Ethics of Blog Links

It is 7:04 PM in Tokyo.

Rumour has it that Darren Rowse is going to blog about V7N’s Contextual Links program. The word is that it won’t be positive, due to the immorality of selling links.

Of course, since Darren has not blogged yet, I can only guess as to the meaning of this. Two guesses come to mind.

First, could it be that Darren Rowse thinks that bloggers should not be paid to blog? Well, I’m not paying people to blog. I’m paying them to insert links into their blog posts.

Other companies like ReviewMe and PayPerPost have run into some tough criticisms for paying bloggers to essentially endorse products or services. First it was because they did not require blog publishers to disclose the fact that they were getting paid to plug the site. Later on these companies were evil because they were bringing commercial interests into the hippie love fest that is the blogosphere, and polluting it with evil commercialism.

Secondly, Darren might be thinking that blog link brokering is evil because its main purpose is to manipulate the search engine algorithms. Google is of course a non-profit organization, aimed at the betterment of humankind, and messing with Google is of course evil.

But of course Google would disagree with that. They manipulate their own organic search rankings for money.

Good morning. Ok, so I’m up a bit late, but I worked late last night. Good news – Darren blogged about V7N.

What concerns me about this program is that it seems to go against the basics of good ethical blogging. I personally believe in blogging that is transparent to readers and where they are aware of what you get out of what you write. We’ve been over this ground with the PayPerPost controversies in the last 6 months and even they now have moved to a position where publishers must disclose paid reviews.

We do not ask for any opinions on the site. For example, if Google were the customer, the blogger would mention “search engine” and have it linked to Google. No opinion. No editorial. Just a link. Nothing to disclose.

Bloggers have to make a living like everybody else. AdSense pays a paltry wage, so why not supplement it with some V7N Contextual?

Who’s the victim?

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