Internet Business Garbage
If you’ve been paying any attention to internet business news, you know that VISA/Mastercard did some cancellations of merchant accounts this past week.
In most cases, they were well deserved.
Of course some people will be hit unfairly. It always happens when there is any type of crackdown. Some innocent people get categorized with those doing business dishonestly. For anyone who loses their merchant account, and didn’t participate in the junk, it is truly sad.
The reason I say it was well deserved is from all indications (both from public discussion and what I know privately), they were specifically targeting people with high chargeback ratios who ran continuity programs which weren’t well enough disclosed. In addition, they’re targeting those using multiple merchant accounts in the same upsell process (you buy product A and they charge in one merchant account 1, during the upsell you buy product B and it is charged to another merchant account in an effort to hide the overall transaction from the merchant accounts).
The continuity may not have been totally hidden, but it wasn’t obvious.
And of course, along with the cancellations, a few merchant account providers (who found themselves as targets because of number of companies they associated with like this), are really tightening the screws on all their merchants. They need to keep themselves out of trouble.
You can see the first post on this subject by Ryan Lee here: “Forced Continuity and Free Trials Are Almost Over! READ THIS NOW!”
He is simply reporting the news of the letter and his discussions with the merchant account providers that the free offers with forced continuity aren’t going to be allowed.
Don’t take the news the wrong way though. NOTHING is wrong with continuity itself. The problem is how some people are selling it. Those free CD and free DVD offers where you pay shipping and you’re automatically signed up in continuity are the ones who are having issues. If you sell a straight membership site where they pay to join and it’s obvious there is a monthly continuity, you should be safe (notice I said “should” because again things go overboard).
Basically people simply need to clean up their act.
Check out Ryan Healy’s “Internet Marketing on Life Support.”
Let’s see. It currently shows 174 comments (and 374 comment/tweets if I’m reading it right). Sounds like Ryan really hit the controversial nerve here by actually naming a few names.
If you’re ever wondered why I avoid giving names, it’s because often the worst offenders aren’t obvious from the outside. You don’t found out about some of the real junk that goes on inside the business unless you end up in a few private conversations (which you can reveal).
In addition, I find that naming specific names makes the overall tone turn very negative. Clients and friends have asked me before about writing posts that name out specific people, and I’ve always told them to be very careful here to deliver all the facts (not the emotions) of the situation. In addition, they need to make sure to switch the negative into a positive note by the end.
We don’t want to dwell on the negative. We don’t want to dwell on those doing business dishonestly, because it gives the wrong impressions to people.
In news, they say, “If it bleeds, it leads.” The negative side will always bring more attention, but it rarely helps us accomplish our goals.
I think Ryan’s post above is an excellent one where he did his research, but take notice how the comments take an negative turn…including several attacks on people (where the whole story may not be known).
I agree with what Michel Fortin says here, “On Not Playing the Blame Game.”
His wife, Slyvie Fortin, put out her Internet Marketing Sins report a few years ago. She did not name any names, but talked about the sins. Their reasoning is they want to be advocates for the marketplace, not judges.
I agree completely.
Over at his blog, Greg Nemer asked, “Am I a Pansy?”
Nope. You’re not Greg. You said, “One of the policies that I’ve made for this blog is to never use it for negative purposes. I won’t even do it in the comment section.”
That’s a good attitude. Even when it’s a negative subject, you’re better off turning it into a positive. It’s what’s best for us and our readers.
And unless anyone thinks that this is something unique to “internet marketing trainers,” It’s most definitely not. I often read a few of the news headlines every morning. Visit those top news sites and you’ll find tons of very scummy offers. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to visit a news site (major ones like Fox News, Wall Street Journal, etc.) where there isn’t still an ad for a “flog” (fake blog).
The free offers and hidden continuity featured on these sites are outrageous. Including such statements as this in the small print at the bottom, “Please recognize the story and comments depicted on this site and the person depicted in the story are not real.”
The entire story of the incredible results this Gainesville mom (it shows Gainesville for me since that’s the closest large city to me) are a lie. They’re fake. Yet the entire sales piece relies on that fake story which isn’t revealed as a “story” anywhere except in the small print at the bottom.
You see that kind of garbage for all types of promotions (health products, whiter teeth, work at home, etc.).
Basically as consumers, we all have to be careful in our online dealings.
There are many companies that are all about making that one time initial sale (and then charging you forever for it if they can get it), and aren’t really about delivering the best experience to their customers.
The good news is that things are changing. The FTC and VISA/Mastercard are doing what they can, BUT they will never accomplish the greatest changes in the marketplace.
Social media, your ability to contact others and correspond with others online, is going to be what transforms the industry as a whole over time.
And I’m glad of it.
Go back twenty years. There wasn’t anyway to to easily contact others about their experiences with a company. Today you can find out the opinions of others quickly. Sure, there are growing pains. People are abusing the system, but eventually the power of the free marketplace will win. For examples of abuse, it’s often easy to see them on sites such as Amazon. If a book has almost all 5 star reviews, but the reviews are very similar and promotional in nature, you know the publisher is influencing them by having them written.
When you look for it, the abuse does stand out. So we all need to be thankful that we’re in this day and age.
There have always been scammers out there. I remember my mom telling me as a child, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I think all moms say that.
We live in the day of the power of the consumer though. Look at the 3 Marketing Lessons From Building a Pool. I did my homework first, because that information is available to us now.
There are growing pains with the Internet, but we can see the brighter day.Related Entries:
- 7 Steps To Start A Blog Today
- Forced Continuity
- Rebilling Nightmare
- Honest Business?
- Always Back Up Your Hard Drive