A Trip Down the Online Bait and Switch Rabbit Hole

by Jennifer Beever

online rabbit holeIf I want to go down a rabbit hole on the Internet, believe me, I can probably find my own. I explore things online all the time – download reports and articles, sign up for newsletters and follow blogs.

But when I log in to your form and provide my name and email address, you better deliver what you offered in the first place. Don’t take me down the rabbit hole of your choosing or do a bait and switch and try to get me to buy something else. Here’s a recent experience I had while on the website of a self-proclaimed “SEO expert” and “Top Social Media Marketer”.

bait and switch offer 1

I saw an offer for a list of top WordPress Plugins (see above). Being a WordPress user, I bit. I entered my email and clicked “download,” expecting to be taken to a download screen. No! Instead, I get an offer for a book on SEO…? Well this is confusing!

bait and switch offer 2

Now I’m not sure what I’m getting, or have gotten, so I enter my name and email address, and I go to a third screen and get yet another offer, asking me to buy a membership that has a 30 day free trial, and all kinds of “free” add-ons worth $59, $99, etc.

bait and switch offer 3

Still I have no list of the top WordPress plugins. And I’m unwilling to enter in my credit card, free trial or not.

I have no problem with giving my email address to a company offering to add value by letting me download their information. I don’t have a problem if, on the download screen that is promptly served up when I provide my information, there is another offer relevant to the first one – attend a webinar, become a member, etc. – even if the offer has a cost associated with it. As long as I can make a choice on the 2nd offer, that is acceptable. But don’t treat me like I’m stupid and someone who will actually fall for your bait and switch offer. (Do people really do this?)

B2B marketers – it’s time to be transparent. Make the offer. Make it compelling. But then deliver what you promised!

By the way, the aforementioned “SEO and social media expert?” He started as a musician, turned programmer, then became a self-proclaimed online SEO expert.



{ 1 trackback }

6 New Ideas for Your 2013 Marketing Plan — NewIncite
December 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert November 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I couldn’t agree more Jennifer! Your reputation is directly related to delivery of your promised goods or services.

Jennifer Beever November 8, 2012 at 10:41 am

Thanks, Robert, I found out that the offer was sent to me via email. So, if that’s the case, before I provide my information, tell me how it will be delivered (and maybe also remind me after). It’s still wrong to let someone believe they are entering data for one offer and switching to another….

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: