I got a cold recruiting email a few days ago from a notorious SMS company that's oddly registered in Ascension Island. I normally ignore this kind of recruiting mail, but this time around I wrote back and explained that because of what I'd heard about their unethical business practices I wasn't interested in talking to them. (1, 2, 3.)
The recruiter must not have gotten my email because he called me. I explained again why I wasn't interested in talking with him and was shocked to hear an immediate response to the criticism that his company was unethical. Not "we're misunderstood" or "we've changed". No, he told me they were in a competitive market and couldn't worry about stepping on toes while building a business.
I don't know what was more sad; the answer or the fact he had it at the ready. I'm reminded of this crazy story about it's like to work at a malware provider. Google has taken some knocks for its "don't be evil" policy. But the good thing is it immediately sets the internal debate at the right point. Not "can we get away with this" or "do we need to do this to build our business" but rather "is this right?" That's the place to start.