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Let's say I have enough reputation and participation on Stack Overflow or any of the Stack Exchange sites to realistically get a blog entry published, and I decide to leverage this into $.

There are many ways this might be done. For example, I might go find a lawyer to address some of the many questions about software licensing found on Programmers, quote him extensively in a post, and provide contact information for that lawyer's practice.

In exchange, I get $, or free legal advice, or some kind of valuable consideration.

Or I might do any form of product placement, in the context of an otherwise potentially useful blog entry.

Is this allowed? Should it be? Is the policy network wide or determined on a site by site basis? Is it OK if it's clearly disclosed? If it isn't (or won't) be allowed, how is it enforced?

There seems (to me) to be a little more room for exploitation on a blog entry than for a question or answer, so I was wondering what the rules are, if any.

I apologize for the many questions, but I believe they are closely related even though I couldn't find a way to make it into a coherent single uber-question.

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1. Write a blog post 2. <something> 3. Profit? –  Aaron Bertrand Nov 22 '12 at 0:25
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3 Answers 3

I'm just going to steal a reply Robert Cartaino wrote over on the Programmers meta:

Adding affiliate links or any type of commercial or promotional activity to blog posts would not be appropriate.

These blogs are not the personal property of those who write the articles. These blog posts are supposed to be a resource for the community. Once folks start wondering "what kind of money you could earn if…" the motivations start to get muddled. Obviously, we cannot provide equal time for everyone who has a product to review or a book to mention. So even if we could assure all the stipulations you cited above, there is just too much potential for stepping over some arbitrary line.

Folks here are willing to contribute their time and their knowledge into creating these resources. Whether they do it for fun, or to share their knowledge, or just to show off a bit, I wouldn't want to be put in the position of saying their activities have become too self serving.

It's best to have a clear and unambiguous line up front. No affiliate links in blog posts.

We do not allow any type of promotion, advertising, etc. in posts on community blogs.

Far as enforcement goes... either we'll read the post and see it or someone will notify us. The post will be edited or removed, and repeat offenders may be prohibited from posting further.

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Personally, I think this is absurd. If I can just as easily pepper the main site with all kinds of answers that promote things that directly or indirectly send money my way. So why would I go out of my way to gain access to blogoverflow, then write a blog post there, when it has a lot more barriers to entry and which gets much lower traffic than the site in general? In other words, if I want to promote myself (or products / services that benefit me somehow) in nefarious ways, I can already do that and there is no significant impedance to doing so.

I think you are making up something to worry yourself about. I'm much more concerned about the quality of the site than the opportunity some fast thinker might have by taking advantage of their ability to blog on blogoverflow. I have one post there and if you think the mention of a free tool that my company produces would benefit me in such a way that would offset the amount of time and effort it took to put that post together, you're dreaming.

If anything, the production of quality content - on the blog or on the site - will "promote" a person in a bunch of different ways, whether that is part of their motivation and whether they tried to influence that directly / explicitly.

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So If I understand you, you'd have a lawyer drill down through the software licensing type questions on Programmers, reply to those questions with a reference/quote from him, in an attempt to get him more publicity?

It seems like May I promote here? from the FAQ covers this angle nicely. The community wouldn't really put up with it for long, especially if you're attempting to profit heavily from it. At that point, someone in Stack Exchange would ask you kindly to buy ad space, and the community would concur.

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I think it is much narrower than that - the OP is talking about blog posts on blogoverflow, not questions / answers / comments on the main site. –  Aaron Bertrand Nov 22 '12 at 1:07
    
SO I suppose then the question I'd have is, why wouldn't that rule apply as well to BlogOverflow as it does the rest of the SE network? –  Makoto Nov 22 '12 at 1:08
    
Why does a rule need to apply? How do you know it doesn't, and that bloggers invited to blog here don't agree to some set of terms? Blogging on blogoverflow is not just a free-for-all and, at least in my experience, there is some amount of vetting that takes place. And the consequences of violating even the rules that apply to the rest of the site would not be surprising if someone still tried to take advantage as you are suggesting. I would recommend worrying about this when (a) you are invited to blog or (b) you see evidence of such abuse. –  Aaron Bertrand Nov 22 '12 at 1:12
    
And in fact it is possible that the line item from the FAQ does apply to the blog as well as the entire network, I don't know. The difference is that the community at large does not have a direct way to judge violations of the rules that take place in a blog post, and even less ability to do anything about it. But I suspect that unlike the thousands and thousands of answers on the main site there is a much more focused bit of scrutiny on the blog posts - they have to get reviewed before they're even published, and they are likely to get attention after they're published as well. –  Aaron Bertrand Nov 22 '12 at 1:17
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