Rather than talking about finances today, let’s talk about financial blogs.
I suspect that just about every financial blog follows the same path. It starts out much like I’ve started out, just some guy writing about whatever tickles his fancy. Once the blog reaches a certain size and gets a bunch of loyal followers (as well as search engine traffic) the author starts to think about monetizing their creation. After a little while and some more work, hopefully a sideline business with a nice little income stream emerges.
Let me be perfectly clear: I have absolutely zero problem with bloggers placing ads or doing what it takes to get their blog to the point of it making money. While that hopefully isn’t the whole point of blogging, it’s definitely in the minds of many bloggers. (myself included) I don’t have a problem with people recommending say, tax software, high yield interest accounts or online brokerage accounts, providing the blogger has actually used the product or service and believes in it. I’d like a little more disclosure when they do it, something along the lines of a disclaimer at the beginning of the post that says they’ve actually gotten paid for the post.
I don’t know the details, but I do remember reading that American bloggers are now required to do this. Canadian bloggers, perhaps not so much. If you know more details about this, please feel free to correct me.
Yet what about this post from Green Panda Treehouse about personal finance e-books? I don’t have any sort of problem with the body of the post, except for this part:
This is a great story about a man who wins his battle against debt and pay off hisunsecured personal loans
Don’t bother clicking on the link in that above quote unless you want to be taken to a payday loan site!
Recently Green Panda Treehouse was purchased by Mike who runs The Financial Blogger. Mike has been very active buying financial blogs, I believe he and his partner own one or two more as well. He’s a firm believer that these blogs are great business ventures. While I don’t understand how he has time to do all his writing, I do admire his ambition.
Yet when does advertising cross the line? Anyone with even an ounce of financial literacy can tell you a payday loan is a terrible idea. I’m sure absolutely every single financial blogger would agree. Yet why would they place ads on their site that give people access to them? How can they agree to place these ads on their site?
I don’t want to pick on Mike. I read his blog and I like it. He’s not the only one who does this, not by a long shot. He’s just my whipping boy because I happened to stumble upon this issue while reading one of his blogs.
I ask you bloggers, where should be the line when it comes with advertising? Is the line at payday loans? Car loans? Credit card offers? And more importantly, how do you justify it if your site has links to sites that are ways for people to commit financial sins?