[Journey] The Ethics of Digital Marketing

Hello everyone! I did some Instagram marketing about a year ago and attempted to run a t-shirt dropshipping business using the various tools and tricks found on this forum. I cheaped out on everything because I was beyond broke at the time. Inevitably, all of my accounts got banned and I was left more broke than before. Over the past year, I’ve been working and jumping around, have some money saved, and am gonna give it another go!

My biggest hobby is “attempting” to study philosophy and religion. I say attempting because it is not the easiest subject to self-study at times and I am by no means an academic. I particularly love ethics and find that a lot of the stuff I read has a big impact on me. Recently I’ve been thinking about the ethics of affiliate marketing, dropshipping, etc and believe there’s a lot of insights to be had.

We’re often told by corporations and governments that we’re responsible as individuals for keeping the environment healthy, making sure our products are ethically sourced, etc. The truth is this is propaganda that redirects the attention away from the true offenders here which are the corporations and institutions themselves. While we as individuals can and should make the personal changes we’re capable of to lower our negative impact on the world around us, to say that the changes must come from the bottom up is counterproductive nonsense.

Affiliate marketers, dropshippers, etc. are in a slightly different position than other individuals though. Many of us have massive followings and can put products, services, and everything else under the sun directly in front of thousands, sometimes millions of people. We create huge impacts!

An absolutely disturbing amount of our goods are produced with what is essentially slave labor or actual slave labor. Fast fashion is one of the worst offenders, on top of being one of the most polluting and destructive on the planet. There is a Great Pacific garbage patch from all of our plastic waste. You all know about the things I’m talking about.

This post is in no way chastising anyone on this forum or affiliate marketers anywhere. With that said, due to the fact that we are all staring at numbers all day and think in marketing strategies, the real-world impacts of what we do as marketers can become rather abstract. I’m hoping that my post will help make this connection less abstract and maybe inspire you to be more aware of the products you market and the impacts the companies you choose to support have on the world.

If you have big influence, maybe throw a post for a charity in there every once in a while, it won’t hurt you. In fact it may even help you grow! If you’re able to, look into doing affiliate marketing for companies that have a positive impact in the world. They are out there, I’ve found many. They pay just as well too. If you have a tech page, start marketing used electronics rather than new ones. Market vintage clothes instead of mass-produced disposable clothing. If you sell food, do fair trade. Get creative with it! I won’t share the niches I plan to target, but there are tons of great ones. And for even more motivation, remember that being green and considerate in your consumption is trendy as hell right now with no sign of that trend slowing up! There is a huge, growing market for these products and services.

I’ve found that I find my work infinitely more enjoyable if I feel like I’m doing something good for the world in the process. Studies have shown most people do. This time for my journey I’m going to be doing affiliate marketing for companies that I believe have a positive impact on the world, rather than a negative one. I believe this will keep me motivated more than anything. You’re not a bad person if this isn’t your primary motivator, but it sure as hell can’t hurt to make it one of them. We want to leave a better world to future generations and live in a clean, healthy world ourselves. As I said, affiliate marketers and similar specialists can create a much bigger impact than the individual, so let’s help make the world a better place!

I hope to speak with many of you here soon and get better at the craft! I appreciate all of the insights and motivation I get from here. I’ll keep this journey updated and participate in the forums much more this time, and hope I make you all proud! Second times the charm.