Ethics Questions on Linking and Paid Posts

Author: | Posted in Linking 4 Comments

As you all know I do paid reviews on this blog. Usually it’s not an issue as all the site’s that have purchased reviews to date have been quality websites and sites that I would have no qualms recommending.

However, this latest review was a different story. As I discussed at the end of the post, there are enough red flags raised to make me uncomfortable endorsing the site, not to mention using it myself. So, that raised a few interesting questions in my mind that I’d like to hear others’ opinions on.

If you are paid to review a site or a product does that carry with it a moral obligation to make it a positive one? After all, all advertisers are expecting a positive review, so knowing those expectations are you obliged to deliver?

Also, on a more internet wide issue, does linking to a site implicitly endorse that site? We know of course that Matt Cutts and Google would like every link to be a vote for a site, but is that what the web has demanded? If I were to link to a site and say “This site is run by an egotistical blowhard“, would that still be an endorsement? Should I only link to sites I would be comfortable endorsing?

Is that what the nofollow tag is for? I personally hate the tag and usually only use it when pointing to Matt Cutts site (see above), a Google owned site, or a Wikipedia page as a bit of irony. However, is that the middle ground between the two extremes?

I’ve got opinions on all of these questions but I’m not sold on any of them. I’d love to hear what other people think in regards to these questions.

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