5 unethical business practices we all fall for

There are some business practices which make us profit without giving any fake information or anything like that. And then there are some unethical business practices which put a big hole in the customer’s pocket and the quality doesn’t meet the price at all.

I don’t want to target any particular business but I’ve seen mostly big companies engaging in not one but several unethical business practices regularly. Small businesses have already so much on edge that they cannot afford to use any dirty business tactics. There must some obviously indulging in those but only a few.

Small businesses make up the backbone of any economy. They inspire to become one of those big shot companies one day. But are these companies really what we should aim for? The examples below would shake you to your core. These business tactics can get as dirty as one could imagine.

Difference between a business strategy and an unethical business practice

A strategy is planning a set of goals. A goal which we aim to achieve in our business. Whereas a tactic is practicing some certain policies or programs to achieve that goal. Tactics are usually performed to achieve fast results. A tactic can be good or bad. If a tactic is good, it’s usually a business strategy. If that tactic is bad, it takes the name of unethical business practices.

For example, your aim is to become a doctor. This is your business strategy. Now choosing your educational plan, your university would be considered a tactic.

Many times there’s a very fine line between the two and are used interchangeably. And if that tactic is favoring the company and it’s customers both, there’s no problem. But yeah once it starts exploiting the customers, you’re in for a big trouble.

What are 5 dirty business tactics played by big companies

1. Fake advertisement

 unethical Business practices
Beware of the fake advertisements

This business practice is so unethical and practiced by thousands of big companies. And by big companies I mean billion dollar companies. At some point or the other, every company is guilty of indulging in this dirty business tactic.

What they do is promote their brand by incorporating certain fake features or policies in their products or services. They know that the particular feature or policy is not actually there. But anyhow, they continue with the fake advertisement thereby misleading the customers.

Example: One big company involved in this business practice is Kellogg’s.

In 2010, Kellogg’s introduced ‘Rice Krispies cereal’ where they misled the customers with the product’s immunity boosting properties. The Federal Trade Commission ordered the company to put a stop on their false advertisement of the product that claimed that the cereal boosts a child’s immunity with ’25 Percent daily value of antioxidants and nutrients- Vitamins A,B,C and E.’

Later it was found that those immunity boosting properties don’t really have a solid ground. Nothing specific was found in the product for them to claim it as an immunity booster.

Related: Incredible business strategy game played by ‘Rich people’ you probably want to know

2. Black hat link building

This is what happens in ‘online world’. Black hat link building is one of the tactics in business which is used to increase a site’s or page’s ranking by practices which violate the search engine’s terms of service.

The person will put a link saying something and that link would redirect you to a totally unrelated page.

Example: Suppose I have a page and it says ‘Learn french in one week’ and you click that link and that page takes you to a totally unrelated page say, buy this shirt for $5. That’s what black hat link building is.

3. Emotional Exploitation

Business tactics

The way we discussed fake advertisement, this is exploiting emotions of people through advertisement. Hubspot revealed that those viral ads are the ones which trigger people’s emotions like fear, happiness etc.

Creating an emotional campaign for your product or service is one thing and exploiting someone’s emotions just for your mere profit is unethical to it’s core.

They play with your emotions, manipulate you by exxagerating certain points or features to scare you into action.

Example: There is a company of fat burn supplements. In order to make it’s customers buy their products, they will start showing a little overweight people and maybe somewhat body shame them. They will create a stigma of being overweight in the minds of people and scare them into buying their supplements.

Body shaming is already seen worldwide. It’s not related to a region or a religion. Companies like these too have a hand in this. People get influenced by what they see or hear. Stereotyping someone because of their weight is just bad and we need to put an end to this.

4. Insensitive Controversy

Unethical business practices

Some companies tend to get involved in insensitive controversies just for the sake of getting their names out. They might target certain sex, religion or a controversial practice. This would lead everyone talking about them which they aimed for.

Example: Till now the biggest controversial Ad has been of the soft drink company Pepsi. The campaign name was ‘Live for Now’.

The video showed an ethically diverse, color coordinated group of people protesting against god knows what. And then a supermodel Kendall Jenner comes to stop the police brutality and save the day. The ad was insensitively handling the topic of black lives matter and was condemned by literally everyone. The company had to take down the advertisement within 24 hours.

5. Contacting without consent

This business tactic is the ugliest in my opinion. Taking someone’s private information without even asking for a consent is not a bad tactic, but it’s illegal.

Example: Some companies might pick up your information from a different site or a page and contact you without you actually ever giving consent to that one company. That’s why it’s said make sure you’re putting your information in trusted hands.

Never ever give your contact information to fishy sites which look like a scam. You’ll be the one regretting in the end.


It doesn’t matter if you have a small business or a big one, incorporating unethical business practices should not be your thing. How would you feel if someone applies the same business tactic to gain profit from you? Not so good right. Don’t aim for an overnight success, aim for a consistent growth.

Getting profits unethically might make you feel good for one day but someone or the other would recognize it. And that day might become the reason for the fall of your business. Always remember, any business is because of the people it’s serving. Share with your friends and family so that they don’t fall prey to such ugly practices.

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