A distinct honor…

If you’ve read my postings, you know I worship at the url of B&H Photography. I go to their site to do research and when I have the money – to make purchases, both for my personal use and for my school.

Well, now I have kind of a dilemma. B&H got in touch recently asking if I would like to become an associate. In a flash – of course!

But wait…this site is supposed to be transparent, so I have to not only let my audience know what I’m considering…I also want to know, what you think of this?

First – transparency. I have a personal bias. I like B&H as a reliable business, as a resource that I can turn to for research on equipment due to their detailed specs pages, and also because they seem to have it all. Can’t think of a time when I couldn’t find something there. Oh wait – a few times when I was researching gear no longer being manufactured. Yeah.

I have shopped (and very occasionally do shop) other sites. One rare time when I desperately needed a offbeat tripod plate they were out of. Hmmmm…that might be it.

BH’s prices are fair…generally competitive. For the peace of mind of knowing I just sent several hundred (or thousand) dollars out onto the world wide web and I know I will get what I ordered when I asked for it…I may pay a bit more than a cut rate unknown or even another reputable site with a great one time deal. I’m in it for the long haul. Ask my friends.

OK – so the bias out in the middle of the room.

And yes there is some money involved…if you were to ask me to share, I might be able to take a couple of you out for a Starbucks. Unless my audience are compulsive shoppers who will buy buy buy whatever they’re told to buy, my income potential is severely limited. I’ll keep the day job.

The concerns are these.
1. Do you consider it ethical for me to post recommendations for specific gear on this blog? I’ve kind of avoided this by explaining my thought processes and then giving a variety of choices in postings. I don’t want to be your parent and hold your hand and tell you want to do. You may end up hating my choices. And you would be correct if my choices didn’t fit your needs.
2. My news background has ruined me for sideline businesses. Right after I left news I was working on a documentary about artists painting across the US to commemorate all that was good and positive about our country when one of the bankers who was sponsoring the events offered me his contact information if I needed any “help.” So kick me in the head – I turned him down. Autopilot kicked in and the old news response of – don’t take favors – took over. The next morning I was mentally kicking myself because I wasn’t in news anymore and it would have been okay to say yes.

Nutshell: I really really want to do this, but don’t want to lose my audience or have you perceive me as tainted because I’m selling stuff on the blog. So you let me know…and in the meantime I have to check the wordpress rules cause I’m sure they have a say in this too.


5 thoughts on “A distinct honor…

  1. I really love all your gear posts. You’re very talented at knowing the basics of what people need, researching gear and making informed recommendations. I’ve always valued and trusted your advice on this.

    I think it’s fine for you to enter the B&H Affiliate program! I trust you that you won’t allow it to sway your recommendations. Just make a small widget at the top of your sidebar that says you’re part of it. Full disclosure is the only thing required in this instance.

    By the way, I’m part of the B&H Affiliate program. Check out my sidebar for my disclosure!

  2. After 28 years in news (and standing up to whatever forces tried to sway me during that period) and now seven plus years teaching and standing up to principals and for MY principles, I doubt that anyone can offer any kind of incentive to make me change my mind.
    I’m a – dammit what is that friggin word – Termagant!
    Bitter old lady with attitude.
    Thanks Angela – I knew you were an affiliate – and it is something I want to try on as a way to allow the audience to make choices without me ordering them to.

  3. You may want to take this with a grain of salt, or a pound considering where I work, but I’ve been online for B&H for a decade after two+ decades as a full-time shooter. I make sure people know my background and affiliation and after that’s been established I think making specific recommendations is fine.

    For example, if I’m mentioning Nikon I make sure to note I shot Nikon exclusively and my recommendation is based on that; not necessarily that Canon is bad, but that I know Nikon better.

    I think if you’re as transparent as possible, no one will have cause to question your integrity.

    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video

  4. Yeah…and that is exactly what I’m doing…letting folks know so they can make decisions based on their knowlege of my bias. I sure don’t want everyone cloning themselves and only shopping at one site – I for one LOVE choices.
    Thanks for your comments Henry & Amanda.
    Dissenters welcome too.

  5. I would suggest taking the approach of Tracy Record, an old-school ex-KCPQ asst. news director who now runs West Seattle Blog. Tracy makes it very, very, very clear without a doubt when she’s pitching a link to a sponsor. Just be transparent that you make money from the links.

    Quite frankly, taking off ye olde news hat and speaking as someone who once worked in education, if your suggestions are aimed towards your students and their parents, steering them to B&H if not another reputable camera store is not a bad idea. Unfortunately only about a dozen camera stores nationwide that sell high-end gear and won’t take you for a ride too. The phrase “Crooklyn camera shop” exists for a reason.

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