A few links I picked up.
My thoughts about this aren’t quite coherent, because it comes and hits right where I had some ambivalence about a category of work I did over the last decade. Not so much because I wasn’t comfortable with what I was doing, but because I could see it was somewhere on a spectrum where things, at some point, became unethical.
The mattress story is way far out there for me.
But where is the breaking/tipping point? Where does building a community of fans or ambassadors, or simply seeking them out to solidify a brand or organization’s relationship with them, veer into “buying influence”?
I had the first really bad sniff of this when early bloggers started getting paid to do promotional postings.
I suspect the answer has something to do with scale. If an influencer can make or break a business, then he is part of that business and that relationship should be absolutely transparent. Or is my reasoning too simplistic? I long for one of these slow blog-to-blog discussions on the topic.
Welcome to the world of dropshipping, affiliate marketing, and the rest. The world of people making a pile of money online teaching people to make a pile of money online by selling stuff. Only the people teaching you how to do it are making money off the teaching, not the “selling other stuff”.
I had a whiff of it last summer, when I realised that one of the (multiple) reasons my freelance business had been going under was that I hated sales and sucked at it. So I decided to look at what a bunch of these online marketers were doing. I took some free webinars. Subscribed to newsletters. Watched them sell.
And of course, googled them. Despite all they tell you, and the lucky incident, they’re making their money promising to tell you how to make money. Most people will spend quite a bit of cash on courses, and not find success, because, well, luck. And a broken business model.
I shared a bunch of interesting articles I unearthed through my googling on Facebook at the time. I might try and dig them out, or you can try your luck at googling too.
In French, but worth sticking in Google Translate if you don’t speak the language. Remember how people got all annoyed (me included, at times) when “crowdfunding” became a way to cut costs and get people to do work for your profitable business for free?
Well, look no further if you want to see how so-called “sustainable” agricultural methods work. Not the serious ones, which use science to minimise the amounts of pesticides and fertiliser we need. I’m talking about the “organic” and “natural” lobbies and movements, often headed by guru-like figures like Pierre Rabhi. Wwoofing, anybody? Or how to make your unsustainable farming practice sustainable by exploiting free labour.
I’m annoyed that people aren’t more appalled by these practices, simply because they profit businesses which are ethically aligned with their ideology.
This one is encouraging. When I start despairing about where the world is going, which is quite often these days (and a new thing to me — 45 getting elected changed that), I remember that there are young people growing up to run the world, and that they might do things completely differently from us. It gives me hope. I’m looking forward to meeting them.
To end on a light note, read Kirk Drift if you like Star Trek. I recently started watching the original series (before my android TV box died) and though it was fun, I was having a really hard time with the cultural gap — both in terms of screenplay, assumed character psychology, and of course, sexism. Somebody pointed me to the excellent article I just linked to, and it made me watch the series completely differently. I find Kirk way less annoying. And the miniskirts (I hadn’t realised that at the time they were the symbol of women claiming their power! talk about judging something from another time by today’s standards…)