Slow and Steady Decline of Trust

This trend really bothers me. Even after the FCC rules on blogging and disclosure, I still get regular offers like this one that was in my email this morning. It was a nicely worded email, with some flattery, but here’s the meat:dollars

I’d love to put together a high-quality article written specifically for the site. There is absolutely no charge for this and no strings attached;  the only thing I would ask in return is that I’m able to include two do follow links to the sites of my choosing within the article – nothing shady or unethical, just one of the professional businesses I freelance for …

What do you think? Is this bad business ethics? Working links into editorial content, for money? Wouldn’t the FCC rules require disclosure? (By the way, that grammar errr\

I think it’s sad how pervasive these practices are. This morning I was about to write a post about some software I like, but I stopped, worried that you’d think I’m on the take.

I wonder how much of this is going on, all the time, without disclosure.

For the record, I do get frequent emails offering me guest posts for this blog. In 1,500 posts I’ve had two guest posts that I remember. Occasionally I pass one of those emails on to the marketing team at Palo Alto Software, where some have resulted in good posts on Up and Running. But I consider this blog mine. On the days that I don’t post, I don’t look for a guest post.




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  • Gregory O'Donnell says:

    I think we are simply talking abut good old disclosure here. We do this in our off line business all the time as we are all aware of a conflict of interest, or failure to disclose rules/ laws etc.

    Those that disclose will be way further ahead in the long run, the only way to really build a business online that people continue to use is one where you disclose why you are suggesting some product, service etc.

    People are very bright and they will know that you are going to be earning a fee anyhow so why not just tell them when you do and when you don’t.

    Good old fashion business honesty will win the day.

    Great article, and food for thought.


  • Josh Patrick says:

    I find that you can usually tell when the links are paid and when they are there because they think whatever they’re linking to is cool. I do appreciate it when a blogger tells that there is a business relationship between the company and the link. I make my own decision whether something is good or not. I don’t think we need any more disclosure that’s government mandated. We already have a Nanny society and it’s time we learn to take responsibility for our own actions.

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