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Marketing Advice For Merchants on Adware

by Wayne Porter

Reading the inbox at spywareguide.com is a mixed daily treat. While we get plenty of praise and intelligent observations we also get our fair share of misguided and abusive e-mails from users that have been completely overwhelmed by the loss of control of their machines. It is this loss of control that endangers e-commerce as we know it.

Typical diatribes from inflamed users might read:

?I am SICK AND TIRED of getting this junk on my machine. I did not install it. Take it off now!?

?Please no more pop-ups. I can?t surf anymore.?

We want to let the people that send nasty, hate-filled e-mails know that we forgive them for being discourteous and violating basic netiquette- an informal code of Internet etiquette that hardly gets mentioned in today?s wired world. We understand that many users are completely frustrated by the sneaky download tactics used by cagey software distributors and the never-ending stream of pop-up advertisements that you receive for installing free and cute little smiley face icons for your favorite internet messaging client. We know that you, like ourselves, want to shed light on the dubious actions of offending parties.

However, it is essential for each Internet User to recognize his/her personal responsibility in having access to vast services, sites, systems and people. The user is ultimately responsible for his/her actions. Everything has a price tag. Until solid legislation sets some rules and guidelines down for software behavior users must be on guard. Even if there is substantial legislation in place users still must keep on their toes. This is self-evident by the ineffective CAN-SPAM legislation which has not halted the tide of unwanted junk mail.

This all leads us to the subject of marketing and our advice for marketers. We are firm believers in e-commerce. We believe companies should be able to operate and make a fair profit. However marketers should head the clarion call of consumers because it is the consumer who keeps the marketer in business. It is clear from our vantage point that consumers are tired of being deluged by messages, untargeted ads, spam, intrusive adware and other annoying forms of advertising.

We like Google?s mantra from their job page- ?Don?t Be Evil?. It fits and it makes sense in our new wired world where geography has shrunk and everyone is our neighbor. It has served Google well as they have captured significant market share by focusing on quality and the user experience first and foremost.

For marketers it can be tempting to look at the short-term figures and use that as the sole yardstick for success, especially in the hyper-driven Internet business climate. But are short-term profits really a measure of success? We feel it is more important to offer value, to build true relationships with customers and to respect their computers like you would respect your own. No sane business would ever drive by someone?s home and drop a blizzard of ad flyers into their chimney and likewise nor should they drop a blizzard of advertisements into their PC. Even if you have the user?s permission you risk damaging the relationship with over saturation.

Marketers cannot achieve long-term success by diluting or interfering with the user?s Internet experience. In the long run you can harm relationships with your customers, generate a cascading snowball of bad press and ultimately you risk tarnishing your brand which is the most important asset your business possesses.

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