Honesty and Integrity Among Internet Marketers

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I’m annoyed.

Why some people feel the need to resort to lies and deception to get what they want or need is beyond me. Do people behave out of character when they are protected by an online identity? Or is the bottom line behavior the same both online and in person?

Can you trust anyone you meet or do business with online?

My answer is, “Yes. You can.”

I pride myself in working extra hard to be exactly the same person, with exactly the same ethics, same personality, and same quirky sense of humor both online AND offline. While that means that my blog may not always be perfectly keyworded for the search engines, and my expressions may be not be completely clear to someone over-seas, it also means that I am writing for – talking TO – my readers the same as I would if we were sitting face-to-face. I’m not talking to search engines… I am talking to people.

I do that with my email, too. I get many, many emails on a daily basis from great people all over the world that have a question, need guidance, or want someone to ask that – “This may be a silly question, but….” question to.

There are those in my life that tease me for ‘giving away’ all this knowledge that took me so long to figure out on my own and for not charging for information that I did pay to learn.

Why do I do that? Why do I give it away for free?

Because that is just how I am. I am what I am (thank you, Popeye). You know why else? Because I remember.

I remember what it was like just starting out.

I remember how hard it was to make sense of all this.

I remember what it was like to have a ‘silly question’, get up the nerve to ask someone…and the response received is a sales-pitch or a non-answer.

And let’s be real… I can’t give away everything that is packed in this pea brain of mine, anyway! While what I know is one thing, how I think is a whole other ball game. When we first start out, we try to learn internet marketing, SEO, affiliate marketing, etc… we seek that knowledge. Eventually, with persistence and desire, that knowledge evolves into something bigger and better. You no longer just know about SEO or internet marketing, you now think like an SEO or like an internet marketer. Yes, you continue learning, but you now choose to learn from those that will challenge your thoughts…not simply give you facts or How-To’s.

So, I can answer all the “How Do I?” emails all day long and give people real answers, but there is no way I can teach someone to think like me. Someone can ask me, “How do I SEO optimize my Squidoo lens?” I can answer that, but what I can’t teach or give away is the ‘right brain’ aspect of SEO. Someone can ask, “How can I make x amount of dollars?” and I can give many answers to that question, too. However, I can’t teach the creative side of the process…and I certainly can’t give away the ‘elbow grease’, drive, determination, and stubbornness it takes to make it happen. When it comes to my online businesses, I am a driven, determined, stubborn gal…with greasy elbows… haha! I can’t give that away.

There are no internet marketing secrets….there are only unique thoughts and styles.


honest internet marketersI mentioned I am annoyed.

I did a post the other day about how to make money online with no website, no list, and no money. That post was prompted by an email I received. The subject line of the email was ‘Desperate Plea” (yes, got my attention). The email went on to ask me how to make $350 in seven days without a website, list or money. This person claimed to have a ‘long over due bill’ that needed immediate attention.

The question stuck with me and I really, really thought about it. If I needed $350 in seven days, what would I do? I came up with the idea that is the previously mentioned post and emailed it back to Miss “Desperate Plea”. She was very thankful and overly gracious in her reply.

Now some time has passed and my attention has been drawn to MANY internet marketing forums. This person is posting this same question that was emailed to me over and over in all these forums.

She is not desperate for money…she is researching a book.

She is claiming, and linking to me, as her mentor.

I’m annoyed. I was deceived. What happened to honesty and integrity? If she was researching a book, why not just make that clear? Why lie? Would I have still answered the same? Knowing me… yes, I probably would have.

Do I change ME and STOP giving information away?

After I came across this forum thread, and this forum thread, and this forum thread…. I became even more annoyed. I decided to send an email to the person in question.

” Hi Miss J –

I wanted to take a second and express my concern over something.

You emailed me originally with ‘desperate plea’ in the subject line and went on to ask me how to make $350 in 7 days because you had a “long overdue bill”.

That is not entirely true, is it?


I keep seeing posts such as the one I linked to above popping up all over the place. While that is your business, you are attaching me to all this by referring to me as your mentor.

Would I mentor someone who truly wants to learn and needs to make money? Of course, I help others many times a day.

However, you are using me for research for a book. Would I have offered the same info to you if you had been upfront and honest with me? Yes, probably. I respect honesty.

I wish you the best of luck in your fact finding mission on all these forums, but please remove any reference to me as your mentor. I would rather you remove the reference to me than go in to each forum and post my own response – which would most likely be a copy/paste of this email.

Thank you in advance –


Over the top? Maybe…but you know what? I don’t think so. The members of these forums are catching on that this person is posting this same question ALL over the place….and my name is attached to it. I have worked too hard to go down with that ship.

I opted to NOT change me. I will continue to ‘give away’ knowledge and information that reduces the learning curve for others in the same genuine spirit I have shown all along.

So, tell me… would this annoy YOU?

Edit to Add:Since posting this vent, I have heard back from the person in question. I would like to post her response here. There are always at least two sides to every story… her side deserves to be heard, too.


I must apologize. It seems that my zeal has backfired on me. When I first approached you with this question it was a personal mission since I do really do need to make money online quickly. That said, after I realized that other people would actually probably be interested in this same information I decided to ask around, in this forum post that you found as well as other similar forum posts that I have made. I do apologize about this all but I really am interested in this information personally. As a matter of fact, I did take the advice you gave me about 7dollaroffers and squidoo and have written a few squidoo lenses that I submitted to your squidoo group. I do apologize though for referring to you as my mentor. I was just so thrilled that you chose to reference my question on your blog and you were so prompt in replying to me that I guess I just assumed that you would be my mentor and so I just went ahead and started referring to you as my mentor. I will revisit the forums asap and remove any and all reference to you as my mentor and to your website as well. Again I do apologize.

Miss J

Thank you, Miss J. Apology accepted. All is good. I wish you the very best in your online business and in life.

Situation resolved.

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