a recent piece from the New York Times, "How E-Commerce Sites Manipulate You Into Buying Things You May Not Want," is essentially a hit piece toward online retailer ThredUp.
a bit of investigative journalism and source code perusing found that ThredUp is using various "dark patterns" to unethically persuade visitors into making purchases.
cited research for the piece includes crawls of Fomo customer websites, and naturally we are not named as a "dark pattern" vendor.
but what does this mean?
are we supposed to wait around, crossing fingers that the dishonest marketers among us will slowly give up?
no, this is futile. the truth is, anyone can sell anything once. so long as there are one-time purchase opportunities, there will be dishonest marketers.
trust, an encore
social proof is a persuasion technique, sure.
but it's also the best way to build trust with potential customers. because social proof is "outside" a vendor's control, it doesn't rely on fancy copywriting, false urgency, or hyperbole to encourage a sale.
Fomo is one manifestation of social proof, Yelp reviews are too, and Michelin stars are yet another. your friend who recommends you see that new movie? yep, social proof. just like the Roger Ebert reviews at the end of the movie's trailer.
but social proof doesn't exist until you have at least 1 customer.
this beckons new entrepreneurs to leverage shady tactics – dubbed "dark patterns" -- to make their first few sales. and unfortunately, sometimes those tactics "stick" long after the hustle phase of a new venture.
we've believed for a long time at Fomo that trust is a currency, and you can't earn it with technology or tools alone. building trust starts with you, the marketer.
introducing Honest Marketer
to help more marketers earn trust the right way, last month we launched HonestMarketer.com, a free collection of guides to help you sell with integrity.
marketers who complete a guide can request verification.
our team then manually confirms that you follow the principle, and we award you with a backlink to your company on the guide itself.
ambitious marketers who complete 5 or more guides receive an official credential, verified on a blockchain, which may be added to LinkedIn or other professional profiles.
introducing Dishonest Marketing
while we're serious about honest marketing, having a sense of humor about it keeps us engaged in the long term challenge.
before launching the website we launched a Twitter account dedicated to calling out dishonesty in our industry.
sometimes these requests go unheard, as in the case with lying marketers at OptinMonster:
but sometimes we do compel positive change:
introducing the Honest Marketer comics
one of our team's core competencies is design and illustration, so we threw our hat in the ring and launched the Honest Marketer comic series.
let's meet the crew.
Sonny is a marketer. he wants to do the right thing, but is often pressured by his boss to run aggressive campaigns that lie or exaggerate his offer's claims.
this is Sonny's boss. he's under pressure from shareholders, investors, and his ego to accelerate sales at all costs.
granny is an everyday consumer. she might be Sonny's actual grandmother, we're not sure.
every comic we produce is aligned with at least 1 of our Honest Marketer principles:
- copywriting should be free of falsifiable claims
- pricing should be non-predatory and fair
- support should be personal, prescriptive, and human
- products should do what they say on the tin
here are the first few releases.
Meanwhile at Dropshippers, Inc...
When the VC check hits the bank
we intend to support this series for the long term, and have no plans to monetize any of the content.
as Seth Godin says, "free ideas... spread."
Honest Marketer is a labor of love. everything you see, from the website to the icons, is built from scratch by members of the Fomo team.
to contribute content, ideas, artistic talent, or otherwise to the cause, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.