Weblogs and Conflicts of Interest

When I read about Darren's take on conflicts of interest regarding ProBlogger and b5media, it prompted to think about writing this blog entry. Admittedly, it wasn't in my plans when I first read Martin's farewell entry over BlogNetworkWatch stating "conflicts of interest" as his main reason for ending his one-week-old blog. I just never saw it as an issue for me. Mostly because no one's ever raised the issue with me.

You see, not only do I run my own blogging network, I am also the Guide of the Web Logs site over at About.com (a New York Times company, in case you haven't heard yet.) Plus, I run several other weblogs, including a podcast and a vlog.

So, does that mean I'm pushing some sort of a "blogosphere domination" agenda? :coolhmm:

I'd like to think that I'm pretty transparent to my readers and visitors.

In my personal blogs, I really don't see an issue. I mean, of course I will write about me, myself and I (and anything and everything that I'm involved in). That's my prerogative, having a personal blog. No one's got a gun to their heads when they come here to read.

Besides, that's why blogs work! We don't want to read plain objectivity. We want the injection of someone's personality in all commentaries, links, and annotations. And, personality IS subjective. We want to know what kind of recommendations a particular blogger makes --- whether we agree with them or not.

When we read, visit and/or blogroll someone's weblog, we allow that person to be himself/herself in his/her own blog. And, that's exactly how it should be.

If we want objectivity, we go for news sites, link blogs and the like. If we want bloggers to give us just exactly the things that we want and we agree in, well... good luck and finding one.

Anyway, probably, the biggest question in my case is over at Weblogs.About.Com. But, I'm not overly concerned. Here are some way my readers and visitors there are protected when it comes to conflicts of interest:

1) About.com has a policy in place for all Guides regarding this. There are people watching us and making sure we never cross the line between injecting personality and pushing personal agendas. It's a big NO GO for all of us. We all know it, so we're careful about it.

2) I have my online projects listed in my bio page. It's one of my most popular pages so I know that my readers and visitors do try to get to know my background. This gives them a chance to judge for themselves if I'm being unfair.

3) I often mention if it's part of a personal project or not when I'm linking to specific blogs, pages, etc. But, in general, I rarely do this. In literally thousands of pages, you won't find constant linking to my projects. I hardly ever promote them, unless I can find a valid reason to do so. Again, see #1.

About the Author Shai Coggins (MTeach, MSoc Sci App Psych)

Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.

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