Running An Ethical Online Service

There are a lot of online services that provide value to Internet marketers.

Traffic exchanges, safelists, autoresponders, ad trackers, and more, all provide some value to people who are looking to market a business or affiliate program online. Especially for those just starting out, free services provide a way to get going in online marketing without going broke.

The people running these services need to be ethical about it, though.

Starting up a traffic exchange, for example, is dead simple these days. Go over to Shark Studio, and for $249 you can get a custom site design along with popular traffic exchange scripts. Add in hosting, and you’re in business.

But what business are you in? Some people start up a traffic exchange to get into the list building business. Their business is not providing the service to make money from pro upgrades, but providing the service to get email addresses of other Internet marketers. Then they’ll promote popular programs to that list.

Think about it. They start a traffic exchange, where people invest either money or time to promote the latest affiliate program. On the exchange, it isn’t that big a deal if multiple people promote the same program. Everyone has an equal chance of their page being the one that finally causes someone to sign up.

Then the traffic exchange owner comes along, promotes the same program in an email to every member of the traffic exchange, and offers bonus hits in the traffic exchange for signing up. All of a sudden, anyone who would have even the remotest interest in joining has joined under the owner, and the people who are using the traffic exchange to promote the program are left with no potential customers.

Part of the problem with scenarios like this is that some people don’t respect why someone provides their email.

When you sign up at a traffic exchange and provide your email, you’re giving permission for the traffic exchange owner to contact you about your traffic exchange account. You are not giving permission for them to spam you with any and all affiliate programs they feel like promoting.

That’s what I mean by an “ethical” online service. Provide the service, and use the service yourself to promote your own programs, but don’t spam the members just because you have their email addresses. Respect the reason you were given the members’ emails.

There are many ethically run Internet marketing services around. When you join a service that seems like it’s more an excuse for list building than service providing, vote by leaving that service for one of the ethical ones.

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