Last week Google’s Internet marketing Guru Matt Cutts posted a new video in their Webmaster Central Channel on YouTube. I love these videos because they are short and to the post and without any pitch or longwinded verbiage cluttering the real message. The video that caught my eye was Matt Cutts’ discussion on Sock Puppet Marketing. Yes you read that correctly. Mr. Cutts is talking openly about puppets.
Puppets aside, the discussion was in relation to an individual or company creating fake Internet personas for marketing purposes. While Matt did not go into how Google would react to such tactics, he did provide a very funny puppet commentary to illustrate the process. While the entertainment value alone was good, Matt briefly described a real-world scenario where one company was fined over $300,000 for creating fake testimonials on the Internet. He further talked about why he and Google felt this practice was harmful for all involved.
The short of this video is this – Internet marketing is powerful and effective. People, companies, and the government now consider Internet marketing in the same ranks of traditional marketing techniques. If a technique wasn’t legal in traditional marketing, it isn’t legal on the Internet either. If marketing misrepresents anything, it isn’t marketing. It is just bad business.
Matt summed this up with stating you should avoid anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see or read. I struggle with this, because I am a mother and I know different mothers nag about different things. I would be a larger nagger than most. So, I would modify his statement to caution against any marketing tactic you have to think twice about. If you question it, don’t do it. You’ll be much better off in the end.