Trust is the core of the relationship between a writer and his readers and I take that very seriously. That’s why I always disclose any potential conflict of interest that readers may feel could affect my opinion.
These conflict of interest could relate to anything, but there are two types of articles in which they most commonly occur: product reviews and destination stories.
Product Reviews and Affiliate Links
On some pages of my site you will see links marked with an asterisk (*), which means that they are affiliate links.
An affiliate link is a special link that I put on my website. If you click on that link and then go on to buy a product, the vendor will know you came from my website and pay me a (very) small commission for sending them a customer.
I never recommend products just to make a commission. I only recommend products that I think are great.
There are a few reasons for this.
First, the commission is so small that it’s really not worth it for me to go through the trouble to create a post just for an affiliate link. I only put affiliate links in posts that I wanted to write because I thought people would find them entertaining or useful.
Second, affiliate links are standard business practice on the web. I can get an affiliate link for pretty much any website or product that I want. So, I’m free to choose any product or website that I want to recommend, and insert an affiliate link for it.
Destination Stories and Press Trips
I’m often invited on press trips to visit destinations. Press trips are free or cheap trips offered by destination marketing organizations to travel writers and bloggers in the hopes that the writer or blogger will write a favourable piece about the destination.
Writing a favourable piece about the destination, however, is not a requirement for the trip. It is just what the DMO is hoping to receive.
Whenever you read a story that I’ve written about a place, you will be reading my own opinions about the place.
I will also mention at the bottom of the story that the trip was sponsored.
This comes with one caveat: DMO’s can’t force us to write nicely about them, so they work extremely hard to make press trips exceptional experiences for writers. So, if you read that I loved destination X, remember that the DMO paid a team to plan and guide the trip and make sure the I did love it.
If you have any suggestions about ways I can make my site more transparent, please feel free to comment below or contact me at xpatmatt (at) gmail (dot) com.