The Internet has brought about a tremendous amount of change–some for the good and some for the bad. Many people have made their fortunes on the web and some have lost their shorts just as quick. The entertainment industry has felt these changes full on and on both sides of the fence. This last summer I went and saw Toad The Wet Sprocket, one of my favorite bands. It was a great show and I had a lot of fun. The concert was in support for a greatest hits album that had all newly recorded tracks of some of their best songs. During the show Glenn Philips, the lead singer, explained that Sony Music owned the rights to the original recordings and they basically had to pay to play the songs and that did not support the band so they laid down some new and improved tracks under their own label. By using technology and the Internet they were able to do most of the work for themselves and thus able to make money and still be musicians. I went over and bought a copy of the new album to support the band.
One of the biggest ethical issues facing both the Internet and the entertainment industry is piracy; the downloading of content without payment or permission of the owner of the content. In the case of Toad The Wet Sprocket, Sony music had the same trouble with piracy as everyone else, however the band decided to do something about it and let their fans know what was going on and it worked for them. They started making money, recording new stuff and going on tour again this summer. They give away songs on their website, have fun with their fans, and even concert ticket are reasonable. I respect the fact that they are fighting their own battles and have so far figured out how to give good music to their fans and still make a living doing what they love.
Not everyone has had the same luck and piracy is running rampant with the FBI shutting down every download site they can and the entertainment industry trying to get new laws passed to protect their interests. Not everyone feels that more government involvement is the answer. In a article by Cameron English in Media and Tech entitled “Internet Piracy is Not the Problem: It’s Time To Eliminate Intellectual Property” he goes on record stating, “internet piracy doesn’t punish creators and artists. In fact, it is the legal war against consumers that has slowed innovation in the arts, and it’s time we ended it.” He goes on to explain that piracy doesn’t always harm sales and that that the ones stealing were not the ones buying and never would be and that intellectual property laws are not as important as people think and that quality products will still make money.
Not everyone feels this same way, far form it in fact. In a recent article in The Washington Post by Cecilia Kang indicates that Silicon Valley and other tech and media giants like Google, Netflix and Verizon are still watching the issue closely and putting extra money into their lobbying budgets. The article indicates that the courts are going to be busy trying to get these issues straightened out. The piracy issues are long from over and it is hard to say what the future holds. In the meantime I hope other artists and professionals can find a way to make it work for them and keep great art coming our way.
“Internet Piracy is Not the Problem: It’s Time To Eliminate Intellectual Property” by Cameron English on the website Policymic.com
“Silicon Valley faces tough use and piracy issues”, by Cecilia Kang on March 22, 2013 in The Washington Post (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-22/business/37920629_1_net-neutrality-rules-open-internet-rules-aereo)
Ethics and business have had their struggles for as long as they have been around. While I was working for a McDonalds franchise a number of years ago as a general manager I had a shift manager that was committing time clock theft. Basically she would stay punched in on the clock past her shift and hang out in the lobby with her friends getting paid. Once I found this out I let her go for the theft per company policy. To me stealing of any kind is unethical and she had no reason to do it other than she had been getting away with it. I did not feel bad firing her for what she did and feel I did what was right. Next thing I know she had gone down the street and got a job at a McDonalds that was part of the same organization that I worked for and was even the same district manager that I reported to. I would have gotten in trouble myself for just letting the theft go, however my supervisor knew about the theft and yet hired her again. I did not think any of the situation was ethical but it was out of my hands so what was I to do? Poor ethical practice is not new to business and most times does not stop until a lawsuit gets field.
Sometimes we see companies acting on their own to correct issues that are found internally and do what needs to be done regardless to who the guilty parties are. Look at Microsoft just this last year. An internal investigation by Microsoft found that two of its key players in the Bing department had committed violations to company policy related to mismanagement of company assets and vendor relations. The company would not give any more details then that according to article by Alex Wilhelm back on March 19th 2012 posted on The Next Web site. I was somewhat shocked that Microsoft did all of this without it becoming a scandal first. I total respect their actions in this matter. One can only imagine what these guys were doing but they were key players with a major search engine. I don’t even want to guess the damage these two caused for not just the company but think of how many people that used Bing under their tenure that could have been affected. If the violations had gone on it could have been very harmful to not only Microsoft but to countless other business and internet users. Without a doubt Microsoft made the right decision to get ride of these guys no matter how valuable they were to the company.
To me the CEO of Microsoft had not only to think about the company but he also had to make it from a social standpoint as well. No company is invincible and a big scandal could even hurt or even take down a company as large as Microsoft. Plus, he has shareholders to worry about as well as company stock. Because so many people around the world use the Internet as their life’s blood the effects of a serious issue with a major search engine could cripple many a small business and would probably put many of them out of business even if Microsoft weathered the storm well. Next, you have to look at all the users that could have been affected. Not acting on this matter could have had devastating effects to Internet users and companies all over the world. That is a lot of responsibility and I think Microsoft made the right call on this one. I would have done the same thing.
In a study done by Crawford Camiciottli, Belinda entitled “Ethics and Ethos in Financial Reporting: Analyzing Persuasive Language in Earnings Calls” they looked at the language used by executives in communicating in earning meetings to better understand the usage of ethics-related language. The way the top brass talks about things as important to a company as earnings in an ethical manner will effect the behavior of those under them for right or wrong. In the case of Microsoft I think it could not have been more clear as to the message they sent to company employees as that of letting go of two key figures to a department for policy violations and that is a message of no tolerance for that type of actions. For a large company like Microsoft a no tolerance policy is the way to go to protect everyone both internal and external to the company.
In conclusion I feel that Microsoft made the right decision in this matter. The only thing I might have done differently was use better reporting and tracking to make it harder for violations to go undetected for any length of time. Also, better communication from the top down setting clear expectations might also have helped to avoid or at least lessoned the damage done. To be fair to Microsoft they very well could have been doing these things all along. It just cost less to do things the right way the first time and not have to clean up messes. I just wish everyone felt the same way, it would make doing business so much easier.
“Microsoft fires two Bing marketing execs for ethics violations” by Alex Wilhelm on March 19th 2012 on The Next Web website (http://thenextweb.com/microsoft/2012/03/19/microsoft-fires-two-bing-marketing-execs-for-ethics-violations)
“Ethics and Ethos in Financial Reporting: Analyzing Persuasive Language in Earnings Calls” by Crawford Camiciottli, Belinda in Business Communication Quarterly; Sep2011, Vol. 74 Issue 3, p298-312, 15p, 3 Charts, 1 Graph
Ethics in business is a hotly debated topic, at least for those in business that care about ethics. Some company seem to place a high value of being ethical, some try to use their own version of ethics to justify their actions and well, some just don’t care and do whatever they think will get them the results they are looking for. Again, it all comes down to the person calling the shots whether ethics comes into play or not. The Internet is no exception to this at all. Anyone can put up a website and pretty much say and do what ever they would like. There are not a lot of laws to govern the Internet for most things. As crimes are committed online, laws are coming about. Some things like email marketing or media downloading are highly regulated where blogs or penny auction sites are hardly regulated at all. Online ethics and regulations are ever-evolving creatures. Let’s take a look at two examples of what I believe are digital media and ethics.
Let’s start with an example of what I would call unethical online marketing and also a violation of Internet regulation. Email marketing has been around as long as the Internet and is one area that has regulations set forth in the CAN-Spam Act. The first item in the act is “Don’t use false or misleading header information.” Basically emails need to be clear as to their purpose. Now I came across a video on YouTube posted on the Marketing Show TV of an email campaign done by President Obama that the receiver, Clay, was asking if is was unethical and I would say that not only was it unethical, it was in violation of the CAN-Spam Act. The email said it was for signing a Mother’s Day card for the First Lady. Now that seems nice, however once you enter in your email address as requested, you are taken to a donation squeeze page for Obama. Not only was the email not about a Mother’s Day card and for money instead, but also the marketers behind the campaign now have the person’s email to hit them up again. This is what is called “Bait and Switch” and in marketing is totally unethical.
To me, being ethical in marketing is not that hard–a clear message that offers value or a little creativity and you’re good to go. In this next example we have an online commercial for Spike TV. The ad has Darth Vader playing golf with 3 other guys and shocker, Vader cheats and when he gets called on it, well, let’s just say he does what he does with those that question him. The ad is funny and very clear–watch Star Wars on Spike TV. No need to be sneaky or underhanded, just a good laugh that had me thinking I should catch Return of the Jedi on Spike the next time it airs.
I don’t think anyone watching this ad is going to even think about whether or not it is ethical and to me that is a home run. Don’t over complicate things, just do good business and put the work in to make it memorable. What do you think?
Many years ago, when I was a young teenager, my sister and her husband come over all excited and announced they were buying a house. This was big news and the whole family got excited with and for them, all except my dad. He asked them just one question “With your credit how did you get qualified?” They did not have an answer to that question and had not even thought about their credit. They went away deflated and worried they might not be able to get the house. When they had a bank check out their situation, they were not ready to buy the house. However they worked with the seller of the property and wear able to do a simple assumption of his loan and make their dreams come true. They got lucky is what it was, lucky they could do the simple assumption of the loan. If you’re getting excited reading this thinking there might be a way to get into a house now forget it, simple assumptions don’t happen any more. Congress stepped in and said that if you can’t credit qualify you can’t get the loan. Sorry folks, credit plays a big role in our financial lives and unfortunately, for most Americans today there is no one there to teach them how credit works and what they need to do.
A good beginning step in starting an affiliate marketing business is once you have defined your niche market find out who the players in that market are. Credit repair is a very competitive business and even for someone like me that has been in and around the industry for many years now thought twice about entering this crowded pool, but I pushed on and started looking for who the voices in the market are. I figures I would start with Google and look for the top blogs using Google blog search. I was shocked with I found. I typed “Credit Repair” into the search field and clicked on the first link. It was a blog called Trinity Credit Services. I clicked the link and was taken to what looks to be the home page for a credit repair service that hits you with sign up now for a “Free” consultation. The sight does not rally give more information about credit repair, other than why you should use them. This was not a blog where information is given or a conversation can happen, it is a straight up marketing site.
Going back to my search page I did start finding a few blogs. I am looking to learn all I can about this market and was looking for a few blogs to follow. To be honest, I did not really find any blogs that I felt were worth my time following. The best one that I found was “Credit Repair Blog”. The last post was almost a month ago and the one before that was 6 months old. The blog is all about Sky Blue Credit repair and why you should use them. All the blogs that I found were like this. They lacked conversation, education and were all about getting people to sign up now. To me it seemed that that most of the bloggers out there are focused on low hanging fruit and all the other are being ignored. I did not find any that I thought were well done. Here are the links to the blogs I visited:
Next I went to Alltop.com to see if I could find a couple good blogs on the subject of credit repair. I was not surprised this time to not find any decent blogs. It seems that all the effort in the credit repair affiliate sector is all about sign up now or talk to one of our sales reps and get sold today. Now if you looking to find blogs and sources of information of money and financial concerns there are plenty to pick form like Forbes and the Wall Street Journal. These sources are great to help you figure out what to do if you have great, credit, deep pockets and are all ready more financially successful than the average Joe. Finding basics on the topics just did not happen in my search. Looking into the shark filled waters of credit and affiliate marketing I am now less scared and see a ton of opportunity. The value I am looking to add to consumers looking in this area is to give it to them straight, to educate them and help them make an informed decision for their financial future and not just a high-pressure sales tactic. It is about time for someone to stand up for the average person and be the voice of education and understanding. I am going to use blogs and videos to start to reach out to the masses and start a real conversation on how we are going to get ourselves out of bad credit and into the world of financial understanding and a good solid future with all the trimming like home ownership and a secure retirement. Dreams can come true, for those with less than perfect credit buying that house can come true and for me being a player in the credit affiliate space is becoming more real every day.
There are people out in the world today that difficulty seems to follow. You know the type of person—they always seem to have some world is ending moment happening. I call them “Drama Queens”. My wife has this friend that is that way. She is always calling or texting my wife with some emergency. Whether it is a false alarm trip to the emergency room or losing yet another job the issues never end. My favorite one that I have heard about her was the time the were short on rent money, but they found a killer case lot deal on their sports drink of choice and had to stock up. I heard they had the kitchen walls lined with the stuff. I guess it all comes down to our own personal values.
Whatever the case may be, people in this country today just love to watch the drama and can’t seem to get enough of it. Just watch the news or if you really want a big fat dose of the stuff you can watch ABC’c show “Scandal”. Recently I watched episode 16 on its second season called “Top of the Hour”. The show seems to center around a Law/PR/Investigation Firm that specializes in making the bad or dirty deeds of the rich and powerful go away or become someone else problem. In this episode a the President of the United States nominee for a new supreme court judge comes under fire as a 15 year old tryst with his then law student, now CEO, comes to light creating a new political scandal making the President’s choice look bad.
The character Olivia Pope, played by Kerry Washington, goes to the aid of their new client, the CEO, to fix the issue at her end as the White House Staff goes into a smear campaign to protect their Supreme Court judge nominee and try to make the problem go away for the President. At the same time, the President is facing a hostage situation overseas that affects the lives of US service men and the clock is ticking. It seems that Miss Pope has valuable Intel on the hostage crises and passes that info onto a military intelligence officer who keeps asking her out to try to get the service men some help. It turns out that the her would be beau is keeping tabs on her for the President, who she seems to be having or have had some type of covert relationship with the. I know you’re thinking “That is a really small world”
The Fixer team is also investigating the Director of the CIA as an information leak, which it looks like he is, and the President’s wife is now thinking that dear old hubby is having another affair that she was not aware of. The show was jammed packed with corruption and for the most part showed a total lack of values on the part of any of the characters. It seemed to be showing all the things wrong with people in power and that it does not matter what they do because there will be a cleaning crew that comes in after to make it all go away.
Each of the issues that the story had viewers feasting on seemed to be a direct result of the lack of values on the part of the character. Marriage vows seemed to mean nothing to the cast as it seemed everyone was having an affair and lying to their spouses. Lying, cheating, spinning and twisting the facts seemed to be the tools used most often by our power players to get the job done. The only value that I could find at all was the concern for the lives of the service men being held overseas. The president did have a strike team go an rescue the service men, although I am not sure that all the motivation to help the men in need was all of good intent.
I know that my personal values affect the way I conduct myself in every day life. I believe that to be true of most people. From watching this episode I can tell you I don’t have many values in common with the people on this show. End the end I think what a person puts out into the world will come back to them, so I will keep living my life the best I can and trust it will all come out for my best at the end of the day. At least I can look myself in the mirror each morning if nothing else.
Back when I was young and stupid I started trying to build my credit by getting a couple of credit cards. I started of with a Sears card and bought myself a set of wrenches that I paid off a few weeks later. I got a couple lines of credit and did that same thing with them. I would charge a few things and then pay them of a month or so later. Seemed pretty smart to me, but then the stupid part came into play. I got engaged and had a wedding to pay for. The lucky bride had no money nor did her parents so it all came down on me. So what happened? I paid for a large part of the wedding by maxing out my credit cards and even got some additional credit as well. It was a dumb move. I could not afford to make the now large payments as well as my other bills and I started falling behind. And that’s the way it was for a few years with her. We got credit and maxed it out. That relationship did not last and with it my credit went down the drain as well.
I spent many years working in the mortgage industry and found that I was not the only stupid person out there that got over their head in debt and damaged their credit in the process. To help clients facing credit issues I worked with a couple credit repair shops to help them out so I could help them get into a home loan. As the years went by and I worked with more and more people I saw more and more people needing help with the credit and the trend has not slowed down.
Fast forward to years later going through college again to better myself, I am faced with finding a niche market to work with in Affiliate Marketing. I am very excited to be learning about affiliate marketing and plan on making it part of my upcoming carrier in digital marketing so I want to make sure that I find a good niche for learning more about affiliate marketing.
In looking at finding a product or service to promote it has been suggested to me to look at my interest and hobbies to find items to work with. My hobbies are things like art and music. I like almost anything outdoors like hiking or fishing and love to play racquetball. Now these activates are shared by many and can come with a big price tag for all the top on the line gear but I am not sure it is going to make me much money in affiliate marketing. One of my interests that I am very passionate about is building business–especially in the real estate industry. I have spent many year working in and around that field and one thing that I have learned is that credit plays a major roll and is very hard to work with bad credit. Like I said before this is a big problem for many Americans. I
In my time in the mortgage industry, I learned a lot about credit and credit repair. It is a market that I have looked at going into business in for myself as well as doing marketing for. Credit repair is a large market and with the housing crisis of the past several years that forced me out of the mortgage arena, it has also hurt a lot of people’s credit, thus making the marketing a growing one. Credit repair lends itself very naturally in other industries like mortgage, real estate, and investment not to mention the credit cards market. To me, the credit repair industry for affiliate marketing seems to be a great fit for me. Gaining knowledge in this area will not only help me learn the in’s and out’s of affiliate marketing, it goes along quite well with the other areas that I want to be active in from a Internet marketing stand point. Plus maybe I can get individuals that experienced the same hard life lessons I faced in my younger days headed down the path to a fuller life and if along the way I can make some money—that can’t hurt either.