Writing Tips at GarySpeer.com

Tips for writers and musing about writing and life

For you ad writers out there: Where do you draw the line between marketing and taking advantage of people?


I think I’ve addressed this issue before, but it’s been awhile. If you write ad copy for a living, as a freelancer part-time, or in any capacity — where do you draw the line (or lines) in your marketing? What are you willing to write for money or other benefits, and what would you refuse?

It’s probably easy to say we wouldn’t write something illegal or intentionally offensive, especially regarding ad writing. And I doubt many of us that come here would intentionally write or disseminate pornography.

What about writing copy that preys on the ignorance of customers? Is that wrong? Is it unethical? What would you do about it?

Let me illustrate what I mean by preying on the ignorance of customers. I starting thinking about all this when I received a very classy, almost “official” looking piece of snail mail today warning me that the domain name where I host this blog was going to expire in May. The mailing urged me to renew for 1, 3, or 4 years, as soon as possible so I could “avoid complications” regarding the ownership of my domain.

Here’s the catch: The company sending me the mailing is NOT the company where I have the domain registered. It did NOT point out the fact that it was trying to get my business, it merely wrote the ad copy assuming I would fill out the form and send them my business.

Oh, yeah: The registration fees they charge are about THREE TIMES the amount charged by my long-time and preferred domain registrar. Of course, this ad copy was aimed to take advantage of my ignorance. I assume there are many people on the Internet who don’t know you can readily find quality domain registrations for around $9-$10 a year or less — NOT the $30 a year fee these guys charge.

So what? These guys were just using some clever marketing techniques to make a living, right? They’re probably as able to take my domain registration as anybody, and so what’s the big deal between $9 a year and $30 a year, anyway?

You tell me. Would you be comfortable writing ad copy for this company or someone similar? Or would you feel it might be less than honest/ethical to pitch a service without disclosing what I’ve talked about in this case? Tell us, please.
[tags]Internet domain registrations, ad copy writing, ethical ad copy writing, writing as a business, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]