Internet marketers don't have the best reputation. And if you look at some of the techniques that are not only prevalent, but openly taught and recommended, it's no wonder.

Many of the big-name "gurus" are either consciously raking unsuspecting customers over the coals, or are so caught up in their own inner-circle echo chambers that they no longer realize that their sales techniques are dishonest.

Newbies are forming opinions of which promotional practices are acceptable, and which are unethical, based on the altered reality of the wild west environment that dominates much of our industry.

This week's Monday Question: how can we clean up internet marketing?

Last year, the FTC stepped in with new rules aimed at eliminating some dishonest practices. Lots of honest marketers, who were using similar marketing techniques in ethical ways, got caught up in the sweep and had to overhaul their businesses or exit the market. If we don't clean things up ourselves, we can expect more honest marketers to have their businesses wiped out by additional government regulation.

Some people have tried a "name and shame" approach, turning the spotlight on those who are using unethical or illegal techniques. This may have made a positive difference, but by and large, the targets of these attacks are still in business and still respected by the majority of the market. And the negativity often stirred up by those who've built their brand around tearing others down isn't exactly a credit to internet marketing itself.

Others, like Sylvie Fortin, have attacked the unethical practices without naming names. Has this had much effect? Or did it make a splash when published, only to disappear, overshadowed by the juggernaut of product launches and training materials that constantly give fresh life to the wild west approach?

Can we only ever hope to influence those in our own small spheres of influence? Or can honest marketers join together and create a group whose voice is loud enough to dominate -- to become the first place newbies go to get their ethical orientation?

Reader Comment:
christine harris said:
We can't clean it up. There are too many opportunist in here and scammers.
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The Monday Question has been asked. What's your answer?