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Code of Practice

Last Updated: 03 March, 2016

The EMG Code of Practice is constantly evolving, as agreed by the community. It represents the standards by which we have agreed to operate.

This is the draft Code of Practice (COP). We will publish the initial version around New Year.

We are working on three core principles. Click on each one to get the breakdown on each, plus examples (to follow).

3 Core Principles

Value

We will serve our customers only with products or services that will benefit them, at a fair price.

Truth

We will always be truthful and transparent in our messages so that people are free to make the right choice based on accurate and complete information.

Permission

We will ensure every customer retain maximum control over the communications they receive, and the way their information is used.

Specific Commitments

Value

  1. Honest Prices
    • If we show price comparisons for our products, we will only use terms like “Best-seller” or “Popular” with evidence, e.g. sales numbers.
    • We will not collude with other vendors to fix prices.
  2. Genuine Discounts
    • If an offer includes a discount, the discount must be genuine:
      • If early-bird launch pricing is offered, it must be made clear on what date the discount will end, and that must take effect as advertized.
      • If a bonus is offered as part of a deal, and that bonus has a claimed value, it must have previously been on sale and purchased at the full price claimed.
  3. Income or Performance Claims
    • If we make any revenue/income claims (which include naming a product “The Six-Figure Formula” etc.), those earnings must be realistically achievable by the average buyer.
    • If any other investment, assets, tools, skills, time, or work may be required to get the claimed benefits, we will make these explicit to every prospect prior to purchase.
    • If there is any doubt, a disclaimer will be clearly displayed immediately adjacent to the claim, and before the action (sign-up or purchase etc.).
    • Case studies…
  4. Genuine Guarantees
    • If we say “no quibble” (or equivalent) then we will honor every request instantly without discussion.
    • Buyers will receive clear instructions on how to cancel or request a refund.
    • If there are any conditions attached to a guarantee claim, we will communicate these clearly before the prospect takes the proposed action.
    • If a guarantee is dependent on completing certain steps, we will make these steps absolutely explicit. If this is the case, the actions required will be feasible for the majority of buyers (not out of reach due to excessive time or cost, for example).

Truth

  1. Tell the truth
    • We will be completely honest in any claims we make.
    • We will only make claims that we either know, through experience, to be true, or that we can prove with data.
  2. Honest Identity & Positioning
    • Any claims or descriptions about our brand, business, organization, or website will be true.
    • We will avoid using unclear language (such as “leading”) without backing up the claim with relevant qualitative or quantitative facts (e.g. sales figures, reach, awards).
    • If we refer to other publications or channels, e.g. “As seen on” or “Featured on”, we will be prepared to provide verifiable references.
  3. Brand Disclosure
    • We will provide a clear “Disclosure” link on every web page that communicates any relevant information about the website’s ownership, identity, income sources, and purpose.
    • (Note: EMG recommends using http://disclosurepolicy.org/ as a starting point.)
  4. Genuine Urgency
    • If we claim a limited buying window, it shall be enforced, and should be the same for all buyers.
  5. Genuine Scarcity
    • If numbers on any offer are limited, there will be a genuine reason, and that shall be enforced.
    • If a “one-time offer” is made, that same offering shall not be made available through any other channel for at least 6 months.
  6. Genuine Testimonials
    • All testimonials we use will be real. We are prepared to provide proof and a real reference if necessary.
    • Note, other names and photos may be attached to a testimonial, if a referee prefers to remain anonymous.
    • We will publish no fake or paid reviews or ratings.
  7. Accurate Copy
    • We commit to making all claims truthful and verifiable.
      • For example, we will not suggest that something applies universally if it does not.
    • We will not claim that an offer is the “only” one way to get a particular result — unless we can prove it really is.
      • This includes “If you {have problem/desire outcome}, you need {our solution}.”
    • We will not claim that benefits will come automatically, if they don’t. Where benefits will require work, further investment, or risk, we will make this clear.
    • Any dates or times published shall be true.
      • e.g. “I just finished this call, and thought it might suit you” is appropriate as a one-time broadcast email, but not as part of an automated follow-up sequence.
      • We will not publish false or dynamic dates on emails/blog posts, etc.
  8. No Fake Geographic Targeting
    • e.g. Including the visitor’s home town (identified by IP address) in ads to make them seem more relevant.
  9. No Forced “best-seller” Tactic
    • If we claim that a title or author is a “best-seller” or “best-selling” a title must have remained on a best-seller list for a minimum continuous period of 4 consecutive weeks.
  10. Overt Affiliate Links and Relationships
    • Any affiliate links we publish shall be totally explicit, and shall clearly show the words, “Affiliate link.”)
      • An affiliate promotion that is clearly an advert is exempt, and does not need to be identified as an affiliate link.
  11. No Black Hat SEO Tactics
    • e.g. Buying links, paying people for blog comment links, private blog networks etc. etc.
  12. Genuine Links
    • We will not sell links on our websites.
  13. Sponsored Content and Advertisements
    • Any sponsored content shall be clearly identified as such.

Permission

We will honor our visitors, prospects, and customers. We will honor the fact that they give permission to receive our marketing messages.

So we commit to give them proper control over communications, and over how their information will be used.

  1. Use of Data
    • We will make totally explicit the full range of what may happen with a subscriber’s contact info prior to sign-up.
      • i.e. Above the form, or at least above its submit mechanism.
    • We will never share a subscriber’s contact information with any other party, without the subscriber’s permission (unless required by a court warrant).
  2. Frequency of Communication
    • We will declare the maximum frequency of communication prior to opt-in, e.g. “No more than 5 messages in any 7 day period.”
      • If applicable, we will also declare any other media through which we may contact the subscriber.
    • Case studies…
  3. Reminder of Consent
    • Where relevant, we will include a reminder of how and when the subscriber gave their consent. e.g. “You are receiving this because…” content, particularly if the subscriber has not heard from us in several weeks.
  4. Unsubscribe Mechanism
    • We will provide a simple, convenient unsubscribe mechanism.
      • If an unsubscribe link is provided, it must be clear text.
  5. Delete on Request
    • We will immediately delete any subscriber’s contact information upon request.
  6. No High-Pressure Telemarketing
    • We will never engage in high-pressure telemarketing tactics.
  7. No Tripwire Selling
    • i.e. Claiming to offer something for “free”, without being clear that, by giving your contact details, you will also receive sales messages.
    • Before a prospect shares their contact details, we will explain exactly (as far as we can say)…
      • what kinds of content they should expect to receive (e.g. will it include sales messages?)
      • whether what will be offered is free or paid,
      • and who will be sending the messages (e.g. just us, or on behalf of partners/affiliates as well?)
  8. Content Appropriate to Audience
    • We will not publish overly sexual, offensive, violent, or profane content anywhere where somebody would not reasonably expect to find such content.
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