I wanted to take a moment to speak my mind on sponsored blog postings, affiliate marketing and sponsored tweets It’s a really controversial topic in the blog world right now, especially considering the FTC’s new endorsement and testimonial policies. Additionally, since I’ve signed up for sponsored tweets (by IZEA Inc.), I feel that it’s important to share my thoughts on the subject with you.
I find affiliate links, sponsored blogging and tweeting perfectly acceptable, provided that the post is disclosed as a sponsored discussion. I also find that sponsored postings are best with a product that the blogger will stand behind.
I know a lot of people think sponsored links, posts, etc. are selling out. However, if you’re going to take time out of your day to provide content to an audience and if time is money, isn’t it okay to at least profit a little bit on sharing knowledge, information and advertising space?
Additionally, I think that if you are going to evangelize, rave and rant about a product that you’ve tried out, isn’t it fair to get something out of it? Think back to the 90’s when we were all wearing GAP hoodies, boldly stating where our money was going in exchange for status. They’re getting free advertising because we wear the label and talk about the product. If the opportunity is there to profit on something you’re already doing, would you take it?
I should clarify what I mean, though – not all reviews & endorsements are advertising. I like how Sheila of Family Travel Guide stated it:
If you’re paid to say nice stuff, that’s advertising. If you get free stuff and are asked to say nice things about it, that’s advertising. There are rules that apply to advertising, so you’d better know when you’re doing it (the blogger) and when you’re seeing it (the consumer.)
So first of all, I want you to know that this is not my primary source of income… (I really hope that’s obvious) I’ll always try to share relevant, helpful content with you, but when it comes down to it, this is my personal branding blog. If you want to read more of my true, daily life personal blog, check out my Posterous. However, this is where I’ll share content, links, tips and tricks. I happily work for a local SEM firm in north Orange County, CA. While I’m happy to make money on here (domains, hosting and beautiful themes don’t exactly pay for themselves…), it’s not the entire goal of keeping this blog. I keep this blog to share what I know and discuss what I’m learning with you!
One major goal that I DO have is to build and keep your trust – any information I share is either researched and confirmed, a personal experience, or is explicitly speculative. By explicitly speculative, I mean that I will let you know I am speculating on something and sharing my opinion. Like I said, I value your readership and trust and I’ll do everything I can to maintain them both.
I understand that some of you may disagree with posting affiliate links and sponsored blog posts, and I also understand that I may lose a couple readers in doing so. However, I want you to know that I don’t take sponsored posts, tweets and affiliate marketing lightly.
Therefore, I’m happy to share my personal policy (and promise) on sponsored blogging, tweeting, and affiliate marketing.
So thank you for your support, comments, and most of all for reading! I hope that this clarifies any questions that you may have, and if it doesn’t, please ask! And while you’re at it, tell me: what are your thoughts on sponsored blogging, tweeting and affiliate marketing?
**UPDATE: Dec. 28, 2009**
I’ve moved my blog disclosure policy itself to it’s very own page because i find it that important. Happy reading!