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Conflict of interest

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Andy.N, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Andy.N

    Andy.N Well-Known Member

    If you run a site that writes about companies/car makers/etc...would you accept advertising when those same companies/car makers/etc contact you directly?

    Or would you try to find revenues in a different sector?
  2. Ingenious

    Ingenious Well-Known Member

    That's a decision only you can make depending on how you want your site to operate and whether you want to take impartiality to its extreme in not accepting related adverts.

    However all the motoring press take adverts from companies they write about, so why not you? Also, you are far more likely to get more revenue and more advertisers by taking on adverts directly related to your content. Another good reason to take adverts from them is you can do this direct - so you get 100% of the revenue instead of going via an agency or adwords.

    You can put your reader's minds at rest with an advertisers policy, in which you state your connection (or not) with advertisers, also ensuring you only link direct (and don't use referal codes and the likes, which would suggest you are biased in favour of writing about products and companies who you will make money from).

    However once you take on a few advertisers who are also competitors this will balance things out.

    There is no right or wrong way of doing this, it is down to you to decide how you want to play it :)
    Andy.N and Lucas like this.
  3. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Yes, of course. But I would also never accept if they try to influence me or other writers.
    Andy.N likes this.
  4. ManagerJosh

    ManagerJosh Well-Known Member

    If anything, public disclosure. This way you're not hiding it and it won't blow up in your face as bad if people find out.
    Andy.N likes this.
  5. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    These people are more likely to pay a better price.

    The p8ntballer forums only have paintball adverts, but there are no "favors" included. It is purely a business relationship, they pay for the space, they get a banner. And thats as far as it goes.
    Andy.N likes this.
  6. Fred Sherman

    Fred Sherman Well-Known Member

    If that's your site's demographics, then they are the best potential advertisers. I'd just make it clear that accepting advertisements isn't the same as endorsement, nor would you sell out your impartiality when doing reviews to be more favorable to advertisers.
  7. Andy.N

    Andy.N Well-Known Member

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    let me clarify a bit and hopefully get a more focused input.

    The site in question is a #1 in its niche. And there is no #2 or #3.
    For years, it has been a source of information for people looking into which car to buy, a place where car owners can reviews cars. It also publishes a highly influential ranking of car makers.

    So naturally, this creates a highly desirable demographics for car makers who want some exposures. There was not, have not or will not be any kind of favor. It's a purely business relationship.

    The cars makers pay huge some of money to have their banners compete on the site. There is a leaderboard and a rectangular banners so it's not to say the site is full of flashing banners.

    The money involved is of the order of 50K+ annually and growing. For the past few years, it remains one of the main revenue for the site. In the near future, the site will have sell its own products which will make these advertising revenue just a small fraction of the income.

    Now, the site itself does not review car makers so there is no favor to be done here. In fact, people will go to the site to read fair criticism of any of them, a sponsor or not.

    That does not mean people/competitors will not use the fact that the site takes money from the people they suppose to be independent from. And they will not believe that the site will be impartial.

    So the question is, with the big picture, is it worth it to give up these income stream?
  8. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Why should you give up the revenue? I would make it clear for the readers of the site that the site and it's owners are independent, maybe on it's own dedicated page.
  9. Andy.N

    Andy.N Well-Known Member

    How would you do this, Walter? Put it on a link somewhere that majority of your readers never read?
  10. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    Are you saying that you now sell ads on your site, but want to know if it is worth the trouble?
    Or are you asking if you will somehow in the eyes of your community will become more impartial if you stop selling ads?

  11. Andy.N

    Andy.N Well-Known Member

    The site is selling ads and wonder the revenue would be worth it in the long term when the ads revenue in absolutely terms will be a smaller fraction of our income.

    Of course, the value of the site is the perceived impartiality in the eyes of our community.
  12. Fred Sherman

    Fred Sherman Well-Known Member

    No, not really. The importance of the site is the perceived impartiality. The value of the sire in the monetization of the site equal to net revenue trending over a three year period.

    So the real question is do you want to make the site more important, but less valuable?
  13. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    This is an interesting discussion. Partly because in several ways I am in the same position. And I am fully aware how painful selling ads direct to manufactures is.

    In general having multiple revenue streams is better, because there are always ups/downs with revenue streams - and the effects of those would be mitigated with more than 1 revenue stream.
    Interesting thought.

    Though it takes money to run a site, that money needs to come from somewhere... and if the site is selling their own products, even if it rave reviews, the site could be viewed as slanted towards the sites products and against the other manufacturers products.

    I would keep the ads you have now :)
  14. Andy.N

    Andy.N Well-Known Member

    for us it is v very easy because we don't even have to go find sponsors. They know and come to us directly and we can set the price. To eliminate not serious enough sponsor we set the price very high. We do not compete directly as we don't make car but rather have complimentary services for car buyers.
    Fred put it nicely. We are at the cross road where we need to decide if the business model is working for us our not.in the big scheme of things maximize our revenue or go broke work for free to make the world a better place.

    Most forum will never face this as this is a growing pain for some sites. Do of anyone is in this boat feel free to comment.
  15. Dean

    Dean Well-Known Member

    I am in the same situation, and you have my input.
  16. Andy.N

    Andy.N Well-Known Member

    Just as we had this discussion yesterday today one of the biggest names called the site to propose several advertising leakages. When you do the right things by your users the money will come knocking.

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