Blogging Disclosure Rap Up

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I think out of all the websites that laid out there thoughts on blogging disclosure one of the best ones I read was Andy Beards. He calls me and rands debate a debacle and from what i can tell mainly because we did not do any real fact checking. This is a good point really I posted my views on disclosure.. a few hours later rand disagreed i challenged him to debate me 1 hour later we debated. The pre-recorded show played 4 days later. So ya there was not a lot of preparation.

Andy obviously did his homework and actually already had some good posts on the subject. Its a very well written post with a lot of great points and facts.

19 thoughts on “Blogging Disclosure Rap Up

  1. Matt Coddington

    Hey Shoe, I just saw this whole thing but I actually wrote about it a while back when it was brought up by 45n5 and Jim Kukral. My basic argument summed up:

    When I plug a product my readers (who click through to become leads) will learn damn quick whether or not I’m pushing good products or if I’m just doing whatever I can to make a buck. If I’m pushing products that my readers will enjoy and actually use what does it matter if I tell them I’m making money from it? Furthermore, if I push whatever I can to make a buck then my reputation will go down the terlit and people will eventually stop taking my recommendations seriously anyway.

    Disclosure is worthless. I hope it’s okay that I post the link to the full article I wrote:

    http://www.netbusinessblog.com/2007/03/11/the-age-old-question-of-affiliate-link-disclosure/

  2. Terry

    I believe he did Harry, and I agree that disclosure is worthless, in fact, I’m doing some research right now and will be posting a fat article about it in a few days.

  3. Chris Cunliffe

    I totally agree with Matt.

    It’s our decision as readers whether a product or service is within our our interests to purchase. I’m more than happy for bloggers like Shoe making a few bucks dropping names that result in my eventual benefit – I actually feel obligated to click affiliate links if someone introduced me to a great product or service, that is exactly what I’m looking for.

    That said I personally take a lot of what Shoe says with a grain of salt, and I often think he might be getting a kick back for a bit of name dropping – but it’s no skin off my nose. The only risk he runs is losing me as a subscriber if the stuff he is pushing is crap – and whilst I’m being honest Shoe, sometimes you run a fine line, I have thought about removing the Shoe feed from my Google Reader on a couple of occasions. Though I have never thought about removing the SEOmoz feed for lack of quality – if anything it has crossed my mind to remove it for too much quality – sooo much to read!

    Anyway onto the flip side from Rand “integrity is the only long term way to profit” Fiskin. Now whilst I’m sure Rand is doing fairly well for himself, I also sometimes get the impression that he isn’t exactly making a killing, which I think sucks because when it comes to SEO and IM his human capital is definitely deserving of more than a menial wage. That is why I’m very pleased to see him move into the Aaron Wall direction of providing services and products rather than working for clients, a lot more lucrative I would imagine.

    I often feel guilty, thinking that someone like myself may potentially be earning more than a guy like Rand using the very technique he is out there preaching for the sheer fact that I’m willing to move into the Shoemoney “grey” area where apparently (according to his uncle) there is a whole lot of people making a LOT of money.

    So long story short, disclosurer isn’t the issue, it quality of service. If you are pushing genuinely trash products people move away from your services as you are superceeded by the Google’s of your field that have the “do no evil” policy, because at the end of the day people want “value” for “money” – and if reading someone’s blog is not providing value and is costing me a lot of time and money buying crap producst they pushed because they had a vested interest, then I’ll move on.

    That said I don’t hate people that push crap products, while I taking a “higher than thou” attitude, I just pity the ones being presently taken for a ride and hope that they eventually find themselves a Rand Fiskin of their industry to learn and take advice from.

    Me personally I like to find a happy medium and make sure that whilst I’m providing “value” that my customers/visitors are definitely parting with some “money” for that value.

  4. Andy Beard

    Matt your post doesn’t take into account the law and whilst it might have been acceptable for a fanboy audience, it covered opinion not facts.

    You would probably also argue that CAN-SPAM doesn’t apply to you because you don’t think it looks good to have an affiliate promotion email appear in an email box with some kind of notification to say it is commercial email.

    Don’t forget that your RSS feeds are delivered to people, maybe 20% of your subscribers, by email.

    Despite the link through from a high traffic blog such as Shoemoney.com, a full 20%-45% of my traffic today might come from Google Search (these things vary). Some of that is type in by name, as lots of people use that for blog navigation, but the vast majority are first time visitors.

    Thanks for the link through Shoe – I think we both might have crossed a small bridge on this one, and hell that in itself has motives too.

  5. Bill

    >>Disclosure is worthless.
    Matt, that technically may be correct, but you have to consider that it’s a blog–and blogs are typically read by real people. So, I think it makes a difference when the blogger is honest with their readers. I think being honest and telling it like it is means more to the people who are reading the blog–which is more important than just disclosing something for the heck of it.

    There are a lot of radio station personalities that endorse certain products and services–and frankly I think it means more if that “local celebrity” comes out and says to their audience that they use the product/service because they believe in it and actually use it.

  6. Salvo

    I think Matt’s point is great, because he is looking at readers as real people. These people can decide if you are pitching junk, whether you are doing it to make money or not. They could also decide if you are pitching something valuable. Either way it doesn’t matter if you are making money from it. The beauty of blogs, which is why they are so different from spam emails, is that people choose to visit and/or subscribe via rss. And Matt’s point is that traffic will disappear if you are not writing about useful products and services, just as it would if you were not making any money in the first place.

    It is my opinion and has nothing to do with FTC law. But maybe I don’t always agree 100% with the law.

  7. Matt Coddington

    Yes my argument is completely opinion, but I’m not sure how it’s fanboy?

    Also I’m not an email spammer so no I didn’t take that into consideration although I probably should have. I just didn’t think about it to be honest.

  8. Andy Beard

    Most email spammers comply with the law better than the majority of bloggers.

    If you ask your readers whether they think it is needed (from what I remember you had a poll), then your most active readers are the ones that influence your opinion. I seem to remember John Chow taking a similar stance about it at the same time.

    With a lot of your audience built up either from Digg traffic, or from John Chow’s blog, I don’t think the term I used is inappropriate.
    People write for a particular market segment, or their writing attracts a particular market segment.

  9. Matt Coddington

    I just took offense to that term fanboy because when I think of a fanboy I think of someone who stands behind a certain issue (or more often a product) without listening to other sides of the story and ignoring all reasonable argument against it.

    I don’t think I do that.

  10. Matt - Domain Feed

    I’m glad this is wrapped up. I didn’t find this topic as interesting as some of your others because it didn’t really give me any solid tips/tools/techniques to make more money.

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