Everybody loves a good debate. It gets the juices flowing. Well, it seems that the latest hot topic is forced continuity. For those of you who don’t know what that is, don’t worry, you will by the time you’re done reading this article. For those who do…you’ll get my opinions on it. Take them with a grain of salt because you know what they say about opinions.
Okay, so what’s forced continuity? Well, the best way to describe it is with an example. Let’s say you go to a sales page and on it, it says, “Get FREE Report On Article Marketing”. You say, “Great, I think I’ll get that.” Then you get down to the part where you actually get this report and your read the following:
“This report will be sent to you via postal mail. You will be required to pay shipping and handling of $2.50. Also, you will be getting my monthly newsletter delivered to your door for an additional $30 a month unless you cancel within 30 days.”
Got it? That’s pretty much what forced continuity is. In order to get one thing, you have to agree to get something else that you have to pay for and that something else is usually something that you will get month after month until you decide to cancel. In some cases, they’ll really make you jump through hoops to do just that.
Some people like forced continuity (mostly the merchants) and some don’t (mostly the customers) but for whatever reason, it does seem to work…if you believe some of the conversion figures being passed out by the big names who are using this tactic.
What do I think about it? If it’s up front and out in the open, where there is no doubt as to what is being offered and required, I have no problem with it. Personally, I will never use it and I won’t ever fill out an offer with forced continuity because I don’t want the hassle of having to cancel something I didn’t really want in the first place.
What I do have a problem with is marketers who hide their forced continuity conditions or don’t even post them on the page, either of which can get you in trouble with the FTC. And that’s what I think most people are bitching about. And I can’t say I blame them. Just be open and honest about it and I think you’ll be fine.
Where do you fall on this debate? I can see both sides. I don’t think this is a black and white issue. Heck, Columbia House used it for years back when I was a kid and getting 12 albums for 1 cent. I sure didn’t mind having to get 6 more albums over the next 2 years or whatever it was. But some people have a problem with that stuff.
So if you’re going to use forced continuity, make sure it’s clear to the person on the other end. The last thing you want is the FTC on your case.