Put Targeted in the Title of the Article If the Offer is Targeted

I  just recently came across an article which featured an offer for bonus points; and it was not until the middle of the article when I reached the verbiage indicating that the offer was targeted to the recipient of the e-mail message only and that the offer cannot be transferred to another person.

Worse is that the article included at least one affiliate link to a credit card — and this is far from the first time I have seen this practice occur.

Put Targeted in the Title of Your Article If the Offer is Targeted

To the people who write articles and engage in this practice: please stop doing it. It irritates the reader and causes the trust in what you write to decrease — perhaps to the point where people will stop reading your articles.

If the primary purpose of your article is to sell credit card signups, do you really believe that a reader who feels mislead will actually be more compelled to use your affiliate links? Do you really believe that a reader is going to think, “Well, I am here already. I may as well sign up for a credit card” and do so, wanting to give you their business?

Think again.

To put it another way, why not just write Click on My Credit Card Link So That I Can Make Money as the title of the article? Of course you know why — you will unlikely get as many interested readers as you would when posting an enticing targeted offer barely disguised as a way to get you to sign up for a credit card.

If you are going to highlight a targeted offer, fine. Do so — but at least put the word targeted in the title of your article if the offer is targeted.

If not, the headline might as well be click bait.

Summary

Trust is a belief in a person or other entity which is not easily earned — and incredibly difficult to regain when it is breached.

I rarely post articles pertaining to rumors or targeted offers, as I generally do not believe that you will get much value from such articles. I will, sometimes, consider posting articles of that nature if there is a potential value to you — and if there is value to you, then the article served its purpose…

…but I do my best in attempting not to trick and entice you to read articles which I write. I want you to get some value out of them — whether that value is monetary, informative, humorous or simply interesting.

Is that really so difficult for certain other writers to accomplish?

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

9 thoughts on “Put Targeted in the Title of the Article If the Offer is Targeted”

  1. Ryan says:

    Well said! Some of your fellow BA bloggers are quite fond of leaving that teeny tiny detail out of the headline.

  2. Charlie says:

    Good points, Brian. It is something I try to do all the time but there are times that I fail to do it so I appreciate the reminders! Keep up the good work.

  3. Truth in advertising my friend!

  4. Andy says:

    Amen.

    I’ve stopped reading some blogs because of it.

    And there are 2 others that I think are still worth following, but when I apply for cards via blog links, I make sure not to use theirs.

  5. Mike says:

    I’d have to agree that bloggers themselves have a vested interest, not to say a duty in calling out bottom feeding scum like the one you cited. Who was it?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Let me just say that after I posted this article, at least one other “blogger” already committed a similar “infraction” with the same offer, Mike.

      Sadly, this “calling out” does not pertain to one specific weblog…

  6. Carl P says:

    Totally agree. Equally bad is having a factually wrong title and not giving the correction until the reader has clicked in.

    A lot of bloggers bury the lead. You’re half way in before you find the information is useless to you.

  7. chris says:

    Thank you! I’ve reprimanded a few bloggers for this annoyingly lazy at best, willfully deceitful at worst, practice, but I’m a nobody. The criticism coming from one of their own will hopefully have more effect. And hopefully this immediate/up-front “targeted offer” disclosure will become one of the basic tenants of this ever-growing journalistic blog genre and, for those who follow it, a sign of just how professional and ethical and respectful of their readers a particular blogger is.

  8. P T says:

    Amen. This seems to be happening more frequently. I’ve noticed more and more BA posts are nothing more than an excuse to insert a credit card link. My sign-ups are given to carefully selected bloggers.

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