This is a story about someone who had to make an interesting business decision in the online world. If you have a similar story–or a different opinion about the situation–I’d love to hear it.
A colleague was approached about providing content for a large website with a very interesting business model and a lot of fans. Some well-known bloggers write for them. Having one’s name there could deliver a lot of exposure and has the potential to drive significant traffic to that person’s own website.
My colleague’s content would be business-related but in general, the site is not G-rated. Just the fact that we used the word “racy” in discussing the rest of the site’s content totally labels us as dinosaurs. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
If you worked for them, would you list them on your resume or LinkedIn profile? Would you ask them for a testimonial?
If they had an actual storefront in your town, how would you feel if they put a poster with your face and a description of your contribution in their front window?
We’re tempted to treat clients and colleagues with web-based businesses completely differently from brick-and-mortar businesses. But the basic principles of business operation and association still apply online.
Let’s face it: everyone’s online presence is created out of a series of calculated risks. In cyberspace or the blogosphere, we can’t really afford to “hook up” with any businesses that we wouldn’t patronize. Nothing is private; everything comes out from under the radar eventually. Just ask Rep. Weiner.
My colleague is going to turn down the offer. I think the whole purpose of our discussion was just to validate a choice that had already been made. With that said, I did give some advice in the end: figure out what was attractive about the offer you received—the money, a new audience, different topics to write about, etc. Research sites that offer the same advantages but that feel compatible with your brand, and pitch them for the same kind of work. It will come eventually.