On Friday, Glenn Reynolds, posting about the Armstrong Williams scandal, goes out of his way to write about his purity:
I've never had anybody offer me money in exchange for blog posts (bogus claims regarding Wonkette notwithstanding), but I have been offered substantial amounts of money to author opeds furthering the agenda of some people. I declined; even if it were an opinion I already held, undisclosed third-party payola just seemed wrong to me.
But quite ironically, on the very same day he wrote a shameless advertisement pretending to be a normal post where he tries to get you to buy a cordless percolator and a french press.
In case you don't know how this stuff works, Glenn Reynolds is using affiliate links. If you click on his link and buy the item, Glenn Reynolds gets a kickback. Essentially he's getting paid to write a blog post about a percolator.
I don't see such a big difference between being paid to write about a political agenda and being paid to write about a percolator. In both cases, he's converting his respect and internet traffic into cash.
Glenn Reynolds might point out that it's transparent he's getting a kickback from the percolator, because anyone can tell by examining the link. And he would have a point, but I think that the majority of web surfers don't realize the true nature of affiliate links and they think Glenn is just enthusiastic about a percolator.
I don't want to get on the bad side of a handsome rich guy like Glenn Reynolds (too bad he's married). I don't think he's done anything wrong by trying to sell a percolator. Many websites shamelessly comingle editorial content with advertising. Check out Christian website WorldnetDaily for example. If I had over 100,000 hits per day like Glenn, you can be sure that I would be trying to make some money from my traffic!
Don't be mad at me Glenn, I still love you.
I wrote another post on this topic: Did Glenn Reynolds really comment on my blog?