I got a bit upset in my morning rounds of browsing. A site I read regularly seemed to be promoting a huckster Internet Marketer. I got upset because I've seen other sites cross over to the dark side: what used to be a nice place to visit turns into a slick "Internet Marketing Machine". I didn't want to see that happen here, so I emailed the guy who wrote the article and expressed my misgivings.
He protested that he wasn't condoning the type of marketing done by the huckster (I'm not going to mention any names here), but merely wanted to point out one aspect of the marketing and discuss that. I'm willing to accept that as stated, but am still left somewhat uneasy. Had this been my second or third visit to that website, it would have been my last - I felt that uncomfortable about it.
The huckster himself is selling a grossly over-priced product (appx. $2,000.00) that purports to teach you how to - big surprise - overcharge for your own products. There's dark humor for you: I'll overcharge you to teach you the best ways to overcharge others. It would be funny if it weren't that a lot of folks who fall for things like this really can't afford to waste their money.
We have to be careful here: if we have a willing seller and a willing buyer, there is some argument to be made that any pricing is legitimate. That's true, but there's also the matter of expectation. The buyers of this pitch are told that they could make back the entire cost in just a few days, and are encouraged to imagine the rewards they will reap in the months that follow. No doubt some will: if you can learn how to be a huckster, you might be successful too. But most will be left with a pile of glossy junk and a depleted bank account.
There's also the matter of perceived value. It's sometimes the case that pricing something too inexpensively is detrimental to sales and that overpricing it will help it sell more. There's truth in that, but I get upset when people take it too far. I've seen that too many times, unfortunately: an e-book being hawked for $80.00 or more, this kind of multi-thousand dollar "course".. it just seems obscene to me.
I'm going to take my e-books as an example. Pick any one, it doesn't matter. I can tell you as a matter of absolute fact that people sell very similar products for five, six, even ten times what I charge. I couldn't do that. Honestly - I couldn't live with myself. I'm probably underpricing them now, but I'd rather do that than overprice. I'd rather feel that there is no possible way anyone could think that they didn't get the value they expected. I need to like myself more than I need to get rich by picking people's wallets.
Not that I wouldn't like to make a big pile of money from those books. Of course I would. But I want to be able to look myself in the mirror and feel good about what I see.
Some people can defraud other people and feel nothing. Others may have a moral twitch or two but are able to rationalize it away. I can't do that, and I'd like to think that most readers here couldn't either. But maybe I'm wrong, so let's take this to the comments: suppose that you could learn to manipulate people to overpay you. Would you? Is it OK to be a huckster?
If you could get rich by overcharging other people, would you do it and feel that you did nothing wrong?
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2011-04-28 Anthony Lawrence