DomainConsultant.com wrote post entitled “Conflicts Of Interest” citing a post published a few days earlier by by DomainerIncome.com, entitled “Isn’t It Time Bloggers Declared Conflicts of Interest?” as the “Post of the Week”
In its post DomainConsultant.com wrote:
”When it comes to domain blogging and matters of analysis and advice (beyond news coverage), the question then becomes: how do they make a living? Or more specifically, do they make a living off domains or blogging about domains?’
“Truth is it is not hard to tell.”
“Look for the ads. ”
“Count how many ads you see and the prevalence.”
“What about Rick Schwartz? Frank Schilling? Sahar?”
“See lots of ads?”
The post from DomainConsultant goes on to specifically exempt out of its “potential conflict of interest” blogs; Elliotsblog.com, DomainNameNews.com, DomainNameWire.com and DnJournal.com:
“The caveat would be news outlets like DnJ or DNN or DNW or Elliot too – ad dollars allow them to focus on the news like sales and deals and domainers and even domaining”
Since I was not included in the exempt list I thought I’d write about some of my thoughts about blogging, advertising and conflicts of interest.
While the point of both articles was that if a blog has ads, then the content of the blog must be called into question (unless your on the exempt list).
Of course both articles simply neglected to point out that newspapers like USA Today and the Wall Street Journal have thousands of advertisers and sometimes they wind up writing negative stories about their advertisers if the story requires it.
Likewise TV networks like CNN, ABC, NBC and CBS have thousands of advertisers and if they never broadcasted a negative story on any advertiser, well they wouldn’t have much to report.
So all media outlets from time to time broadcast negative stories on advertisers when the story calls for it.
For example, Toyota spent tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions a year on TV networks only to have negative news reports hit every major network every night for months when they were having issues with their cars.
Because networks know what I know, that there are always more advertisers.
If a negative story has to be written, and that company goes away as an advertiser, then they go away.
More companies will come because ultimately advertisers only care about getting there message in front of an audience, in front of eyeballs and readers.
Those publications, shows and media outlets that have an audience, eyeballs and readers, will always be sold out of ads.
Why people think that domain blogs operate any differently, is curious.
The fact is that every person on earth, including even domainers and bloggers, have friends, family, business associates, and people they like to hang out with, do business with, respect and look up to.
For me these relationships are more important than money.
Personally I would rather lose every advertiser I had, give up all ad revenue from the blog for all eternity than to betray a friend, or a confidence or a loved one.
That doesn’t mean I agree with everything that someone I care about does.
Nor does it mean I wouldn’t counsel them in private to get them to change their mind.
Nor does that mean I will mindless defend every action of every person just because I care about them.
However I’m not going to be the one breaking the news.
I’m not going to pile on.
Likewise no one can pay me to like them or like their product.
No one can pay me to write a story.
Actually in the 3+ years I have written the blog I only have been offered money once to write a story which I of course declined.
I carry with me, as I’m sure most bloggers in the space do, a lot of secrets told in confidence.
Would I betray that confidence to get a story?
Am I going to throw a great friend under the bus to get a story?
So when people talk about “conflict of interest” lets get real.
Conflict of interest exists in everyone’s life but its based on relationships, not money.
EVERYONE has people they care about, worry about, and love.
You’re not going to see Rick write a highly negative article on Howard on his blog.
You’re not going to see Frank write a negative article about Vern, you’re not going to see Sahar rip Darren nor will you see DomainConsultant.com rip a guy like Adam Strong.
You’re not going to see a story on my Blog tearing Monte apart.
However that doesn’t make the stories they or I write any less important or any less relevant.
Everyone has “conflicts of interest” and it has nothing to do with money.
Ads are the least of it.