The Ethics of Marketing

Honestly, I know that most people think marketers are unethical, thanks Mad Men, however any marketer will tell you in order to be successful they have to be ethical and honest.  Working in marketing myself being forthright is key in maintaining internal and external relationships and trust.  I’ve also done direct sales and worked in customer facing, roles and trust is everything.  Once it’s broken it’s almost impossible to get back, however digital can be a bit more forgiving. Currently I am studying SEO/SEM and here is an area that defined by honesty and integrity as it all about building trust with customers and Google. 

Case Study 

To better understand why ethics are important let’s look at a case study from Yonatan Dotan at for Ginger Software.  He writes that when he started, they were in a great state “their site has an Alexa ranking of around 7,000.”  However, one day he gets a notification that from Google that there were issues with inbound links and after examining things saw a drop in organic traffic by 94% (Dotan. 2018).  One of the things discussed in SEO and SEM practices is building quality links and content and making sure that inbound links to the site make sense.  What happened was that keywords that were being used we linking to sites about pornography, gambling, and even pharmaceutical. This was due to spammers trying to rank their own page higher by providing links to a quality site.  After identifying and fixing the bad links Ginger Software submitted a request to have the penalty revoked from Google and about 5 days after getting the notice it had been revoked.   


CHECK YOUR LINKS!  From this case study and various readings over the course of the class check your work, and the double check.  As a marketer you should be monitoring backlinks, key words in use, and referrals to your site.  If you find bad links get them disavowed.  Part of marketing ethics is also being aware of local and federal laws and abiding by them.  Other things to be aware of are hidden text on a site, duplicate content, and even plagiarism.  If you question if doing something is right, it probably isn’t, and you should walk away.  Understand able there is a lot of competition out there but if you do it right, they will come, and you will have established trust and a great brand reputation.  




Ethical SEO vs. Unethical SEO. (2013, January 14). Retrieved December 9, 2018, from 

Dotan, Y. (2014, March 17). A Startling Case Study of Manual Penalties and Negative SEO. Retrieved December 9, 2018, from