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Do You Draw An Ethical Line?

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  • Do You Draw An Ethical Line?

    Would you deal with an affiliate who sells products that are bad for people? Take vaping for example. Recent news has showed us that black market vape juice can harm or even kill a person. It is very big business right now though and easy to get people to buy. In the right web environment we could easily make a lot of money on commissions alone.

  • #2
    You know, I'm just getting started with affiliate marketing and I never even considered that issue until now. I'm so glad you raised the question. There are many things that I wouldn't be comfortable promoting like tobacco, guns, diet pills, and things like that. However, I'm not sure how successful I could be with avoiding an affiliate who sold something that I deemed questionable. Amazon and Walmart sell a little of everything and it would be difficult to avoid linking to them since that's where most people shop.

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    • #3
      People have been making money off the misfortune, bad choices and bad behavior of others since the beginning of time, I'm afraid. I don't think a marketer can make money if they do not deal with companies like Pfizer, Monsanto, Wal Mart, etc....Look at the top performers on the stock market. You'll get depressed if you think about it too much.

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      • #4
        You can make money otherwise Don, but it takes more effort. Usually. You have to mix it up more and one way to do that is think seasonal. What sells more in February than July, for instance. More times than not you can do this without crossing any ethical lines.

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        • #5
          I've noticed that some of the creative platforms we use, limit our choices and it seems mostly based on ethics. For instance, WordPress.com (the free version) won't allow affiliate links for multi-level marketing opportunities or their products.

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          • #6
            I'm pretty liberal and think adults ought to make their own decisions about whether something is okay or not. However, I definitely separate that personal ideal from my affiliate marketing efforts. I'm not about to plug anything that's likely to offend my readership. Why would I? I'm not trying to make any boycott lists or destroy my trustworthy reputation. I want to attract readers, not alienate them.

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            • #7
              Ethics can be very subjective. What is unethical in America my be perfectly fine in Sri-Lanka. This can be a worldwide endeavor so this is something to keep in mind.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sara Garrett View Post
                Would you deal with an affiliate who sells products that are bad for people? Take vaping for example. Recent news has showed us that black market vape juice can harm or even kill a person. It is very big business right now though and easy to get people to buy. In the right web environment we could easily make a lot of money on commissions alone.
                This is a very interesting question. I am not an expert, but I don't think I would try to promote or sell anything that could harm the consumer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Art X View Post
                  Ethics can be very subjective. What is unethical in America my be perfectly fine in Sri-Lanka. This can be a worldwide endeavor so this is something to keep in mind.
                  I agree, and the same applies to what a marketer regards to as good or bad to their audience. To this end, I would never promote anything that went against my values, and this may be different for other people.

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                  • #10
                    Well, drawing that ethical line is useful based on your beliefs. Again, what's wrong to one person may be different for another person. It is all a matter of perception and relativity!

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                    • #11
                      Is it ethical for a pharmaceutical company to make pesticides that cause cancer? That is a universal no. I wouldn't promote that.

                      Is it ethical for companies to make sex toys? Depends on you. I would only promote that to a demographic that doesn't have a problem with it.

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                      • #12
                        It is wise to engage in activities that can never get an affiliate in trouble with the authorities. Matters ethical are both relative and personal, just like Ken Willis opines.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ian James View Post

                          I agree, and the same applies to what a marketer regards to as good or bad to their audience. To this end, I would never promote anything that went against my values, and this may be different for other people.
                          So you would turn down a 25% commission gig in a sector that is known to be popular and growing? Sure money? I can't say in all honesty that I would, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends. This is business after all.

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