Although I am a blogger that covers the domain business, I am first and foremost a domain investor. The proceeds from my domain investments are what drives the majority of my income, and it is because of my domain investments and involvements in the domain industry that I am able to write a blog that has unique insight and information on a daily basis.
Without any doubt, I have plenty of personal and business conflicts, and most are fairly obvious. There are many companies I write about that either pay for advertising or have paid for advertising. Some companies give me discounts, although that is likely due to my being a customer for an extended period of time and the quantity of my inventory, but I am sure I do receive benefits because I am a blogger, speaker/panelist, and an active participant in the industry. I try to be as impartial as possible when I write because 1) it’s the right thing to do and 2) I value my credibility more than the income from this blog.
I do or have done business with almost every company that operates in the domain space. I do this because I have to in order to be competitive and because I want to try out different services. I have had breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks, cocktails, or something else with almost every executive working for many domain related companies. I am friends or friendly with many of these executives and employees of domain companies. Some are business friendships and some are friendships that go beyond domain investing.
Domain investing is what I do full time, and as a result, I know many people that operate in this industry (for better or worse). Because of my business and personal relationships, I receive tips and news articles from friends, business associates, advertisers, and others who I know. I post articles I am interested in posting, and they are articles I write, unless it’s written as a guest post. This means opinions and observations are mine, not what someone else wrote for me to post. My litmus test is whether it’s something I would find interesting or helpful to read if I was visiting this blog.
I think it’s impossible to be a journalist in the domain space without any conflicts. It’s somewhat of a clandestine industry, and there aren’t many places to learn the nuances of the business without actually becoming involved in the business. I attribute my active involvement for being able to offer tips, insight, and personal analysis, which I couldn’t do to the extent I do if I was a hobbyist or someone that wasn’t active in the business.
I have never investigated whether I am considered a journalist because that doesn’t matter to me. My blog is a place for me to give personal insight into what I see happening in the domain business. Sometimes my sentiments are echoed by others and sometimes people disagree with me. That’s fine, and even though I may be disagreeable in the comment section of my blog, I don’t censor comments unless they are inflammatory, self promoting (“I have a name for sale!”), or are what I deem personal attacks.
When you read my blog, you should know that I probably have many conflicts, and if I am writing about a topic, it’s likely because I have a personal reason for doing so (ie I found something helpful or beneficial to my own business that might be helpful to yours). I am either using a service or learned about something that I find interesting. I don’t take money to write reviews, and although I may have an affiliate link from time to time, it’s not usually even worth the hassle. I generally avoid affiliate links though because I don’t want people to think I am writing about something to make a few dollars. Trust me, even that perception isn’t worth the money.
I try to be impartial when I write, but no matter how hard I try, it’s impossible to be 100% impartial at all times. Just like almost everyone else who blogs or writes about the domain business, I have many conflicts and you should be aware of them if you somehow aren’t or thought otherwise.