Thursday, November 08, 2012

Is it ethical to claim you are number one (#1) specialist?

In the course of marketing my products and services, one friendly feedback I often get is how come I don't claim to be #1 in any specific area (e-commerce, Internet marketing, blogging, social media) even if other parties sometimes introduce me as such. My answer, "it is unethical and even illegal to do so."
Number one

To put more context, here is the Code of Ethics ratified by the Internet & Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines where I am a co-founder. IMMAP is a member of the Advertising Board of the Philippines (AdBoard).
N. Superlative Claim

1. Particular care must be exercised in the use of superlative claims. General superiority claims like ‘the best,’ and ‘No.1’ may not be used unless factually substantiated. 
2. The substantiation claim shall cover at least the immediately preceding 12 month period and should be supported by data from independent sources. In the absence of data pertaining to the last 12 month period, the substantiation may be based on the latest available reliable and bona fide figures.
The Consumer Act of the Philippines as well has provisions against "special claims" where I believe asserting #1 status falls under.
ARTICLE 115. Special Claims - Any advertisement which makes special claims shall;
a) substantiate such claims; and
b) properly use research results, scientific term, statistics or quotations.
Of course, I may be wrong. However, I do understand the benefit of claiming #1 status as there are people who are truly attracted to being trained by the best.

Although even traditional media is cautious and warned on publishing superlative claims unless an entity who is the source of information is mentioned.

Perhaps it is time for a body to look into ranking professionals that can release reports on who are indeed the top players. Maybe that will be good. Maybe it is time.

"If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." (Mark 9:35)