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Preference Utilitarianism in Affiliate Marketing

Peter Singer

Peter Singer

If advertising as a vehicle promotes consumerism and contributes to the traits of capitalism that has adverse affects on society then it’s a sure bet that digital marketing, a career I’m starting conflicts with my aspirations to live a lifestyle consistent with preference utilitarianism.

In this article I make no defense  of the industry, but provide arguments that my own particular career path at present is one that minimises these adverse effects.

Firstly I would make the case that working in search marketing, a field of marketing that is a little more distant from traditional advertising. It is the case that with search marketing, the consumer knows what they want and my job is merely to help them find it. Whether or not that product or service that they are looking to buy is a necessary purchase or represents value is a different matter, but at least I am not creating false wants – only fulfilling them.

The second facet to my argument is that the nature of the main website I work on daily functions to save the consumer money. While I’m not satisfied that this saved money is necessarily used for a good purpose, it’s probably better in the pocket of the consumer than being distributed to shareholders.

Ultimately one can earn a salary in many ways, and providing that person donates a proportion of their disposable income to worthy causes. At this stage in my career my salary is that of a junior level and have little left over at the end of each month. I am however planning to launch a website this side of Christmas that will be non-profit and feature Oxfam advertising.

I’ve got a long way to go until I am satisfied with my lifestyle ethically, and factors such as pension plans provide further dilemmas, but for the time being there is plenty for me to think about. Welcoming comments.


So, what do you think ?