When people sign up for Facebook account, it’s usually to reconnect to people from their past and/or stay connected with friends and family around the globe. But when those very details people elected to share with those in their circle, they found the information had some made it way to advertisers and resulted in an unending litany of “personalized special offers.” This resulted in a consumer push back that reached a head this past May, resulting in a simplification of the privacy options that once required the user to steer their way through 50 settings with more than 170 different options.
Throngs of Apple-philes could not wait for the slimmer footprint, two way camera and increased battery life promised with the new 4G phone. They did not upgrade their phones to trade off the new features for an increased in dropped calls and reception problems. There was a consumer push back and ultimately, Apple pacified the masses with a news conference and free device cases.
Meanwhile, back in Cyberland, a combination of lingering fears over the economic downturn on top of the looming summer slowdown had many, many webmasters chasing big bonus money touted by splashy, much ballyhooed promotions. The fact that much of that bonus money never made it back to the webmasters has become a financial Tsunami with devastating effects felt by everyone in our industry goes hand in hand with those who were first on the causality list: the consumers that were driven there in the first place.
With so many affiliates looking to cash in, and/or simply survive these tough times, with the triple digits payouts, a wide swath of traffic: from emails, from exits, from blogs, tubes and traffic trades, meant a good chuck of the porn surfing public was sent to just a handful of sites. Sales were accruing at a rapid clip – and so were some parlor tricks that often mean the consumer was unwittingly duped into $100 plus in hidden cross sells that were next to impossible to cancel – or they were sent to sites that had a paltry few videos to watch and sometimes, nothing available to for the consumer to download.
As an industry, we have largely been chasing checks and pointing fingers while trying to stay afloat in an intra-industry pox on out house, largely self-focused. But unlike Facebook, which modified their privacy settings, or Apple who offered the free phone cases … as an industry, what did we do for many consumers we drove to sites? Perhaps we have been too gobsmacked from being duped ourselves by a few disreputable programs to realize we have done nothing for the consumer we lured into harm’s way.
The golden rule is a sword that cuts both ways … what we do onto others, someone is likely to do to us … and while that proof is in the pudding, it is not in our bank accounts.