Pet-Peeve Time: Sneaky, Conniving, Pseudo-Ethical Marketing Creeps

I’m pretty annoyed today.
Some bigshot marketer dude, one I thought I could trust, did something really sneaky yesterday.

Here’s what happened:
‘Read my blog post’.
Click, read post. Popup appears: “Want to read this too?”
Click yes, I read the second page.
Another popup: “Say, I have a 75% discount on this – want to read the details?”
I didn’t want to read the details – I wasn’t in a buying mood, and besides, I was enjoying my read.
So logically, I clicked the little cross in the corner, thinking the popup would disappear.
It did disappear, but instead of showing me the same page I had been reading… I was taken to the 75% discount page anyway.

Hang on a minute.

I just told him that I was NOT interested in the offer.
I expressly indicated I didn’t want to see it, by clicking that cross.
And he decides that I should be shown the offer regardless?
Effing seriously?

Let me get this straight: Ever since Apple and Microsoft started creating graphical user interfaces, a cross has meant ‘close, disappear, no, go away’.
Everywhere, in all programs, across all devices.
X means no.
Everywhere. It’s a standard.

But this dude decides on my behalf that no, the X doesn’t mean I’m not interested. To him it means I should see the offer anyway.
Who cares about conventions, as long as we can get a sale – eh?

I know why he did this. And I think it’s vile.

The reason people do things like that is always the same, and can be crudely summarized as ‘It works, bitches’

Sleazy tricks like that work. They get you sales.

You know how people complain about popups? Annoying things.
But, they work. They really do. Fine.
Same thing with that bait & switch this guy pulled.
It works. Many people will think ‘no’, click the cross, and when the offer page shows up anyway, they’ll end up reading and buying.

Yes, it works.
It also ensures that people lose trust.
That guy? I no longer consider him.
Forget him. Seriously. Prick.
Not that I imagine he cares about my opinion.
But he ought to care about the fact that after this, people like me won’t ever buy from him. And there’s a lot of folk like me out there.

To me, sales tactics like that are no better than selling a car with sawdust in the gearbox. It’s dishonest, manipulative and disrespectful. Quite possibly illegal too.

The moral of the story: If you care more about people than about your sales, you’ll never pull a stunt like that.
If you’re there for others instead of for yourself, you give people what they expect, not what you want them to see.

It’s sad. He’s a smart guy, it seems he genuinely wants to help people. He doesn’t need tricks like that.

And neither do you, by the way.
You, I, everyone – we can have sales, and a growing business, and happy clients in droves, without ever having to resort to sordid and squalid tactics.

Just give people what they need, don’t lie to them or trick them, and make sure that what you do really delivers on its promise, and then some.

There you go, the makings of a healthy business.

Let me know if you need any help spreading the word about that, and I’ll write you up some copy that people love to read, share, and buy from. Without any sleazy tricks.

Details here:

For the rest, I bid you a fantastic day.

Talk tomorrow,


I help nice people sell more

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Martin helped our co-working space get to full occupancy and $25.000 monthly revenue in less than a year.

~ Antonio Herrezuelo,
Avenida Capital

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