Internet Attorney: Guru Idiocy – How Big Egos Costs Business

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For prospective clients, and even an Internet attorney, there are few things as annoying online as Internet marketers who believe that one or two successful product launches entitles them to mistreat everyone around them as lesser individuals.

Let me give you an example. Let’s call him Big Ego.

Big Ego purchased Website Legal Forms Generator software from one of my companies. He could afford to pay for an Internet lawyer to draft customized legal documents but decided to go for the inexpensive alternative instead. Not my call. Wouldn’t want him as a client (keep reading – you’ll understand why).

The first thing that Big Ego did was complain about the software and how much better it would be if he had developed it.

To be sure, Big Ego has developed software. However, Big Ego is not an Internet attorney. Also note that the software is the #1 of its kind on the Internet and has a refund request rate of less than one percent.

Big Ego didn’t stop there. He kept sending lengthy e-mails to client support and to me about how wonderful he was and how he would do things differently. Attempts to be nice simply resulted in more e-mails from Big Ego that soon took on an abusive tone. Why? Because we refused to re-develop our software in an entirely different platform based on his “expert” advice.

The abuse of client support was only toned down after it was pointed out that one of the people Big Ego was being mean to happened to be my wife.

Sadly, Big Ego isn’t unique.

I’ve been to Internet marketing events where “legends in their own minds” wouldn’t even speak with someone unless they knew that person was important. As an Internet attorney, I’ve laughed to see this include 1-hit wonders who snubbed decamillionaires and even a billionaire on the mistaken assumption that low-key meant unimportant.

When you consider how word-of-mouth works, imagine what it costs the Big Egos of the world in their businesses and reputations to mistreat the “little people.”

Think about this the next time you deal with someone’s client support or meet someone new at a marketing event. Those unknown to you have the ability to make or break your business. Be nice. It will serve you well and it is the right thing to do. And you don’t need an Internet attorney to tell you what’s the right thing to do when extending common courtesy to others.

Internet Lawyer: Consumer Advocate or Devil’s Advocate?

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grandparentsSome cannot understand how one can simultaneously represent some of the biggest Internet info product marketers while attacking others for unethical conduct. A public relations stunt? Loose cannon? What the heck is going on?

To understand the what, you’ll need to learn the why I’m about to share with you for the first time.

My grandparents and great-aunt instilled old-fashioned ethics in me from childhood. They grew up during the Great Depression and spent their working lives as blue collar employees. To them, “get-rich-quick” meant the stock market crash of 1929, massive unemployment, and doing without.

If I could sum up their views on how to live, it would be these words: “Do what is right.”

Have I always done the right thing? Of course not.

Like you, I’m human and have made mistakes (and hopefully learned enough not to repeat them).

But doing what is right is the goal post that I aim for each and every day.

Is there a conflict between representing “big gurus” and doing what is right? Not if the goal of those gurus is also to do the right thing.

Do these clients make mistakes? Of course. They’re human too.

And if there comes a time where a business decision is made to profit from knowingly doing wrong to clients, that’s where the attorney-client relationship quickly comes to an end.

Some claim that I’ve been too harsh on certain marketers who have engaged in fraudulent and deceptive business practices. But there is a difference. Those marketers who I’ve publicly criticized for such misconduct have not made a mistake. They’ve chosen a way of doing business that is designed to profit by taking advantage of others.

Exposing these Internet scams is done because it is the right thing both for consumers and honest online business owners who shouldn’t be tarnished by association with the so-called “guru” marketers.

This holiday season will be a tough one for me. My grandparents have passed away. In recent years, my great-aunt has been the sounding board that invariably answers “do the right thing.” Now terminally ill, I’ll be visiting with her for the last time this Thanksgiving.

I hope that in the coming years, I live up to her expectations to do what’s right. If that means offending some scam artists masquerading online as gurus, so be it.

Do old-fashioned ethics have a place in the way we do business with each other on the Internet? Absolutely.

That’s why a group of Internet marketers committed to doing the right thing has just formed the Internet Ethics Council. If you’re truly committed to treating your clients with courtesy and respect, you’ll want to join us.

Internet Guru Ghouls: Marketing Vultures Feeding Off Of The Dead

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internet-guru-vulturesI want to share with you an example of the utter lack of Internet marketing ethics and integrity that I encountered in the past week. In a certain info product niche (that shall remain nameless for now), respected Guru A passed away this month. This is someone who spent many decades teaching his particular expertise and is well-known in the industry.

Now the thing that normal people would do is offer condolences to family and business partners of Guru A. That’s what people who aren’t sociopaths or psychopaths do when a peer dies. But apparently that was simply too much to ask of certain gurus within the same field. After all, there was money to be made on the Internet by kicking the corpse.

Yes, we’re talking pay-per-click (PPC) ads that started running using the name of Guru A to drive traffic to the sites of competitors Guru B and Guru C even though Guru A’s business still existed despite his recent death. The typical reader of the PPC ads would mistakenly think they were for Guru A’s products.

Now what was the response of Gurus B and C when it was brought to their attention that (1) they were violating a federally registered trademark owned by Guru A’s business; and (2) misusing the name of a dead person to make money when the body isn’t cold yet.

Guru B at first attacked the messenger for delivering the message, denying the existence of the PPC ads run for his business using Guru A’s name. Guru B then claimed he had nothing to do with it even after being presented with a copy of one of the ads. As part of this, Guru B claimed it was an affiliate promoting for him, denied responsibility for an affiliate’s misconduct, wouldn’t disclose the affiliate’s identity, and only agreed to take any action when he was facing litigation.

In contrast, Guru C took down the ads when requested. Whether motivated by shame or simply acknowledging what it would do to his public image if it became known what he was doing, at least Guru C had the common sense utterly lacking in Guru B to do the right thing after the fact.

As for Gurus B and C, I’ll be watching their conduct to see if they stray again. If they do, they’ll be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. And that’s not counting what the legal system will do to them. Early retirement will become the greener pasture.

Some people wonder why the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is cracking down on deceptive Internet marketing and sales practices. My take on it is that there are amoral gurus who will take advantage of anyone (including the dead) to make a fast buck online. If info product marketers do not develop their own rules of professional conduct and police themselves, the government is going to step in with rules no one likes and do it for them.

Religious or not, let’s at least start with an Internet Marketing Golden Rule: Treat Others How You Want To Be Treated.