Friday, October 3, 2008

GlobCredit.com Will Never Sell Out


If you take a look around my site, you'll see several advertisements. These are called affiliate ads. Quite simply, I make money if you click one of the ads -- and consume one of the products (whether it be an approved credit card application or what have you). In order to get this kind of advertising, meanwhile, it is necessary to apply with the affiliate. The would-be affiliate then looks at your site and decides whether it wants to do business with you. If it does, you get a welcome note. If it doesn't, you're told to pound sand. Today I am writing about a would-be affiliate who told me to pound sand.

I'm not going to mention the company (a credit card company, by the way). That's not the point of today's story. Instead, I'm using my platform to make something very clear. I write for the benefit of my readers -- not my advertisers. I have American Express ads around this site. If American Express does something that merits a negative mention, then so be it. I write it. Although I have several Equifax ads sprinkled around this site, that didn't dissuade me from touting free Equifax FICO scores all day Wednesday. I write for my readers. I don't give my advertisers a second thought. Period. If they don't like what I write, they can pull out of the relationship.

Here is a little background about the tension that exists between advertisers and the media. If you've ever opened a newspaper, you've no doubt noticed the abundance of advertising. Indeed, about 65% of the paper is advertising. That's why you pay so little for your newspaper. Some advertisers are very important (VERY important). As a result, you don't want to piss one of them off -- for fear that advertisers will pull their ad program. Unfortunately, business interests (every now and then) get in the way of news judgment.

To be sure, not every media company bows to that kind of pressure. Some write what they're going to write, advertisers be damned. A quick search around the Internet will likely turn up a story or two about a media company having its advertising yanked because of unfavorable press coverage about the advertiser. It happens. But those are the kinds of news publications I want to write for -- and they're the kinds of news publications I want to read. I like journalistic independence.

Getting back to my own situation, my would-be ad partner decided to pass on me because of my writing slant. Apparently, my consumer-advocacy focus didn't play well with this particular advertiser. After spending time at GlobCredit.com, the ad representative reached this conclusion: "I see that you want to be a consumer advocate, but perhaps there is a more effective way to align content with advertisement." You think? Perhaps I should play nice with some of these credit card companies that I hammer on a regular basis? No thanks. Not surprisingly, my application was rejected. "At this time I cannot approve your application," this person wrote. I was invited to contact them again in the future.

I imagine that I can only contact this credit card company in the future when I have figured out how to write about credit in a way that doesn't rock the boat. It'll be a cold day in hell before that happens. I guess I won't be contacting these folks again. They're rejecting me? Out of principle, I reject them.

Meanwhile, my site exists for the sole purpose of educating my readers. Outside of the few items you purchase through the affiliate advertising on this site, I receive no compensation. None. I do what I do because I enjoy doing it. I pull no punches in my writing. I don't worry about offending card companies (affiliate or not). You get the truth and nothing but the truth. If an affiliate relationship is conditioned upon me selling out my principles, then I'll pass.

I write for my readers.

No one else.

27 comments:

Bob Wang said...

I wouldn't read you if I felt you were not objective.
To thyself be true

Bob Wang said...

Heh, heh, I just saw a Discover Business app link ;-)

Credit Matters said...

Thanks, BW. I'll always have an affinity to my readers. Any scratch I make from this site is gravy. I don't need a dime of it. Plus, the scratch ain't much. LOL. Enough for a dinner once a month.

Credit Matters said...

BW, I see one right now -- even as I type this comment. It's right above the comment box. Haha.

Bob Wang said...

I KNOW you have expensive tastes ;-)

Credit Matters said...

You can eat at Roy's for about $100 per couple -- not including wine. I'm a cheap date.

Credit Matters said...

BTW, I got the news today about the rejection. I immediately banged this story out. Let's say that I was irritated when I wrote it.

Bob Wang said...

Couldn't really tell.
Hope it was cathartic.

Jake said...

So I guess it doesn't pay to discover.

Bob Wang said...

5% back at restaurants with personal Discover this quarter.
Of course with the $400 cap, it's only $20.

Credit Matters said...

Jake, it wasn't Discover.

Credit Matters said...

BW, that sucks. So you get 5% for restaurants, but cap out at $400 in purchases? Not much savings.

Bob Wang said...

Yeah, sometimes I wonder why I even bother.

Credit Matters said...

Discover is on my hit list (after I hit 800). Hopefully I get a workable limit.

The Lion said...

You gotta be true to yourself, CM, and damn everyone else. If they don't like what you have to say, well, they probably aren't a company I would want to do business with (although, in fairness, most credit card companies probably don't like what you say since you side with consumers).

Thanks for the site and keeping the ads true to what you believe in. This is why I don't advertise on mine...I doubt anyone would want to! Ha!

Hkbushido said...

That's why I visit this site on a daily bases now. Because I know I can get the facts, learn something new and the comments by CB are not sugar coated.

ty Marcus and hope you'll be doing this for a long while and not just a hobby until you graduate :)

Don Miguel said...

Good on you! Hope you still make some scratch even without their tainted money.

Cosmo's Human said...

That is why I like this blog. I also like the magazine, "Consumer Reports".

I hate when my favorite metal bands "sell out" as well.

You rock!

HM

awedio said...

Which report does Discover pull?

Can you apply for Discover personal & business with just 1 pull?

Credit Matters said...

Awedio, not sure who Discover pulls. It seems to be different for everyone. For me, Discover pulls TU. Lately, people have been reporting no pull at all. Not sure what's going on there. Ha!

As far as I know, Discover DOES NOT do one pull for a biz and personal card.

Credit Matters said...

I was somewhat surprised to see this company say what it said. Does this person really think my blog is that influential? I figured the only company that would not want to do biz with me would be Wamu (now CHAMU). I hammer Wamu on nearly a daily basis. Hahah.

Anonymous said...

If I am not mistaken advertisers want our eyeballs on their ads. If a particular site or publication attracts many viewers they the advertisers should understand your success is driven by content.

Altering the very content that attracts those eyeballs to suit the whims of advertisers is a surefire way to alienate the subscribers. Not sure when "advocacy" became a dirty word but I sure don't like it.

Anyway I enjoy your articles they educate and even provide entertainment value lacking in many traditional publications.

Credit Matters said...

Anon, yes, apparently being a consumer advocate wasn't good. Not sure when it became a dirty word, either. But it wasn't an attribute with this particular advertiser.

Anon, glad you like my writing style. I like to think I am fairly irreverent and light. Most publications are too stiff.

We're all friends here. I write like that.

Jim in the City of New York said...

Good to see that you aren't selling out.

Nick Denton (head of Gawker and a cantankerous butthole) is. Not too happy that two editors of the Consumerist (under Denton's control) are being given the pink slip. All in the name of increasing revenue. Consumer advocacy and quality articles be damned.

If things keep heading that way there, looks like you just might be the only blogger that I read daily, Marcus!

Credit Matters said...

Jim, I worked for a media company (several actually) that care only about the bottom line. I understand that it's business, but the media is moving away from its mission when it sells out.

The problem with the media is that we're all fricken fungible -- or at least that's what management thinks. We're easily replaced with low-cost labor. That's BS. It alienates readers. And they notice when their favorites are axed in the name of money.

I could rant all day long, but I'd be preaching to the choir here, Jim.

My site is about consumer advocacy. I don't need the money. I can write til my fingers fall off. And I will do it for free.

Anonymous said...

Why the unfettered adoration of all things CB? While CB has SOME useful info it has a LARGE membership of a-holes who run the helpful minority off the site.

Stay 100% independent and you won't have to kow tow to anyone.

Credit Matters said...

Anon, thanks for the note. I can only speak for myself. I have enjoyed CB quite a bit.

But duly noted on 100% independent.

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