Saturday, August 1, 2015

Eatical Cornflakes of Interest?

It was just only 2 months ago that I wrote a post about blogging for money and I highlighted how many lifestyle and food bloggers make thousands from writing up editorials, posting pictures on instagram and tweeting about it. The reason why I know this is because I have friends in the marketing industry (I seem to have a lot of friends telling me industry secrets hor?). Interestingly, the Straits Times decided to come out with an article about food bloggers who make money from blogging.

Traditionally, how can blog owners make money? My friend was talking to me about this and I quickly shot back the answers:

1) Advertising networks like Google Adsense, Nuffnang, etc
2) Affiliate marketing for products / services
3) Editorials for promoting products / services

As a financial blogger, I do ad networks because they are subtle and not offensive. If you've been getting a lot of nasty ads, it's because you've been searching for nasty stuff online. Not my problem. Obviously, I am a web user too and many times I actually see ads which genuinely interest me because it has been in the same topic of what I've been searching for. Recently, I've been getting a lot of ads for fixed deposits. Sometimes when I plan my holidays, I get sidetracked and start surfing the web, but the hotel and flight ads remind me what I should be doing instead.

I do affiliate marketing for products that I buy and services that I use. Currently, it is only BullionStar, and if you ask them, they can tell you I have stuff in their vault with them. I used to do affiliate marketing with Agoda, Book Depository and I have used them and I still do use them, however after a while I find that there is no conversion rates at all. Of course, some people do affiliate marketing without using the products or services before, but that is up to them I suppose.

Editorials are not easy to come by in the financial world. Unlike fashion or food, where preferences are very clearly subjective, many things in the financial world are objective. Who is the cheapest broker? Which unit trust platform has the most products? What are the fixed deposit rates for each bank? Who would pay for an editorial if they don't get what they want - which are glowingly awesome reviews for their product or service? 

However, life for food bloggers are different.

Food bloggers get a one-up in their world because one of the perks that many enjoy are free meals. Call them whatever you want - tasting events, exclusive invite, blah blah blah. It's all the same. It's a free meal. Of course, editorial gigs are also much more common and command a lot more in payment.

What they are doing is clearly not illegal. However, I find this somewhat related and similar to the whole Gushcloud issue of being legal, but not being ethical.

Is it wrong to charge people money for writing an article about them? Of course not.

However, I think that food bloggers ought to have the morale concious to indicate if a write-up was paid for. Perhaps this can slide on instagram, but I think on their blogs with the full write up, it should be stated. I can already see that many food bloggers are doing this though, so I guess that is a good step forward. 

Anyway, this is the internet folks. As much as their objectivity may be blinded by their free meals, you've got to know that everyone has a motivation to do something and most of the time it leads back to self-interest. I'd say, it's best not to believe most of the things you read on the internet.

For all you know, I'm some creepy weird guy that does paper trading and pretends to know what he's saying, haha.

1 comment:

  1. Internet age man, anything goes with double pinch of salt. At the end of the day, it's all about accountability and your own reputation at stake. Affiliate marketing? Sure. Only products and services I've used. Clearly state sponsored or referral links, always!


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