It is Time for Marketers to Embrace the Dark Web

dark web marketing

marketing plan templateThe core reasons why marketers need to embrace a fundamental understanding of the “Dark Web” and the benefits this can bring to small businesses

Most articles that talk about the Dark Web provide the exact same disclaimer… it can be a pretty strange place, but it serves additional purposes that are in no way reflective of the ominous sounding name.

The dark web at its core offers a higher level of privacy, anonymity and in some strange ways safety, than the traditional web does. While this may appeal to perpetrators of nefarious acts or content, it also draws in an increasing amount of people that are worried about just how much data and privacy we have given up in order to post eighteen selfies a day.

Marketers have long avoided the space due to its nature, reputation, and a lack of understanding, but this must change. There exists some compelling rationale to not just explore the dark web, but to become well acquainted with it. The smart marketer will toss their reservations and dive in the for the below three reasons.


As marketers we must go where the audiences are and we must get to know why the audiences go where they do.This is task number one across any marketing silo that one operates within.The dark web has some very crucial demographic groups that it would be wise to understand.

dark webFor one, if you are marketing to a tech-heavy audience, whether that be ad-tech, fintech or otherwise, this group knows just how much of their data is openly strewn across the web and try to avoid it for this reason.

The dark web allows them this escape. They are not tracked by cookies, their data is not up for grabs and they know they are off a grid which they are more than familiar with. This is the same for many who may not be in these industries, but place privacy at a higher priority.

Does this mean they are not able to be marketed to? Of course not. But first we must go where they go, understand why they go and figure out their behaviors. In order to properly target particular audience segments, we must embrace the dark web, just as they do.

Crises Planning:

Public relations teams and communicators in the modern era, need to work incredibly close with cybersecurity consultants as this is an area of incredible risk to all small business and will continue to be for decades.

As quick as cyber teams can innovate, hackers can break the newly cemented walls. Data breaches, hacks, malware, and fraud are rife and small business are an easy and often profitable target. The results of breaches often wind up…You guessed it, on the dark web.

While it may be cybersecurity’s job to investigate, plan and monitor the darker recesses of the internet in order to properly plan for a crises of this proportion, the effective communicator must have a detailed knowledge of the landscape. They must understand how the dark web operates, what is being communicated on dark networks and understand the meat and bones of the space. In order to do so, they must familiarize themselves to a strong degree.

The Home of Innovative Technology:

New and groundbreaking technologies outside of crypto applications, are often kept in secret, used in secret or at the very least, developed by some overall secretive folks. The dark web provides a glimpse of many of these items before they hit the mainstream and while still in their infancy.

The Dark web is very much the home of Bitcoin for example, which set the stage for an incredibly active blockchain market, leading to new applications across every industry. The potential future developments of blockchain may have nothing to do with crypto-currency, but can credit the dark web for its humble beginnings.

The dark web is track-able when it comes to other items being innovated. By examining what is going on beneath the waves of the internet, one is often able to notice items that may float to the service and provide disruption, innovation or application in unforeseen manners. As marketers, and publicists, this is of incredible value.

We must be in a position where we are able to understand and react to new innovations quicker than most other teams. We must be able to understand the history and origins of novel technologies as they are hitting the market so that we have a leg up in being able to communicate them.

The overall message is that the dark web needs to be explored by marketing teams to a point where familiarity, if not comfort presides. By abandoning our hesitations, there are fruits to bare for the intrepid explorer. Just watch your step.

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Zachary Weiner is the CEO of Emerging Insider Communications, a boutique content marketing and public relations organization. He acts as a frequent lecturer and writer across the marketing and technology space.