Shoemoney challenges Ranfish on full disclosure

Shoemoney invited Rand Fishkin of Seomoz.org to record an interesting dialog to be aired on his radio show, next Tuesday. Rand says they discussed their opposing viewpoints on whether bloggers should fully disclose affiliate/marketing deals to readers, especially if they are endorsing those products. It is going to be a lot of fun to listen.

My personal opinion on the matter is that it’s all about trust. Trust is one of the hardest things to earn on-line. It can take a lot of time and effort to build it and if you lose it, it’s practically impossible to recover it.

The advantage of disclosing is that if the product or service mentioned does not live up to the expectations of our visitor, we can always say that we didn’t endorse it. It’s nice to make commissions for our marketing efforts but that should not be in detriment of the relationships we are trying to build with readers.

3 replies
  1. Bill Hartzer
    Bill Hartzer says:

    If you trust the person (or blogger) then you're probably reading what they say on a regular basis. So, if you read them and they post about something (essentially they're endorsing it) and don't talk bad about that product or service, then does it really matter if they're paid or not?

    Consider this: if someone came to you and offered to pay you to write about their product or service and you didn't believe in their product or service, would you really write about it? Probably not. Most likely you'd just tell them to go away or you'd delete their email if they contacted you via email.

    I don't write about or "endorse" products or services I wholeheartedly disapprove of. And if I'm actually talking bad about something–you'll definitely know that I'm not being paid for it.

    Reply
  2. Hamlet Batista
    Hamlet Batista says:

    Bill,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I don't have any problem with bloggers being paid for endorsing products.

    You and I would not probably write about a product we feel is garbage, but I do think that some bloggers will, if there are enough $incentives$ Why the need to cloak affiliate links with redirects, Javascript tricks, etc?

    My main concern is, that I shouldn't need to try to figure out, if I can trust a product review or not. Jeremy says we should all be skeptical of everything, I prefer to trust as much as I can possibly can.

    Reply

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