Bullion Dealer Linked with QAnon Supporters
A recent article by The Times pointed out that a Marbella-based podcaster with links to the QAnon conspiracy group, is promoting UK bullion dealer BullionbyPost. Is this trying to cast all bullion dealers in a bad light or is it a case of poor marketing tactics?
Bullion by Post Named in Times Article
An article by The Times points to online videos posted to the DrCharlieWard channel on the BitChute platform. Bitchute, which launched in 2017 is well known for accommodating far right content and conspiracy theories. DrCharlieWard, who has been deplatformed from Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts regular videos discussing topics such as the COVID pandemic, some of which feature a referral to BullionbyPost (BbP) to purchase gold and silver. The referral code offers a free 1oz silver coin for orders. Ward asserts that this is NOT an endorsement but rather a personal recommendation. The background to each video features a “Q” insignia.
Who Are QAnon?
QAnon gained prominence on platforms such as 4chan where a number of theories and predictions were submitted, a large number of which were soon proved to be false. The Times’ article also notes how QAnon activists have encouraged followers to take the cash out of the banks and either convert to gold and silver or keep it in a safe.
Claims of FCA Rule Breaking
A campaigner for improving the regulation of financial promotions has said that the videos breach FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) rules. Mark Taber said:
If they are putting up videos or social media content that promotes a certain kind of investment and they are pushing people towards a way to invest in it and taking commission from that, then under the law it is a financial promotion. Only firms that are authorised by the FCA or who have had the promotion approved by an FCA-authorised firm are allowed to make financial promotions.
According to advertising standards, video blogs which contain advertising material should be described as adverts. Also, links to third-parties that pay commission must also be clear and upfront.
Guilt by Association
The connection between DrCharlieWard and BbP is likely to raise eyebrows, while The Times seeks to merely points fingers. It is not established whether Ward has any other connection with the company than that of a customer, which The Times also points out. The claim of a free 1oz silver coin is most likely part of an affiliate scheme which pays commission to anyone who promotes or recommends them. This is something that we at Chards are aware of as a marketing strategy but have never entered into such a scheme as it is open to abuse.
There are questions that The Times could raise such as Charlie Ward’s credentials as “doctor” which are for some reason missing from Ward’s website and BitChute page.
While the association between BbP and DrCharlieWard may be questionable, it is BbPs business after all and they should be able to conduct their business, providing it is above board, however and with whoever they choose.
The Chard's Experience
We have over 55 years of experience in the bullion industry compared to BbP’s 12 and our approach is very different.
Our motto is “inform, educate and inspire” so we are understandably passionate about having the best online content. This is in the form of blogs, videos, and guides which are regularly updated to give you as much up-to-date, quality information as possible. We have our own expert numismatists on site who are able to answer our customers’ coin questions, and an incredible customer service team who have helped us achieve the “best bullion dealer award” for 4 years running.
What we don’t do, is spend thousands on paid advertising and marketing campaigns. We’re also not in the habit of offering incentives or commissions to social media “influencers” as a way of drumming up business. Word-of-mouth is good enough for us. Another similar tactic is the use of "backlinks" which help to increase search engine visibility. A backlink is a link from one website to another. The more backlinks a website receives the greater the visibility. Often these websites have little or no connection with one another. Here is an example:
You would not consider Krugerrands and Scotland's Forth Bridge to have much of a connection, but apparently somebody did!
Here is another example:
This particular page is full of misinformation about gold and silver, and the only working links direct to BbP. We have also written a blog on other types of market trickery
Finally, perhaps what makes us stand out from BbP and our other competitors the most is our premiums. We beat our competition hands down on nearly all products from bars to coins and some of the best buy back rates on the market.
So, while The Times point out BbP’s customers, we prefer to focus on our products and prices.
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