Thursday, September 23, 2010

Bad businesses

It's unusual for something that hits me the wrong way to pop up twice in one day, but it happened yesterday.

First, a friend of mine forwarded an email sent to her from someone claiming to be huge pet lovers, especially for those poor little rescue doggies, doncha know. They were asking pet people like her, and pet businesses like mine, to help them promote their free pet-related eBook. They even included a copy of the eBook, although it will also be available as a download on their web site. And since they're mailing this out to pet lovers, they figured easy marks like me would love the eBook and would help market it through our web sites and our newsletters.

And normally, I would have. Except...they have a business and sell items which I am morally against; specifically, electronic dog training and containment products, like electronic fencing. In light of that, I consider theirs to be an anti-pet business.

If you don't think animals feel pain having electronic products used on them, try hooking yourself up to them sometime. I've done this - a company wanted to prove my concerns about electronic fencing to be silly - and the shock brought tears to my eyes and my finger they wrapped the connector around hurt the rest of the day!

Even though they aren't charging for the eBook, the URL of this business's web site was given on at least two pages of the eBook. To me, that is a very sneaky way to promote one's business, sort of a bait and switch. They basically said, "We have a business that sells products that are controversial to the health and safety of animals, so we'll write up this sappy little eBook about animals that get rescued, and get pet-related businesses like yours to help us promote it, giving us some validity and making it seem like you agree with our product and its uses."

Later, I found an article online about a company that is volunteering to adopt a dog park in southern Florida. The company is going to get its engineers and architects involved to develop and build improvements to the dog park and even sponsor community activities for pets and their people at the park. Wow, what a wonderful corporate neighbor.

Sounds all nicey-nicey until one does a bit of Googling and learns the company sells "cutting edge dog training products." A quick visit to their web site to learn the specifics about these products reveals, yup, you guessed it, electronic fences, remote trainers and bark control devices.

Both these situations personify a very dishonest way to promote a business. That's why I am writing about it in this blog. Pet people need to be forewarned - people who could care less about pets, indeed, who are actually promoting or selling products that harm them - are out there, trying to get our sympathies, our admiration, but most of all, our business. It's a new trend we can do without.

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