It Is All About Money

It seems that this weekend’s bitchmeme is courtesy of Robert Scoble‘s actions on Twitter. Louis Gray caught Mr. Scoble with his hand in the cookie jar:

Tonight, I noticed and asked Robert myself if this was his “FriendFeed revenue strategy”. His answer? “You caught me red handed!”

Louis’ only complaint was that Robert did not disclose what he was doing immediately. I have one simple question.

Why does everyone care that Robert Scoble wrote a tweet for an affiliate link to Amazon?

This is where I start disagreeing with a lot of bloggers. People are out to make money. They will put some advertisements on their blog or try to get sponsorships on their blog in order to make some extra money. Is there a problem with Robert posting an affiliate link? No. Actually, I found it to be a terrific idea. He is trying to capitalize on his popularity. Would it have been better to provide some level of disclosure? Sure, but Robert has normally provided that type of information.

Why do people care if a blogger tries to make money? People are always trying to find a way to make a buck. Something like the KMart sponsored posts tend to be a problem, but most of the people involved in that campaign disclosed what they were doing and donated some of the purchased goods to some charity. I know people want to keep blogging “pure” or whatever they want to call it, but in the end people will try to monetize anything they can.

Any site that I have created, I have put Google Adsense Ads in the sidebar. I do this in the hope of paying for the hosting costs so that the whole process is free. I do not expect to make thousands of dollars from the blog advertisements. I would need a few hundred thousand pageviews to make that kind of money.

So, if Robert wants to post affiliate links to Twitter, he can. If you do not like it, you do not have to subscribe to him. If Louis tries to do the same thing on Twitter, that would be fine with me. I would rather send money to people like Louis or Robert than send it to a large company like Amazon.

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9 thoughts on “It Is All About Money

  1. The interesting thing to me was not so much that he didn’t disclose but that it was a first volley into monetizing his well-earned network. The discussion blew up around disclosure and affiliate links, but I found it a good second step following Arrington’s comment that Scoble was getting “zilch”.


  2. Louis, I did not mean to make it seem I was complaining about you. I was complaining more about the amount of conversation about what he did. You just started it 🙂 I thought it was a genius idea and this is only the start of it.


  3. Rob, great perspective on this. People get way to heated over things like this, and let’s face it – it costs time and money to run a blog. People are so eager to consume and never to return – I do it, I know 😉

    I love to spread the word and spark the conversation, but in general, the few providers of consistent, quality content do spend money on their blogs.

    While I agree with Louis that a little disclosure would be nice – what is the big deal? There are people dying around the world and someone is worried about clicking a link?

    It’s not about lightening up – It’s about gaining some perspective!


  4. I know you weren’t complaining, but of course, others have. One person on FriendFeed even said my heading was practically libelous (which showed their lack of understanding there). I thought I’d reiterate the goal here.


  5. Hi Rob,

    Great post. I agree that bloggers have to be allowed to find a way to monetize their blogs if we’re going to continue to see a rich collection of voices and opinions on subjects as diverse as the Web itself. I think that more and more bloggers are going to have to look to alternative strategies outside of display advertising as this economy wrings out the advertising dollars. Smart bloggers will do this with well-disclosed affiliate relationships and sponsorship opportunities. Both tactics employed by Scoble now and surely to become more prevalent as advertisers look for more out of their spends.


  6. Ken, gaining perspective is the idea. I really do not care if a blogger wants to make a few extra bucks, as long as it is not annoying to the reader.


  7. Morgan, I think people see the marketing becoming prevalent and worry that Twitter will be overcome with such things. In that sense, I understand, but you do not have to follow everyone.


  8. right on. I think you’re always going to have that kind of mentality out there…some people just always think making money is tacky, no matter what you do. I don’t think it matters, because at the end of the day, people who *actually* enjoy your content could care less if you put some ads up or place an affiliate post every so often.


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