© Gaye Wilson 2009
Internet marketers are a persistent lot. Once you’re on their mailing list, they send you offer after offer of stuff you can’t live without.

Or can you?

New products and systems are launched with great hype, and the aforementioned internet marketers all jump on the affiliate bandwagon and, again, send you offers you can’t resist.

Or can you?

Supposedly, all this makes the marketers tons of money. In reality, it leaves you with tons of electronic garbage cluttering up your hard drive.

Each internet marketer and each new product claims to give you what you need to become a success, to make money, to become slimmer, more attractive, a better time manager and all around good sort. There are hundreds of products available on the internet that claim to have the best system for making money on the internet.

A case in point is niche marketing. There’s a new product on the internet that has been met with great acclaim and fanfare. It is a system of making thousands of dollars per month on obscure niches. The price of the system is nearly $500 in US currency.

What bugs me about the marketing copy for this particular product is that the producers of the system don’t care about what they are selling, as long as they are making money. They say upfront on their website that they have used this system in several obscure niches that they know nothing about and don’t care about.

In fact, thinking about it, that seems to be the norm for internet marketers. As long as they are making money, who cares if what they are selling is crap?

So where’s the victory here?

I suppose there’s a victory of a sort for the internet marketer who actually makes money doing this. But is it a victory for the buyer if the product doesn’t do what it promises, or stays on the hard drive without being used, or costs money the buyer doesn’t have or can’t spare, or, worse still, gives incorrect or incomplete information?

Where’s the moral victory for the marketer if they don’t care about the products or the buyers, as long as they make money? Where’s the sense of achievement (apart from having tricked the buyers into thinking there’s something special about the product and its marketer)? Where’s the pride in the marketer’s work?

And don’t get me started on the high prices for these products. $97 for an ebook? $497 for a one hour teleseminar?

Why would you do it? Is it just about the money?

I don’t make any money online. I haven’t actually set myself up for it. I intend to, sometime, but under strict guidelines. These are:

  • the products I promote MUST be connected with my core business
  • the products I promote MUST have value
  • the products I promote must have good information
  • I must be interested in the topic
  • I must agree with what is said
  • if I buy resell rights, I will check grammar, punctuation and spelling etc (after all, I AM an editor) before I put the product up for sale

So many internet marketers get free or low cost products to sell and simply offer them “as is” to their customers without checking that the writing makes sense, there is good information, or that there are no grammatical or spelling errors. They simply don’t care what they sell, as long as they are making money.

I think that’s wrong.

Call me stupid, call me idealistic, but I think that’s wrong. We should be helping each other in this world. If people were more interested in helping other people than in making money, the world wouldn’t be in the global financial crisis that exists today.

I think the internet marketer who tries to make money from products they haven’t tried and don’t care about are making money simply for the sake of making money.

So let’s start a discussion about this. Is it moral for internet marketers to sell stuff, any old stuff, just to make money?

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One Response to “Ethical internet marketing – does it exist?”

  1. Hez on June 11th, 2009 8:53 am

    Perhaps it is the medium of the internet that allows more of the disconnected flogging of “stuff” for a quick buck; there are people who take jobs they don’t care about and sell products they don’t care about in the physical “real” world just to make money too, but their not caring shows in their dealings with customers and they may find they have to at least pretend to care in order to stay in business.
    I’m picturing these net marketer businesses buying up whatever stock it can find and sells it for the markup – stereotypical used car salesman style or like a junkyard. While it’s not something you’d find me doing either, the only way we can stop them is for no-one to buy these products!
    The immoral part about what you describe, as I see it, lies in the merciless selling of poor quality products or products whose quality has not been verified, and/or overstating the product benefits and misleading the buyers.

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