There is an emerging trend in the healthcare industry that doesn’t receive a lot of attention, but is incredibly insidious, and perhaps even more damaging to the level of care provided in this country than the obstructive health laws and corporate mergers that pay attention only to the bottom line, and not the overall well being of the patients in the hospital.
What is this trend, you ask: affiliate marketing.
Why Affiliate Marketing Is Bad for the Health Industry
Affiliate marketing, if you’re unfamiliar with the term, is a form of marketing where any individual can get paid commissions for promoting products.
This happens every single day online, and the industry as a whole represents close to $20 billion in transactions every year, which means that it accounts for a considerable portion of consumer spending via the internet.
The problem is that anyone with a website, from hobby bloggers to professional marketers, can promote products, without needing to have any knowledge of the product they’re promoting or the implications of using that product.
That might be ok when it comes to deciding which camera to buy or which backyard grill is going to suit your needs best, but when it comes to health products there can be incredible ramifications.
Many of these marketers promote products based solely on their commission and conversion rates: that is, they promote the product that is going to make them the most money, regardless of what that product actually does. For an example, just take a quick look at the products offered on this health affiliate commission list.
Any certified health professional will quickly recognize that most of these products are not helpful and, in some cases, potentially harmful to a patient.
Consumers then purchase these products, which could have adverse effects. See this blog on Healthy Affiliate Marketing for more information.
In our view, there are two things we can do about this. The first is to educate doctors and other health professionals about the widespread nature of the problem, and how the process works.The second is to encourage consumers to always seek advice from a certified medical professional before making any purchase decisions.
These two forms of outreach, focused primarily on awareness for the time being, may be our best hope for curbing this problem, and returning to a state where doctors’ opinions are valued more highly than those of a blogger…at least when it comes to medical advice!