Blog Transparency, Ethics, & Advertising

Making Money from Blogging:
While I was at SXSW some of the speakers asked "Who here has a blog?"
Most everyone in the audience raised their hands.

The next question was "Who here makes a living blogging?"
I think I was one of about 2-3 people who raised their hands. Affiliate Links in the Archives:
Until you can create a product or business model which is self sustaining there is nothing wrong with building multiple passive income streams to help get you by.

Some of my past posts have affiliate links in them. My free PPC guide has affiliate links in it. For a while even my original ebook had some affiliate links (those were later removed because they were unnecissary and some consumers did not like them).

Ads vs Reviews:
Within free content what is the difference between having affiliate links to useful stuff and allowing people to advertise products? Some of the most powerful sites on the web allow people to market complete bunk (libel laws prevent specific examples).

At this point my financial solvency no longer depends on affiliate links, but to new bloggers or website publishers I ask why not make a living doing what you like and promote good stuff along the way?

If you are learning how to build a business model from scratch some of the people reading your site might be interested in some of the tools or resources that you found useful.

If slightly additional profit allows you to work full time on things you can enjoy - and thus deliver a better end product - why not? If you are focused on helping your consumer do well then there is good value in product and service reviews - so long as they are honest.

Other People Imposing Ethical Guidelines = Bogus:
Instead of having sponsored posts or product reviews is it any more ethical to make a living running clearly marked ads that sell rubbish? If so, why?

There is nothing wrong with mentioning things that you think are useful, even if you make a profit by mentioning them. If you give crap positive reviews then eventually that will come back to hurt you. If you introduce obscene amounts of noise into your chanel then readers will leave.

More people should be able to make a living by talking about whatever interests them. Even the loudest advocates of transparency still do not fully get the topic.

Some people enjoy first to market advantage, or success in prior markets which carries over nicely to their situation. They can afford arbitrary luxuries or arbitrary bogus ethical guidance.

People new to the market may not be able to, and thus should not allow others to control their thought patterns or business models.

Success can breed blinders, and some people may also give bad advice so others do not create businesses or business models which may eventually trump theirs.

Intent is perhaps more transparent than some would like.

Published: March 21, 2005 by Aaron Wall in blogs


March 27, 2005 - 11:14am

Some inspiring ideas Aaron. I think the concept of 'Blog Transparency' fits under the umbrella of 'Brand Credibility', something that is vital for any type of business, Internet related or otherwise.

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