You Can Tell Who Your Real Friends Are When You Stop Paying Them

Apr 24 2013

“These guys are great, this tool is awesome!”.  Words you here constantly on all websites and blogs across the Internet.  I don’t think I would be too far off to say that 80% of the posts are being driven by money, not by any actual like or dislike for the product or company.  If you run a site in a small industry and you take advertisements, it is VERY difficult to be objective.  Not saying that writers aren’t trying to be neutral. They all probably think they are being objective but it’s human nature to say nice things about people that help you, especially give you money.  But in the back of their mind you can tell when a writer is concerned you might not trust what they are saying.  You can see it when an article is ended…..”I’m not being paid to say this”.  But in reality all blog writers are being paid to say SOMETHING. We are paid to provide content.  In my opinion, what you are being paid to do is NOT say anything bad about your advertisers.  So in reality you really can’t be objective.  I can remember having dot co as an advertiser and I felt uncomfortable writing anything negative about them when they were paying the bills so I didn’t.  It was killing me. To the point that I didn’t email them to renew just so I could start writing articles about how I really felt.  I vowed to not take any advertisers that I didn’t believe in or feel I could support with honest opinions.

In our industry, two big advertisers have pulled out since the start of the year. The Namejet affiliate program and DomainTools has scaled back heavily on their marketing as well.  Now that Namejet isn’t paying people you’ve noticed there is not a heavy push towards lists with Namejet.  Did we really like the names that were put on our lists or did we put them there because they provided the best opportunity to make money?  With financial incentives you never know.  DomainTools has been the primary sponsor of domain blogs for man years.  This year they have reduced their marketing budget.  While DomainTools is easily the best domain research tool on the market, will they get the same love and mentions in 2013?  We’ll see.  They still advertise here and the only thing I do differently from them advertising and not advertising is if I use their information to write an article (or mention them),  I put a link.  No more no less.  So I am NOT objective, my articles are different because of advertisers. As my disclaimer at the bottom says.  My opinions and articles are influenced by advertisers.   It’s also the reason I don’t take sponsored posts.  I do want the opinions to be mine, skewed or not.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, it’s life.  When those that give or support stop giving, the receiver forgets and moves on.  Usually looking for the next person that will help.  This also doesn’t mean that writers with advertising are lying about their likes and dislikes.  It truly IS their opinion. It was just naturally swayed before they ever started writing.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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  1. JO

    DomainTools might make more money if they lowered their subscription prices a tad…… just saying.

  2. Jeff Schneider


    You are speaking to the choir, lots of endorsements are paycheck driven. You can see this very clearly with this gTLD experiment. Consumers don’t want them, who wants them? Paycheck driven supporters want them,even though this could be the biggest Marketing fiasco in Marketing History.

    It surely will not help fledgling Internet businesses that can hardly stand the BS factor that will drive them to adopting gTLDs that consumers will run from. Consumers are leery and are shunning doing business with unfamiliar extensions already. There are plenty of extensions already grandfathered into system that they avoid, now comes another horde of gTLDs ???

    Its enough to make Smart Online Marketers vomit at whats going down. Paycheck Driven? You Betcha!

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

  3. Poor Uncle

    Hi Shane, so you do tv and radio advertising for your day job, right? So, if one day you decide not to pay for the airtime anymore, do you expect the people, whom you had developed a friendship over the years, to play your ads?

    Man, the older I get the less I think I know what so call “smart” people think.

    1. Post author

      Poor Uncle,
      You missed the point. Of course I don’t expect them to keep playing the commercials. This is more my point, when they have a list of “Their favorite Things” and one of our products is on there because we are an advertiser are we REALLY one of their favorite things. Are my products better than someone else’s or are we on there because we pay them? I know the answer but their listeners may not. Thanks for the “smart” snub

  4. Anthony

    I expect there will be several articles written in response to this one defending positions talking about % of income of advertising is low etc.

    This is a good article though, honest. I like this blog because you speak your mind and, although never vindictive, you dont really care about upsetting the apple cart.

    And your lists are good too 😉

  5. Simon Johnson

    Great article Shane.

    “So I am NOT objective, my articles are different because of advertisers.”

    More domain name bloggers should come out and fully disclose this. Well done.

  6. Arthur Askey

    You don’t seriously expect the majority of people to endorse something for nothing on the internet – do you?

    Why would anyone carry on investing their time without being paid?

    Friendship doesn’t make money.. it’s pathetic of you to think that way!

    1. Post author


      Absolutely not. Advertising makes the world go round. Friendship DOES make money but that’s not the basis of this article. You read the title and not the content. I probably should have put “friends” in quotations to help you understand my meaning. I am merely saying that when we write articles about products and services that are our articles it is difficult to write as objective as we would if they weren’t our advertiser. Pretty sure it’s not pathetic thinking. Maybe obvious, but not pathetic 🙂

  7. w4gy

    Its that way on pretty much every online medium.

    For me, it’s not offensive until it gets into hucksterism for a bad product. In my opinion, .co was always a terrible product in terms of it being upsold as an ‘alternative’ to .com. I didn’t need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to find out, I didn’t need Overstock to ‘teach me the lesson’. To witness otherwise credible people flogging that mess was pretty obnoxious to see.

    That sort of thing exists in every realm, though. There are guitar forums sponsored by entities that do a brisk business in peddling the music-gear equivalent of magic beans, if you go onto that forum and point out how absurd it is to spend $40 on a guitar pick or that indeed, the $18,000 “vintage” guitar has no special tonal properties that justify that price tag, well, you can get in trouble if that forum is sponsored by a $40 pick seller or a vintage guitar dealer.

    The internet is an incredible place for getting information but not necessarily a good place for finding knowledge. There are just too many agendas, too many non-objective monkeys pushing their own irrational beliefs, striving to confirm their own biases, too many breathless opinions based on everything but a careful and credible analysis of the matter at hand.

    There are precisely three domain bloggers who aren’t full of shit, you are one of them. I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

    1. Post author


      Absolutely. It’s part of every medium. People pay to get in front of people’s faces. It’s how commerce works. By the way, you named all the reasons I love and dislike the Internet. It’s a wide open frontier.

  8. Jeff Schneider

    AbdulBasit Makrani

    If you do not understand the direct correlation my comment has to do with shanes original comment maybe you should get an interpretor to help you.

    Gratefully, Jeff Schneider (Contact Group) (Metal Tiger)

    1. Post author


      I have to admit you write like a robot. Most of which makes no sense but your reply to Abdul sounded like an actual person. Not sure if English is your native language or you are using Google translate but either way people are making more fun than taking what you say seriously. I am just being honest.

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