"Are Internet marketing 'gurus' just a den of thieves?"
Not exactly the type of question you'd expect to hear from an online copywriter who has made a significant amount of his income helping businesses sell products on the Internet.
But those were the words of Ryan Healy in his recent expose Internet Marketing on Life Support. The article caused quite a commotion in the blogosphere, attracting the attention of industry insiders, high profile marketers and more than 10,000 readers.
"There were so many emails and blog comments coming into my inbox," says Healy, "that I couldn't get any work done."
Why all the commotion? First, Healy dared to showcase fraudulent online activity like hidden continuity payments, lack of refunds, shady marketing and false testimonials.
But then he did what few dare to do: He named names. He described the fake wonder cures sold by one online marketer, the poor follow-through of a highly-paid Internet marketing coach and the fraudulent activities of another large internet marketing company.
"The internet has changed the business world as we know it," says Healy. "Anybody can start a website for under $10 and (with a lot of sweat equity) create a million dollar business."
But for better or worse, this power has made it easier than ever for people to deceive, manipulate and defraud the public.
"I believe there are many ethical Internet marketers who deliver fair value for a fair price…" writes Ryan in his article. "They do not engage in high-pressure sales, deceptive marketing methods, or the outright fraud I'm now aware of."
But as the Internet continues to gallop through its "wild west" days, outrageous hyped-up claims still abound. And it's up to bloggers and insiders like Healy to take a stand and help bring accountability to this rugged virtual land.
"I do my best to use ethical advertising practices to sell things to people who really need them," says Healy. "I hope my article has done a little to help clean up Internet commerce -- it truly is a wonderful marketing medium."
Ryan Healy is a direct response copywriter and information marketer. Since 2002, he has worked with 75+ clients, including Alex Mandossian, Terry Dean, and Pulte Homes. You can read Ryan Healy's industry-shaking article "Internet Marketing on Life Support" -- as well as 250 articles on business, advertising, and copywriting -- at his business growth blog.