Here’s a new Internet Marketing trend you might want to steer clear of: offering to give a special report and paying for it with a tweet.

You’ll see this tactic used by content creators that will offer you their content (i.e. a free report) if you click on a link that sends a tweet to your followers or a wall post on Facebook. What does the message say? It could be, “I like this report,” to “I’m downloading this report,” to “Read this report” or anything at all.

Is this practice ethical?

That’s the question Danny Inny of Firepole Marketing asked his readers to weigh in on. It is doubly interesting because he uses that technique. I admire him for being transparent and for asking for feedback. I personally didn’t download his “manifesto” because the page required that I pay with a tweet. I wasn’t sure why this struck me as odd since I really like Danny and his work is solid. Something held me back.

When I read the posts from his other readers, I realized why.

1.     You are being asked to endorse something you haven’t read. How do you know it is good if you haven’t read it?
2.     You are sending a commercial message to your followers. That might upset some of your followers. Why should you put your list at risk?
3.     Some people use their Facebook pages for friends and family. Why would they want to read a marketing document?

Yes, the public has spoken and the public is usually right. So if the latest, so-called Internet marketing gurus tell you to ask your readers to pay with a tweet, tell them to buzz off.

On the other hand, if you sincerely like something and you feel your audience would want to know about it, then by all means, tweet and like as much as you want. You could even link to articles or ask for permission to reprint articles on your blog.