Blogging Conflicts of Interest

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.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. You are a class act… Without a doubt 🙂

    Simon’s post was pretty good, had valid points, although I must say it was a little out there if you look closer at some of the accusations.

    At the end of the day… Without names…… It has very little to do with this blogging thing and does not accomplish a whole lot. Too bad.

  2. Hi Elliot:

    I for one completely respect and appreciate your integrity.

    Thanks for doing all that you do. Your blog is extremely helpful, enjoyable and informative.

    Keep up the awesome work.

    I look forward to meeting you at some point.


  3. I agree the post was out there, and to be honest it said avoid domain blogs, so I guess I would not be here or his site. Without names everything is diluted IMO, I have been listening to I know somebody (But I can’t tell who or what) for over a decade in this business.

    I think your approach is spot on Elliot and I agree affiliate links for something you like is fine, actually makes sense. I would rather know you used and liked the product before trying the product myself.

  4. Blogging is a good thing…just like facebook, twitter etc. if you use it properly.

    As long as you absorb the good blogs and dump the bad blogs… you will be fine…

    It comes down to your own judgement as whether it is a bullshit blog or not, it is important.

    At the end of day, blogging is a healthy social and economic benefit for all domainers who contribute, discuss, exchange ideas, accept or reject certain opinions.

    I read a lot on all your domain blogs and learn a lot from you all with lots of contributions , knowledge and experience…

    Keep blogging… I love it. Well done to all domainers and bloggers.

  5. I don’t see why you need to defend yourself on this topic. Regardless of what anyone else implies, your interests and support for certain products is obvious and does not in any way seem diluted by sponsor traffic.

  6. Hello Elliot,

    It is becoming increasingly apparent to domainers that there are a lot of pretenders claiming to have the domainers best interests. My suggestion is watch what people do to protect domainers backs , NOT what they say. There are people infiltrating our domainer ranks that are complete phonies, and have not been in the business for more than a couple of years.

    DOMAINERS you need to do your homework on what people say to find out whether they are really covering your backs or just On Your Back like some form of cancer !!

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  7. Wouldn’t sweat it – you seem to be one of the more honest and straight forward bloggers I’ve run across.

    No matter what site I visit on the internet and what I am reading I assume someone is selling me something so just keep your eyes open and think for yourself and all will be good.

  8. Yeah don’t worry about it – people who read domain blogs already know that this is a business. In fairness, what you choose to post on a page owned by you (or your company, also owned by you) is entirely your business. There is this little red X in the top right corner, if people dont like being advertised to then perhaps they should explore all the wondeful possibilities that lil red X holds.
    Ive acted on information found online, sometimes it worked out, sometimes not. I think its pretty sad for people to complain about the ‘advice’ that doesnt work out, but rarely pass any of the love back when things go well. By love of course I mean $$$.
    To the advertising averse: Get real, would you prefer an ad-free locked down subscription model for blogs? Maybe you could start one?

  9. @Jeff Schneider,

    Just curious – are you calling yourself a domainer with that page of “ebiz” domains?

    If so, sorry pal – doesn’t pass the smell test.

    – Zipper

  10. Elliot…your ethics are of the highest standard, in an industry not known as 100% above board. Because of this, I never have to think twice that there are alternative motives behind anything you write. Keep up the great work.

  11. Hello Elliot,

    Talking about conflicts of interest! I personally will not make comments on any blog that has a direct link to any social networking site I personally dont trust. There are more scam artists and troublemakers on facebook and others than you can imagine. I went to make a comment on Simons site and passed when I saw where comments would wind up.

    Now Simon had some pretty disparaging other comments and I would just ask simply who is calling the kettle black? Granted he may be a nice guy but some of the message was questionable to say the least.

    This just goes to show us all that not everything is completely on the up and up and many times someone pointing a finger always has 4 fingers pointing back at themselves. This stuff about anybody having any ads on their site could quite possibly be overboard? Dont you think ?

    We dont live in a sanitary bubble, and knowone is perfefect and often those who cry Wolf the loudest are complicit themselves.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  12. @ Jeff

    I think having ads on a site is common sense if advertisers want to spend their money reaching your visitors. I couldn’t afford to spend the time I do writing articles if I wasn’t generating revenue. I enjoy what I do and still make a large majority of my revenue from actually buying, selling, and monetizing domain names, but with 30-40+ a week on the blog with articles and comments, it would be silly to not monetize it as best as I can. I worked very hard to build traffic and trust, much like many domain investors would do with their domain names they develop, and I am monetizing this like other sites of mine.

  13. @Elliot,

    You have always been helpful. I realize now what you mean about once the questions come pouring in, it takes a lot of time to answer them in their entirety You have a lot of going on. I respect the time you take to prepare content, as well as to provide feedback. Even though you’re making revenue, you provide a good service.

    Would you go back to the executive atmosphere again? Most people want to feel appreciated for working hard. Sure, you have readers, and generate 30-65K unique per month. But, do you ever find yourself feeling burnt out?

    I noticed your past sales such as the hotel .com and a few others are significant, and I’m sure Burbank and Dog Walker are helping. You enjoy a high level of success. You had moments on the board that showed some frustration.

    Do you think your domaining investing and blog experience defines your goals? Do you think it’s what you want out of life? I only mention the domain and executive stuff because you once wrote a post on your friends enjoying their life in the executive world. You contemplated whether getting an award would translate into real success.

    I’m sure you spend more time than 30-40 hours a week on the blog. You’re constantly providing feedback at all hours of the day. Buying and selling domains probably takes up a lot of time too.

    In any case, you provide good information. I always remember your domain tips, such as avoiding any conflicting registrations and buying good domains – even though you never actually shared what constitutes a good domain. I figured that out on my own. Over time, your blog has evolved into one of the best domain blogs.

    In my opinion, every domain investor has a different strategy that works for them. You can show a person the way to success, but they will base the quality of your advice on the domains you buy and sell. In result, they may never enjoy a high level of success because they are too close-minded on whether to accept or reject the information.

    You can show actual results, but the time one devotes never seems to be enough unless they own $30K+ domains. In order to retain readers, you have to consistently be producing results. Nobody wants to read about advice if they’re not getting anything out of the information.

    People don’t want to hear about how to sell a domain name under $10k. They what to deliver the gold. Good job on maintaining consistency on your blog. Thanks for the transparency.


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