I have to say that I agree 100% with what Simon posted on his blog today about blogger conflicts of interest (not really about the other stuff). You should recognize who is advertising on what blogs and know that even if the writer tries to be unbiased, it’s really not that easy. I try to do my best to disclose any conflicts, but readers should be aware that in such a small industry, conflicts are everywhere and are difficult to avoid.
It’s bothersome to hear that another domain blogger suggested that someone else “buy up big” when it came to an alternative domain extension – or anything in general. IMO, if someone is recommending that someone else spend alot of money on something, you should immediately be suspicious. Why on earth would that person be sharing his map to a supposed gold mine? You don’t think Frank Schilling shared his buying secrets while he was in acquisition mode, do you?
I personally have never done a paid review, despite turning down a whole lot of opportunities. As I’ve told people in the past, if it’s interesting for my business and I want to try it, I will (like the new Estibot tool I can’t wait to demo). If it’s something helpful to me, I may share it with others but I won’t be paid to do it. I can’t in good faith recommend a shitty product simply to make a few bucks, and I don’t have time or desire to review products I have no use for or interest in using. I never want to feel obligated to write something positive because someone is paying me.
You should know that I do very little affiliate advertising (I think the ThemeForest banners on the bottom right and the Mozy links are the only active ones aside from a few links in articles of interest – both services I’ve used before). I believe those might encourage people to promote services they might not otherwise promote. If you do see an affiliate link, you should know that it’s almost certain I am a happy user of the product or service.
I do my best to report on the things impacting my business and the things that I believe are impacting the domain space as a whole. I hope you take everything I write with a grain of salt, recognize that I do make money from my advertisers, but know that my goal is to be helpful to you.