Deception is not Responsible Marketing

Liberty Names of America regularly sends us expiration notices for our domain name renewals. Problem is, they aren’t our domain registrar. Their notices are formatted like invoices in a ploy to get us to transfer our domains to them.

Click on the image below to take a closer look:

+Click to enlarge

Of course, when you give Liberty your credit card number and sign the front page you’ve approved the transfer of your domain.

Nice.

Is Liberty breaking the law?

I don’t think so.

There is a sentence that says “By moving your domain name to Liberty Names of America you can take advantage of the savings we have to offer,” and at the bottom, it does say “…transfer and renew” twice.

But review the notice and tell me, are they aren’t asking for your business or trying to trick you into doing business with them?


Deceptive marketing takes many forms

This nonsense has been going on for years, of course. Mortgage companies implying you can reduce your payment, when they aren’t your mortgage company; checks that, upon deposit, transfer your long distance phone service; loss leader prices with absurd strings attached; direct mail designed to look like official government business and and the like all fall into this category.

Even the the Better Business Bureau has gotten into the act. We regularly receive notifications of a “BBB inquiry” requiring our immediate attention. When we’ve responded, we learn it’s actually a solicitation for our company to join the Better Business Bureau. They quit calling me. But last week they called one of my partners.

This isn’t an isolated case. It’s the way the BBB does business. Seth Godin received a call like this, and felt the same way.

Unbelievable.

These tactics often work due to the fact that as consumers we’re all dealing with information overload, and we’re so busy we process little things like this quickly, often without reading every word.

I remember when I was in high school and college, I evaluated scams like these for my parents, who may very well have fallen for this tomfoolery.

It infuriated me then and it infuriates me now.

Are duped customers happy customers? Do they stick around? Do they refer others?

I think not.

Marketing likes this makes Responsible Marketers look bad, and for this reason, deceptive marketers, you belong in the Responsible Marketing Hall of Shame.

Where have you seen deceptive marketing?

Comment below to weigh in.