I like to keep a fairly professional and level head when I am discussing various issues on this blog but unfortunately I have just listened to the pre-recording that Shoemoney did with Rand Fiskin about full disclosure when blogging, and quite honestly whilst I empathise with some of the points both made, I think in many ways both are missing at least a few vital points.
Regular readers however are going to be shocked about this but in my opinion…
Shoemoney’s Disclosure Is Better Than Rand’s
I am calling it a debacle rather than a debate, because in a debate there is at least a serious attempt to do some fact gathering. Maybe there were time constraints both in the planning and the delivery, and it is good to see disclosure being discussed, but I honestly expected after the previous round of blog and counter-blog for there to be a more in-depth look.
There Are Regulations For Bloggers
Major companies such as Clickbank require disclosure. As I pointed out in that article, they link through to the FTC regulations for Word of Mouth marketing.
How anyone can debate whether affiliates need to disclose without using the phrase “Word of Mouth Marketing” is just ridiculous.
There is a big difference between a recommendation and an advert in the sidebar.
It Is Not Who You Talk About, But Also What You Don’t Talk About
Why don’t you rip apart Google on their referral units, where they effectively prevent disclosure, whilst encouraging WOMM.
I mentioned this again recently in my post regarding the Feedburner acquisition.
People don’t criticise Google because it would affect their relationship with Google.
On the other hand, bloggers seem more than happy to jump on the bandwagon for linkbait talking about services that don’t pay the bills.
No Mention of Word of Mouth Marketing Association
I have had issues with the WOMMA and disclosure in the past, but at least I acknowledge they exist.
It isn’t hard to do – Shoemoney now effectively has a disclosure policy, Rand doesn’t. All he really needs to do now is stick a link to it in his sidebar, or even better add it in some way to his feeds using something akin to my disclosure policy feedflare, and everything is 100% above board and he can drop as many affiliate links as he likes without feeling compelled by anyone to stick a little (aff) after links which not all visitors would understand anyway.
As I noted recently, John Reese is also using disclosure for AuctionAds affiliate links, follow his lead, as John rarely puts a foot wrong.
Shilling for Google and Yahoo? Grow Some Brass Ones
Maybe not, but I think the majority of people writing about SEO and the search engines in general need to grow some brass ones, such as Jack Humphrey has just demonstrated.
In fact lots of the blogs I have been reading up until recently on a regular basis seem to take no stance on major issues, and to just ask their reader’s opinions, or link out to people supporting their opinion, without actually stating it.
I deliberately didn’t link through to any particular article when I listed 32 kinds of linking Payola. It is interesting that the podcast highlighted at least one more form, and possibly more.
I actually like Dave Naylor’s take on this
I bet if I dig deep enough into any blog a can find a link out with a motive
How critical can you be of a company with whom you have an NDA, or with whom you might like to have a special relationship with in the future?