Marketing Ethics: Oxymoron, Myth or Real?

47 replies
I've always considered myself a free market capitalist but I've also always believe in truth in advertising. I know that Pepsi doesn't make senior citizens young again, ax body spray doesn't make supermodels want to have sex with strangers and I know that I didn't really win the U.N. lottery nor was a secret bank account owned by an unknown distant relative suddenly found despite the amusing yet annoying e-mails.

Additionally, I know not all of the make money online "offers" really work despite the fact that they all claim they do.

I've been an IT professional for over 20 years and I've spent countless hours blocking spam. I've moderated and administrated several forums and I've banned, rebanned and IP banned many thousands of "members" (and many domains with SEO in them too) that really had zero interest in being part of the community but instead only care about spamming their backlinks regardless if they were relevant to the site or not. Some spammers try to hide their spam as questions or answers. As far as I'm concerned, even if the spam is relevant it's still spam if the "member" only cares about the link and has no interest in actually being part of the community. Blogs are no different.

So, are there ethics in marketing/advertising or is the only limit what they can get away with that works? I know that some people will reply and say "we don't spam" but I also know that some of those probably really do. Certainly, not everyone spams but is that the exception or the rule?


GT
#advertising #ethics #marketing #myth #oxymoron #real #seo #spam
  • Profile picture of the author JonPKibble
    Sure, you can get ahead by spamming, or using questionable marketing tactics. But you can also get ahead by being honest. In the long run, keeping a good reputation will definitely increase customer loyalty. Check out Seth Godin's blog, he advocates this.
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    • Profile picture of the author timpears
      Originally Posted by JonPKibble View Post

      Sure, you can get ahead by spamming, or using questionable marketing tactics. But you can also get ahead by being honest. In the long run, keeping a good reputation will definitely increase customer loyalty. Check out Seth Godin's blog, he advocates this.
      Yes, but those of that persuasion are in the minority. Unfortunately.
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      Tim Pears

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      • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
        Originally Posted by timpears View Post

        Yes, but those of that persuasion are in the minority. Unfortunately.
        The spammer persuasion or the honest marketing persuasion? (kidding)

        There was an old comedy back in 1990 that I think everyone in marketing or advertising should watch. It was a Dudley Moore film called "Crazy People." While it was tongue in cheek I often wonder how successful ads like those would be.
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  • Profile picture of the author KuhNoodle
    Ethics to some degree are relative, what one person considers "ethical" another may not. Personally spamming isn't the way in my opinion. It takes more time to build up a reputation and get legitimate hits and visitors though, so to some taking a short cut and spamming to tons of people may be the best way to yield quick results. Sometimes you have to break rules if you want speedy results, but speedy results are temporary.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kreator517
      This is True.... The benefits of avoiding shortcuts pay off in the long run. We literally had to sell our WSO at a loss for almost a year before acquiring the kind of reputation that has us converting at our current rate. Cutting corners to become overnight superstars would have had the inevitable payoff of hundreds angry clients and a likely blacklisting.

      It's more about gaurding your reputation than obsessing over "ethics", which are as subjective a value as any.
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      • Profile picture of the author Mormo
        I don't doubt people make money with EN but I wouldn't do it because I think it is unethical.

        I get so many misleading junk mails with headlines that say I made an affiliate sale or my account got flagged or whatever that I don't really bother to read my junk emails anymore. Bad apples ruin it for everyone.

        I opened one email that said my account got flagged and the marketer wrote in the email "Don't complain to me, just unsubscribe." That's what I did. Seems like not a very good tactic.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael D Forbes
    It's very frustrating how many people in ANY business lack ethics. Sometimes the noise of the spam and jam would make one think that's all there is... however, there ARE a lot of upstanding, highly ethical, non-spammy marketers out there. These are the ones that I am friends with and am happy to buy from when the situation is right.
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    • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
      Originally Posted by Michael D Forbes View Post

      It's very frustrating how many people in ANY business lack ethics. Sometimes the noise of the spam and jam would make one think that's all there is... however, there ARE a lot of upstanding, highly ethical, non-spammy marketers out there. These are the ones that I am friends with and am happy to buy from when the situation is right.
      I guess trust isn't my strong suit either.
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  • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
    There's no doubt that what is or isn't ethical is subjective, history has proven that over and over. This isn't just about spam though, it's also about honesty and that's quite a bit less subjective.

    I also agree that my integrity is worth more than any temporary gain and that integrity and reputation lead to better customer loyalty.

    I appreciate that WF has rules against spam and scams but I still can't believe that every "offer" here is legit. How can a SEO/SERP offer claim to get people large numbers of backlinks without spamming unless they have a loose interpretation of what is or isn't spam? How could it be possible that every 10-20-50 dollar offer is able to make people 5-10k per year? How can people not suspect that X number of reviews/testimonials are manufactured/not legit? Is it one of those "it's only against the rules (or illegal) if you get caught" type deals?

    It might not show so much in this thread but I'm really an optimist; I'm also VERY skeptical because "if it sounds too good to be true...." and we've all seen the scams and spams...
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  • Profile picture of the author thatjc
    I believe in marketing honesty - because it works better. I think that means the same as "ethically"

    Today's online visitor is far from dumb. Most are very savvy and very quick to spot and ignore poorly designed sales and landing pages, sales letters, etc.

    What is an "honest" landing page or sales letter then?
    1. It offers something of true value to a niche with a need for that something.
    2. It substantiates all claims with actual facts.
    3. (Not with more claims, but with hard figures from authoritative 3rd parties.)
    4. It presents a clear, easy to understand offer.
    5. It has trust symbols, like a real physical address and phone number and real testimonials
    6. It uses no marketeze, hype or exaggeration.

    Thanks for a valuable thread...
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    • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
      I'm not sure how any "make money on the internet" offer meets 2 and 3. I've never seen one that does.

      They all claim that their system works and we know that not all systems work for everybody.
      They can show us their adsense/clickbank/amazon/etc earnings reports but that doesn't mean those can't be temporarily manipulated for a video or screenshot nor does it mean that the money they made actually came from what they're trying to sell us.
      Who is an authoritative, trust worthy, 3rd party?

      I say put your money where your claims are. If you want 10 bucks for your pdf "system" then give it to me until I make 20 bucks and I'll not only pay you the 10 but I'll sing the praises and admit my skepticism was unfounded. You don't see many offers like that though and we all know why...

      I did see an offer on youtube (that I won't link here) where the guy was selling his system for a 27 dollar monthly subscription and my first thought is if your system works like he claims he wouldn't need 27 dollars a month from "members" and that's where he really makes his money, not from his affiliate system that he wants me to use. Could I be wrong? Sure but I'm not putting up 27/mo to find out. Let him give way his "system" until his members make 100 bucks a month and I'll be the best testimonial he ever had, I'll even get my kids and grandkids to join...if it worked. Think he'd take me up on that? I doubt it...

      Can you tell that I have trust issues now?
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidAllenNeron
    *The following is all merely MY opinion and not to be misconstrued as advice or "the truth"*

    Hmm, well when I think about this subject I try to think of our distant past as well as our current society and culture.

    Taking all of this into consideration;
    "Advertising" or "Marketing" has an inherent function in our human nature.... we want to express ourselves, be recognized and understood.

    Some of us are better at expressing ourselves than others... but at the same time those people generally aren't that great at advertising because it's a specific type of expression I see that dominates the landscape when it comes to having an effect on the most people, and you can easily find more about these "corporations" when you search for "Friendly" or "Happy" corporations, or corporations that people like or even "love"... and they all have similar characteristics. (Learn to model them) afterall they've spent more than billions over the years learning what works best.

    As far as ethics go, well.. I haven't gotten to my point yet...

    Advertising either serves two purposes IMO [in MY opinion]
    It either introduces something new and explains it....
    or
    It reminds people of something and may or may not explain it in detail ....

    Sure that's rather simplified but it can really help you understand what exactly you're doing... especially if you're trying to create a brand...

    Neuro-Marketing or Hypno-Marketing has gotten really sophisticated and they really go all out when they do their research these days, with MRI's and other brain scans, eye tracking, giant peer groups, you name it.. they spend a lot of money on this stuff ("they" are big corporations)

    How does this matter to your business or service? .. well if you learn some transformational grammar, NLP or another method of modeling you can really develop a rock solid business.

    and when we talk about ethics....
    I think it's an absolute myth, especially coming from a NLP background and watching some of the commercials (and actual TV programs) that seriously cross the line when it comes to "programming" people...

    Online it's a bit different but that's only because it's the wild west of marketing out there... anything goes.. and it seems like people just push the envelope and attempt to see just exactly what they can get away with, how many times can I hammer this person with offers before they unsub.. or how many offers can I find to email for (without caring if the product is actually good) or being desperate and hiring people to backlink for you and finding out some of the sites they put your links on are less than tasteful..

    I think ethics are a personal thing and when it boils down to it, your ethics ARE your business and it should be very evident what your ethics are from the get go...

    If you want to help people and actually helping people is part of your ethics, it'd make sense to see a payment plan, or a trial period, or getting them results in advance and then being the kind of person that hopes that people will pay you once what you say actually pays off and you can then afford it, as opposed to people coming to you with financial problems and you charge them money....

    this whole market is a$$ backwards in my opinion because it claims it's there to help people become financially free but at the same time slyly asks for money upfront to make millions... it's a wonder more people don't see passed this, it'd never fly in the "streets"

    .. where do you think they got their money?!

    I mean if a system or product is really THAT good and guaranteed (if you actually put in the work) then you should have no problem being a good teacher and helping someone get results before asking for money and you can't tell me that'd never work because it's embedded scarcity because you'll only ever be able to take on so many clients.

    The way it works now is hit or miss some people get some results, some don't and everyone "trying" to make it tries to stay so positive about the whole thing and they rarely "feel" slighted or ripped off, because they can "See" how that would work, well it must work because that guy that sold it to me said so....

    Even positive marketing is "unethical" in a sense, showing super happy people doing super happy things... or even mundane things (with really good video and audio production) because they are in a sense relating the product with emotions, (which they laser target with their comsumer questionnaires) which is why you'll see people around a camp fire at a beach drinking coke, because a large percentage of people reported drinking coke at a fire at the beach.

    Almost all "good" advertising is unethical in the sense that it affects people unconsciously; it's like the programming behind the matrix, the automatic or mechanical, machine world.

    Your breathing and your heartbeat is all unconsciously controlled, it isn't something you have to constantly think of or figure out. Good advertising is similar in that they have figured out how to tap into the unconscious emotions and associate their products with it.

    Really these companies spend billions of dollars fighting for the ad space between your ears. When you realize this, you'll really want to know more about yourself and how you tick.. and how you TALK
    Modern and Ancient Psychology, Hypnosis, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) anything that gives you more insight into you.... will only ever improve your marketing and business.

    I suppose you could look at it as an oxymoron but in my opinion it's merely a myth because expressing ourselves is natural, what has become unnatural is our pigeon like mentality of pecking the the door the light last blinked on to get the reward.. in other words, marketing as a form of expression when done exclusively with the intent of amassing large amounts of money with minimal results given to the end purchaser is unnatural and to me is what I see from a lot of products online in the IM niche..

    I like to think of it like I were in a jungle tribe and if some guy made great promises to me about a great many animals and I got there and it was 2-3 rabbits and he made it sound like a herd of elephants there would only be so many times I'd listen to him or pay him with my attention. I think a lot of marketers miss that, .. people are already paying you with their attention... I think sometimes I even forget about that, make sure you don't waste peoples time...

    another unethical marketing tactic is .... marketing a product you know will need support but only hiring 3 people for support and 2 of them don't know any programming... because you want more money....
    If you want a long successful business you had better spend as much as you need to satisfy your customers so they are actually raving about your customer support... goodness gracious, you're in the IM niche for goodness sakes you should have amazing customer support, I thought the internet was supposed to be instant?!

    This goes for those product creators who start taking orders before a product is actually finished... and Kudos to those who at least tell people before they buy the product that it hasn't been finished yet and you're buying a beta program or service.

    So in my final opinion I think ethics in marketing are an oxymoron at worst and akin to water and oil at the best.. because good advertising should by it's very nature relate specifically to you in some sense and affect your emotions and memories, which most people would be unconscious of before and after it took place.
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    • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
      I must be semi-immune to advertising because their common tricks never seem to work on me and, in some cases, they end up turning me off and driving me away from their products. I like what I like but not because some ad told me I do/would/should. If I had a nickle for every time time I've rolled my eyes at a commercial...I'd have a lot of nickles.

      I'll never buy the "head-on" product and anyone that saw their commercials probably knows why. They succeeded in getting me to remember their name but not in the way or to the effect that they wanted.


      I like to think of it like I were in a jungle tribe and if some guy made great promises to me about a great many animals and I got there and it was 2-3 rabbits and he made it sound like a herd of elephants there would only be so many times I'd listen to him or pay him with my attention...
      Unfortunately, less ethical marketers and scammers don't care about repeat customers, they'll take what they can get NOW and do it again after changing a few things like the domain name, etc and that's another reason I tend to be more careful on the internet.
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    • Profile picture of the author RestlessBlaze
      Originally Posted by DavidAllenNeron View Post

      *The following is all merely MY opinion and not to be misconstrued as advice or "the truth"*

      Hmm, well when I think about this subject I try to think of our distant past as well as our current society and culture.

      Taking all of this into consideration;
      "Advertising" or "Marketing" has an inherent function in our human nature.... we want to express ourselves, be recognized and understood.

      Some of us are better at expressing ourselves than others... but at the same time those people generally aren't that great at advertising because it's a specific type of expression I see that dominates the landscape when it comes to having an effect on the most people, and you can easily find more about these "corporations" when you search for "Friendly" or "Happy" corporations, or corporations that people like or even "love"... and they all have similar characteristics. (Learn to model them) afterall they've spent more than billions over the years learning what works best.

      As far as ethics go, well.. I haven't gotten to my point yet...

      Advertising either serves two purposes IMO [in MY opinion]
      It either introduces something new and explains it....
      or
      It reminds people of something and may or may not explain it in detail ....

      Sure that's rather simplified but it can really help you understand what exactly you're doing... especially if you're trying to create a brand...

      Neuro-Marketing or Hypno-Marketing has gotten really sophisticated and they really go all out when they do their research these days, with MRI's and other brain scans, eye tracking, giant peer groups, you name it.. they spend a lot of money on this stuff ("they" are big corporations)

      How does this matter to your business or service? .. well if you learn some transformational grammar, NLP or another method of modeling you can really develop a rock solid business.

      and when we talk about ethics....
      I think it's an absolute myth, especially coming from a NLP background and watching some of the commercials (and actual TV programs) that seriously cross the line when it comes to "programming" people...

      Online it's a bit different but that's only because it's the wild west of marketing out there... anything goes.. and it seems like people just push the envelope and attempt to see just exactly what they can get away with, how many times can I hammer this person with offers before they unsub.. or how many offers can I find to email for (without caring if the product is actually good) or being desperate and hiring people to backlink for you and finding out some of the sites they put your links on are less than tasteful..

      I think ethics are a personal thing and when it boils down to it, your ethics ARE your business and it should be very evident what your ethics are from the get go...

      If you want to help people and actually helping people is part of your ethics, it'd make sense to see a payment plan, or a trial period, or getting them results in advance and then being the kind of person that hopes that people will pay you once what you say actually pays off and you can then afford it, as opposed to people coming to you with financial problems and you charge them money....

      this whole market is a$$ backwards in my opinion because it claims it's there to help people become financially free but at the same time slyly asks for money upfront to make millions... it's a wonder more people don't see passed this, it'd never fly in the "streets"

      .. where do you think they got their money?!

      I mean if a system or product is really THAT good and guaranteed (if you actually put in the work) then you should have no problem being a good teacher and helping someone get results before asking for money and you can't tell me that'd never work because it's embedded scarcity because you'll only ever be able to take on so many clients.

      The way it works now is hit or miss some people get some results, some don't and everyone "trying" to make it tries to stay so positive about the whole thing and they rarely "feel" slighted or ripped off, because they can "See" how that would work, well it must work because that guy that sold it to me said so....

      Even positive marketing is "unethical" in a sense, showing super happy people doing super happy things... or even mundane things (with really good video and audio production) because they are in a sense relating the product with emotions, (which they laser target with their comsumer questionnaires) which is why you'll see people around a camp fire at a beach drinking coke, because a large percentage of people reported drinking coke at a fire at the beach.

      Almost all "good" advertising is unethical in the sense that it affects people unconsciously; it's like the programming behind the matrix, the automatic or mechanical, machine world.

      Your breathing and your heartbeat is all unconsciously controlled, it isn't something you have to constantly think of or figure out. Good advertising is similar in that they have figured out how to tap into the unconscious emotions and associate their products with it.

      Really these companies spend billions of dollars fighting for the ad space between your ears. When you realize this, you'll really want to know more about yourself and how you tick.. and how you TALK
      Modern and Ancient Psychology, Hypnosis, NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) anything that gives you more insight into you.... will only ever improve your marketing and business.

      I suppose you could look at it as an oxymoron but in my opinion it's merely a myth because expressing ourselves is natural, what has become unnatural is our pigeon like mentality of pecking the the door the light last blinked on to get the reward.. in other words, marketing as a form of expression when done exclusively with the intent of amassing large amounts of money with minimal results given to the end purchaser is unnatural and to me is what I see from a lot of products online in the IM niche..

      I like to think of it like I were in a jungle tribe and if some guy made great promises to me about a great many animals and I got there and it was 2-3 rabbits and he made it sound like a herd of elephants there would only be so many times I'd listen to him or pay him with my attention. I think a lot of marketers miss that, .. people are already paying you with their attention... I think sometimes I even forget about that, make sure you don't waste peoples time...

      another unethical marketing tactic is .... marketing a product you know will need support but only hiring 3 people for support and 2 of them don't know any programming... because you want more money....
      If you want a long successful business you had better spend as much as you need to satisfy your customers so they are actually raving about your customer support... goodness gracious, you're in the IM niche for goodness sakes you should have amazing customer support, I thought the internet was supposed to be instant?!

      This goes for those product creators who start taking orders before a product is actually finished... and Kudos to those who at least tell people before they buy the product that it hasn't been finished yet and you're buying a beta program or service.

      So in my final opinion I think ethics in marketing are an oxymoron at worst and akin to water and oil at the best.. because good advertising should by it's very nature relate specifically to you in some sense and affect your emotions and memories, which most people would be unconscious of before and after it took place.
      One of the best post, i have read here. How do you know so much? You seem like a pro in advertising field.
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      • Profile picture of the author DavidAllenNeron
        I wouldn't say I'm a pro, there's always more to learn, but I think that's what I do best.. study and research ... I seem to be better at helping other people than I am at doing things for myself...
        I'm really fascinated with myself and how I work... hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming .. and I think when you understand yourself you'll really understand marketing.. although at the same time.. I find that it hinders me because I find it unethical to "manipulate" people if it's a shitty product.. or doesn't actually provide the value it claims.. and for me.. not many products actually match their marketing..

        I think that's something people need to focus on .. matching their marketing to their product and present it in a realistic manner.. there's too much fluff out there.. too many claims and not enough reality in marketing.. sure some companies are becoming more transparent but it seems fake to me.. like they're just doing it because that's what their market research tells them and not because they're actually good at it, or think it's the right thing to do.

        Just look at how listerine came about .. they found a formula that didn't "burn" and "tingle" or whatever and .. sales dropped because people didn't think it was working because they couldn't feel it.. and instead of educating their customers they opted for the easy fix which was making it burn again... IMO the ethical thing to do would be to educate your consumers ... but no.. that's too difficult for giant corporations apparently...
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        • Profile picture of the author RestlessBlaze
          Originally Posted by DavidAllenNeron View Post

          I wouldn't say I'm a pro, there's always more to learn, but I think that's what I do best.. study and research ... I seem to be better at helping other people than I am at doing things for myself...
          I'm really fascinated with myself and how I work... hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming .. and I think when you understand yourself you'll really understand marketing.. although at the same time.. I find that it hinders me because I find it unethical to "manipulate" people if it's a shitty product.. or doesn't actually provide the value it claims.. and for me.. not many products actually match their marketing..

          I think that's something people need to focus on .. matching their marketing to their product and present it in a realistic manner.. there's too much fluff out there.. too many claims and not enough reality in marketing.. sure some companies are becoming more transparent but it seems fake to me.. like they're just doing it because that's what their market research tells them and not because they're actually good at it, or think it's the right thing to do.

          Just look at how listerine came about .. they found a formula that didn't "burn" and "tingle" or whatever and .. sales dropped because people didn't think it was working because they couldn't feel it.. and instead of educating their customers they opted for the easy fix which was making it burn again... IMO the ethical thing to do would be to educate your consumers ... but no.. that's too difficult for giant corporations apparently...
          from where you got all this information? How i can apply NLP in my marketing plan? Can you list some of resources?

          Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author John J M
    One little thing to add to the conversation: I think more and more marketers are becoming more aware that you have to be genuine to connect with a modern audience. Of course, advertising will always contain some exaggeration or at least fancy words that make people feel good. But that's the business.

    What it comes down to is whether or not people can really trust a person, program, etc. If not, then it fails at the end of the day. So it's better to be genuine upfront. That being said, in the IM world, most people are so used to over-the-top stuff, that in order to even get attention, sometimes the use of not-just-normal language or graphics is needed. Again, that's part of the business.

    To add to this, when it comes to IM, if people actually get results, then something/someone can stand.
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    • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
      Originally Posted by John J Rivers View Post

      One little thing to add to the conversation: I think more and more marketers are becoming more aware that you have to be genuine to connect with a modern audience. Of course, advertising will always contain some exaggeration or at least fancy words that make people feel good. But that's the business.

      What it comes down to is whether or not people can really trust a person, program, etc. If not, then it fails at the end of the day. So it's better to be genuine upfront. That being said, in the IM world, most people are so used to over-the-top stuff, that in order to even get attention, sometimes the use of not-just-normal language or graphics is needed. Again, that's part of the business.

      To add to this, when it comes to IM, if people actually get results, then something/someone can stand.
      You should watch the movie "Crazy People," I think genuine would work but it's not very common.

      Results are great but results based on shady practices don't have much to stand on. The end doesn't always justify the means...unless they're in marketing maybe.
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  • Profile picture of the author DavidAllenNeron
    It's a lot easier to market to a GMO, Fluoride fed population.
    Most publications and marketing is made for a 4th grade level comprehension.

    Hook them while they're young..
    Owned & Operated - YouTube

    Craig Ferguson nails it...
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    I can't tell you numbers don't sell, they do.
    I can tell you that every launch is a walk in the dark.
    There is no way 100 percent of the programs being launched works or we
    would all be rich, wouldn't we.

    I do know that when I buy a product I don't buy in the sense of making money. I buy
    it to take what I can out of it to work with me.

    If it's rehashed crap I get a refund and feel none the worse for it.

    Do I mayself use wild claims, hell yeah I do.

    One of my best sig lines that got me 30 or more optins a day stated.
    "Free SEX and make money at the same time!"

    Now if they ask I just told them, you get my report make loads of cash and you will see the free sex.
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  • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
    Does Fluoride explain the marketing to conspiracy theorists that those kind of sites go after too?

    Obviously, the scams, wild claims and spams do work to some degree or they wouldn't do it but does the end justify the means? I don't know if I could do it...not like that. I don't think I could market...say....a new salsa and claim it was "the best" and that super models will break down your door to eat it with you but I could say it's good and people should try it and see if they like it as much as I do. It's not as sexy as other options but it's honest, or it would be if I made salsa.

    *shrug*
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    Comes to a point. You will either have to write your copy so well that you don't need wild claims or be clever and witting in your copy to just get people to laugh the crap out of them.

    Wild Claims have always been here always will and get more wild. Photoshop doesn't help with them and other programs you can use to show falsified proof.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Far from being an oxymoron, the BEST form of marketing is to exercise the HIGHEST ethical standards at all times. People gravitate toward CHARACTER.
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    • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
      Originally Posted by hustlinsmoke View Post

      Comes to a point. You will either have to write your copy so well that you don't need wild claims or be clever and witting in your copy to just get people to laugh the crap out of them.

      Wild Claims have always been here always will and get more wild. Photoshop doesn't help with them and other programs you can use to show falsified proof.
      No doubt that deceptive advertising is as old as advertising itself (which is at least as old as the oldest profession) but what about the ethics of it? Is it OK, in the name of making a buck? If it is OK because it's always been done or always will be, by some, then at what point does it stop being OK? Is it wrong to claim it's "the best" or that my non-existent salsa will cure cancer and end world hunger? Would it be the consumers faults for believing that my salsa might cure their real cancer or the ad-man's fault for making false claims?



      Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

      Far from being an oxymoron, the BEST form of marketing is to exercise the HIGHEST ethical standards at all times. People gravitate toward CHARACTER.
      I guess it isn't an oxymoron nor a myth for those of us that believe in honesty but what about those that think anything goes if they can get suckers (I've heard there's one born every minute) to buy? For some, based on history, the words don't seem compatible together...
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      • Profile picture of the author writeaway
        Originally Posted by GrowTutor View Post






        I guess it isn't an oxymoron nor a myth for those of us that believe in honesty but what about those that think anything goes if they can get suckers (I've heard there's one born every minute) to buy? For some, based on history, the words don't seem compatible together...
        Well, you won't get to where your CHARACTER destines you to go if you are too busy looking at what other people are doing. Doing so will only plant doubts in your heart whether being a PERSON OF INTEGRITY is compatible with success. Of course it is, don't let the short-term success of cheaters fool you. CHARACTER is its own reward.

        The worst thing you can do to yourself is play the MORAL RELATIVISM game of 'If I don't do it, someone else will...'
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  • Profile picture of the author Slate Marketing
    Hell yeah there are marketing ethics. Unfortunately though, many (crappy) marketers don't follow them but you can usually spot those posers fairly easily.
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  • Profile picture of the author Young Financier
    This talk of marketing ethics sounds good on a public forum, but it's all talk. I've saw a lot of these guys in action, so I know.
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  • Profile picture of the author hustlinsmoke
    You know the funny thing is I'm watching people post to this and looking at some of there ads. There posts aren't reflecting there ads.

    I'm going to say it once more, unless you can jokingly make those wild claims and get people to interact then its a way of life.

    Look at some of the top wso sellers.
    I make 5,000 a month with this product, another one I make 7500 with this product. or 376 dollars a day.

    Do some research like me, the same people telling you its wrong are dong the same thing.

    I will not be hypocritical.

    I do it to extents.

    Also remember this. Most alot of launches are done in theory so always look for the ones that have definitive proof. Not just paypal screen shots but the ones that show you screen casts of them actually doing it with the results.

    I will also state this on behalf of all of our benefit. If people would put 100 percent effort into what we try to teach them they would make the kinds of money showned, but instead they buy the next launch before they even finish the first product.

    Total it all up and they make millions lol.
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  • Many times ethics and marketing certainly walk over a thin line.

    For example: almost every marketer tends to sugar coat their sales page copy, otherwise known as "hype". At which point exactly does aggressive hype turn into a dubious half-truth?
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by GrowTutor View Post

      So, are there ethics in marketing/advertising or is the only limit what they can get away with that works? I know that some people will reply and say "we don't spam" but I also know that some of those probably really do. Certainly, not everyone spams but is that the exception or the rule?


      GT
      Originally Posted by Michael D Forbes View Post

      It's very frustrating how many people in ANY business lack ethics. Sometimes the noise of the spam and jam would make one think that's all there is... however, there ARE a lot of upstanding, highly ethical, non-spammy marketers out there. These are the ones that I am friends with and am happy to buy from when the situation is right.
      Everyone in business has ethics. Some of the ethics displayed by marketers would make a sewer rat squirm, but they are "ethics" just the same.

      Let's go to an extreme. A drug dealer's ethics allow him to give kids free samples of his wares until the physical addiction kicks in and he has a customer for life. The same ethics make it unethical to snitch - unless he's snitching to save his own skin and not snitching on you. In his world, his actions are perfectly ethical, even though they're abhorrent to society in general.

      Much less extreme...

      There was a recent thread where the poster was telling people how they made good money recommending Amazon products with personal testimonials - hundreds of them, creating several every day. The poster described those testimonials as "fictions" - first-person success stories told purely to refer people to Amazon. When called on it, the poster justified their actions by saying they only wrote their "fictions" about physical product with good reviews anyway, so it was okay. As opposed to the same "fictions" used to market MMO products, where they asserted that all IM marketers were liars anyway.

      Even though that poster is an admitted liar and fraud, both the poster and many others in the thread saw nothing wrong happening. Within their personal ethics, they were acting properly. The fact that I and many others disagreed just meant that our ethics were different, not that the original poster lacked ethics.
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      • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
        Originally Posted by Sean Tudor Carter View Post

        This talk of marketing ethics sounds good on a public forum, but it's all talk. I've saw a lot of these guys in action, so I know.
        I didn't check anyone's sites but I did say on the first post that there would be those that claim they don't spam when they do. I guess I shouldn't have been so specific because clearly that applies to the ethics question in general not just spam.


        Originally Posted by hustlinsmoke View Post

        I'm going to say it once more, unless you can jokingly make those wild claims and get people to interact then its a way of life.

        I will not be hypocritical.

        I do it to extents.

        Also remember this. Most alot of launches are done in theory so always look for the ones that have definitive proof. Not just paypal screen shots but the ones that show you screen casts of them actually doing it with the results.
        Why does "I was only joking" make it better? One of my pet peeves is when people get busted saying or doing something "wrong" and then they try to weasel out by claiming they were joking, as if joking made it OK. Maybe I'm not getting your humor exemption example.

        Like when somebody says something racist then claims that they were only joking but it never works, in my eyes. I just don't see how it makes it better...

        I do give you credit for admitting you use questionable ethics but I don't see how that makes it OK.

        Even if they show you video of them logging onto clickbank and showing your their earning for X amount of time it doesn't mean they he made that money the way he claims he did. He could have bought some or all of the ebooks himself to make his numbers look better...for example.


        Originally Posted by Anonymous Affiliate View Post

        Many times ethics and marketing certainly walk over a thin line.

        For example: almost every marketer tends to sugar coat their sales page copy, otherwise known as "hype". At which point exactly does aggressive hype turn into a dubious half-truth?
        That's what I'd like to know too. It seems that answer depends on the ethics and integrity of the person answering though.

        Focusing on the positives is sugar coating/hype, I don't see anything wrong with that. Exaggerating the positives is another story.


        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        Everyone in business has ethics. Some of the ethics displayed by marketers would make a sewer rat squirm, but they are "ethics" just the same.

        ...

        Even though that poster is an admitted liar and fraud, both the poster and many others in the thread saw nothing wrong happening. Within their personal ethics, they were acting properly. The fact that I and many others disagreed just meant that our ethics were different, not that the original poster lacked ethics.
        I don't know...
        That's like saying that Charles Manson had morals, just not very good morals. I think that your example would be better described as a person that lacked ethics just as Manson lacked morals.

        Of course few will admit they lack ethics because they feel justified and it could hurt their business.
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
          Originally Posted by GrowTutor View Post

          I don't know...
          That's like saying that Charles Manson had morals, just not very good morals. I think that your example would be better described as a person that lacked ethics just as Manson lacked morals.

          Of course few will admit they lack ethics because they feel justified and it could hurt their business.
          What you mean is that Manson, or any other example you could come up with, didn't share your morality. Everyone has morals and ethics, like everyone has genes. Whether they agree with yours or not isn't the point.

          Manson had his own morality. The fact that it conflicted with the morals of mainstream society led to his lockup and subsequent perfect record on parole denials.

          I lay no claim to sainthood, either. I've preached conservation and obeying fish and game laws for most of my adult life. I will cop to keeping a hen pheasant shot accidentally rather than throwing it in the bushes to feed the coyotes. Breaking that law let me uphold my own personal ethic about wasteful killing, and had I been caught I would have been prepared to accept the consequences. I've also been known to keep an extra fish over the limit or outside the slot for the same reason.

          There are those who would say that the fact that I would take life at all meant I lacked morals or ethics. I disagree.
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  • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
    Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

    What you mean is that Manson, or any other example you could come up with, didn't share your morality. Everyone has morals and ethics, like everyone has genes. Whether they agree with yours or not isn't the point.

    Manson had his own morality. The fact that it conflicted with the morals of mainstream society led to his lockup and subsequent perfect record on parole denials.

    I lay no claim to sainthood, either. I've preached conservation and obeying fish and game laws for most of my adult life. I will cop to keeping a hen pheasant shot accidentally rather than throwing it in the bushes to feed the coyotes. Breaking that law let me uphold my own personal ethic about wasteful killing, and had I been caught I would have been prepared to accept the consequences. I've also been known to keep an extra fish over the limit or outside the slot for the same reason.

    There are those who would say that the fact that I would take life at all meant I lacked morals or ethics. I disagree.
    No, I said what I meant. I mean he lacked morals. You don't have to agree and it might even be semantics.


    Originally Posted by writeaway View Post

    Well, you won't get to where your CHARACTER destines you to go if you are too busy looking at what other people are doing. Doing so will only plant doubts in your heart whether being a PERSON OF INTEGRITY is compatible with success. Of course it is, don't let the short-term success of cheaters fool you. CHARACTER is its own reward.

    The worst thing you can do to yourself is play the MORAL RELATIVISM game of 'If I don't do it, someone else will...'
    This is just a discussion on marketing ethics, the only thing it's stopped me from doing is buying other people's get-rich-on-the-internet "systems" but that doesn't mean that I don't have my own system that I'm working on.


    Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

    Marketing ethics is a myth. The only thing we have is the law. Ever hear of a marketer being censured for unethical behavior?
    I've heard of them being fined for illegal practices which would be unethical in my book. I'm sure some have been fired over ethics that had nothing to do with law but that may also be subjective. There's certainly no global marketing "board of ethics" that could slap the hand of a unethical marketer. Marketing Ethics has a wikipedia page so does that mean it does exist?
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  • Profile picture of the author trader909
    Banned
    Honestly, most I.M.er's seem to think spamming and getting high G rankings is a solid business module. They need to re-think.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    Advertising about sweating your butt off in the heat, depriving yourself of all the good food, and having to learn new exercises and suffer embarrassment at the gym to magically lose 10 pounds a month doesn't work. That's why no one (almost no one) does it.

    It's the truth, perhaps, but it won't sell. So you have to find the ethical and moral balance when changing around that paragraph to something a little more palatable. That can be very difficult so many take the easier road to cash versus the road that never leads anywhere close to cash by telling too much truth.

    Paul Myers says it best perhaps: Tell them what they want to hear in the ad then give them what they need (along with a little sugar to help the medicine go down I assume). Something like that.

    I believe that there are ways to be moral and ethical (meeting the standards of society as a whole) and still make a good living. Finding the right path, though, can be very difficult.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
      Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

      Advertising about sweating your butt off in the heat, depriving yourself of all the good food, and having to learn new exercises and suffer embarrassment at the gym to magically lose 10 pounds a month doesn't work. That's why no one (almost no one) does it.

      It's the truth, perhaps, but it won't sell. So you have to find the ethical and moral balance when changing around that paragraph to something a little more palatable. That can be very difficult so many take the easier road to cash versus the road that never leads anywhere close to cash by telling too much truth.

      Paul Myers says it best perhaps: Tell them what they want to hear in the ad then give them what they need (along with a little sugar to help the medicine go down I assume). Something like that.

      I believe that there are ways to be moral and ethical (meeting the standards of society as a whole) and still make a good living. Finding the right path, though, can be very difficult.

      Mark
      I think that's better than "take this pill (that does nothing), eat what you want and lose 50 pounds instantly" P90X and other fitness tapes made millions and they told people that they'd be working and sweating their rears off, literally.

      How can there be a balance between the truth and a lie? If it's not the truth then it ceases to be ethical.

      Did Paul Myers mention anything about honesty?

      Of course there is a way, some people do it. Not everyone tried to be ethical though...

      I did find this:
      Statement of Ethics - American Marketing Association
      "Honesty
      Responsibility
      Fairness
      Respect
      Transparency
      Citizenship"

      I found that pretty refreshing but I still wonder how many uphold those values.
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  • Yeah its too hard to make other people to believe you especially when you are selling or proposing a product to them through online. But as they have said as long as you're honest to them and they are interested on it your costumers as well will help you and endorsing your product until it multiply.
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  • Profile picture of the author paulie123
    I think I mentioned this on another post for a different conversation. The business of America...is business! Ethics may come into play or may not. It is not an absolute requirement. It is as definitive, subjective, and with tons of gray areas as politics. They are practically extensions of each other. The governing premise for today's environment is definitely machiavellian, where the "end justifies the means."
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    • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
      Originally Posted by onlinesolutions1985 View Post

      Yeah its too hard to make other people to believe you especially when you are selling or proposing a product to them through online. But as they have said as long as you're honest to them and they are interested on it your costumers as well will help you and endorsing your product until it multiply.
      Well, that brings to the practice of shills. While it's absolutely true that happy customers might be very willing to write good reviews, we also know that people write their own reviews or pay others to do it for them. So, how can anyone take reviews/testimonials seriously, unless they actually know the person making the review?


      Originally Posted by paulie123 View Post

      I think I mentioned this on another post for a different conversation. The business of America...is business! Ethics may come into play or may not. It is not an absolute requirement. It is as definitive, subjective, and with tons of gray areas as politics. They are practically extensions of each other. The governing premise for today's environment is definitely machiavellian, where the "end justifies the means."
      On one hand, I'd say that sounds a bit jaded; on the other, I have to agree to an extent. Of course, there are always exceptions although it's hard to tell which camp is in the majority sometimes.


      Back to the subject of honest ads and thinking about that movie (Crazy People) that I was talking about. Wouldn't you rather see an ad like this once in a while:


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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Rosmer
    It's a simple question of short vs. long term results. Ethics in marketing can sometimes mean a slow build, but it also creates a snowball, while things like spam might get some short term results but long term it hurts you. Play win-win, it's a better way long term and that's where the real money is.
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  • Profile picture of the author iMBg
    What, if anything, can be done abut unethical marketing? There is obviously problems with it or it wouldn't have such a bad reputation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Moist
    Ethics is a personal thing. Your have ethics or you don't. Marketing just happens to be where we live. The issue with those who have ethics is always it looks like the other guy is getting away with something. And they may. But enforcement in the U.S. is to make an example of someone. Pray your company is not the example.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fazal Mayar
    Ethics are something we all wonder whatever business we are in. We wonder, is the money I am making, is it ethical? Am I selling drugs or selling something illegal or etc? Well, I have been putting a lot fo importance to ethical marketing, its even been something I promote to my subscribers because of the recent changes in the scams in the IM industry. Its part of my business, believe it or not ethics make me money. It absolutely raise your credibility in your niche if you promote it.
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    Blogger at RicherOrNot.com (Make Money online blog but also promoting ethical internet marketing)

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  • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
    Personally, I don't see spam as even a short term option but I'm all for win-win.

    Nothing can be done about it other than shunning those that practice it and, based on results, that just doesn't happen enough. Prostitution might be the oldest profession but I bet marketing is the second oldest.

    I'm not sure that "getting away with something" is exactly right but it's pretty darn close. Unfortunately, unethical and illegal are sometimes miles apart. Ax body spray ads aren't honest but I doubt they break any laws.

    I believe in marketing ethics, even if it's a slower path and I'm not even sure that it is. Sometimes it seems that way though.
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  • Profile picture of the author GrowTutor
    I appreciate the civil and mature discussion, in this thread, but I think I'm moving on soon due to recent events.

    It's nice to see that some people do find ethics important.

    Thank you for your time...
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