Launch Jacking – Is It Ethical?



The term ‘launch jacking’ has only just come to my attention.  As most of you know I am about to launch a product, you can read about it here:  ‘And We Have Lift Off‘, and Keith and I have been working hard to recruit JV partners, these are people who will promote the product for us in return for a commission on any sales.

To be honest I’d never even heard of launch jacking, but then I’ve never actually launched a product before!  We have just found several sites set up with reviews of our product, one is even offering a free copy to download.  The only copies that have gone out so far are review copies to people who gave us a testimonial or trusted friends and colleagues, so I think we were both shocked to see this particular thread.

What is launch jacking?

Anyway, back to launch jacking.  What exactly is it?  Well, marketers look out for any products that are launching in about a month or so and they create a review site, buying a domain name and optmising the site for keywords.  The whole process is geared up to put their site at the top of search engine lists so they make a ton of sales from the off.

Sadly some are much more sneaky than that.  They are sometimes known to use the product as bait and re-direct the viewer to another site selling a different product, most likely either their own product or one they get a better return for.  Others create a sign up box so they can market to the people who visit the product review.

If they have positioned themselves at the top of page one for searches they are in a prime position to get the lions share of sales using their affiliate link.

So, is launch jacking ethical?  What do you think?

Enjoy the journey!


  • Donna Merrill

    Reply Reply May 15, 2017

    Hi Mandy,

    While I’ve created an promoted many of my own products, and have let affiliates promote them as well… I’ve never done a formal “launch” with a beginning and ending date, prizes to top affiliates and all that.

    The purpose of the “launch” is to create excitement and urgency and yes, it’s good for that.

    But when you launch and build an affiliate team, they have to do everything they can to promote your product.

    Launch-jacking is the most typical way they do that.

    Grab a highly relevant domain and do a review of your product with their affiliate link embedded.

    I see nothing unethical about that, but certainly, it can go over the line as you described with bait and switch, or offering your course for free or whatever.

    You need to be very watchful for that and ban affiliates when they do it.

    On your JV Page, you should make it clear that any of those things are violations of the vendor-affiliate agreement, and that if you discover it you will remove disapprove their affiliate status immediately.

    Sometimes, the fact that they know you’re aware and watchful of these things will keep the majority of abusers at bay.

    Good luck with the launch 🙂

    Donna Merrill recently posted..How To Work Through Adversity – Tips For The Successful BloggerMy Profile


      Reply Reply May 16, 2017

      Hi Donna, thanks for visiting. I agree, watching over them and keeping a good relationship with your vendors will help to avoid these things. Only a couple have sprung to our attention, the others we’ve seen have been fine. I had just never come across the term and was unaware of the possible problems until now!

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..Launch Jacking – Is It Ethical?My Profile

  • Marquita Herald

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    Thanks for sharing this issue, Mandy. I’ve never heard of the term Launch Jacking either, but I’ve learned a lot from your experience and Donna’s informative comment!
    Marquita Herald recently posted..Overcoming Our Inability to Say “No”My Profile


      Reply Reply May 16, 2017

      Hi Marquita, thanks for visiting. I had always been aware of the term ‘black hat marketing’ which I had always known is pretty well unethical, but launch jacking, well it was new to me too, and you are right, Donna’s explanation is a good source of information!

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..Launch Jacking – Is It Ethical?My Profile

  • Elise Cohen Ho

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    I, like Marquita, have certainly had my eyes opened between your post and Donna’s comment. Thank you for your willingness to let us learn from your experiences.
    Elise Cohen Ho recently posted..What is United We Parent?My Profile


      Reply Reply May 16, 2017

      Hi Elise, thanks for visiting. As I said in reply to Donna’s comment, the majority have been very sound but a couple sprung to our attention, which is what prompted me to write the post.

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..Launch Jacking – Is It Ethical?My Profile

  • Kaylee

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    I have never heard of this before but am glad I found this so I can be informed now.

  • Mayuri

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    Product launch jacking is a strategy to make money online,l hink it’s just plain dishonest. It can make short term money with fake reviews but the real loosers are the buyers. So I guess it should be avoided. This is just my opinion. Best of luck!

  • David

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    I don’t condone the idea of Launch Jacking as it is called. However, the person launching is setting themselves up for destruction by making this information public. I understand that they want to hype up the product launch for making great sales at the launch. However, there will always be money hungry fools out there that can’t think of their own ideas.

    Is it ethical? Even if it isn’t you can’t stop people from joining the bandwagon if you announce what, when and where.

    Great post and good luck!

    David recently posted..My Domain Authority – A Buzz Boxer Case Study 2017My Profile

  • Chery Schmidt

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    Hello Mandy, just like yourself and a few others who have left you comments to to have never heard of the term Launch Jacking before! It does seem ethical as long as they do what they say they are going to do Right?

    Just as with anything else I guess. Thanks for sharing.
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted..Start Creating Beautiful E-Books & Lead Magnets TodayMy Profile

  • Janice Wald

    Reply Reply May 16, 2017

    Hi Mandy,
    I’ve never heard of launch jacking. Thank you for letting us know about it.

  • Prajjwal Rajput

    Reply Reply May 17, 2017

    I didn’t hear the launch jacking term before in SEO industry. I’m so glad I’ve learnt so much from this article about the new term in SEO. Thanks for sharing your experience really enjoyed.
    Prajjwal Rajput recently posted..How To Download Paid iOS apps For iPhone or iPad For FreeMy Profile

  • To tell you what, Mandy, I have never heard of Launch Jacking before though i knw and I’ve seen folks who practice something like it, only that I didn’t know what it is called until now. 🙂

    In my view, I think it’s cool and ethical so long it doesn’t get to the point you rightly mentioned above. That’s bad and it’s going overboard, which shouldn’t even be.

    Glad that you have decided to create your own product. How is the sales coming now or haven’t you launched it yet?


  • Kathryn Maclean

    Reply Reply May 20, 2017

    Hi Mandy,
    First good luck on your launch. I looked up the term launch jack on Google. Lots of information on what it is and how to do it.
    As Donna says “Grab a highly relevant domain and do a review of your product with their affiliate link embedded.” Nothing unethical about that.
    I know of a very well known marketer that I follow who does this, but goes a step further and sees what is missing in the launch product and builds his own product to enhance the product as a bonus for buying the product on his affiliate link. He is usually the top of the affiliate boards doing it this way.
    Kathryn Maclean recently posted..Brand Development What Is It? How do you do it?My Profile

  • Lesly

    Reply Reply May 20, 2017

    Hi Mandy,
    Oh I thought this was an interesting article.. I’ve read some unethical practices.. like link stealing and masking you’re link so others can’t get it.. I don’t think it’s an good or honest thing to do… so you’re learning a lot with your own launch my friend …
    Lesly recently posted..Count On Mindfulness To Grow Your BusinessMy Profile

  • Joy Healey

    Reply Reply May 21, 2017

    Hi Mandy,

    I’ve heard of launch jacking before, as in grabbing a relevant domain and reviewing the product. It was a tactic I was trained to do in one coaching course I took. (I didn’t find it successful because so many people were doing it.)

    But then directing people to a different product is very unethical. All these shenanigans, plus the pressure of having to produce product after product, are just some of the reasons why I didn’t pursue product creation, after the first two products I “launched”.

    I suppose it’s as unethical as the practice of targeting keywords for a perfectly good MLM, trashing its reputation, and then telling people to join their own.

    There are some pretty nasty tactics online (as there are offline).

    Good luck with your launch.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted..Online Business Goals Are Very PersonalMy Profile

  • Mandy,

    I’ve done a few affiliate promotions for some top marketers and although I had a large number of optins (using my link shortener), I got zero sales. That, and the fact that I had heard there were some unscrupulous marketers out there who hijack your link and redirect people who click on your link to go to their own page. So nobody actually reaches your page with your buy button.

    It’s sad that people have to be so greedy and take from others what is not rightfully theirs.

    Best of luck. Hope your have a highly successful launch.


    Dr. Erica

  • Sarbjit Singh

    Reply Reply May 22, 2017

    Jacking is also like injecting using SQL. Its interesting to read all about but not at that level that can be use it in all types of businesses. it is an unethical approach so, i am not supporting at all.

  • Hi,
    First of all, I love this article.
    I’ve heard of launch jacking before, as in grabbing a relevant domain and reviewing the product.
    I suppose it’s as unethical as the practice of targeting keywords for a perfectly good MLM, trashing its reputation, and then telling people to join their own.

  • George C

    Reply Reply May 31, 2017

    I think that launch jacking definitely isn’t very ethical. It’s kind of like piggy backing off some one else’s hard work and just enjoying the rewards with little to no consideration for others, and there are definitely more honest and open ways to generate traffic to your site!
    George C recently posted..How 3 different luxury brands made the most out of ‘520 Day’ in ChinaMy Profile

  • Caitlyn

    Reply Reply June 1, 2017

    Definitely unethical. If you want people to go on your site and purchase YOUR product, do something to earn that! Don’t just take advantage of somebody else’s hours and potentially reduce their reward too.

  • tarun

    Reply Reply June 19, 2017

    Hi Lesly,
    Very informative and great content. Everything has evolved online and I think in many ways for the better. There are still some things we need to educate to the masses, but it will get there in the end I’m sure. A web presence is vital for business these days, but it’s not ALWAYS necessary to have your own website, or blog, but it certainly helps because that way you are in control and can’t get shut down because of what can be an uninformed opinion.


      Reply Reply June 26, 2017

      Hi Tarun, thanks for visiting. Yes, things must progress, mustn’t they!

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..The Power Of DisciplineMy Profile

  • Prasad

    Reply Reply June 22, 2017

    Promotion is essential part of business.
    Without promotion their will be no business.
    So we, as an online e-commerce dealer have many strategies for promotion by which we are growing steadily.
    Prasad recently posted..Manual For ExamsMy Profile


      Reply Reply June 26, 2017

      Hi Prasad, thanks for visiting. Yes, promotion is very powerful and people use different methods to achieve their goals.

      Enjoy the journey! recently posted..The Power Of DisciplineMy Profile

  • mehedi hasan

    Reply Reply July 5, 2017

    I have never heard of this before but am glad I found this so I can be informed now.

  • Karen

    Reply Reply August 4, 2017

    I had seen this going on but never knew there was a term for it. If they;re marketing the actual product themselves then i think it is alright, kind of like an affiliate. But if it is just to hijack a popular search term and then promote other stuff, then that’s not ok.

    Thanks for sharing, Mandy. Learning a lot 🙂

  • Delbert

    Reply Reply September 9, 2018

    I think it can be if done right, I know the way I’ve been seeing people do it recently isn’t very ethical in my opinion. I’ve seen some of these websites take what’s on the sales page; put it in their “review” with a 5 star rating and everything saying “buy from me and you’ll get a bonus”.

    I was gonna do the same thing to be honest until I thought about it. I still “launch jack” but I do it in a (what I think) more ethical way where I don’t try to sell anything, I just talk about what the product is; what it aims to do when it releases and discuss it a bit. I do it so my blog can get a bit of traffic since it’s easier to rank for unreleased products.

    I wrote a article on how I do it on my website called “How To Launch Jack Only For Traffic” if anyone wants to see.

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field

CommentLuv badge