Tuesday, October 10, 2006

People in glass houses

Today Nick Carr posted about Mike Arrington and about the possible conflicts of interest between bloggers, the companies they blog about, and their assumed responsibilities to their readers.

For the A-list bloggers, people who are normally up to their necks in the Valley, and might have power to guarantee success or failure for a start-up, much as the old time theatre critics could do to a Broadway show, it's a thorny problem. We all know that Robert Scoble worked for Microsoft, and now works for PodTech.net, other aren't so transparent. But then, surely that's only to be expected?

I think Nick is missing the point, these days we all expect biases in our media coverage, after all, only Fox News is fair and balanced..? I wouldn't take Mike Arrington's opinion as gospel, no more than I'd take Nick Carr's, or for that matter any blogger. The secret is very much in the sauce, read lots of view points and filter out the biased ones. Or not, read only people that agree with you. The choice, surely, is your own?

In the spirit of transparency however; I run adverts from Google AdSense and am a member of both the UK and US Amazon affiliate programmes. I also a member of the TradeDoubler affiliate programme, and links to the UK Apple Store will go via that programme.

I don't make a lot of money off any of this, in fact I don't think Amazon has ever paid me a red cent, and I would honestly say that it doesn't affect what I write in the slightest. But what if thousands, or even tens of thousands, of pounds of click-throughs rested on a positive review of a product? Or people were handing me free demonstration models of the latest technology, or I'd just sunk my life savings into yet another Web 2.0 bubble start-up. Would I be biased? Heck yes, although I'd try hard to take a neutral point of view and acknowledge those biases. You should always take everything with a pinch of salt, even me...