Trust - Your Online Reputation

Your Online Reputation Counts: Part Two -€“ Selling Your Integrity

Crossed Fingers HandshakeLast month I posted Your Online Reputation Counts: Part One – Scores And Ranking. In part two, we’ll look at our online reputation as it pertains to integrity. Wikipedia defines integrity as…

In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions.

This is our second instalment of the “Your Online Reputation Counts” series (See Part 1 & Part 3).

Forward

Many blogs deal with how to increase traffic, how to promote blog posts, how to do effective SEO, and so on. But how often is the word “integrity” mentioned in blogging tips? Recently, I asked readers if it was possible for a blogger to be both an idealist and a pragmatist. The lure of easy money may tempt bloggers to suspend their ethics momentarily, but the Internet is forever. It doesn’t forget. Trust, once lost, is nearly impossible to regain. I think our personal integrity is worth more than that. I’m happy to see the conversation extended as Brian, Mitch, and Sheryl discuss the importance of safeguarding personal integrity when tempted to accept paid posts as advertising or doing product reviews.

Holly Jahangiri

A Discussion On Integrity

In one of Sunday’s hangouts, Paid Posts & Blogging Integrity, (embedded below), Mitch Mitchell of I’m Just Sharing talked about blogger integrity when it comes to things like paid posts and product reviews.

Rightfully, Mitch says that without trust, we lose that visitor’s respect, as well as any potential sales (paraphrasing). Trust is important and, on a personal level, there’€™s no one I know online with more integrity than Mitch Mitchell. So, as you can see, his firm stance on trust and reputation works! See Mitch’s post: Would You Recommend Something Unethical For Money?

There are a lot of bloggers that accept paid posts on their blogs, and that’s a personal choice. Personally, I think it’s risky at best. Our online reputation is our greatest asset Tweet This and, like Mitch said, paid posts put that reputation at risk.

I’m not here to criticize those that accept posts as forms of paid advertisements; I just want to caution those that may be considering them of the dangers involved.

Advertisements And Recommendations

Back to that online reputation, we MUST hold the trust of our readership and subscribers if we expect them to follow our product recommendations. Once we convince someone to spend their hard-earned money based on our review, we risk buyer resentment if we’re not completely honest. We, as bloggers and marketers, should never allow profits to buy or replace our integrity.

My Policy

I’ve been a blogger for a long time and I even had a little stretch as a successful internet marketer. From day one, I’ve lived and worked with one simple principle…

I NEVER recommend or promote a product I haven’t tried and wouldn’t personally recommend. (Click here to tweet this quote!)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a saint, far from it. I just understand the importance of that fundamental trust that determines the future of our online business.

Product Reviews

Some look at product reviews as just another form of advertising but I disagree. I will review a product that I feel will benefit my subscribers as long as it’s on my terms. My terms are pretty simple… I must try the product, at their expense, and I only give an honest review. If it’s a product I like and can recommend, we’re in great shape. If I think the product sucks, I’ll send the business my written review telling them why it sucks and that review will not be posted for my readers. The only exception to that is if I believe it’s a scam; then I’ll feel obliged to warn others about it.

A Quick Personal Story

Real quick, before cell phones, MP3 players and even the personal computer, I was an over the road truck driver; yeah, I’m old :). I would travel all over the Country and I loved to drive at night and listen to a late night talk radio host. He’s since past away but this guy built an unbreakable reputation by refusing to compromise his integrity when it came to corporate sponsors. You simply could not advertise on his syndicated radio show without sending or giving him the product first. If he liked the product, he’d accept the advertiser. If he didn’t like it, he’d reject the advertiser and keep the product. lol I thought that was a pretty cool gig and I’ve been doing the same thing online myself. Talking about a win win. 🙂

How Important Is Your Reputation?

Do you protect your integrity or do you think it’s just about doing business and nothing more? Do you accept paid posts? Don’t worry; I’m not here to judge. Like I said, it’s a personal choice. Do you review products? Do you think it’s necessary to test a product out personally in order to recommend it? Your comments count here!

This is our second instalment of the “Your Online Reputation Counts” series (See Part 1 & Part 3).

Image was created with the help of the PhotoFunia Android App.