I feel like I should start this blog post with a bit of a disclaimer. Everything I am going to talk about here is my personal opinion. If you disagree with that, then fine. I hope you stay to listen to what I talk about at least.
While I’ve been concentrating on Bonjour, Blogger!, I wasn’t blogging (Yeah, you know this already) but I was (obviously) still getting my email. One of the things I noticed most was that while the offers to review products, etc were a bit less than usual (and what I was getting offered, I turned down because I didn’t think it was fair to accept while I was being so lazy with ceriselle.org), I was receiving a larger than normal amount of sponsored post requests.
Sponsored posts. They’ve never really been something I’ve been comfortable with. I thought I was doing it the “better” way when I would ask to write things myself – “it’s still my voice!” but I still felt a bit icky when publishing them and then seeing them again in my feed reader.
I was invited to a dinner recently in Bristol with the Collective Bias team, to talk all things blogging, and to be introduced to how they work. (I’ve covered the main points over on BB if you’re interested). The thing I found most interesting (besides that they think bloggers in the UK are totally underselling themselves, and from my own research, I know that’s true!) was that they weren’t working on the basis that most brand relationships over here do, where you’re sent a product and asked to include specific links with specific words, but instead they ask a blogger to go and buy the product, share the shopping experience and – this is the part that I like most – post about the product with nofollow links. They’re interested in getting your *review*, not some boost in the Google rankings for that product.
With BB, I am trying to provide information that is – or should be – best practice for bloggers. In my sponsored posts survey, it was surprising to me how many people didn’t know what a nofollow link. (Here’s that post as well) In extremely basic terms, a nofollow link is where if you receive payment or product for a post/link, you should mark it as nofollow so search engines are not influenced by that paid placement.
I think that if I were to keep posting the best practice over on BB, but then ignoring my own advice over here, that would be seriously hypocritical. (Also, I value my blog at a lot more than £40 a link. Call me a snob, privileged or whatever, but this site is a large part of my online reputation, and I don’t want to be for sale to the lowest bidder.)
So I’m done. I’ll be happy to review products, but they’ll be posted with a nofollow link. I will not publish or produce any more posts with sponsored links in.
(For those who were wondering – affiliate links don’t really need to be marked as nofollow as Google already understands what they are, but I will still mark those clearly for you to choose whether to click through or not.)
That’s my choice. If this makes you think about what you do, then awesome. If it doesn’t, then that’s fine too.
Now, who fancies a cup of tea?