This was true of small towns but also metropolises as people traveled less even within cities. Sure there were people who traveled the country selling snake oil, but while some made a fortune others were literally strung up.
I see 2010 as the year consumers reclaim their rights. We just need major banks to pull out of processing rebilling offers, such as get a free diet pill or sign up now and we will charge you what we like forever. This was a nice little earner for lots of affiliates and lots of networks but no matter how you look at it, for consumers it was a bad deal.
There was a huge debate on Wickedfire with some affiliates who have being making a good living selling them in tears. Not only were these products shady, the billing was sketchy and the marketing methods deployed by some were even more “interesting.” Fortunately, some networks like Clickbooth are trying to help clean up the image of affiliate marketing.
President Obama and the Federal Trade Commission seem intent on cracking down on business practices that are obviously against consumers interests. But we should look at why this is: Consumers are becoming increasingly vocal.
Consumers are finding their voices and mobilizing using social media to put their “rights” on the agenda of the Obama administration, the FTC and the banks. Business will no longer be able to get away with practices that they once did. Consumers can set up a Facebook group or Twitter account and gather support for their grievance in ways that they never could before.
On the flip side there are opportunities to utilize consumers passions about company’s products and services to refer their friends to brands they like. Motivating consumers who like your company can give you a competitive advantage.
There are opportunities for affiliates and service companies to focus on that, such as using email marketing to target your consumers and motivating them to tweet about your product. Companies are searching for ways forward and experts who can show them the path, hence the success of industry figures like Chris Brogan.
Will you look for a site that sells freezers and allows you to compare shopping prices or will you look for reviews? As prices and features become increasingly homogenized and the richer consumers find prices differently and comparably irrelevant with their increased incomes, having goods that work because of more important recommendations count. Products that do not work will see poor reviews and fail.
Companies will be expected to have conversation with consumers not tell them what to think. The FTC will see that those reviews are not incentivized.