New Post: Purism's Ethical Marketing Principles

In a previous post, “Is Ethical Advertising Possible?” I talked about the internal discussions we were having as we looked to expand our marketing efforts beyond what we’d done in the past. One of the reasons for that post was to explain our current thinking both so everyone knew where we were coming from, and so that we could get feedback from the community. We’ve really appreciated the feedback we’ve gotten so far and we have combined it with our own internal discussions to create an initial draft of what we are calling our Ethical Marketing Principles. We will use this as a guiding document for which marketing methods are acceptable and which aren’t for us from this point on.

Ethical Marketing Principles

This document serves to provide a set of high-level guiding principles we can use to direct which marketing practices fit within Purism’s ethics as dictated by our Social Purpose and our Digital Bill of Rights. While this document will list some examples of dos and don’ts, those examples will not be all-inclusive and shouldn’t be treated as a final list of what is allowed or not.

This is a living document. As we start applying these principles to our marketing decisions, we will very likely come across edge cases that will require more clarity. New technology advances may also provide new edge cases that don’t fit neatly into our principles. We may also find unforeseen consequences in actions that seem to conform to these principles at first. In all these cases we will likely need to amend this document.

Ultimately, the goal is to treat our customers ethically and to respect their privacy. Privacy, like clothing, is not one-size-fits-all. What one person feels free to share, another may feel is extremely private. Some people are comfortable wearing revealing clothing while others prefer to cover up. When in doubt, we will err on the side of being more conservative, but wherever we draw the line, some people will feel it’s too far and others not far enough.

Read the rest of the post, including the full set of guidelines, here:


May I ask a question that has been asked many times, but I don’t recall seeing an answer. And it is very relevant to the topic of Ethical Marketing.
How do you define the word “In Stock”?
For me “In Stock” means “We have the product in stock in our warehouse and we can ship it in one or two business days”.
For very long time Librem 5 USA was listed on the website as “In Stock”, while the reality was that people had to still wait for months to receive their order.
I am explicitly not commenting the regular Librem 5 as we all know that there were some enraged customers.
I am asking only about the wording “In stock” for Librem 5 USA as in my opinion it was absolutely unnecessary to state “In Stock” and thus create false expectations in the customers. And one could argue that this is NOT ethical marketing in this particular case. I understand that there are delays. But why use the wording “In Stock” when you know that the product will need weeks or months to be delivered.

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I’ve answered this question about “In Stock + Lead Time” in a number of threads on the topic and would really rather this post not instantly turn into another of those threads. A relatively recent example where I also discuss how we are changing how we approach those terms and lead times in light of moving away from Just In Time fulfillment can be found here: New Post: Improved Delivery Time for Librem 5 USA: May 2022 Update and I’d prefer any discussion on the subject continue there or in a new thread instead of here.


“In Stock” the quantity of material in the warehouse your business is taxed on a periodic basis. You can’t be taxed on "Lead Time’. There are also different varieties of “Lead Time”.

After 40+ years of dealing with manufacturing, this is humor for me. Like you say, I’ll leave it at that and contemplate on Marketing. Hope Hristo notices. I’ll leave a heart.

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I never knew being an ethical advertiser could be so complicated. I actually thought it wasn’t possible.


That’s why they segregate advertisers from marketers. One job is more ethical than the other and one of them doesn’t want to get their hands dirty.


I’d liken it to trying to start a restaurant 20 years ago that caters to dietary restrictions that are much more popular today (vegan, lactose/gluten-free, nut-free, etc.). It’s not that it wouldn’t be possible, it’s just that you would have way fewer options/alternatives at your disposal since the bulk of the market would be providing products that don’t take those restrictions into account. You would have to spend more time and effort on researching your own solutions and ingredient supply since labeling back then wasn’t as comprehensive.

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Why do you think that there would have been a demand for it back then?
I have no statistics, but I guess that the majority of consumers of such food are not doing it due to medical condition, but because it is a trend.
As 20 years ago there was no vegan trend yet, you would have needed immence effort in starting the trend and this would have been most likely totally unjustified in terms of return of investment.
One could have tried such restaurant and tried starting the vegan movement out of own regilgious like conviction, but not as a serious profit oriented business.

This is my point, there wasn’t as much of a demand (there were folks with those dietary restrictions back then, but it wasn’t as common as now), so as a result there were fewer options available. I’m saying marketing that considers privacy today is like food supply that cares about those issues back then. Today there is low demand (basically us and a few others) for marketing options that take privacy and ethics into account.

It’s not that consumers don’t care about their privacy (they do), it’s that they aren’t the ones driving the demand for marketing products–businesses are. Currently most businesses care about the results from the marketing (did I get more revenue), not the marketing practices themselves.

To strain the food analogy further, fewer people cared in the past about the conditions under which their food was raised/grown. More care about that now, and as a result you see food products that address those demands (organic/cage-free/antibiotic-free/grass-fed/non-GMO/etc).

Unless more businesses demand marketing options that value privacy and ethics, you won’t see many privacy-respecting options on the market. Folks like us who do value those things have to find our own path. This is why we created and published these principles to begin with: we didn’t see a guiding document like that we could follow, so we had to try to come up with something ourselves.


I should have replied to this as well. Many investors would indeed view the kind of effort we are making to create hardware and software that meets our privacy and free software standards to be an immense effort and one that might not give them easy, fast, massive returns compared to alternatives. Everything up to this point has been incredibly challenging each step of the way, and would be MUCH easier if we didn’t care about free software or privacy. We make plenty of decisions (such as which hardware we use for new models) that limit our audience, and therefore our profits. This is a big reason why we are not a C corporation, but instead a Social Purpose Corporation, because we foresaw that without SPC protections, it would be very easy for an investor to pressure us later on to violate these standards to make greater returns on investment.


This why I used the wording “religious like conviction”.
I am convinced that we need hardware which is controlled by the individual owner and I am convinced that monopolies/oligopolies like Google/Apple/Made in China are bad for the society in the mid to long term.
This is conviction, not just pure consume. And that is why a person can accept the high cost and the flows of the product.
If I was a millionaire I would have invested in Purism and if I was a software developer and not a product owner I would have considered it as employer.

And 20 years ago you would have needed to be a convinced vegan to start a vegan restaurant against all odds.


Purism is the best for
Libre Hardware & Libre Software Mission.

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My Dad also tried to start a restarant 80 years ago. His main reasong for quitting was it was too many hours and few if any holidays!

I’m reading this off my phone, sorry if i repeat someone below, but … it’s not necesssrily about starting a trend. It can also be about discoveting potential market. Purism products could be adored by all kinds of fringe nutcases, from MAGA rightwingers to leftwing militant anarchists. I’d advertise purism to magaists as a tool that provides
FREEDOM from govt snooping and to leftwhingers it would be like … “imagine if malcolm X had librem 5 …”

Of course, to market a product, it helps to have a product to sell, first :wink: