RECORD STORE TALES #1014: Integrity
Although I keep complaining about views being down, therefore ad revenues also being down, I have turned down an advertising opportunity for this site. Normally this would not be anything to write an article about, but something about it didn’t feel right from the start. Sharing my experience with readers might offer some interesting insight.
I have done paid “advertorials” in the past. Most notably, I received an offer from someone representing Guns N’ Roses to post a “review roundup” by a guest author. No problem. We agreed on a price and I was sent a well-written article with links. I posted it and the client was happy. I posted it as a guest editorial, since I didn’t write it. No issue from the Guns camp. Everyone was happy. (I had another advertorial offer from Kiss but I was on hiatus at that time.)
I frequently get offers to run ads for online casinos and other things that have nothing to do with music. I have always turned them down. This site is supposed to be about music, but it’s so schizophrenic topic-wise that I don’t want to make it worse by running articles about online gambling. Easy to say no to those, regardless of the money involved.
This week I received another offer from a search engine optimization company based out of India. The email was from a “Digital Marketing Executive”.
“I just landed on your blog fanpage ‘MikeLeBrain’ and was wondering if you’re accepting guest posts on your blog,” he asked.
I’m not sure what “blog fanpage” he was asking about, but I responded yes, I am accepting music-related guest posts. I let him know my rate in US dollars and he responded in the positive. He said the article will be well written, and according to my “blog theme”. But there were some conditions that we didn’t have with the Kiss or Guns N’ Roses offer. Some that bothered me included:
2) Links should be Dofollow – 1 Client link, 1 internal link, and 2 High authority links.
I don’t know what those terms mean and I didn’t get any clarification.
3) The post must be on the homepage for some time and it should be accessible from the home page (via a relevant category).
As readers know, I post daily. Not every article I post is going to be accessible from the home page forever. Generally people use the search function to find a relevant review. This condition made me uncomfortable.
Now here’s the kicker.
4) Article should not be marked as a sponsored post, paid post, guest post, etc.
That was a dealbreaker. Guns N’ Roses was clearly a guest post. They had no issues with that. If I didn’t write it, it’s automatically a guest post. That’s what guest post means.
I then responded that I had to decline their offer. The guest post issue was the problem. I explained that I had to mark a guest post as such. I’m not going to have someone else write words and then claim that they’re mine. No way. Absolutely no way.
I believe I made the right decision. The executive ignored my declining email, and continued on.
“We will send you all the details before sending the articles like topic, anchor text and client link for approval. After the article is written we will send to you for review. We do not want our post to be marked with any kind of disclosure. You can publish the article under your writer name, or our writer name.”
For the second time, I declined. It did not feel right.
“As I said before, I have passed on this. Not the right fit. Sorry,” I responded.
Here’s what really sticks in my craw: “You can publish the article under your writer name.”
No way. Absolutely no way. I’m not putting your words down as if they were mine. No. Way.
Sure, he added “or our writer name” but to not post it as a guest post? Just strange. Nothing about this felt right regardless of the money. I know I made the right decision, even if I’m losing out on money. My integrity is worth more than that.