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.


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:


    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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