Death of Deceptive Marketing Tactics
I don't mean to blow my own horn here, but Verticaljumping.com is without doubt one of the best sources of hype-free vertical jump training not just on the internet, but anywhere. The reason it exists is because when I first started getting interested in vertical jump training I found that the jump industry was basically full of scammers and con artists using every dodgy trick in the book trying to seel over priced, over-hyped, under-researched terrible, cookie cutter jump programs.
Since Verticaljumping.com started all those years ago there have been thankfully a few good coaches come along who do actually have decent programs, however, sadly, many of the dodgy marketing tricks have remained. Until now. You see I recently received an email from Clickbank who are the payment processor for not just our own Vertical Mastery jump program, but also the majority of jump programs available today. This email was to notify me of some changes they were making to their rules in regards to what amounts to deceptive and false marketing practices used by their vendors. All I can say is - IT IS ABOUT TIME!
Clickbank: Finally Cracking Down on Scams.
You see, it is one of my pet hates to see some of the what I consider ethically challenged methods used by many jump program to help sell their products. So here is a quick look at what Clickbank, in the name of cleaning up the greater internet marketing industry, are no longer allowing. Included for illustrative purposes are some examples you may already be familiar with of the deceptive conduct as it is currently being used.
1. Testimonials and EndorsementsUnder the new rules "All specific advertising claims about a product's performance or quality must be capable of substantiation". What this means is claims such as "8 inches in 10 weeks GUARANTEED", or "6 inches in 6 weeks or your money back plus an extra $100 for your trouble" will no longer be allowed. Why not? Because these sorts of statements are according to Clickbank's new (and long overdue) policies, deceptive and misleading. And they are right!
With all the possible variables of age, gender, training experience, access to equipment, life stress, weight, total games and training done outside the jump program, genetic make up, etc that can have dramatic impacts on your progress, the use of guaranteed results as a selling tool is as far as I am concerned not just deceptive, but an out and out lie.
Another thing that is now banned is the use of endorsements without substantiation. The example given by Clickbank of what is not allowed is funnily enough one that saw being used by a jump program just the other day, and that is an endorsement from a doctor. The guidelines now state that you must have proof that not only has the doctor actually performed tests and evaluations, but they must also have mastered the subject matter being evaluated.
This is important because personally I know a bunch of doctors. If I was a less than ethical person I could simply ask one or two of them to give Vertical Mastery a medical endorsement which I am sure they would. Then when customers went to my sales page they would see my doctors endorsement and feel reassured and be that much more likely to make a purchase.
Doctors Endorsements: Ha, ha, ha, ha,....
Now, obviously I don't do that with our Vertical Jump Training program because that is something I, and now Clickbank too, considers to be an example of deceptive and misleading marketing and so this sort of thing is no longer allowed.
2. False ScarcityThis is another one that always makes me cringe when I see it and that is the use of false scarcity. What is false scarcity? The example given is saying something along the lines of "Only 300 copies" when there are unlimited copies, tickers running down the amount of time there is to purchase, and listing that this is a one-time opportunity TODAY only.
Oddly Clickbank seem to be allowing the use of marketing techniques where the vendor can say only X amount of copies before this offer is pulled FOREVER. Then once that number is reached the vendor is allowed to re-open after a period of 7 days. Apparently forever only means 7 days over at Clickbank.
3. Regular PricingAnother good move from Clickbank is the banning of sale pricing that suggests that a product previously sold at a higher price (when it really didn't) but is now on sale for a lower price for a limited time. I see this one all the time with jump programs. It will say something like Regular Price $399. The $399 will be crossed out and replaced with "Today $77". The trick that is trying to be used here is to make customers think that they are getting a big bargain that they must act on immediately when obviously they aren't.
Another example of this type of deceptive pricing that is commonly used is attributing values to individual components of the jump programs that are grossly inflated. I am sure you have seen this one
Grand Total - $665.
Now clearly no one is going to pay $665 for a jump program, but if people THINK they are getting $665 worth of value for only $77, well that is a different story. It is also a practice that is now banned.
4. Promotional TechniquesThere are a number of promotional techniques that come under fire but the one that I see all the time on jump program sales pages is the "as seen on....." and then a whole bunch of images such as ESPN, MSNBC, CBS, Men's healthtc. Now I know in some cases the authors have in fact been seen on those programs, magazines etc. Adam Linkenauger for example was definitely on ESPN for his Sprite dunk of the year a few years back. Was Vert Freak however also featured on ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports, CBS, and NBC? I personally don't know and I am certainly not trying to imply here that it wasn't, I am just using this as an example. The point is that unless Adam can substantiate that Vert Freak was featured on these media sources however he will have to have it removed from the Vert Freak sales page.
As Seen In Mens Health: Um, not always entirely true.
NOTE: In Adam's case I suspect he will be ok because his ESPN commercial was very well known, but I know there are many other programs using this technique that clearly haven't had Adam's success who will be in trouble if they are asked to prove it.
CONCLUSIONPersonally I am extremely happy to see Clickbank cracking down on practices that VerticalJumping.com has long considered to be unethical and deceptive. If you ask me this good start is long overdue. It isn't a stretch to suggest that a large portion of the vertical jump market is made up of impressionable teenagers who are looking for an edge that will help take them to the next level. Unfortunately many of these teenagers don't know enough about the realities of athletic training (or online marketing) to know that they aren't always being given the full and clear picture to allow them to make an informed decision. I am hoping these new rule changes will help address that and to help clean up the industry a bit.
I am also very proud to say that there is only one vertical jump training program that hasn't at some time or another ever resorted to using ANY of these types of marketing tricks in search of the $$$ and that is our own Verticaljumping.com coaching program. If you read the Vertical jump coaching sales page you might argue that it looks very similar to many others (but with way cooler colours), but if you read the words you will see that my message is far more honest than anything else out there. Does it cost me sales? Yes, absolutely. But if all I was after was sales, then I wouldn't have ever started Verticaljumping.com and provided all this free jump training information, and I sure as hell wouldn't have written this article.
Verticaljumping.com: The Industry Leader In So Many Ways.
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