The Current State of ICO Marketing

August 30, 2018


The current state of ICO marketing today has many flaws. Let us recap the concept for a second. The idea of ICO is fantastic. It takes a page from the doctrine of bitcoin and the likes by attempting to decentralize the crowdfunding space. It resulted in funding some beautiful projects that are game changers. Actually, Etheruem, the 2nd crypto in size, was endowed with an ICO. There are several examples like that to name a few Argur, NEO, Ark, etc. However, this isn’t true for all ICOs, and it seems it is getting worse with much impure play.

The State of ICO Marketing

What we wish to explore in this post is the state of ICO marketing at the time of writing this piece. Back in January of 2018 Facebook ICO Ban started. It didn’t take long for giants like Google and Twitter to follow. Slowly many other marketing platforms began aligning with this policy, and that has minimized the exposure outlets for ICOs. ICO marketing usually takes up a handsome chunk of the overall token allocation and distribution. That is necessary to attract marketers to promote the project and see it through. In addition, major bonuses are offered to accredited investors on private sale to lure investments.

Enter the Bounty Program

One of the tactics used to bypass the ban is to generate airdrop events or token bounty program. Marketing tasks are offered to micro influencers for sharing the project on their channels to build awareness in return for tokens. As a consequence, the ICO gets an army of micro influencer marketers that are commenting, sharing, posting writing, and pooling friends and family for the project’s telegram channels. Ultimately, if the influencer (marketer) has completed all tasks set by the bounty program terms, they will be rewarded the tokens. You may find several such bounty programs on a daily basis by just searching google for ICO bounty programs

What Is the Problem With Bounty Programs?

The original concept of the bounty program is excellent. It helps to grow a community around a project and succeed with its funding ambitions. It helps to gain hype and exposure that is much needed to attract potential investors. One can assume, that if tokens pay the reward, then marketers will have an interest in it to maintain a positive value. The problem is with the legitimacy and accuracy of the information posted by the affiliates working for the tokens. Our site, for example, is being hit daily with copied ICO review submitted by bounty program participants. They are looking to complete a marketing task set by the bounty program. However, they are at times practicing plagiarism. This method has no positive impact on SEO level. Let alone the fact it is not moral nor legal. In such an event, this exercise does nothing but hurt the project legitimacy. Moreover, the ICO bounty program managers are not adequately verifying their affiliates submission.

ICO Marketing Teams Are Slacking

At times we even get the submissions by the ICO representatives themselves. It is submitted without checking the content for plagiarism. Or, they don’t care. Regardless of the reason, you may read such review submissions on our Medium channel. This channel is where we post content submitted to us by an ICO team member that didn’t follow basic guidelines we’ve set for them to have it posted on our site. To be clear, we don’t charge the projects for ICO review submissions. We practice this method to stay unbiased and allow our community members to share information about the project after we’ve posted the review. All ICO reviews on our site are created by our team unless otherwise stated. 

More Tokens More Marketers

Another issue with these bounty programs is the ignorance, inability, or lack of capacity of some participating marketers to analyze and conduct proper due diligence for the project. A marketer might be attracted to the bounty program for it being attractive on token bonuses level. In other words, the more token the ICO promises for marketing activity, the more attractive it is to the marketer to participate in the program and promote it. This practice is problematic because it could lead to a fraud project promotion. As a consequence, innocent investors may end up sending their funds to a project that doesn’t have their mind and heart in the right place. These contributors will end up losing their money not picking up the project is a scam. We’re talking millions of dollars and a considerable number of people losing their investment. It is hard enough or nearly impossible for crowdsale participants to come out profitable in today’s ICO contribution scene. We’ve addressed this issue in our post about ICO private sale and ICO pools. Being misinformed by bounty program marketers doesn’t contribute to crowdsale investors one bit.

Greed Leads to Misleading – Buying ICO Ratings

Another disturbing practice is niche sites charging ICOs a tremendous amount of money to post their PR or rank their ICO on their website. In a recent post on Medium by Markus Hartmann from Alethena, he exposes the method of buying ICO rating on a significant ICO review site. Once again this leads to misinforming innocent investors believing that they’re reading a unique and unbiased ICO review. Consider this hypothetical scenario; an ICO has been funded a few million dollars during its private sale. The project’s marketing team has enough funds to buy “positive rating & reviews.” It is now with a “five-star” review rating by a nice sum of people or influencers that have written (“sold”) a positive review about it. Ironically, the review site itself is ranked high on google for the term “ICO Review.” As a result, the reader trusting the review site for being accredited is viewing a prepaid high ranking badge and a prepaid positive review. Supposably, with no real research or due diligence conducted by the site’s owners or the people writing the reviews.

Final Thought on the State of ICO Marketing

In conclusion, an ICO is an excellent way for new tech companies to fund their project. There are great projects out there, with solid teams looking to disrupt industries and make our future better. The concept on its own is just great. When greed and lack of regulation are present, it paves the way for dishonest reviews and information surfacing online. ICO marketing tactics are not always honest. For innocents investors that could be devastating. There’s no bulletproof review system yet. As a matter of fact, it might be blockchain that will be able to validate the content contributors and their level of influence on the industry. In the meantime and as always we encourage our community members to dig as much information on the projects that we post on our website. Take an active role in exposing misconduct and misinformation you find about these projects. Share it with our community and allow it to make informed decisions based on facts.

Some Information to Help You With Your ICO Contribution Decision Making?

Read the following posts below, as a resource, to better understand some basic concepts before contributing to any ICO:

  1. What and Why ICO Investment
  2. How to Analyze ICO Explained
  3. Investing In ICO During a Bubble 
  4. Cryptocurrency Exchange for Your New Tokens
  5. Best ERC-20 Compatible Wallet 2018

Comment below with any ICO Marketing misconduct information and data you think our community will potentially be interested in.

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