I’m trying to get into a pretty new field…digital marketing, though I have been in online marketing since 2001, it has become it’s own science in recent years. I enjoyed some success In the early 2000’s…all the way to 2010, I made a killing at it, until. Google Adsense pulled the rug on small publishers in favor of supporting app developers in the Web 1 to Web 2 transition.

But as time went on, I became more vocal about social issues, particularly as a person of color and I noticed a big difference in the reception I received from affiliate managers. Currently there don’t seem to be any studies in the area of online marketing and publishing, as it relates to rates of participation of people of color in affiliate marketing, online publishing or other revenue sharing schemes. I think it’s worth noting that Google has been taking steps to assist minority publishers and perhaps in the near future other companies and academics can study this problem to shed light on this issue and to assure all people have equal access to opportunities.

While there aren’t any studies, but print publishing is a pretty close analogue.

  • A 2008 study by the New York Civil Rights Coalition found that people of color were significantly underrepresented in the publishing industry, both in terms of the authors whose books were being published and the employees working within publishing companies.
  • A 2011 study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center found that of the 3,200 children’s books they surveyed, only 8% were authored by people of color.
  • A 2012 study by the Lee & Low Books found that of the 5,000 children’s books they surveyed, only 4.4% were authored by African Americans, 3.3% were authored by Latinos, and 1.5% were authored by Asian Pacific Americans.

So while there aren’t any studies on online marketing and publishing, it’s safe to say that people of color are likely underrepresented in those fields as well.

I propose the following:

  • That companies with affiliate programs publish numbers on the number of publishers of color participating in revenue sharing models.
  • That companies are transparent with the number and rate of declines of publishers of color.
  • That companies publishers assure that in addition to having outreach to minority customers, they also assure that revenue sharing is equally diverse.
  • That the approval process for participating in affiliate programs is unbiased.
  • That publishing companies and affiliate marketing companies work together to create opportunities for people of color in the industry.
  1. https://dcfas.saccounty.net/Admin/childrenscoalition/Documents/2008%20Childrens%20Report%20Card.pdf Lee, S., & Low, B. (2012).
  2. Diversity in children’s books 2012. https://www.academia.edu/19586245/Diversity_in_Contemporary_Picturebooks_A_Content_Analysis- CCBC.
  3. 2011 Statistics on books by and about people of color and First/Native Nations published in the United States in 2011, compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison. https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/main2011/2012470.pdf