The dark side of digital marketing doesn’t include treats. There are only tricks on the menu. Discover what are the five “Halloseen” tricks.

The dark side of digital marketing: not Halloween, but "Halloseen"

October is the month when we celebrate Halloween and look forward to Black Friday.

However, these two events represent more than tricking, treating, and shopping. Both Halloween and Black Friday also mean thinking.

For example, thinking about the dark side of digital marketing.

In this post, you’ll discover five practices that reveal the dark side of online marketing:

  • GhostCOPYwriting;
  • Vampire marketing;
  • Black hat SEO;
  • Zombie customers;
  • Toxic clients.

Even though these practices don’t instil fear, they certainly don’t inspire confidence.

Would you like to find more information regarding the five practices that reveal the dark side of digital marketing?

Keep reading!

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As you read this post, you might start looking for the Marketing of Oz. If so, the Cowardly Lion from the film “The Wizard of Oz” will be accompanying you to help you find it. Discover what the Marketing of Oz is and explore all the posts that belong to the category “Copywriting”.

Five harmful digital marketing practices

In the beginning, let’s see what digital marketing is.

“Basically, digital marketing refers to any online marketing efforts or assets. Email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and even blogging are all great examples of digital marketing—they help introduce people to your company and convince them to buy.”

What is Digital Marketing and How Do I Get Started, Disruptive Advertising

Now that we saw what online marketing is, we shouldn’t overlook that this type of marketing consists of many positive practices. Nevertheless, there are some which by no means are positive. 

Let’s learn more about five practices that belong to this second group.


Ghost copywriting

You might be familiar with an expression that’s not directly related to the field of marketing. That expression is ghostwriting.

Ghostwriting refers to the practice of anonymous individuals crafting different pieces of text, from speeches to newspaper articles and literary works.

Their pieces are usually published under the signature of another, often famous, person. That person may be a politician, a pop star, etc.

People who engage in this activity we call ghostwriters.

Ghostwriting has got its marketing counterpart in “ghostCOPYwriting”.

What is ghostCOPYwriting?

Basically, ghostCOPYwriting involves the practice of anonymous copywriters crafting different types of compelling content.

More often than not, the content doesn’t contain any signature and belongs to the company on whose website it’s published.

All the copywriters I know have worked as “ghostCOPYwriters” at least once in their careers. On those occasions, they were feeling totally invisible, just like ghosts.

Vampire marketing

Vampire marketing

Vampire marketing is one of the digital marketing strategies.

This strategy can be used within various types of marketing, from PPC marketing (search engines ads and social network ads) to SMS marketing and email marketing.

Vampire marketing includes the marketing activities that take place at night. Those activities target the audience that has difficulties sleeping at night.

Different researches have shown that many of those who have problems with insomnia spend much time during the night with their mobile phones, tablets, computers and other digital devices.

In other words, they focus entirely on the screen.

The night is the perfect time for commercials and ads that belong to vampire marketing. Unlike vampires, they don’t suck blood but still need something yours: your undivided attention.

Black hat SEO

Black Hat SEO: the dark side of digital marketing

Black hat SEO means the use of a series of aggressive SEO techniques. The techniques focus on search engines rather than on website visitors.

Black hat SEO techniques aren’t aligned with search engines’ recommendations, and don’t follow any official guideline. On the contrary, they include:

  • Excessive use of keywords (keyword stuffing);
  • Insertion of keywords out of the context;
  • Reaching for invisible and hidden text;
  • Changing website content after its ranking (page swapping).

When it comes to Halloween, witches are the ones who wear black hats. But when it comes to digital marketing, the SEO techniques that have to do with “witchcraft” hide under the black hat.

Zombie customers

Zombie customers: the dark side of digital marketing

Zombie customers are the customers or clients we aren’t completely sure whether they are “alive” or not.

Those are the customers who at one point show interest in buying our product or hiring our service.

Nevertheless, for some reason, it’s not possible to clinch a deal with them.

The reasons for not clinching the deal may be different, some of which are the following:

  • Lacking to get to know a potential customer;
  • Failing in presenting an “irresistible” offer;
  • Negotiating with the person who isn’t a decision-maker;
  • Missing out the opportunity to neutralise the competition.

If you need to check if your customer is a zombie, the simplest way is to “poke” him. For instance, you may send him an email, reminding him of your offer. Those clients who are “alive” will react.

Toxic clients

Toxic clients: the dark side of digital marketing

Toxic clients are the clients who slow down your work or interfere with it in some other negative way.

I wrote about toxic clients in the post about a “666 experience” in copywriting.

There are many ways in which toxic clients can negatively interfere with your work. However, the following five ways are the most common:

  • They make communication unnecessarily complicated.
  • Toxic clients drag you into a “whirlpool” of modification and changes.
  • They increase the volume of work, maintaining the budget the same.
  • Toxic clients leave you on standby by not providing you with all the information you need.
  • They don’t pay invoices within the agreed deadlines.

Just as there are many types of poisons, there are also many ways in which toxic clients can get harm your business and your productivity. Be careful with them!

The dark side of digital marketing: no treats, just tricks

To resume the post, we’ve seen five concepts that reveal the dark side of digital marketing. Those concepts represent some of the well-known, yet harmful marketing practices.

Thus, the concept of “HalloSEEN”.

It basically means that we’ve already seen or experienced them at least once.

However, these five harmful practices don’t reign only when it’s Halloween, neither they provide us with a choice, such as “trick or treat”.

The dark side of digital marketing doesn’t include treats.

When it comes to “HalloSEEN”, there are only tricks on the menu.

A Writing-Friendly Question: Do you know any other technique, practice, or tendency that reveals the dark side of digital marketing?

My name is Stasa Durdic, and I work as a copywriter, not a “ghostCOPYwriter”. If you would like to know more about me, please read my story or visit my LinkedIn profile. On the other hand, in case you want to get in touch with me, I’ll be happy to offer you my help with copywriting.

From NO to YES, there is only one CLICK. Please share this text.

Categories: Copywriting


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