If you want to know why some Internet info product marketers break the law and think they can get away with it, take a look at the Eight Symptoms of Group Think. As a Website attorney, believe these 8 symptoms cover most situations.
1. Illusion of Invulnerability. The marketers take unnecessary risks because they’ve never been caught by the government or sued. Combined with the ego stroking of having cult-type followers, there’s a sense that nothing can touch them even when they break Internet laws.
2. Collective Rationalization. Anyone who warns against misconduct is discredited by the Internet marketers and their followers. The attacks are personal and designed to distract from what actually occurred.
3. Illusion of Morality. Morality is based on whether a launch is profitable to the product’s creator and the affiliates. Something is “wrong” only when a launch flops.
4. Excessive Stereotyping. Anyone who doesn’t believe that “money = morality” is stereotyped as unsuccessful, jealous, or a loser regardless of the underlying facts.
5. Pressure for Conformity. Those who don’t go along with deceptive and fraudulent Internet marketing tactics are considered traitors. Pressure is applied by blacklisting or threats of blacklisting. Commonly this takes the form of refusing to do business with those who rock the boat or encouraging those with large e-mail lists not to promote as an affiliate.
6. Self-Censorship. Fear of blacklisting causes some Internet gurus to keep quiet when they see others engaging in unethical or illegal online marketing practices.
7. Illusion of Unanimity. Because no one publicly dissents, some large Internet marketers that promote for each other assume that everyone agrees with hidden continuity, deceptive billing, false earnings claims, and other illegal Internet marketing practices.
8. Mindguards. The big Internet kahunas serve as the filter for the lesser gurus for information as to how things should work pre-launch, launch, and post-launch. As if handing down the 10 Commandments in stone, these gurus define what’s acceptable in online marketing regardless of legality.
The dangers of group think are exposing cracks in the foundation of Internet marketing cliques as Congress, the FTC, and various law enforcement agencies are beginning to take a dim view of Internet scams that hurt consumers, particularly those involving health or biz opp. If you’re practicing group think in your online business (your Website attorney can help you with feedback), re-evaluate the long-term prospects for your ventures. If you can’t do business legally and ethically, chances are you won’t be around in five years. Whether it is the government or a lawsuit, karma has a way of taking down those who score big at the expense of others.
To your success!
-Mike the Website attorney