I read a great post by Michel Fortin last week. As loyal readers of this blog, you’ll know that I posted about Michel before when there was some controversy in the internet marketing world about naming names of the “bad gurus” who were ripping people off.
But recently Michel wrote an excellent post about “a disturbing trend in the internet marketing world”. And since he specifically mentions this humble blog, I thought it would be a great opportunity to clarify some things about this blog and tell you why I blog.
We’ve also seen the emergence of a growing number of consumer advocacy and personal opinion blogs that are entirely dedicated to being critical of unethical marketing practices, and exposing deceptive and dishonest business activities.
This is where I get my mention (thanks, Mike).
But I don’t consider Don’t Step in the Poop to be a kind of “exposure” blog. I consider this blog a humorous personal development blog. But the purpose of this blog is not to tell people how wonderful they are and how everyone is out there to make their lives better. When I started DSP I had two goals in mind: to make people think and to make people laugh.
To find answers, it is important that people know that there are people out there who are chomping at the bit to take their feelings of vulnerability and exploit it. And because of that they need to be armed with state-of-the-art poop detection skills. As I posted before about my beef with self-help BS, I don’t like how get rich quick schemes are promoted as “self-help”.
This blog really doesn’t follow Michel’s world of internet marketing. But deceptive practices can be found in many areas. I have no problem with people using marketing to sell their products. I don’t even mind if they charge a lot of money for their products.
My big beef is if they don’t deliver. Just like a book that you read and at the end realize it was one big sales pitch. That’s not value. That’s crap. And I think that people who claim to be in the self-help business “ not to make money” but to “help others” should be more concerned with delivering value for everything they sell rather than being concerned with how much they can charge and get away with it. And by value, I mean real value not just perceived value.
So, in my quest to help myself and others…sometimes we have to expose the things we find objectionable. If you care about your readers, I think it’s only natural to get a little pissed off that people are out there to tell them things they want to hear just to take their money. And, yes, I will tell my readers if I think some line they’re being fed is crap. I choose not to turn a blind eye to the goings-on around me.
When talking about bad gurus, Michel says:
Focus on what they do, not who they are.
I also think it is important to focus on WHAT THEY PROMISE.
I think it’s much better to just assume whatever someone says is true and just go from there. If some guy is selling something to make you rich, just assume it’s true..run a few numbers, and then you realize: you’ll go broke following this guy’s “system”. Or if someone says you can get energy from the sun and don’t need to eat (yes, a book like that did exist), then point out that people in sun-rich countries should not be starving.
In this blog, I don’t think I “bash” any gurus. Oh, I might have a little fun with them here and there. And I might make light of the silly things they say. But I think most of these guys have a sense of humor about it. They certainly never complained.
But, I do review books. And unless the author is anonymous, I will name him or her. But if someone thinks that because I thought a Tony Robbins book was rubbish that I somehow “bashed” Tony Robbins, then I can’t help it. You can go to my hate mail and see the things Tony Robbins’ “fans” say about me even though at the top of my review I make it clear that the review is ONLY about ONE book and not about anything else Tony-related.
But the reaction of most of his “fans” have made me wonder just who is following this guy.
I don’t want to re-post Michel’s whole post, but this part is so good that I can’t help myself:
The question is, where does the vicious circle stop?
If the blame should be split 50/50, then so should the solution be split 50/50, too. Marketers should stop selling magic-pill solutions to a market who’s desperate for help. And the market should stop chasing the dream by buying into magic-pill solutions.
As long as there will be a market for magic-pill solutions, there will always be marketers willing to provide it to them. So aside from more laws and regulations, which I’m not a fan of, achieving a compromise is a challenge, particularly when both sides are greedy.
So another and perhaps more effective solution is: education.
Educate the market on what to look out for and avoid, as well as educate those who are learning how to market and may think of modeling such unethical practices.
In my estimation, too many marketing products out there are just snake oil. Period.
I understand and appreciate that buyers should beware, that they should do their due diligence, that they should take their time and investigate before jumping in. Agreed.
But fake scarcity ploys during high-pressure product launches remove any chance for the market to appreciate what exactly is being sold. It reduces their ability to think critically, adequately investigate the offer, and make an intelligent buying decision.
So education is powerful. And these blogs, while harsh in some cases, are vital.
I agree education is the way to go. But I also think humor is a great educational tool . My most popular article “How to Go Broke Trying to Get Rich” is a satire based on all those guys who promise riches but never deliver. They purposely make people chase the “secret” but in the end there is no secret.
Does this mean that all people who offer training, seminars, or coaching are all crooks?
Not at all.
Some people who read this blog are in the seminar and training business. They’ll recognize the model. Some people wrote me privately and basically said I was giving away a valuable business model. But most mails or comments I got about that post were how funny it was but how it “didn’t apply to them.” And they also say that people who do this sort of thing gives them a “bad name.”
Because that’s the point. Dishonest and unethical businesspeople ruin it for all the honest people out there.
So, I think people in the industry get the humor and appreciate it. In fact, I’ve gotten some pretty good feedback from some hardcore Law of Attraction people who like my humorous takes on the LOA and in some cases they even, gasp, agree with me. Who knew?
But in the end, I do not blog to bash. And I do not blog to rant and rave. I blog to educate. I blog to entertain. And I blog to help others find their way out of the poop they’re in or about to step in.