Editor’s Note-The author who penned this article is Dustin Verburg, one of our many talented writers on staff at Page One Power. His articles cover a range of subjects, including search engine optimization (SEO), the ethics of the web and tips for writers and bloggers.
By Dustin Verburg, Published Oct. 4,2012, via Search Engine Journal
On September 25, Todd Mintz wrote an article titled “The Stench of Anonymous Blogging” onMarketing Pilgrim. It’s a well-written post, and Todd makes a ton of good points. Transparency, accountability, and authenticity are all important in the world of search marketing. There are plenty of professionals with good advice that write under their real names.
I’m sure there’s also a lot of bad, crappy content or entire articles full of false information that were written under the veil of anonymity. I think Todd’s post, while full of good points, leans toward the reactionary side. The Internet and anonymity have been joined at the hip for as long as I can remember, and it will continue on that path into the future if left to its own devices. The ethics of anonymous blogging are an interesting and important topic, and it’s one that merits further discussion.
Not Created Equal
Anonymous posts or articles written using a screen name, handle, or other pseudonyms that aren’t inherently lacking in value, nor are they inherently good. Each piece of content needs to be measured by what it actually is. Let’s look at content that people have put their real names on—Mike Daisey’s report for This American Life for Foxconn, for instance, contained multiple factual errors.
In the end, his name didn’t matter because someone sniffed out the BS. Todd writes, “Without accountability, the anonymous blogger can present whatever version of the truth he/she wishes without risk.” I argue that political pundits, most of whom use their real names, do exactly the same thing and reach a huge audience. They’re certainly not confined to the Internet, but they make good use of it to voice their version of the truth.
Posting under a name that’s not your own or under complete anonymity isn’t always the right choice. It’s not usually the right choice, but it can be the right choice when the author has a specific goal in mind. There needs to be a reason. If there’s a concrete reason that a writer’s not using his/her real name, the content needs to speak for itself. The words are what matter. Just because certain people abuse anonymity doesn’t mean that everyone has to use their real name for everything they compose, especially on the Internet.
Relationships and Credibility
Todd’s spot on when he talks about accountability. He is accountable for his content, and if he’s posting on someone else’s site, then that site owner is accountable as well. He doesn’t cite any examples of these anonymous guest posts, but I’d wager that these anonymous authors have a good relationship with the respective site owners. The site owners trust them and are willing to post their anonymous content.
[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://pageonepower.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/BeFunky_Bw_11.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Dustin Verburg is a writer, link builder and content developer for Page One Power. He recently graduated from Boise State University, where he majored in English and communication.
Dustin writes about internet ethics, good blogging practices and white hat SEO, all of which he is passionate about.
When he’s not building links, Dustin enjoys writing about music, reading comic books and playing in his endearingly sloppy punk band. You can reach him at dverburg @ pageonepower dot com or on Twitter or Google+. [/author_info] [/author]