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.