Should we ban unlabled affiliate links from Mahalo?

It seems the members of our editorial team are declining to list pages in Mahalo that have hidden affiliate links.

Questions:

  1. Should Mahalo ban all sites that have hidden/undisclosed affiliate links?
  2. Should Mahalo allow great sites that have hidden/undisclosed affiliate links?
  3. Google has banned paid links, do you think they should follow Mahalo and ban/lower the ranking of pages with undisclosed affiliate links?

  • http://siteriver.com Phil Barnhart

    Excluding twitter for the moment, why not use an existing paradigm to deal with affiliate links – semantically as microformats?. Something as simple as rel=”affiliate” might be sufficient. A more complex microformat might identify the advertiser or network (a la rel=”license” microformat”).

    This way, the small percentage of people who may be concerned can download the inevitable plugin if needed, management and links to privacy and disclosure pages automated, etc. Of course, the real drivers of this may need to the actual affiliate programs – if CJ for example put this in their auto code generation tool.

    As for Twitter, the major URL shorteners like BudURL could simply set up a complementary domain for affiliate/sponsored links and maintain the disclosure on their site via a link preview function. Again, it would help if Twitter then autotagged the URL.

    A modest proposal, at least. And requires no one else’s permission to start!