With greater demand for transparency in online marketing, it's important that we  all take steps to meet the demands of both the Federal Trade Commission and the public in general.  People are sick and tired of false promises, manipulated results and cloaked affiliate links contained in “impartial” product reviews.

In fact, many online marketers are now promoting the fact that they run a 100% transparent business.

Do they really?  Are they always transparent or only when it reflects well on them?

To these marketers and to you, my loyal readers I ask the question:

How Much Are You Willing to Reveal?

transparency in online marketing sexy cartoon
Are You Ready to Take It ALL Off?

Here's why I ask.

In one of my recent posts, I showed how I boosted my blog's Alexa ranking just by taking a few consistent steps daily.  I felt it was important to show you guys (especially the Part Time Marketers among us) that you can make dramatic improvements in your business with some consistent effort in the right places.

Now, some of the results I showed were not the greatest.  For me, they represented great strides but, for the experienced blogger they were less than stellar.

For example, I showed how I improved my Alexa number by over 100%, down to approximately 350,000.

I was pretty proud of that ranking, but in the blogging world an Alexa ranking of 350,000 is probably considered mediocre at best.

The same can probably be said for many of the other results I showed, even though I was damn proud of the improvements I had made.

So, one of my buddies emailed me after reading this post and asked,

Are You Crazy?

Why are you showing results that the big bloggers are probably laughing at?

Why would you expose your shortcomings?

Well, I thought about it for a while, at first concerned that I had really blown my reputation.

But then I realized something….

People don't want to always hear about the most successful marketers or the most amazing results.

People want to know that there are others like them who struggle in the beginning but are working their way up the ladder and becoming more successful by the day, simply by taking consistent action.

And THAT was what my blogging post was all about.

  • It wasn't about only showing the best data or results.
  • It wasn't about hiding behind a shroud of success that wasn't real.
  • It was about total transparency!

To see the original post that caused all the commotion, check out How I Boosted My Alexa Ranking by 108% in Just 30 Days.

So here is my final question to you:

In your business, are you ready and willing to by totally transparent, to show the good with the bad– to take it all off?

Or do you think total transparency is a fallacy and would hurt your business in the long run?

This is a debate that is sure to elicit some pretty strong responses, so I would love to hear what you have to say.

Leave a comment and participate in the discussion!

    25 replies to "Are You Ready To Take It ALL Off?"

    • Sally

      I’ve often wondered what the Alexa ranking was all about. Thanks for the info.

    • Hans Schoff

      Hey Bob, I totally agree with you regarding the need to be transparent. It’s not always an easy thing to do, to just put yourself out there and reveal the good with the bad but to be successful online it is neccessary. People are attracted to who you are, so if you’re putting on an image and trying to pretend to be someone you’re not, guess what, you’ll lose these people down the road anyway when they realize you’re not who you lead them to believe you were – even if your intentions were good.

      “Fake it till you make it” is a line many people in this industry are familiar with, in fact that was a common strategy for getting ahead. That of course may also be why so many people are skeptical about starting their own business in this industry as well because they didn’t know who was really who. Those who are most transparent and “REAL” will be the ones to achieve the most success I believe because the people they attract will stick and continue to stay with and buy from them down the road, regardless of what happens, good or bad. For the “fake it until you make it” crowd, they’ll likely learn the hard way in the end. Great post!

      • Bob

        Thanks Hans! I agree, the “fake it til you make it” mentality has set back many an entrepreneur, in my opinion,

        Thanks for your insights here, Hans. Great to see you again!

    • Kristina L.

      Hi, Bob,
      transparency and honesty are qualities that will ensure the visitors come back for more content, as nobody likes the pure stories of Supermen, but of real people, who are mortals and struggle with same problems as the others. However, some bloggers like to emphasize their success as they believe they will be recognized as gurus and gain more traffic immediately. But,it’s not all that easy.Nothing is more appreciated as being sincere.

      • Bob

        Hey Kristina,

        I believe that also – people want real stories, not ones of only their successes. I always try to “tell it like it is”, the good and the bad and let people make up their own minds.
        It’s what has worked for me, and it sounds like you follow the same philosophy.

        Thanks for your insights, Kristina!

    • Tommy DiPietro

      Dr. Bob,

      It is good to show it all off.

      If you are hiding something, with sites like Google, the truth always comes

      You set a great example with this post and the information that you are

      Thanks for the value!

      Talk soon,
      Tommy D.

      • Bob

        Absolutely, Tommy, I totally agree.

        Thanks your your insights and contributions to the discussion.

        Appreciate you stopping by once again, Tommy!

    • Mavis Nong

      Hey Dr Clarke,

      You did well by sharing your results. Online marketing is all about transparency , showing the world your struggles and successes.

      Great job on improving your Alexa ranking! 🙂

      All the best,

      • Bob

        Thanks, Mavis… your kind words of encouragement mean alot, because you are one of the great success stories in blogging today. I learned much of what I incorporate into my own blog directly from you, among others.

        Appreciate the feedback! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Rowena Bolo

      Hi Dr Bob.

      Yes, please continue with this type of blogging! That’ exactly the reason I keep coming back here, and I always get encouragement, a-ha moments, lots of inspiration, and lessons whenever I visit you and Rose Mary here.

      Thank you for keeping it real, Bob. It is an overwhelming online world, and a lot of marketers, especially blogging newbies want re-assurance that they’re heading the right direction. By sharing your struggles, your wins, and your lessons, you are helping so many people. I am so glad that you made the decision to post this! You will definitely see more of me here 🙂

      – Rowena

      • Bob

        Hi Rowena,

        It’s great to know that you like my style and keep coming back. That’s what I’m aiming for with all my readers. And it’s extra special when people like you take the time to comment and let me know how I’m doing.

        I look forward to seeing you here often and sharing our travels!


    • Dev

      Hi Bob,

      It’s good to see you’re showing and share your results. I’m impressed with your Alexa Ranking. Great work on that.

      I think blogging is all about being transparent and sharing the results.

      Thanks for sharing this great post.

      • Bob

        Thanks, Dev. I appreciate the support and encouragement.

        Thanks for stopping by!

    • Jon


      What you’ve done is fantastic. “Strides” and improvement are all relative. There will always be someone with a bigger list, better sales funnel, snazzier design or higher ranking. That’s just life. We control our actions and our progress.

      You shared your progress and it was substantial. I know I appreciated it because it shows that you’re taking action and paying attention to what works so you’ll do more of it. Your transparency will help teach others that where you were not long ago is a point we all have to push through.

      It’s about being genuine. Transparency is a requirement these days. Apart from extremes such as sharing highly personal/irrelevant information (address, social security #, bank access information, bodily functions and the like) I’d say bare it all.

      • Bob

        Hey Jon, welcome back!

        Thanks for the encouraging words! Its true — being “genuine” and “transparent” are the new buzz words in social media, and they are popular for a reason — they work. People are so sick of the hypey BS they see all over the Internet. When they come upon people like us who are just real marketers building their business the right way, with successes and failures, they are naturally attracted.

        Thanks for the comment, See you again soon!

    • Jeanine Byers Hoag

      Bob, you are completely right and what you said there is SO powerful!! As someone is not yet one of the big bloggers, I needed to know that there were other marketers like me who are boosting traffic gradually and can be impressed with the gradual improvement along the way.

      I found it affirming to know that such a change could be made in a month. And I know that if you could do that much in a month, in the next month you will do even more. And so will I if I take your advice about what worked for you. That post was very encouraging.

      And I do the same thing in my blog! If I make a style mistake, I post about it. I had a week or so when I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with a pair of pants I bought. I kept talking about it, too.

      Finally, it dawned on me that the company had changed the color and what was wrong was that it didn’t match my expectations based on what I knew that color to be before. Now, before your eyes begin to glaze over :), my point is that I did all of that quite openly on my bog. I think it’s a good thing because if readers know you are transparent, they will trust you. And be drawn to your honesty.

      Good on you, Bob!

      • Bob

        Hi Jeanine,

        People love a good, honest story. I’ve found that my readers really like to hear my successes AND failures, so I lay it all out there. I think they find comfort knowing you don’t need to be perfect to see success; after all, trying to be perfect is a huge burden!

        I applaud your transparency in your blog and urge you to continue. You are building an invaluable connection with your readers and when you’re having difficulty with that outfit, etc…. they are probably saying, “hey, I had that problem, too!” That is really powerful!

        Thanks for your insights, Jeanine, I appreciate your feedback!

    • Dennis Edell

      You did it well Bob, the whole transparency thing, even if honest, seems to come back and bite many.

      Dennis Edell recently posted..100 Down Thousands to Go!

      • Bob

        Hey Dennis,

        Its true, it’s a little bit of a balancing act, this transparency thing. And anyone who tells you they’re 100% transparent is probably someone you should run away from. No one is (or should be) totally transparent in everything in their lives (in my opinion). But as it relates to business, yes – people are demanding transparency, and those that meet those needs will prosper!

        Thanks for stopping by, Dennis!

    • Jayne Kopp

      HI Dr. Bob, I totally feel you should show all sides of the coin. I am so impressed with your Alexa ranking by the way.

      I think you have done awesome… and showing you are human and have worked and struggled… shows you are a human being.

      I find it very difficult to relate to ‘high horse’ self-back-patters… because we all know this industry… or any other industry takes work.

      I got a really good start in this industry… then I sucked wind for a while. I’m glad because it slapped me into reality so I can share both sides of the coin. I still suck wind at times… but with consistency and the right attitude, things turn around.

      Thanks for being so transparent!


      • Bob

        Hi Jayne,

        I love the way you put it… we all suck once in a while. But it’s pushing past the “suckiness” and being consistent in our efforts to improve that makes us better bloggers, marketers, and people!

        As always, I appreciate your input, Jayne.

        Thanks for stopping by!

    • Oliver Tausend

      Hi Bob,

      thanks for sparkling this discussion. Every improvement is a success because you won’t stop there and you will keep doing your successful daily consistent action.

      The questions prospects are asking themselves are: Could I do this and you can you help me ? If you’re all perfect, people might end up saying:”I couldn’t do that.” If they see that you are a “normal” person with successes and failures, they might say:”I can do that and you can teach me because you are open and honest.”

      Take care


      • Bob

        Well said, Oliver! I firmly believe that being honest and transparent will ultimately help you attract exactly who you’re wishing to attract.

        I’ve found in my marketing that people are sick and tired of people portraying a persona, only to feel tricked once they “opt in” or join a business. The way to attack that is honesty and transparency …. and not trying to be something you’re not. Just be honest, people appreciate it.

        Thanks for your insightful comments, Oliver. Great to see you again!

    • Janet

      Bob, aloha. What a fun post. Total transparency aside, you might as well show both the good and the bad because it is doubtful anyone believes it is all good anyway. Also, most of us like to know that others had to go through what we are going through.

      Bob, while the BIG bloggers have “better” numbers than you, they did not start out that way. Yours show consistent incremental progress. Theirs had to follow the same path. Perhaps they moved along it faster, however, they all had to do it. Heck, your Alexa has dropped another 80,000 points since that infamous post.

      The other thing that is important to remember, Bob, is why you are blogging. Once people know you blog, they seem to think you want to be the next Chris Brogan, Copyblogger or ProBlogger when in reality, I don’t believe that is the case for you.

      To my way of thinking, Bob, you are doing a terrific job of branding yourself and letting people know why type of person you are. Should readers decide they want to take control of their lives, because they have been able to get to know the real YOU on your blog, they may well feel comfortable contacting you.

      And, Bob, on my new blog I did “take it all off” because you cannot get too much more transparent than a woman publicly revealing her age!

      So appreciated this post, Bob, because it brought home many important elements. Until next time, aloha. Janet

      • Bob

        Aloha, Janet.

        First, let me tell you I love your new blog… the perfect blend of discussing important topics and creating a soft, relaxing, and inviting feeling every time I visit! It’s an awesome place to visit! 🙂

        I firmly believe that people love a story, and my journey from a blogging newbie to finally getting some good results from my blog is my journey of successes and failures. I’ve found that people really resonate with this type of blogging, and I plan on continuing my journey story-telling as I progress (and encounter obstacles!).

        Thanks for your insight, Janet!

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