Friday, February 26

Nothing more than a dollar sign?

I want to tell you about something that happened to me over the past couple of weeks, and I'd really like your opinion about it.

Like many people, I truly appreciate all the learning activities given to me via online resources. I'm amazed, frankly, at how much one can learn online.

Recently I registered to watch some online videos, and I learned a lot from them. I was grateful for them. So at the end of the videos, when I was offered the opportunity to enroll in an online course offered by the same teacher, I decided to go for it. I pulled out my credit card and enrolled in the class. To be honest, it was a little expensive, but I judged that it would be worthwhile expenditure.

As it turned out, what I had really done was to enter a "sales funnel." Have you ever heard of a sales funnel?

The course for which I registered offered very little more than what had been offered in the free videos. But since I was now a member of the class, I had the exclusive opportunity to enroll in a much more expensive class. Lucky me! I received email after email urging me to enroll in the more expensive class. In fact, the "class" website showed that most of the advantages I had hoped for when I enrolled were off-limits to me: they'd be "unlocked" only if I upgraded to a premium course.

Fortunately, I'd made sure that the course came with a money-back guarantee, and the owner refunded my purchase price. So I don't have a gripe with the company that sold me the course. I certainly don't have a gripe with the free-enterprise system that encourages entrepreneurship and allows folks with expertise or a great idea to make money online.

But I do have a gripe with being treated like nothing more than a potential sale, which is exactly how I felt in this case.

Internet commerce, including blogging, has changed an awful lot since I started blogging regularly way back in 2009. Don't get me wrong: I'm tickled that some people are able to make good livings for themselves online. Some of the people who make a good living online are friends of mine, and they conduct themselves (and their businesses) admirably. I've bought countless products that I've seen advertised online, as well as several online courses with which I've been delighted. I'm also happy for blogs to include ads. I don't make much money from my blog, but I'm grateful for the small ad revenues that defray the cost of blogging for me.

To be honest, if I ever have something like a book to sell, I'm quite sure I'll let people know about it via all available means. I have no complaint about marketing; of course creators of goods and services need to market their products. That's all good!

But I'm not sure what I think about being sold one product or service just so that the seller will then have free rein to sell me more products or services. I know there's nothing dishonest about it, but something about it feels a bit underhanded to me.

I don't know. Maybe I'm making way too much of this. Perhaps I should just use my "Delete" and "Unsubscribe" buttons freely and not fret about it. As for me, though, I pray that any quest I make for gold will adhere to the Golden Rule.

What do you think? Have you ever found yourself in a sales funnel? How did the experience make you feel?


  1. Online sales are a way of life now,no different than Walmart or Amazon flashing ads on blogs or on Facebook. Just ignore or delete that which you are not interested in and pay attention to the products you are interested in. There is some good stuff out there that people are bringing to market. If you are online, you will see it, just like I see ads on your site. It's annoying but online marketing is here to stay.

  2. Yes, I just had the same experience with a course I took. I finally had to hit unsubscribe since I had already hit delete dozens of times. The emails just kept coming.

  3. It is so difficult to know if an on line promotion is on the up and up. I have taken advantage of some offers because I trust the bloggers who are promoting the product. I am somewhat skeptical of offers because of a simple Google Search and delete the email. I should unsubscribe to sone of them. The blogging world is a fast changing world and you want to keep up. You just need to know your vendor.

  4. Val, you may be right. It may be all the same. It makes me really think about the ads on my site. . . there are only a couple, but I wonder if they're too intrusive? I've resisted the pull of placing more ads, because I don't want them to interfere with the reader's experience. It's all a balance, isn't it? I guess we all need to keep thinking about what we're doing!

  5. I think that is terrible, Richella. I know that most of the free versions are there to coax you into purchasing something to get more, but once you purchase, you should get what you pay for...THAT content should not be an advertisement for more product. It's deceitful and frustrating. If the paid content was valuable, the buyer would want to move on to the next level, but a bait and switch is just bad business.

  6. Have not encountered this but I follow the "buyer beware" with everything, probably more so online and products/services promoted by blogging. We must always do further research or try to find unbiased reviews before purchasing or worse supplying a credit card and implied consent. I have found some good products promoted by bloggers but I always do a search for outside reviews and then make a decision. Everyone can be fooled eventually. Hopefully your post will put a light on some of the dark side of internet marketing.

  7. I honestly don't purchase much on-line unless it's something I was specifically looking for, but I do feel that when You purchase a class, it should include more than the 'free' plug. I'm glad though, that you received your refund, that is a sign of good customer service, if nothing else! Many Blessings, Cindy xo

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  9. I know exactly what you mean! I sat through a two hour webinar, only to be told that I could get the REALLY good stuff for $100. I'm sure it would have escalated from there. I think I would attend a conference before investing hundreds of dollars in an online class. I want to spend my money wisely, but I don't want to be dragged into the rabbit hole. Thanks for offering the link party and a way to share. I appreciate your efforts to build community. Blessings!

  10. Yes this has happened to me and it is so frustrating. You feel you are promised one thing for your purchase but no you need to purchase more. It seems it is never ending.

  11. I just had that experience with an app purchase for mindful meditation. I purchased it over other apps due to the different guided exercises targeting different goals (better sleep, focus, happiness, gratitude, self-esteem, etc). What I found was one guided introduction to promote calmness and different available sounds. The bulk of the guided meditations had to be unlocked with a monthly/yearly subscription. It is a nice app with beautiful scenes and sounds, but was pretty lacking on the actual guided meditations that I was searching for. I felt like it was a bait and switch. So, yeah..I feel a bit snookered.

  12. Richelle, I think most of us would feel the same way. It sounds like what we used to call "bait and switch." Sadly, it makes you skeptical of other things. The thing the seller misses is the fact that a loyal customer who comes back because they receive a good value is a win-win situation.

    I recently watched a free webinar that offered a full length course at the end, but they gave me so much information in the free one that I gladly signed up for the full course. So far I have not been disappointed. Win-win.

    Thanks for sharing. I had never heard the term "sales funnel" before. Blessings!


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