Self-promotion does not feel right to me. I feel fine introducing myself and speaking of my experience when asked, but it is difficult to walk into a room and say, "hey, everyone should listen to me because I am way awesome."
I am also fine referring other people to things that I like or use. I think I even deserve a cut of the profits for helping out.
But do I want a Lexus advertisement introducing my breakthrough internet video? I really don't. I don't care about Lexus, they don't care about me. Attention is being brokered without proper care.
I like flashlights and intend soon to review them at this location, with links to buy them. I find this a valuable service on the internet. I would even accept gifts of flashlights to review. But will I put up a banner ad to a flashlight site? No way. I am the flashlight site, I just don't sell flashlights and I am not going to give away my review(read: my culture, my time, my energy, my internet connection, my computer resources) for free on the site of the seller.
I drive a Toyoota and it's been a good car but would I choose them as a sponsor for my internet video? I would. If a different company offered me more money and a new car to switch, I don't think I'd take it. If someone said, 'well that video at the beginning of your video is advertising," I'd respond, "Nope. It's referral." That is not a semantic difference and it is not picking nits.
Toyota may call it advertising, but on this site and in my video distribution, I decide what things are called. We should expect Gorgle and Toyoota to be wrong some of the time anyway.
In a way I kick myself for both decisions. On one hand my face is plastered onto the hull of this mega-corporation and on the other hand I'm turning down a wad of cash over mere principle.
How much is integrity worth on the internet? In the world? (and does true love still exist, and what does it all mean, and on and on, but still) I'm going to gamble on the idea that actual product loyalty is a legitimate means of making revenue off of referral service, and that will be lucrative enough to be worthwhile.
After all of this consideration of what others are going to find value in, it's easy to lose track of a more important question. Even if my integrity isn't worth anything to others, what's it worth to me?
If you build it they will come, right?