And, honestly, bait-and-switch is so common with Internet startups, they must teach it somewhere.
Yes they do. It's called growth hacking.
I will acknowledge I have been in rooms where these concepts are taught, and I have been witness to blatant instruction towards really unethical deception.
It's weird to be in a room where everyone laps it up without thinking through the broader ethics. I'm all for clever growth tactics, but when there is an obvious victim in the scenario it's fairly ludicrous.
There's gray area in that things do need to change, and sometimes a segment of a userbase can be affected negatively. But the way it's taught rarely offers concern for all of this.
It's quite difficult to question all this when you're someone desperate for traffic. Worryingly, we're seeing other industries like the gaming industry also applying these ideas. Fortunately, there are others out there who are writing about alternatives to "growth hacking" (ironically hosted at Medium). Perhaps we could serve the community better by offering and researching alternatives.
The root problem I guess is that growth brings more clout/bargaining power to the table when it comes to VC money I think. There is an incentive to produce growth by whatever means necessary.
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