Expert: Manfred Luigi Lugmayr, I4U.com
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About the Expert
Manfred “Luigi” Lugmayr is the Chief Editor of I4U.com, a technology lifestyle magazine and shopping guide with a focus on technology trends and the globalization of the gadget market. I4U taps sources all around the world to give readers a complete picture of all new technology trends and also reviews new products and those that are looking for distribution. I4U LLC is based in the USA and not only operates I4U but several technology focused blogs including Gear Live, Camborg, Wrist Dreams, PVP4U, Music Fanboy, and Playfeed. Additionally, I4U provides Shopping Guides for Consumer Electronics like FlatScreenMania.com, BuyThisGadget.com and I4UPriceWatch. With all these blogs, Luigi has proven that interesting news can also be shopping related. For this reason, we could think of no better individual to write in how to make the blogging and shopping marriage work.
Can combining blogging and shopping on your site be a match made in Heaven? Critics will quickly point out that blogs should be unbiased and free from commercial ties. I agree with the unbiased request, but not with the commercial ties. Sure there are many folks out there that blog just for the sake of being heard. But many people, especially those who are reading this, are blogging to make some money or ultimately to even quit their day job. Issues with shopping related content can arise when you use links to shops that pay you a commission (I do not focus here on contextual ads or banners, as users are familiar with them). There is an intrinsic bias that your readers can pick up on or get upset about. I have almost never received negative feedback on our practice of linking to product offerings via affiliate links. Why? For I4U NEWS, shopping is part of the content. A cool new product that is available for pre-order on Amazon.com or another site is interesting news. My readers are interested when I find a unique new product on an Asian export site. I am up front in describing what the blog is all about. Our site title reads: “Technology News and Shopping Guide”. If we review a product we offer prominent ways to purchase the product. I try to give users a fair choice for shopping by combining a link to my favorite vendor (highest conversion and commission ratio) and a link to our price comparison partners. To maintain credibility for a blog that offers shopping, the important things to keep in mind are:
- Make it clear to your readers that your site is offering shopping tips
- Make shopping an interesting part of your blog content
- Give your users more than one choice to purchase a featured product
- Only feature products and vendors that you can personally stand behind
- Listen to feedback or complaints from your Users about featured products and vendors.