Is it Ethical to Promote Products You Have Never Used Yourself?
At least once a day via social network platforms I have an advert or post flash up where some brother is promoting another brother’s course or a sister is pushing another sister’s product/service or indeed a combination of the both. Genuine promotions are all well and good but is it ethical to promote products you have never used yourself?
Let’s look at this as two separate scenarios:
You have a really great car and a nice smartphone both of which have always worked well and never given you cause to complain. Personally you would be totally happy to purchase either of these products again in the future.
If anybody was to ask your opinion on which car or phone they should get next then, as long as their requirements were similar to yours, you would be completely ethical in telling them how well these products have worked for you and to recommend them.
So although the car and phone they buy is not exactly the same as yours down to the serial number or chassis/registration number it is still an identical model. And other than any unforeseen faults that may develop either one should work and perform in the same way as yours do i.e. they will perform the same way as you have described yours to perform.
Let’s relate this same scenario to an online course you have purchased. You have followed the course as instructed and it has delivered the results you were expecting. There were no undisclosed extra costs along the way and no upsells that you had to purchase to proceed.
The cancellation terms and risks involved were made clear and all your queries were answered in a timely and efficient manner.
You are completely ethical in promoting this course to others that could benefit from it even if you went on to receive a commission for promoting it.
Now let us reverse these events.
You have seen a great sports car on a motoring show and when a friend asks your advice about their next vehicle you push them towards the one on the show. You tell them how great this car is and how it performs. You even have all the technical specification down to a tee and eventually your friend is persuaded to purchase one.
It turns out once they have it that it does not fulfil the purpose they needed it for. It doesn’t perform as you said it would and the features you ‘sold’ them on are not suited to your friend’s requirements.
Having never experienced this vehicle yourself you were wrong to ‘sell’ it to your friend.
The same applies to a mobile phone. You have heard great things about a particular model but never used or owned one. Pushing someone else to purchase one is also unethical as you are promoting something you have never used or benefited from.
When you do finally take a close look at this phone yourself you realise actually the camera on your own mobile phone is much better. Your screen is clearer and it also charges quicker. Maybe you should have advised them to get one like yours as you know exactly how it works and what it does!
It is no different when promoting online courses. A new course is being promoted and you decide to sign up. However it turns out that this course isn’t exactly what you thought it was but…. the promoter is offering you an incentive (commission) to promote this course to others.
For you to then go on to promote this course to others is completely unethical. It wasn’t what you thought it was but you fail to disclose this fact to get others to sign up so you may get paid. Completely wrong.
Even more wrong is the current ‘group’ of Muslim entrepreneurs are constantly promoting each other’s course/products claiming how great they are when they have never even signed up to them themselves and or had any success with them.
They do this for two reasons. Firstly they may receive commission for referring others. And with the price of some courses running into thousand this commission is quite a hefty figure.
Secondly every time a new member signs up the name goes onto a list which includes all their contact details. These lists are then either given or sold to each other so other internet marketers can send them details of their own new products and courses!
It’s an entrepreneurs circle with the few at the top making a lucrative income at the expense of those further down. You only have to read some testimonials to see the same faces and names appearing over and over.
So to summarise; if you have personally tried something then yes, you may promote it. Even if it hasn’t worked for you as long as it offers what it claims to offer, this is fine. I have purchased products and courses in the past which were not suitable only due to the fact of how I ended up using them or following them. That was my fault. It didn’t stop me recommending them to others.
But if you have never tried something yourself you have no viable cause to promote this to others. Especially if the only reason you are doing so is to get paid.