Let’s talk today about the word Lifetime…. as in, a lifetime upgrade (to an advertising platform or any online site, for that matter).

If I purchase a lifetime upgrade to a site, then I expect three things, in no particular order:

1. That purchase is good for the lifetime of the site – no matter who owns the site or buys it later.

2. That purchase is good for my lifetime – i.e., until the day I, yep, die.

3. That purchase means I will never have to pay for an upgrade again. Some ads for lifetime upgrades even say that – what a concept!

If you purchase a TE or other site that has sold lifetime upgrades in the past, then it’s up to you to have done your due diligence and be aware of the fact that lifetimes have been sold, and how many. It’s not the members who purchased the lifetime upgrades problem if you didn’t do your due diligence and make yourself aware.

It’s also not the members who purchased lifetimes problem that they paid the previous owner of the site for their lifetime upgrade, and not you. You should have, again, done your due diligence and not expected members to pay you a second time for ANY upgrade just because you purchased a site that previously sold lifetimes.

Of course, nothing says you can’t cancel lifetimes and ask members that have already paid for a lifetime to pay again, I suppose, unless the selling owner stipulated as part of the sale that you must honor any lifetime upgrades sold. A lot of good owners will do, and have done, that very thing – stipulating the honoring of previous upgrades in the sale.

But even if there is no stipulation as such, the ETHICAL thing to do is honor those lifetimes (and yearlys and what have you) that were previously sold. That is most definitely the ethical thing to do.

Frankly, in my opinion and a whole lot of other folks’, it’s borderline (if not outright) fraudulent if you don’t honor those lifetimes previously sold… not to mention a real good way to ruin your reputation in the industry, hurt & possibly destroy your site, and find your site(s) banned at a lot of other sites that refuse to promote businesses they feel have acted unethically and/or fraudulently.

Better to close a site down, if you think it can’t operate without honoring lifetime upgrades previously sold – or better yet, don’t buy the site in the first place. Some might say closing down a site that has sold lifetimes is unethical as well, but most of us understand that things happen sometimes. Sometimes it’s just best to shut a site that’s failing or having serious problems down. In those cases, yes, a lifetime upgrade turns out to be for the lifetime of the site.

And if a site can’t function without honoring the lifetime upgrades that were previously sold by the previous owner – well, you can probably do the math on that.

Obviously this is something that has recently happened in the community, and I actually don’t personally have a dog in the hunt. I’m not a member (nor will I ever be, now, ‘cos of all this).

But as a site owner and the member of the community, I don’t like witnessing things like this happening because when something like this happens, it just does more damage in an industry that’s had to fight over and over again to prove many of us are good, honest owners that run honest and ethical businesses. I think we’ve had more than enough troubles in recent months with PayPal’s ridiculousness – stuff like this just piles more on the community as a whole.

Bottom line – When a new owner or owners buy a site and refuse to honor lifetimes previously sold, it winds up hurting us all – some way, somehow, whether a little or a lot. It’s still damaging to the industry as a whole, and – unfortunately and sadly – totally unnecessary.

My $0.02. Happy Friday and an invitation to join us at the Saturday Night Surf Party at Sound Surf Live tomorrow from 6-10pm Eastern for music & fun, party-time-only deals, hourly Door Prizes and more! Come hang out with us tomorrow night!