Soul-selling: my position on sponsored posts + advertising

Posted on November 28th, 2012

I’ve been meaning to explain clearly my blog monetising position for a while. I’ve been operating with a policy of “as much transparency as possible” and have trusted that only authentic opportunities and partnerships would come my way, and that readers would know my position just from joining me on my journey.

Image by jacksondickie

That’s the thing about operating online: like attracts like. Authenticity attracts authenticity. And if you start to get sneaky and greedy and grimy, everyone will smell it immediately.

Play dirty and your stink wafts.

But I feel it’s a good time to spell things out as media – both old and new – are going through lots of changes and folk are getting caught out (note the Kangaroo Island social media brouhaha). I come from an old media newspaper background where the divide between “church and state” is instilled during our cadetship training. At newspapers, you develop a visceral fear of being found out on ABC’s Media Watch. Newspapers tend to have policies in place dictating that journos can’t accept “gifts” over a certain amount and must disclose where, say, a travel trip is paid for by a third party.

I then moved into the world of magazines, as editor of Cosmopolitan, where such boundaries are flouted in truly horrific ways. Radio is much the same (observe various cash-for-comment scandals over the years).

I’ve seen both sides of the old media equation and know which side I prefer to stand on. Now, firmly ensconced in new media, I’m seeing the importance of taking a stance on all this and owning the situation in a fitting way.

Online media is a free-for-all. No one controls what I do. I don’t have a structure above me that dictates cash-for-comment or advertorial parameters to me. And so I’m presented with a true opportunity: to define them for myself. And define them I must do. All bloggers must. In part because, as I say, your shit will stink very quickly if you don’t.

So. Two things:

1. My blog is not a community service

I devote all my energies to servicing this site and its related entities and I have to earn an income from it. It’s my commercial reality.

However…

2. I’m not a packet of Tim Tams

What I mean is this: when we talk about my blog, we’re not talking about an abstract brand, like Tim Tams. We’re talking about me; my blog pivots around me as a person. So when I mention a certain type of moisturiser on my site, both my brand and myself are implicated (and, yes, I feel totally douchy calling myself a “brand”…but let’s move on). I’m effectively endorsing the moisturiser in a much more potent way than if my blog was an aggregated news site and some anonymous writer posted the moisturiser mention.

I’m aware of the responsibility this entails. Every blogger should be.

To these ends I’ll outline my current position. Of course it might change and I’ll be sure to alert you all if it does.

My recommendations are genuine

All recommendations and reviews across all my channels (blogs and social media) are my own, unless specified clearly at the top of a post/mention (eg: from time to time someone else might write the review). Most of the time I will share my own experience. From time to time a product/service is not appropriate for my personal consumption, but I might mention it if it can benefit my readers (eg: a product containing gluten that otherwise fits with my wellness message; I can’t eat gluten, but most readers can).

I am not paid for reviews

However, from time to time I will receive a product/service for free. I am often sent products, or invited to experience services. I mention if this is the case in the post/mention. In many cases I am sent a product/service for free after I’ve paid for it myself and reviewed it… by way of thank you.

I actively discourage freebies

I’m vocal about my anti-consumption and anti-wastage beliefs. I ask publicity folk to observe the messaging on my blog, only send appropriate products and to check with me first before wasting stamps, carbon miles, packaging, the postman’s time etc. That said I’m always very grateful when care and consideration goes into sharing products/experiences with me.

I do sponsored posts/features

But only if I personally use the product/service or if the take-home for readers fits with my messaging, and only if the product/service helps the lives of readers who frequent this blog.

I do giveaways that clients pay me for…sometimes

You might have noticed the Friday Giveaways I run. These are sponsored posts that entail a hefty amount of booty for readers. This is my preferred way of doing sponsored posts because they repay readers for their engagement with a brand. But I run them only if I personally use the product/service or if the take-home for readers fits with my messaging, and only if the product/service helps the lives of readers who frequent this blog. I will get paid to run the post, a fee that covers my time and costs in preparing the post.

I don’t do fake Facebook posts

I don’t like the idea of paid Facebook shares, even on my Facebook ‘Like’ pages (as opposed to my personal one). I get approached often to do them, but I am now declining. It just feels grubby.

When something feels grubby, I don’t do it. That’s my barometer.

Besides – and this is something everyone should be aware of – Facebook is clamping down on this kind of commercial use. If they think you’re overstepping the mark, they’ll pull your account. I’ve seen it happen. They give no warning. If you read the fineprint on Facebook: “Ads and commercial content (including Page post content) are subject to the Advertising Guidelines.”

I am probably open to doing paid Instagram shoutouts, however. If I ever do these, I’ll be sure to state that it’s a sponsored post.

I do affiliates programs

As per above, I do these with appropriate products/services. However, with affiliates programs, they will always be for products I personally endorse. My Bonlook glasses one is an example. The Institute of Integrative Nutrition course is another. I make a commission when readers choose to buy the product/service via my site. In all cases, I’ve purchased the product first myself, used it, been asked by readers about it and only then do I engage the affiliates selling program. Also, as you’ll notice, I’m happy to be very honest about pros and cons when sharing an idea with you. So you know what you’re buying.

Sponsorships and spokespersonships

I do these very selectively. I front a few charities, mostly focused on food, anti-wastage and homelessness issues. I’ve also just become a spokesperson for a program called Target100, an initiative that shares sustainable meat eating and farming messages between consumers and farmers. I’m being paid to help share these Target 100 messages. I’ll be posting more on this on the blog shortly.

Jeep Australia sponsors me and they have given me a car for my road trips.

I don’t accept most advertising

As above, I choose to be selective with the brands that I share with readers. Again, I will run an ad, but only if I personally use the product/service or if the take-home for readers fits with my messaging, and only if the product/service helps the lives of readers who frequent this blog. This means I turn down a good chunk of advertising opportunities weekly.

Why? The success of my blog rides on my authenticity.

I preach the message, I must walk it, too.

How do I make money, then? I sell ebooks. Since (I hope) most of you trust I only share authentic, genuine messages, you trust me enough to buy my ebooks. And then to share how much you like them in your communities. If I was a stinky fraud, this wouldn’t work so well. I’m guessing.

Also, from advertisers who fit my brand and messaging. They’re always happy to pay me a fee because they don’t just get exposure to readers on this blog, they also get to benefit from the trusting relationship we have here.

You (hopefully) know I won’t sell you stuff that ain’t good. Advertisers get a double-whammy hit from this.

I hope this clarifies things. If you’re a blogger, you might like to do a little soul selling mission statement yourself, so you and your readers are super clear. This issue – of branding, online monetisation and blogging journalistic standards – is only going to get more attention in coming months/years. Bloggers will be under extra scrutiny. Online media can no longer operate as the Wild West it once did and we all have to get off our galloping steads and set our own standards – with heads held high!

 

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • http://www.reverietime.com/ Dara

    This was a really interesting read. This is definitely an interesting time to be producing media, since everything is changing and it’s up to all of us to form new conventions. For what it’s worth, I see you as one of the most trustworthy bloggers that I read, so you’re definitely doing something(s) right!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Nice feedback. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  • Maryann

    Thanks Sarah, I like that you are open and honest with us. I have found that some blogs have become so commerisalised that I have lost interest in them.

    [Reply]

  • Katrin Helmreich

    I hear what you’re saying, Sarah and the explanation you’ve provided is a very good one. Just as feedback, though, from a reader’s perspective (mine), you did lose me when you did the post and recommendation on the the wine company a few week’s back. Especially the little side box half way through the piece on ‘The Benefits of Wine’, or something to that description. I felt I was reading a list taken straight out of one of those ‘health’ liftout supplements you get in a Murdoch newspaper, which has the credibility of reading an advertorial. I take that further to heart when there is actually no substantial evidence to any benefits, rather rhetoric sprouted and regurgitated by someone in a wine PR company way back when. I joined this blog as I related to your health quest and generally your food regime – I quit sugar, too. I’m getting over CFS and other related stuff. To be recommended wine, when others and myself are probably struggling with wine and alcohol was unnecessary, especially with the additional paid promotion attached. Yes, of course we’re all grown ups and we can make our own minds up, but I think when it comes to alcohol and health; sure lets have a discussion, but to suggest purchasing from a cool company with angels associated with it (coz it makes it so much better) is just pushing the envelope for me. I like your writing and I think it’s cool you’ve produced the post today, but I have to admit that I am a little wary of what you espouse to now. Maybe in time that will pass. Katrin

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    That one jarred a little with me too Katrin, it felt out of sync with the overall narrative of the blog. Perhaps I’m also more sensitive as I have to avoid alcohol due to health reasons and I do miss wine.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Thanks Katrin and Karen. I actively advocate drinking with food only and 1-2 glasses maximum. This way of dining and engaging with food is a big part of my wellness stance, so I did feel it was not incongruent with my messaging. I do take on board what you say about the wording, however, and I hope advertisers read your feedback, too. Oh, and the News Ltd liftout editors…!

    [Reply]

    Karen Reply:

    Thanks for clarifying Sarah, and the moderate drinking message is an important one for those who can tolerate alcohol.

    [Reply]

    Jo @ Shop Naturally Reply:

    I too am a CFS sufferer and I didn’t have an issue with that post. I choose not to drink, but I loved the ethics and the support of small growers & businesses, which I’m all for. I think moderate drinking is fine if you can drink moderately and have no underlying health issue. Not everyone can.

    Just to be honest & open, yes, I have advertised on this site, week 1 & 2 of IQS. It was fabulous, a perfect fit and we got lots of happy new customers out of it and gave away free vouchers to anyone who wanted one.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Lovely to hear!

    [Reply]

  • JaneK

    I don’t think it can be overstated that credibility is essential to a message like yours being received well. If you’re about making money only, ok, but you have a Cause and a Cause needs authenticity.
    Good on you, I’ll be doing the same when my blog hits cyberspace next year.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.ecobabe.com.au ecobabe

    I asked a blogger recently if she was paid for a series of facebook posts and I got banned from the page. It’s a touchy subject for many bloggers and something that should be considered because there’s nothing worse than reading a blog that reads like a Woman’s Day magazine where the line between advertisement, advertorial and editorial is not only blurred but non-existent. First time reader to your blog and I like what I see.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.pop-couture.com Kimberley

    This is beautifully written, clear and passionate and definitely inspires me to do the same. I’ve been in a bit of a rut because I feel such competition and such worries at writing about any sort of product due to the line between ‘is this sincere or not?’ being blurred with so many bloggers now. But as you said, like attracts like; and in particular ‘if you play dirty, your stink wafts’ will sit with me and as long as I know I’m writing about things I would already without influence or the glittery shininess of free things; I know people can see what sincerity looks like.

    [Reply]

  • Lynanne

    I love you even more for this post! I have bought your ebooks and many products you have mentioned in your blog and im very happy with everything. Your honesty and down to earth approach to how you handle your blog and life is amazing.
    Thank you for being you! <3

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Lynanne, you made my day.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au Nikki @ Styling You

    I’m very much at one with you on the above Sarah. We are in a very good position to make guidelines that suit our ethics and our brand. I’m very very conscious of what I put my name to and what I recommend.

    [Reply]

  • Kelley

    Much of the social media content I come across these days leaves me a little jaded & disappointed. When I first stumbled across your site I assumed it was more of the same – but I will happily admit that I was wrong. A while ago I was investigating your comments on IIN and was pleasantly surprised that you were upfront about your commission and it had positive impact of my idea of you as a person, not just a brand. Your authenticity is rare but much appreciated. Thanks for being sincere and open.

    [Reply]

  • seeker

    hi sarah,
    i feel you should be congratulated for thinking it all through and exposing so much – i hope others (i mean bloggers & beyond) will take your lead – personally, i cant handle the press, tv, news and even politics, one reason is because it’s mostly subsidised, opinion-based/influenced, negative, sensationalised, hopeless, guttery, one-sided tripe that seems to need no accountability to anyone (so opinionated of me!!) and is expected to be (and often is) interpreted as ‘truth’ …. and so i choose to read less than a handful of blogs related to things that inspire and interest me, as this seems to better serve my temperament and emotions. ( & no bloody offence to anyone who disagrees with me, ok?!!)

    this post gives me hope for the integrity and credibility factor of what i choose to read here, (do i really need this confirmation? i’ll think about that) but just because i choose to feel that overall i like what goes up here – i certainly don’t expect to agree with all your choices of adverts/promotions or opinions etc etc, but neither do i feel like you owe me something or you are declaring things to be universal truths, so if you advertise a product that’s not in line with my philosophy, it doesn’t make me think you are being disingenuous or you have lost your integrity, or that you have “lost me” … i might just tune out that day – but i usually read all the comments as i find it interesting to hear what people think and are prepared to actually say!

    goodness, it’s such a blessing to be able to tap into your website – there is no one asking for payment/money, or commitment, anonymity is tolerated, most of the comments are well-meaning and thought-provoking and all are insightful!! it is over-all a really positive experience.

    most of us know that it’s the easiest thing in the world to criticize and de-construct, its way waaaay harder to build something from scratch and keep it going and growing and relevant and meaningful and interesting … and that’s how i see your blog. i tune out when i’m not interested and make no comment, and in my own life, i try to perpetuate the good ideas & meaningful arguments, & the positivity that i see. and i roll many things around in my head for days on end that bite my imagination.

    reading your blog has helped broaden my mind, helped me understand people a bit better (& wonder in amazement at them too), and introduced me to things that have influenced my life in very positive ways … i have bought more than one copy of all your publications, never applied for any of your giveaways, and really enjoy your musings on life, mostly. i don’t think i would ever choose to make my living/life the way you do, and admire you all the more for it. i have no food allergies or ai or any diseases and i still am passionately interested in trying your recipes and food philosophies and taking the things you share and making them work for me and those whom i love, to make life sweeter, indeed!

    sometimes i read comments and think “what do people want from you?!!” … and then i read others and think … “life is so cool and exciting and i am soooo lucky”!!

    thank you for reminding me of all those things and excuse the long post, i got a bit carried away!!

    good luck to you, more power to you and keep up the good work!

    :)

    [Reply]

    Giovanna Rossi Reply:

    Hi seeker … well said! Thanks.

    [Reply]

  • dr.sandie

    Soul well said Sarah! and good on you for always speaking your mind and heart so clearly!
    I recently introduced a friend to your blog and below is how I describe it to her:
    Genuine, Honest, Authentic, REAL, Interesting, Inspirational! Refreshing!
    You are undeniably walking the talk and I love it!
    You deserve all the goodness you get from your hard work and your integrity 
    Merci beaucoup! And keep inspiring thousands of us out there… you are a role model!

    [Reply]

  • michael

    You are at the top of your Game Sarah.
    I zone out on a lot of stuff but appreciate your transparency ..
    And 2 years on, still very much enjoy your thoughts on Life in general.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.jacintafleur.com jacinta

    I’m glad economic opportunities are arising for SW website You put a lot of effort into this website. Effort otherwise known as hard work. Not many of us like to, or are able to work for free.

    [Reply]

  • Mia Bluegirl

    I have no problem with someone recieving money from their website. All for it. We all need to eat and live with a measure of financial security, and you have a right to make that happen in any way you see fit. Frankly I don’t think it’s anyone else’s concern, and find it weird that just because you are in the public eye, people expect you to be humble and penitent and not want to make any money for yourself.

    At least you are open about it. That’s impressive, as a lot of people wouldn’t be. And we get to read your blog for free, so really we are all indebted to you.

    But I gotta be honest, the Jeep thing is weird. It takes away your credibility in speaking about environmental and non-consumer causes when you simultaneously promote an American built, gas-guzzling 4WD.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    The difference in emissions between driving a Prius and a larger car in one week is about the same as the emissions saved by simply not driving a car (a Prius) for two trips to the local shops. I ride a bike 80% of the time. Or walk. I use the Jeep for trips out of town etc.

    [Reply]

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Yes, Prius’s are notoriously un-economical on short journeys. I don’t have an issue with what you do in your personal life. Because it’s your personal life. However much you drive, and what you drive, isn’t any of my business.

    Being an ambassador for a brand is a bit different, though. You are taking money from them in return for using your considerable influence to market their product to us, your readers. You can justify it any way you like, but can people take you seriously when you talk of environmental causes and anti-consumerism while at the same time selling us a Jeep?

    [Reply]

    Bec Reply:

    Mia, i don’t think Sarah is trying to sell us a Jeep, she drives one, if you choose to mimic her in every aspect then it is your choice to drive a Jeep too. The point is, its your choice, as it is Sarahs.

    Seriously – give the woman a break, she is doing the best she can to be the best she can, and helping people along the way. How lovely would the world be if everyone was doing the same?

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Actually, she IS paid by Jeep to promote/ sell/ market/ endorse them to us. It says so in several of her posts. She was the one who called herself an “ambassador for Jeep,” not me.

    I just thought it a weird choice for someone who so frequently posts about the benefits of being car-free. But hey, it’s a big hypocritical world out there, I don’t believe integrity in journalism even exists any more. At least she is honest about it, plenty of people wouldn’t be.

    Bec Reply:

    She IS being open and honest about what she paid to endorse.

  • http://www.shopnaturally.com.au Jo @ Shop Naturally

    I’m in the process of monetising a blog a friend and I run, Two Modern Cavewomen, in the hope it provides and income for my fellow cavewoman. My shop is sponsoring the site, and yes, we will promote a lot of what I sell, but like Sarah, it’s only in my shop because I either use it or it’s a good fit for our customers. I have personally chosen each and every one of the 2,000 items in it.

    We’re also giving to the ME/CFS Society at the same time and fundraising for them as we do it, since there’s over 180,000 people in Australia who suffer from CFS and the society needs money. Transparency is so very important and you’ve always been transparent Sarah.

    One thing that’s important here too is that I feel like it’s you behind there writing personal posts that we can relate to. I have seen and read many blogs where I don’t feel that anymore. I feel they’re either an endless string of guest posts or an endless stream of ‘buy this from me’ which just gets boring. That Kangaroo Island thing stank, and there’s a lot more out there just like it.

    You’re right, you’re a brand and you’re selling us your brand. Keep doing what you’re doing. We don’t all have to want to use every product you use, that would be a little weird (and stalker-ish) if we did.

    Personally, I love the food stuff, admired the ethics from the wine people even though I don’t drink, I wouldn’t drive a Jeep, but my care factor for cars is zero, wasn’t keen on the ‘no shopping thing’ a few weeks ago because I think it hurts retailers, but I understood the basic concept behind it.

    Nothing on here has ever left a bad taste in my mouth, whether it was something I personally agreed with or not. Everything’s presented in a way that I still respect what it is that you do whether we share the same philosophy on a topic or not.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.yummyinspirations.net Jolene @ Yummy Inspirations

    You’re a role model blogger for sure! Thanks for inspiring as always. :)

    [Reply]

  • K.

    Love the honesty and transparency Sarah. I have a lot of respect for that and appreciate it as a reader of your blog. I feel like I can trust what I’m reading and that is important to me.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.stilettosandgreenjuice.com Lyn McFarlane

    Thank you for being so authentic and transparent. You are such a great role model for bloggers (inlcuding myself). This authenticity will bring you even more success.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.rachphillips.com rachael • rachphillips.com

    You know part of me closing my old blog and starting afresh was due to the fact that my blog had started to feel – as you say – grubby. My blog got taken up by an agency who started to dictate what I could and couldn’t do, who insisted that I did sponsored posts (even though I did declare them – which I’m not sure if it’s law elsewhere but in the UK there was an OFT investigation in to the whole subject & we HAVE to declare it now) and more. My blog no longer felt like my own digital space but more like a cheap pound shop churning out content in order to promote brands that I didn’t like that much and that didn’t reflect me as a person.

    As a journalist I get sent a LOT of products and it can be really difficult not feeling obliged to reviewing them or popping something up so I applaud you for taking a stance on this.

    X

    [Reply]

  • http://www.jessicamcomish.com Jessica

    Hi Sarah, I do think the healthiest relationships are based on honesty, so your approach is smart for the happiness of your readers and yourself! You show huge amounts of respect for yourself and your readers, not just in your approach to this issue but also in the way you live your life and the energy you devote to your passions.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable that someone who contributes as much as you do to the sharing of information should not be rewarded and sustained for your wonderful, sincere efforts. Also, I would prefer to know you are being sent a lot of things and are trying them, because you act as a gateway to the best of it all! “Ideally” marketing is about getting things to people that can help them live better quality lives, and the onus is on the reader to find bloggers that they respect.

    We can all smell “bullshit” at a hundred paces, and when you respect your readers and their intelligence they will love you for it: the oldest rule in the book for any writer.

    Jessica xx

    [Reply]

  • http://wforwellbeing.blogspot.com.au/ Claire

    Your blog has taught me so much & reading this post has just proved what I have thought of your blog from day one – completely GENUINE! Having started a blog recently that is all about sharing websites & things that are helping me on my own wellness journey – I think I need to write a post that makes it clear to my readers that my blog is in no way about money. It is simply my teaching background using my blog to share useful things with others. My blog is not a business & does not involve me getting freebies or money, so I am glad I have read your post about this.

    [Reply]

  • Steph

    I completely respect your position and your openness about it all. I have to say though that I intentionally do not buy the products advertised on blogs, even those run by bloggers who seem honest and sincere, unless the product is something actually made by the person writing the blog (so your IQS stuff fits in perfectly). I just ignore all of the other stuff, because it feels wrong to me. I have liked the idea of a blog from the beginning, but only as a way to get to know artisans/”makers” whose products (usually books or art) interest me. In all honesty, I’d prefer to see a “donate” button on a blog. I’d happily donate to Sarah Britton of My New Roots, for example (and have commented to her as such), who I believe doesn’t do sponsored posts or have advertising on her blog, because the stuff she shares is so great. From what I understand, she’s been rewarded for her free work on the blog by selling out cooking classes, etc. (She does link to Martha Stewart’s site, when she is a Meatless Mondays contributor.) It’s a different business model and I believe the one that is going to rise to the top in the long run.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.NaturalChildbirthWorld.com Tracey Rose

    Thanks for clarifying Sarah … I resonate with your wording of “grimy” tactics of some bloggers/media. I was also in media (radio) for 10 years and am just got sick of the tactics used to hypnotise and trick us into buying crap we don’t need and that makes us sick.

    I feel your blog is a safe space for me to come and enjoy myself and not get bombarded with useless sh*t.

    Keep up the great work :)

    [Reply]

  • http://Www.downtoearthmother.com Jo

    Sarah! You must have read mind! I have been grappling with this issue since I started blogging seriously recently after years of faffing about. My blog takes up so much time and sometimes I wonder if I’m a fool to waste what little time I have (with two kids and an income to earn). But I recently decided – about five seconds into reading your post- that the main reason I write my blog is to show people how they can live a little greener and a little cleaner. It’s that old chestnut: if you are doing what you love, you’ll have enough of what you need to live a full and happy life. I hope you don’t mind, but I will definitely be emulating this post as a mission statement to share with readers and all those big ethical companies that will any minute realize they should spend lots of money supporting my blog! Thanks Sarah.

    [Reply]

  • Kelly

    This post is why your blog is my favourite to read. I love that you are open, honest, witty, entertaining and there’s no BS. Blogger or not, I think everyone should do a little soul searching and decide on what their life’s mission statement is. I also have to mention that I totally love the IQS program, best thing I have done for my health, so thank you Sarah.

    [Reply]

  • Mel

    This is a great post and I appreciate your honesty and truely believe your sincerity. I seek out blogs that I share similar interests with such as yours and those who are honest about what they will endorse. I know that many products and services are looking to bloggers these days to help market and endorse their brand and put the good word out there and I know too well that there are bloggers out there who will rave about a product or service as they have been given the product free for consideration and I do understand that companies will send out products to bloggers for a thankyou for reviewing a product that the blogger themselves have paid for. If I’m researching the net about something I want real facts and don’t want to read a five star fluff rating. I don’t have a blog at the moment however should I in the future I would like to think I would share your same values and give my audience the real deal!

    [Reply]

  • Gabby

    Transparency appreciated and I really believe, like I’m sure many of your readers do, that you do walk the talk and we are attracted to your openness and integrity. However I get your Friday digest and I find that when I open your email and the first couple of post headings are ‘look, giveaways!/buy this!/free that!’ that the tune out/ads ahoy part of my brain is turned on and, for some reason, I am less inclined to be drawn into your other posts. As I said, I appreciate your integrity with advertising and fully support your right to earn a living but I imagine it’s a tricky one to get just right.

    [Reply]

  • http://the-labyrinth.com Michellina Van Loder

    I respect your position. And without the post it’s easy to tell what your rules are towards this. I became an affiliate reseller of your ebooks and two of the things that persuaded me to do this: your honesty in offering it to people to resell on the condition that they had bought your book themselves (this showed me that you are real and you care if people believe in the product or not. Many places who offer up their products for affiliated selling don’t care if the person selling it believes the message or the products capabilities) and that matters to me. The other is personal, you are an amazing role model for so many reasons, and the main one is healthy living.

    Your wine post made me wish I could drink it; however, I must wait until I recover from my illness! My liver won’t hack it but I’m glad yours can!

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: Business Bites: Getting your Business Healthy · Business Bites · Rock n Roll Bride

  • Jess

    Hi Sarah
    I’m interested to know how you define your relationships with bloggers like Megan from Detoxinista? She advertises your books/program and at one stage was writing about them.

    [Reply]

  • Amy

    I don’t have any problem with the advertising you post on your site, if they are products that you personally endorse, or are related in some way to your posts. I have to say though, that pop-up box that appears every time I visit your site is really annoying. Especially since I already subscribe. I can just ignore the ads on the side of a website (or choose to look at them) whereas I feel pop-up boxes are so in-your-face…

    I love your site, it’s one of my most visited blogs, but I’ve just noticed that I’ve been instinctively avoiding visiting it since the pop-up has been there. Anyway, just some constructive criticism! :) I guess it’s a fine balance between monetising your blog and making your visitors feel bombarded with “the sell”.

    I love your writing and definitely agree that you shouldn’t have to do it all for free. Writers deserve to make a living just like the rest of us. It’s just a matter of getting the delicate balance right.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.thegirlwhoknows.com Stephanie Watanabe

    I really appreciate your level of transparency and think that all bloggers should strive to have such “stand-up” guidelines for their own advertising policies.
    I for one, don’t mind ads (though I never really look at them to be honest). I purchased your first e-book after only seeing one of your blog posts – so your message is powerful and effective enough to do the job! :)
    I’m curious, as a fellow blogger with equally specific requirements about ads and endorsements on my blog, is there a particular ad company you work with that you like or are your ads from individuals who approach you directly?

    Thanks for your wonderful community that you’ve created here Sarah – I love being a part of it!

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: My stance on sponsored content | Tiny Savages

  • http://palomino73.wordpress.com/ palomino72

    I appreciate your transparency and agree that ‘like attracts like’. However as you pointed out you have to protect yourself, be aware and cover yourself as a brand. My I.Q.S Cookbook is due in the post any day now. Bring it on and thanks for sharing your amazing experience with us all !

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: Why I visited an abattoir | Sarah Wilson

  • http://www.uwyxluynrpch.org hymynrovibfh

    jxokyeookmmc

    [Reply]

  • http://www.mfhffqgfvgjq.org sphflsbicrax

    bgiewmutpbbq

    [Reply]

  • Pingback: How to Sell Sponsored Posts on Your Blog | Cassie Boorn

  • Kim

    Thanks for this Sarah, great guidelines on authenticity in life and in blogging. Love your blog and you being so transparent, a true leader.

    [Reply]