Tip your blogger! Romenesko, linked by Romenesko

Everyone knows that a link on Romenesko is precious – and certainly not conferred willy-nilly (Lord knows Fishbowl has been under-represented in those parts!). Yet today, at the bottom of the “Additional items for January 18, 2006” link-list, is this item:

The news is strange at Romenesko’s Obscure Store & Reading Room

Yes, Romenesko has a personal site, with links to weird and wonderful stories….and not one but two tip jars: a PayPal Tip Jar and an Amazon Tip Jar.

So – who else thinks there’s a problem with Romenesko linking to his own personal for-profit site via his very powerful professional Poynter site? (He also has an eBay store, where recently he 10 vintage Spy magazines on sale for $10 – a steal! – but no one bought.) Individually, the “strange news” linked on his Obscure Store blog could be linked on Romenesko without his site as the middleman; or, even better, he could have linked another, completely separate article in that space (we’re pretty confident there’s some relevant stuff around).

Much has been made of Romenesko’s salary since this summer when it was first broken by Mediacrity (and picked up by the Times, etc.). Mediacrity has since tracked it into a slight dip, but he still seems to be doing just fine without cultivating tips. What he does on his own personal site is his business (there and on his other blog, Starbucks Gossip, which also links to the PayPal tip jar), but it seems to me that his personal and professional sites ought not be quite so closely linked.

Obscure Store & Reading Room
Starbucks Gossip
Romenesko

Update: A reader writes that Romenesko has been so linking since 1999, citing an example from 1999, 2001, 2003, and writes “Romenesko worked 52 weeks last year, and took two weekdays off. Give him a break. That’s what he does, and Poynter (and his many loyal readers, which obviously doesn’t include you) love him for it.”

No doubt. That said, I am not questioning how hard he works, I am not questioning the service he provides, I am questioning whether it is appropriate for him to be linking to his own personal site which has two personal tip jars. I welcome reader feedback on the matter. And, separately, I’d encourage you to click on those old archived links – they lead to a perfect time capsule of the news at that time. Kind of amazing to look back.