Martin, the guy behind Blog Network Watch, has decided to call it quits after a week of blogging there. It’s not because it didn’t work (in fact he got a fair bit of attention) but because he saw potential conflict of interests. He writes:
‘I thought it would be a major conflict of interest for me to write about the industry (and you now me, when I write I usually go at it full on) when at the same time I have my eye on it for myself. As a journo I just would not feel comfortable with this.’
Conflicts of interest are something that I’ve had leveled at me here at ProBlogger (the most recent critique is in this thread) as I, in my writing about blogging for dollars, do talk about blog networks and mention both the networks I’m involved with as well as those of others (whom some would say are ‘the competition’ – not that I view them as this necessarily….but that’s another post).
I thought that rather than letting such conversations happen in the comment threads of posts on other topics (largely between anonymous comment makers) that it might be worth having an open and honest discussion here in a post all of it’s own. I’m not interested in us having a flame war on the topic – but rather would like to think that we can talk about it in an open and constructive manner.
I won’t write a new response to the criticism – but I will repost both the original comment/critique from ‘Mcintosh’ and my response below. I’d be interested in others thoughts.
‘Darren, do you believe you should be writing about this seeing you yourself run a b/netork
and you seem to be using your site as a focus group for your own needs. the blog herald also b5, has a post sourcing from you every 2-3 posts? and vica versa
it’s like Bill Gates writing a fair review about OpenOffice
every b/network owner is now probably dreaming of the millions they’ll make and by yours and duncans posts youre probably creaming yourslves.
b/networks will neverwork ‘
Mcintosh – I don’t think I have any conflict of interest here.
I declare my interests – I try to blog as openly and honestly as I can about what I’m doing and what others are doing and I try to link not only to my own sites but others as freely as possible.
In fact I probably link to my own sites less often than I would naturally do at times.
ProBlogger is a blog about bloggers earning money – I think me writing about blog networks is part of that brief. I link to a variety of blog networks big and small – including some that some people would say are b5media’s competition.
This blog is also about what I learn from blogging – if you’re a regular reader of this site you’ll see that I regularly share what I learn from my different blogs. Yes this does give those blogs some publicity along the way but I would suggest to you that the costs involved in telling my secrets are also present. You’ll see me talk a bit about some of these in my Disclaimer.
In terms of Duncan – he and I linked to one another regularly well before we started doing business together. Again – since we started working together I think I’ve probably linked less to him. This is the first post I can see that i’ve linked to him in in 35 or so posts. How he chooses to link to me is his business.
The reason we do link to each other has more to do with an overlapping topic than anything else in the same way that I link regularly to other bloggers like Jen from Jensense.
In terms of b/networks ‘never working’ – I think you’ll find that there are a few blog network owners around who disagree with that – the Weblogs Inc guys being one of them :-)
Since writing this reply to McIntosh I’ve pondered his comments a little and would add the following:
I know for a fact that many blog network owners read this blog regularly – some leave comments publically – others prefer anonymity and correspond via email with me. I can’t break confidences but I know of at least two large blog networks who have significantly incresed their earnings by taking the advice/recommendations that I’ve written here. I’m yet to hear a criticism of my approach to blogging from any of these network owners – in fact it’s quite the opposite.
Having said all this – I understand where McIntosh is coming from and would be interested in others thoughts and suggestions.