When markets and morality meet online

Microsoft’s online portal MSN has formed a partnership with a website to be called whatonearthisgoingon.org to create an online community that hopes to combine social and commercial entrepreneurship.

ClickZ reports that WhatOnEarthIsGoingOn will be a social networking site designed to help socially conscious people find consumer brands that adopt principled positions in relation to a range of moral or political issues.

The MSN partnership will give WhatOnEarthIsGoingOn access to the massive traffic stream that runs through its site, which it will then leverage to generate advertising revenue from all those companies keen to target the increasingly valuable socially aware consumer niche.

According to ClickZ, WhatOnEarthIsGoingOn is a set of marketing initiatives put forward by former ad man David Alberts to create what he calls socially relevant brands. “Nowadays, brands need to differentiate themselves through their values. Who you are as a brand is just as important to the consumer as what you make, or the services that you offer. Brands will be able to use this as a platform to demonstrate their values to consumers, and feel comfortable in doing so,” Alberts says.

He says advertising and the promotion of good causes can work well together. “We want brands to see a return on their investment, but why shouldn’t good messages be spread through good marketing? I love the fact that brands are doing well out of supporting good causes, and I think we should applaud that.”



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