I’ve written several posts on this blog about SeaWorld, San Antonio. I love SeaWorld. I love that I have friends there. I love that they share new events with me.
I have NEVER taken a dime from SeaWorld (and they have never offered me a dime!), or anyone else, for any post on this blog. My thoughts are my thoughts. Sure – if SeaWorld shows me something cool, I will probably write about it. This is NOT any different than what Robert Scoble does, what Techcrunch does, or what any other news blog does.
Why is this coming up?
A recent article in Forbes mentions SeaWorld in conjunction with a pretty negative post about Izea, AKA PayPerPost.
A long-time reader saw that article – and asked me, rather bluntly, if I had taken blogola.
I absolutely have NOT. I have sold a few ads over the years (maybe totaling $500) based on content I had already written and published, but I have NEVER written a post in trade for anything. Not even a free beer. I write what I want to write – nothing more, and nothing less. NONE of those posts that paid me ad revenue were in any way related to SeaWorld.
It is also true that I *did* sign up for PayPerPost, back in the day. Back when they were being raked over the coals for being unethical. I didn’t want to take the word of someone else – I wanted to see how it “worked”. So yes, I signed up on PayPerPost. I have NEVER received a dime from them, or submitted ANY content to them.
I find it distressing that SeaWorld is even named in the same post with PayPerPost/Izea/Ted Murphy. I am also distressed that this has caused my own motives/ethics to be questioned. I don’t know what is going on in Orlando, Florida, but I am very confident in the SeaWorld San Antonio team, and how they handled the invitations for me to attend events. They never asked for ANYTHING in return from me. And I have been to large events, like launching a new roller coaster, to small events, that were more about their vision for the future, etc. I might have eaten a free taco, but those of you that know me know that I am not an eater – so free food cannot bribe me.
SeaWorld San Antonio is my friend, and I have made many friends there. My daughter has a season pass that was PAID for (by my ex).
So no. There was absolutely zero quid pro quo in any of my posts about SeaWorld San Antonio. Nothing more than friendships. Like many of my posts, I do talk about cool things friends are doing/have done.
I don’t know the details of this, beyond the article I reference above.
I just know MY SeaWorld here in San Antonio. And the PR team I have dealt with. And they have treated me with nothing but respect. Had they offered to pay me to post, I would have been offended, and they would have lost a customer, and an advocate. And probably a friend.
Instead they DID respect my morals as a blogger (and as a person) and offered me nothing in exchange for my attendance other than the ability to attend. To me, that was payment enough. Friends launched something – and I wanted to be among the first to play with it. In this case, it was an idea, or a roller coaster.
In most cases, it is a website.
But to me, the same criteria applies – I have to be interested in it, and I need an emotional investment in it. In the case of SeaWorld San Antonio it was a combination of both. Loved the new coaster I got to ride, and am emotionally attached to some of the staff. They are friends.
And friends don’t need to pay me for a post. Friends know me well enough not to offend me by offering. Friends know I will write about them when they do something that interests me.