Trust, but Verify – Beware “Christian” Internet Marketers
Most people would call what I do now (at least most of what I do since I have a few different things I am doing these days) internet marketing. I don’t like the term and try to call it anything else I can when possible because it is associated with so many bad things that I don’t want my name attached to.
Unfortunately, I have seen an even worse trend out there recently – guys who use the name of Christ to peddle their products on the web.
Who I Am
Here’s the deal – I am a Christian, and I am an internet marketer (I guess), but I am not a “Christian internet marketer,” nor will I ever use that particular term. I did at one time use the term “Christian entrepreneur”, but that is only because I was trying to help some folks I know who want to do missions or ministry start their own stuff so they have the freedom to do that. I have stopped using that term as well, though, because it bothers me even to pair the two and make it sound as if they are equals in my life. I do include the fact that I am a Christian in my site and talk openly about it, because that is who I am, and denying that would be just as misleading as using it for my own gain.
What I Am Noticing
Recently, however, I have been seeing guys who are using their “faith” to sell products and to build and gain trust with people. I despise this trend. I even got an email from a “respected” member of the internet marketing community (I won’t mention his name because that would be pretty crappy of me) who went on about Christ in what turned out to be a quite vulgar rant.
I can deal with someone having a vulgar rant. I have had them myself. But don’t pair them with Jesus.
I could have dealt with this, but the next week, the same guy, who just sent an email out to several thousand people telling them he was now a Christian, sent us all another email trying to sell a online product that he and I both know to be a scam.
I actually confronted him about it, in as polite a manner as possible, simply asking him why he would peddle such a product. His response – he wrote me back a nasty response telling me in no uncertain terms never to contact him again.
That is fine with me. I rarely engage in fights or even debates on the internet. It is, for the most part (not always) silly and a waste of time.
But it did truly anger me.
It made me angry mostly not at him, but because he is just one example of this. I am seeing this happening more and more here lately. Pick one – if you are going to publicly proclaim your Christianity on the web, don’t scam people the next day.
Don’t use Jesus as some kind of spiritual LinkedIn. (For those who might not know what LinkedIn is, click here for an explanation.) I do business with Christians and non-Christians alike, and in the same manner, because it is business, not the church. I am not in any way ashamed of being a Christian, and I don’t hide it. But I don’t use it as a means to make cash, either.
I don’t want this to be some kind of rant (too late!), so I will stop here and get to my point –
For Christians – Trust, but Verify
If you are a Christian, and someone comes along who says they are also a Christian, but they also have an agenda of some sort, be wary. Too many people try to use this as a ploy to gain our good graces these days.
This isn’t just relegated to the internet, either. I know salesmen in my former career who used to come and talk to me about church, but would take some of my colleagues out to the strip clubs. Be careful. When people who want to sell you something know you are a Christian, they may try to use it to your advantage.
For Folks Who Are Not Christians – I Am Sorry
If you are not a Christian, I am sorry that anyone has used Jesus to peddle crap to you or anyone else or has used the name of Jesus and then scammed you. Truth is, I am not perfect either and am not a good representative for Jesus, even on my best days. But, I really hate that anyone would use God’s name like this.
We talk as Christians about the Ten Commandments – remember that one about “taking God’s name in vain?” I don’t think it means what most people think it means. It is not necessarily saying “oh my God,” like most of us have been taught, it is more about using His name is a way that it should not be used.
Imagine this – if someone went to my friends and said “Casey said I should contact you about this, and he and I are good friends,” and I hadn’t given them permission to say such things, and they were using my name for their own gain, I would be rather unhappy.In my opinion, the same rule applies to God’s name. Using it to peddle products is pretty much the same thing.
I would love to hear some comments on this one – from people who are not Christians and people who are. Let me know your experiences and what you think.