Imagine you got in trouble with the law but were given probation if you went through counseling.
Would you take advantage of the counseling as a second chance or ditch it because you’re smarter than the judge who cut you
some slack? Lindsay Lohan made the second choice, then showed up in court with “f**k u” painted on her middle finger of a hand that she
kept pointing at the judge.
The payoff? 90 days in jail for the supertramp. You don’t have to be an Internet attorney to understand how stupid that choice was.
However, Internet marketing gurus you know are doing the same thing right now to the government. Their websites are promising health and wealth if you just buy their products.
What you’re not seeing is behind-the-scenes scurrying as lawsuits get filed, merchant accounts get canceled, etc. They flipped the finger and now some are paying the consequences. When you tick off enough government agencies or angry clients, there isn’t much an Internet attorney can do to protect you after-the-fact.
You know what the right thing is to do. You know what makes you sleep easy at night with peace of mind. Do it.
Some 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.
There’s a reputable direct response marketing organization that has generated a firestorm of negative publicity with its forced continuity program. You can read more about the particular incident at the Copywriters Board and the Warrior Forum. Monthly billing under a forced continuity program was purportedly instituted without full disclosure of the programs existence to purchasers of the initial product that triggered the continuity program after a free trial period.
Let me disclose at the outset that I’m a big fan of the organization in question and was shocked to read about this incident.
If the accusations are true, the organization is exposing itself to legal liability through the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), states’ attorneys general bureaus of consumer protection, and even private lawsuits. Personally, I’m hoping that the prior track record of providing valuable content will dissuade anyone from instigating such proceedings.
Yet even if the organization is not held accountable by law for the alleged misconduct, there the negative word-of-mouth negative publicity serves as judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to sales. The information will not be erased from the Internet â€” and it will result in lost sales. That’s a shame because there’s a lot of valuable offline and online marketing information one can learn from the organization.
While forced continuity appears to be the flavor of the day for marketing because of profitability, it will probably take the FTC to come down hard on someone for deceptive trade practices before the methods of marketing such programs are cleaned up. If they decide to pick a marketer to make an example of, I just hope it isn’t the one at the center of this controversy.
Tired of spinning your wheels trying to market your products or services on the Internet? Here are seven steps to getting on the right track.
1. Don’t give something away for free because someone promises that you’ll get paid more later if you do so. The client who won’t pay something now will pay nothing later. Free has no perceived value to the client no matter how much you deliver.
2. If price is the primary focus of a prospective client, walk away from the deal. This type of client has no loyalty and will leave you in a heartbeat if someone offers a lower price.
3. Get paid up front. Customers will justify not paying you after-the-fact while you’re trying to collect. The longer you wait to invoice, the less likely it will be that you’ll get paid.
4. Your clients have the funds to buy what you’re offering if they really want it. Don’t accept excuses. The same person who pleads poverty when haggling over your price leases luxury cars, is mortgaged to the hilt to live in a house larger than yours, takes more vacations than you, etc.
5. Always have back end products and services to upsell and cross-sell to your client right after a purchase is made. Strike while the client is in a buying mood.
6. There is no ladder of success to climb. You are the expert because you know more about what you do than your clients. Act like one.
7. Focus on taking action. You can control your actions but not the results. If the results aren’t what you want, simply adjust your actions.
MATERIAL CONNECTIONS DISCLOSURE
Unless otherwise expressly stated, you should assume all references to products and services on this website are made because material connections exist between the law firm and the providers of the products and services. This may include: (1) an attorney-client relationship; (2) and/or monetary or other compensation.
In this website’s content (e.g., articles and blog posts), some names, dates, facts, locations, events, and other identifying features have been changed to protect the confidentiality, identity, and privacy rights of clients and other relevant parties.
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