By the way, we never responded to John Freeman's foolish blog post about bloggers and money and conflicts of interest because, honestly, it seemed like one of those wrong-headed ideas best left to sink under its own weight. But had we mustered up the interest in responding, we probably would have said something along these lines: By Freeman's reasoning, his own reviews (at least, any positive ones) can similarily be dismissed, given the acceptance of his host publications of advertising dollars from the publishers of said books. Oh, he tries to preempt that line of debate:
It's one thing to accept advertising money: that's what has kept papers afloat for years. It's quite another to make a commission off the very object you are purporting to criticize
It's a nice little tautology but doesn't really go anywhere. Freeman never really explains why sustaining a newspaper should be any different than sustaining a blog. And why shouldn't we assume there's a possibility that reviewers might be subtly pressured to review a book one way or another? Editors can be notorious for watering down - or heating up - negative reviews. And finally, it's arguably considerably more meretricious to take adverstising greenbacks from anyone who can pay your page rates, versus being selective about who you choose to promote. Basically, John wants us to take his word for his purity but doesn't accept that bloggers might, in fact, make decisions about their titles before slapping on an Amazon link. (And in case you're wondering, we don't use any partner programs here, mainly because we're too lazy to manage the small amounts of money they might generate; but we don't look askance at those who do.)
C'mon, John. If you want to pick a fight with bloggers, there are dozens of legitimate fronts you can attack. But Amazon pennies? You're normally an acute critic, but for that one, you win the TEV Out Of Touch Award for the week. Let us know where to send your prize, a copy of John Updike's Terrorist ...