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Contrived Word Of Mouth Marketing

Up In Arms With The Paid Writers On Blogs

Some bloggers are getting paid for product reviews, but they are not being up front about it. For those unaware, some companies are paying individuals and bloggers to say good things about their products and even about the companies themselves.

Here is a good article on The Ethical Boundaries of Online Marketing, by Douglas Gantenbein.

For marketers, the Internet has ushered in amazing new ways to talk about products and brands and to put highly targeted marketing messages in front of consumers. It's a new medium, creating new possibilities for marketing. But it's also created an arena in which it's easy to take advantage of the Web's reach and anonymity. That can make it tempting to push ethical boundaries in the name of marketing. "It's kind of like the Wild West," California-based Internet marketing consultant Jim Warholic says. "There are very few rules in the books to stop unethical people from doing anything they really want to do."

It's better to do the right thing when marketing your company than to have bad PR generated when contrived word of mounth marketing is discovered. Remeber the Wal-Mart story in which bloggers were hired to paint a rosy picture of Wal-Mart, in a deceptive manner.

Wal-Mart, Edelman Flogged For Blog

BusinessWeek pulled the covers off the Wal-Marting Across America blog, revealing its backing by an Edelman-financed organization called Working Families for Wal-Mart. The demise of the fake blog, being called a "flog" by MediaPost in its description of the site, promptly had its doors blown off by commentary from throughout the blogosphere.

By not being up front with the public, Wal-Mart has in fact been exposed with bad PR. It seems as though even the PR firm also forgot the number one rule, Honesty is the Best Policy.

Honest ROI
Paul Rand, who is a board member for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, boils down the guidelines to what he calls "honesty ROI." That comes down to three key points:

  • Honesty of relationship. Rule No. 1, says Rand, is to always be clear on whose behalf you're speaking. It's perfectly acceptable to start a company blog that supports products, or enter into online discussions with other Internet users. But a company or marketer always should identify for whom they're speaking. No shilling or "undercover marketing," where people are hired to speak on a company's behalf.

  • Honesty of opinion. "You say what you believe," says Rand of Rule No. 2. A company needs to let people develop and express their own opinions about products or services. And it needs to talk about its own products honestly.

  • Honesty of Identity. "You never obscure your identity," says Rand. Web sites that are set up on behalf of companies always are marked as such, he says. And marketing campaigns that say they use "actual consumers" should use actual consumers.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it is much better to be up front with consumers and other businesses about company products and services, than it is to have a contrived word of mouth marketing campaign. As Dr. Laura Schlessinger says on her radio show, "Now go do the right thing."

Good Internet Marketing Services by Professional Web Services, Inc.


Honesty Is The Best Policy

Right And Wrong
Everyone Is Doing Searches Online

Corporations are using search engines to check up on individuals before they are hired. The same goes true for individuals, also using the search engines, to check up on corporations before they go to work for them. Corporations have been known to take advantage of new people in deceiving and exploitative ways. Consumers, customers, and other businesses are fighting back online. They are using the Internet to sound off, and are getting lots of attention.

Consider carefully the following story. Businesses need to beware of how bad PR can affect their corporate brand online. Taking a cavalier customer service stance or having unethical business practices will get your brand discovered online in ways that will hurt it. Businesses need to take a proactive stance for dealing with the public in an ethical manner. Don't make the mistake for your company of what some companies are doing in unethical hiring practices.

Unethical Hiring Practices That Involve Bait And Switch Tactics Can Hurt Company Brands On The Web

The Internet as a marketing media outlet for both B2B and B2C has been a great reward to the consumer and other businesses looking to do business with other companies. However, the Internet is also a source for exposing the unethical hiring practices or any type of poor customer service provided by any company or individual on the planet. Companies that make a habit of ticking off people will more than likely get exposed online.

People that have gotten a raw deal from company "XYZ" are likely to get "Mad As Hell, And Not Take It Anymore." Using the Internet as a sounding off outlet, individuals have documented scores of fraud, scams, and other poor and unethical business practices that they themselves have experienced. People have documented all types of activities at various online forums and even written well documented articles online pertaining to "XYZ" Companies making a habit of bad business practices. These companies are likely to find their brand online with a major black eye.

Imagine when perspective employees, responding to a advertised hiring ad for a management position at a company are then switched to a door to door sales canvasing job position in a multi-level marketing company. Also, imagine how this looks to potential new customers checking out a company online.

Here is a quote from one of those interviewees:

I went to an interview in San Francisco, and they said it was an interview for a job in management. They then asked me to spend a day being a door to door salesman without pay -- canvasing -- which is not something I go to interviews to do. I wish they would have said that in their job posting so I could have avoided the whole experience. I found the whole thing cloaked in deception and I wanted to warn others.

Quoted from: Eric Wolfram's List of Known Deceptions

Now, when a search is conducted online for a particular corporation, the search results might show stories that do not put the company in a very good light. Sure, there might be some individuals that might hold a grudge for whatever reason, but when there is a pattern of deceptive behavior or other unethical business practices a company's brand will certainly be affected. All companies to a certain degree have disgruntled employees or customers. There are certainly stories of one company bringing a lawsuit against another. To a certain extent, "things happen" in business, and between businesses and customers all the time. However, the ones that have a pattern will likely be exposed online. Others that have had the same experiences are much more likely to respond with documented evidence themselves. This all pushes up the search results for various articles related to these types of business practices.

The lesson to be learned from all of this for any B2B or B2C company is, honesty is the best policy. Be true in what you say and do, and good stories will rise to the top.

Get some help with getting your business-to-business or business-to-consumer company to the top of the search engine results. Get professional Internet marketing services today.

Article by: Jim

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