my prices because I have a heavy workload. Usually this is when I bump them up a bit.

    However, if a customer contacts me wanting a new project and I charged him $2 per 100 words and he now notices my advertised rate is lower I will honor it every single time.

    I would guess the person you are dealing with is struggling to fill their plate and make the money they are after. This would be a good reason to have a firesale and try to draw in some new clients.

    Benjamin Ehinger
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    • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
      Whatever price is put on a product is the price the customer pays for the duration that the price is assigned to it and it's up to their judgement what the product is worth to them regardless.

      On the flipside, frequent fluctuation of pricing structure besides being a tad unethical, may above all look unprofessional since a business should know the buying trends of their product - at least after a considerable amount of time of market exposure.
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