Why Being Highly Ethical In All Your Online Dealings Will Positively Increase Your Business Presence And, Ultimately, Your Bottom Line

September 30, 2008

‘Ethics’; it’s a term that gets touted a lot in the online marketplace and most well-established ‘webmasters’ claim to be sincere and highly principled in all business that they conduct – on the Internet, or in the wider commercial world.

But let’s get back to basics and actually come up with a clear, workable and decisively practical definition of the word ‘ethics’.  After all, one cannot claim to be ‘ethical’ in business if one only has a vague idea what it actually means.

For sake of argument I consulted the Oxford American Dictionary and discoverd thus: ‘ethics’ – 1. the science of morals in human conduct;  2. moral principles, rules of conduct. (punctuation adjusted).

Now, you may accuse me of being overly academic in my examination but it is fair to state that the wider online community’s accepted meaning of the word ‘ethics’ (as in, ‘good’) and the definition supplied by the Oxford Dictionary, do not always line up!

To explain further, many online organizations, that I have come across, claim that they provide only the highest quality products and services and the best advice to consumers.  That sounds all well and good but in actuality this sometimes is not the full story.  You see, even the most skilfully worded list of company policies and best practices, and the sharpest ‘money back guarantees’ on the market, sometime fall short of the mark!

Most businesses and online companies are made up of a number of employees, who are held together by some sort of corporatized structure; the boss at the top and several ‘layers’ and departments underneath.  In order to run an ethical operation it is imperative that all ‘links’ in the company are indeed themselves ethical and highly principled and follow a strict set of rules and regulations.  One ‘bad apple’ and the reputation of a large enterprise can be threatened and damaged beyond repair (at least in the short-term).

You may point out that you run an online business that does not have an employee heirachy and is better qualified as being a small business venture!  Does that mean that you are in any means exempt from being ethical?  Absolutely not!

The reality of the inter-connected, globalized digital market is that your public persona and professional image spin on a thin edge.  One bad business dealing or unethical practice and your reputation can be flushed away – the Internet is often described as a ‘viral monster’, and, like the wider media, if not more so, this amazing entity can spread news and information faster than the blink of an eye to the four corners of the known world!

That’s a very sobering fact and one worth giving careful consideration to!  It has been estimated that nearly a third of the world’s population (that’s nearly 2 billion people) use the Internet or are closely associated with someone who does;  that is a lot of eyeballs watching!  And, it’s fair to say, that a portion of that figure will be watching what ‘you’ are doing online!

Now that some perspective has been established I’m sure you can see why being ethical in business matters is imperative in order that one’s online interests flourish.  Your online presence is your own personal brand; everything you do on the Internet leaves a digital footprint that anyone (with minimum web skills) can follow and examine in detail!  Even so called ‘closed’ and guarded sites are not always 100% effective.  To provide an example, I often get a message, when making an online transaction, that my ‘details’ may not be totally secure and do I ‘wish to proceed’!?   It makes me think twice I can assure you!

To sum up, everything you do in the world of online selling accumulates to provide a ‘digital snapshot’ of the sort of person you are, the type of operations that you run, and indeed the individual ‘ethics’ that you subscribe to!  The better your principles, the more respect you shall earn and the more your business will profit and grow!

After all, the alternative is, if you decide to be less than honest in your online transactions and dispense with transparency in favor of deceitful dealings and ‘part-truths’, then you may find that your online image and brand is ‘unmasked’ by the wider digital community, and you will be left out in the cold ….. banished to Cyberia! (irony intended).

Be ethical in everything that you do, or pay the price; it’s that simple!

For more content from David check out http://www.money-fatherspirit.com/

30 Comments

  • Arthur

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    The problem on the internet is that the tar brush is very, very wide and most people, sadly, expect to be ripped off.
    Not only that, because of the guru driven plethora of ‘review’ sites, it is almost impossible to find an honest review of anything – especially since the teaching is that you use the word ‘scam’ in your review title. (Try looking for an IM product on Google and you will see what I mean).
    I am currently trying to sort out a problem with a fairly well known guru but he has let me down very badly. I get the very strong impression that he really doesn’t mind betraying customers now and then because he is set up to easily replace those he loses. He has the money for several purchases any way.
    Until the general behaviour and standard of advertising is brought under control, being ethical will certainly bring you a personal reward but don’t expect to win the fight for customers using an ethical process. That’s a bit like fighting a man who has a machine gun when you only have truncheon.

  • Mieke Janssens

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    I totally agree. The ‘problem’ with being ethical is that you only reap the benefits in the long run. Non-ethical actions often pay out instantly – that’s why they can be so tempting.

  • Peter

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    Hallo Reed,

    This is a nice talk and my comment is short and not sweet. Where the money rules the ethic and any ethical behaviour is staying apart. You have now the best impression how the crisis of the finance system is handled. The big banksters get away with their ” cash” and the losses being socialised. What a shame
    Peter

  • tmobil8

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    Greetings Reed, Thomas here, when dealing with so called “high ethics” your leaving yourself open for mistakes, a highly motivated person who is trying to do his or her best online has to consider that there will always be critics, bad influnces and program faults, its a given. One way i use to overturn this possibility is by having my own website that caters to everyones needs and by having a substancially setup within a business of multi-tudes of membership in a already established program, this is how i avoid the critics and or the stepping on ones toes to leave you in the dust at bay. Then you’ll watch marketers knocking on your door for a piece of the pie, its great! Some advice who has been through the meat grinder once to often. Take care buddy!

  • Nancy Boyd

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    The basic premise of ethics is “trust” — can your visitors and customers trust you to:

    — do what you say you will (or correct a problem promptly and courteously?

    — deliver what you promised in your promotional material? (Watch the exxaggerations there. . . they will bite you!)

    — be generous in your behavior?

    In other words, as John Jantsch says so well and often: “People buy from people they know, like and trust.” Be one of those people. And if you’re not? Become one.

    The “how” is what makes millionaires online, or so they say.

    But either way you can’t lose with choosing an ethical path. I believe it’s the first of several steps along that perfect sales model Jantsch describes.

    Nancy Boyds last blog post..Big Doings This Week

  • Rick Falls

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    I like to sleep at night.

    The great thing about the internet is that you can be yourself and make a good living.

    Well, as long as your not a total creep.

    There are always going to be people who do wrong to us and others.

    As long as we, as individuals do our best and attempt to stay away fom the things and people who would do us wrong.

    I’m sure, we will get to live our best lives honestly, happily, and on our own terms.

    Treat people the way you’d like to be treated and always focus on the good in every situation.

    Life is very good.

  • Christy Bleicher

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    I have always believed if you stand by and uphold your ethics and moral code, things will eventually work out. It just takes longer. You have to work harder and longer to be noticed. Everyone says a “well known guru” ripped me but won’t give a name. If you use good faith to settle the dispute and the “guru” blows you off then he was just after your money and couldn’t care less about repeat sales. Here’s how it will be for me…rip me and I’ll post your name, what you did and your so-called policy. Stick clearly to the facts and there’s no slander or defamation. I saw something similar recently concerning a give-a-way and thought it was great. But, remember there are predators always looking for prey. I can say without reservation, I stand by what I say. You may not like my answer but it will be an honest one.

  • Lynda Mekalick

    Reply Reply September 30, 2008

    Hi Reed, David and others,
    I agree with what David has to say, and the comments of you all are about the same things that most of us have been through.
    I believe that we should all behave within the boundaries of high moral and ethical conduct.
    However there will always be people out there who do not practice in a morally or ethically correct fashion.
    If I ever come across them, I just simply immediately break off all and any contact with them.
    Cheers
    Lynda

  • Doug Allitt

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    I sometimes despair that the world is actually run totally by rip-off merchants, liars and cheats.

    Reading the comments posted has brightened me up considerably. I believe honesty always pays.

    Lies are like little monsters that people make that will one day turn into huge monsters that can turn around and bite the lie teller run on their bum when they may be least expecting it!

    Truth wins always (even if it may take just a little longer).

    Cheers,

    Doug.

    Doug Allitts last blog post..Get a great night’s sleep – no pills required

  • Fatherspirit

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    Thank you to everyone who has commented on my article! Much appreciated, and I’m sure that you will all join me in wishing Reed and Marissa all the best with the new arrival!

    Sincerely,
    D. Braybrooke. ‘Fatherspirit’.

    Fatherspirits last blog post..? Paul Newman – R.I.P.

  • Arthur

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    It seems that there is a concensus of opinions and that, while a display of ethical behaviour is desirable it is neither generally expected nor recognised.
    To Christy I would say that I am quite happy to name the guru who ripped me off but part of my ethics is to name names in my own blogs – not to use somebody else’s. You can always leave a message on my http://www.costa-classified-ads.com/blog and I will post the name and the ten outstanding support tickets.

  • Jeff

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    Too bad a lot of the unethical stuff brings in the most profits.

  • PV Reymond

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    It is a good topic.

    Many people, who are unethical are making a lot of money on the Internet, they don’t care about their customers… The only goal they have is to make money no matter how.

    These people use tricks and well worded salesletters to make others buy from them, the point is that the products they deliver are useless.

    This approach can bring in a lot of money in the beginning, but when the market knows that all the promises are false then these people end up out of business because once you lose your reputation it is really hard to regain it.

    I think that you have to be ethical in all fields of your life, and when it comes to business if you are ethical and honest you’ll make much more money.

    The most important thing is to have people that buy from you many times… And these kind of people buy from those they trust and believe in. Treat people as you want to be treated and you’ll see great results.

    Thanks,
    ^PV Reymond

    http://www.pvreymond.com/stair

  • Kenny Ritchie

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    I find it hard sometimes not to unsubscribe from some lists I want to be on because I get mail promoting a product that is in pre-launch and hyped up beyond belief. Anyone else feel the same? How can you promote something you’ve not tried yourself?

    Kenny Ritchies last blog post..Product Launches – Strategy Issues

  • TeasasTips

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    @Arthur: It is an unfortunate but all too common behavior you have experienced with that certain guru. Sorry to hear that.

    Which leads me to the point of ethics being a highly subjective ideology when it comes to internet marketing. Here’s why…

    Many are making an income online, either using so called Black Hat SEO or White Hat SEO tactics. The Black Hat folks do not find anything wrong with what they are doing because the end result is so spectacular. You or I may never know that they are using these tactics because we may not hang out in the same online circles. So, it is not so apparent to us unless they are exposed by rumor and innuendo.

    It’s a fact that Black Hat tactics are unethical to many of us including Google. But the reward for the Black Hat marketer is greater than the risk. Come si, Come ca- as the French would say.

    Those using these tactics do not give a hill of beans about ethics. They get commission checks and you don’t–that’s their opinion.

    Even though we all know what is morally right or wrong, there will always be those that choose to walk on the other side of the tracks to get there quicker.

    Being ethical sometimes is equated with taking too long to make money online. I choose to be ethical and patient, because I’m in it for the long run.

    TeasasTipss last blog post..You Were Born Rich

  • TRIPTI SONI

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    I agree with kenny If you dont know anything about product because you dident even used it yet how can you promote it lot of false promised are done by people today on enternet it is realy deficullt to judge what is good or bad and hard to trust on anybody
    tripti

  • TRIPTI SONI

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    I agree with kenny If you dont know anything about product because you dident even used it yet how can you promote it lot of false promised are done by people today on enternet it is realy deficullt to judge what is good or bad and hard to trust on anybody
    tripti
    http://www.quickincomewithsuccess.com

  • Robert Prieto

    Reply Reply October 1, 2008

    Hi Reed,

    Your observations are spot on. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been sold a bill of goods online. I don’t consider myself a stooge either. I just have an innate trust in my fellow man to do the right thing. I guess that’s because it’s what I live by, so I tend to project it onto others.

    As far as dealing with others, I think it’s important to over deliver whenever possible. I want all my business partners to feel like the have received more than what they paid for. It enables me to sleep at night knowing that I’ve done right by others.

    Robert Prieto
    http://www.LazyWealthSecret.com

  • admin

    Reply Reply October 3, 2008

    Great commentary everyone, thanks again to David for writing this article.

  • Jussi Koiranen

    Reply Reply October 5, 2008

    First of all only 19 comments so far? Is this too hot of a topic to most? LOL. Hopefully not. I’m a member of Kjell’s Lord of Traffic TE and today read a lot about it’s troublesome past and can’t understand why anyone would act the way they’ve acted. For the sake of honesty I can understand why, but not how stupid some people can be. Kjell is a good guy and has been able to build back his reputation, but the internet is still full of companies using blatantly false marketing and folks trying to skim their lists and contacts and total strangers with the ever growing market of illegal hyips and pure chain letters. I mean cash gifting? If it’s not illegal in USA there is nothing left to believe in the world.

  • admin

    Reply Reply October 5, 2008

    @Jussi yeah I’m surprised this should be much more popular; it’s important.

  • Peter

    Reply Reply October 5, 2008

    Hallo Reed,
    it is a topic which produces a lot of words and all depends on education, On your childhood on evrything a grown up is educated to do and to let it be. No education no ethics. If you can look into your mirror and say I did well everything is ok. But now the example of the financing world was it ethic?
    peter

  • Wayne Bell

    Reply Reply October 6, 2008

    Great Post and some Excellent advise. I have said it before and I will say it again, I personally believe Honesty and Integrity are the back bones of life no matter what your goals may be, and a definite attribute in any type of business dealings.

    Regards
    Wayne

  • Jorge EZ Affiliate

    Reply Reply October 6, 2008

    @ Wayne Bell

    Wayne,

    Totally agree…

    I get amazed at how lightly some marketers use words just to make a sale. Not very honest and certainly no integrity…

    Jorge

    Jorge EZ Affiliates last blog post..Affiliate Marketing in a Recession? ABSOLUTELY YES!

  • Shawn Horwood

    Reply Reply December 15, 2008

    Being ethical is a huge help to your business, and if you are unethical it definitely harms your business.
    I know of a guy who owns a fish store that charges more than almost any other place, but he is a great guy and if he can’t help you he will send you somewhere else. It does a lot more for his image than just trying to sell to everyone that comes in.
    An example of a company with bad ethics is ArticleMarketer.com They have treated a few people terribly, including well known fitness expert and maverick entrepreneur Mike Geary, and now there are letters everywhere telling people not to use them. I have a post about it on my blog. Because they refused to give him proper customer service, there are now thousands of people that are not going to ever use their services again.
    I always try to be ethical in everything I do online, but if I mess up the most important thing is to admit that you did wrong, apologize, try to make it up to whoever you wronged, and never do it again.
    Great article David!
    Shawn Horwood
    http://top5-workathome.com/blog/

    Shawn Horwoods last blog post..Trackbacks

  • Rick LaFata

    Reply Reply May 20, 2009

    Good Blog, so true!!

  • Russ Weaver

    Reply Reply June 30, 2009

    Thank you very much great advice for me i have a classifieds site i am always looking for ideas in the advertising world

  • OnlineIncome

    Reply Reply October 10, 2009

    Graet Post Bro,You Always Provide Worth While Info. Peace and Prosperity Gary R

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