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Originally published November 29 2006

NaturalNews emerges as top truly independent natural health news site

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Over the last three years, has grown to become the No. 1 truly independent natural health website in the world. What does "truly independent" mean? Simply that we have no financial relationships whatsoever with the nutritional products we write about or recommend, nor do we sell any such products.

Every article we write and every nutritional product we recommend to readers is based purely on an independent, unbiased and honest recommendation that benefits our readers, not our pocketbook. No other leading natural health website that I'm aware of can honestly make such a claim. Too many other sites promote whatever earns them the most money, not what benefits the readers most, and many sites won't even mention a product unless they get a cut of sales.

But here at NaturalNews, we're different. We operate from a foundation of principled ethics and a desire to enhance the lives of readers with the best knowledge and product information we can find, regardless of who manufactures those products. And given all the companies we've covered, from Cyanotech, the Amazon Herb Company, Wellness Resources, the Life Extension Foundation, Integrated Health, Good Cause Wellness, Eidonic Minerals, Nutiva, Ruth's Hemp Foods, Ola Loa, Nordic Naturals and countless others, we've never solicited a single company for any money or any cut of their sales. Not once.

Any journalist can verify this fact by calling all the companies we've publicized and asking them this question. The answer will be the same at every single one: "Neither Mike Adams nor NaturalNews has ever asked us for money to cover our products."

In a world where everything seems too commercialized, that stands for something. I believe that you have the right to know the truth about health products, and my intent is to bring you that truth as best I can. I realize that we're a relatively small operation, and there are many deserving products we should be covering but just haven't had the resources to cover yet, but we're working to grow our operations so that we can bring you more news, more health solutions and more information on relevant topics like global warming, renewable energy and green living. We will do it all, of course, with the same standard we apply to covering nutritional products: no payola.

It's a simple ethical standard, really. And I consider it fundamental to the issue of credibility. If some other website is talking about the benefits of their nutritional products -- while earning big profits on the sale of those products -- then how can you really trust what they're saying? They're obviously not independent. They have a profit agenda.

Of course, we do sell books and information products, but we draw the line when it comes to nutritional products. Our responsibility to you, the readers, is to remain independent, informed and honest when it comes to evaluating and recommending such products. That's why our recommendations carry so much weight across the industry. It's also why so many companies in the natural health marketplace are begging us to review their products.

A true story of an attempted bribe

I'm very, very selective of what I will review and recommend. Let me share a true story of what happened at the most recent Expo West trade show in Anaheim, California. It was on the last day of the show, and I was exploring the trade show floor, looking for some interesting new products to evaluate. I happened upon one company in a large booth selling a new food bar. The signs at their booth claimed their food bar was "ideal for diabetics," so I was interested enough to take a look.

I sat down at a table at their booth and introduced myself as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, editor of The gentleman across the table from me turned out to be the Vice President of this company, and he appeared more than a bit skeptical when I asked if I could read the ingredients on his food bar. He handed me the bar and said, "And this is the part where you tell me that you can cover my product if I pay you $10,000 right?" He was quite serious.

I read the ingredients label and noticed high-fructose corn syrup, along with several other bizarre ingredients that have no place in a food bar for diabetics. The bar was crap, and it was made with crap ingredients. So I looked up and answered, "Not exactly. This is the part where I tell you that I'm not willing to cover you bar at all. The ingredients are lousy. I can't recommend this product. But if it was a good product, I'd recommend it for free."

That's when one of his colleagues showed up and recognized me. He explained to the V.P. that I was the editor of NaturalNews, a really popular natural health news site, and that a product recommendation would be extremely valuable. Before long, this V.P. was begging me to stay and talk about how we might "work out some sort of deal" so that I could cover his product.

I literally had to walk away.

Now the interesting part is what I walked away FROM and what I walked away WITH.

I walked away FROM a pile of cash from a company selling a crap product at very high profit margins.

But I walked away WITH my ethics, values and honesty intact.

And that, my friends, is what it takes to be a real journalist in this field. I don't share this story to brag, but to explain how this stuff really happens, face to face, in the real world. It seems that every popular natural health website has a personality who made that site a success. Many of those personalities might have chosen to sit at that table and work out an "arrangement" whereby they would publicize a product to their readers and earn a cut on all the sales. They could then use those profits to buy more search engine clicks, further growing their reader base to which they would push even more questionable products on which they earn commissions. This is how some unethical website operators grow their visitor traffic statistics and earn more profits.

It's disgraceful. Not only because it's blatantly dishonest to the readers, but mostly because it's nearly the same thing the pharmaceutical companies do to maximize their profits, too. But I say we have to be better than that. If we are going to be champions of truth, honesty and ethics, then we must adhere to the standards we demand of others. If we criticize corporations for exploiting their customers to maximize profits, then we must act in a way that gives us the moral right to make such accusations with a degree of credibility.

I believe that myself and the entire NaturalNews team operate with the highest ethical standards in this industry. Time and time again, the presidents and founders of various nutritional companies have told me in person how astonished they are at our ethical standards and how well respected we are in the industry. It is a respect that is essentially earned by walking away from a pile of cash on the table, again and again, for as many times as it takes.

I am willing to keep walking away from that cash. My need for personal income is dwarfed by my need to know in my heart that with each day I invest in this NaturalNews endeavor, I have acted in a way that serves the greater good. I also know that each time I walk away from a pile of cash, I become even more resolute in adhering to a path of personal growth and service to others. It is almost as if temptation itself, if honestly overcome, becomes a teacher and allows for greater self reflection and spiritual confidence.

Today, I once again commit to you that myself and the entire NaturalNews team shall continue to earn your respect by acting in a manner that is consistent with high ethical expectations. When we criticize Big Pharma or various corporations, we shall do so from a place of credibility, by consistently demonstrating that we will not engage in the very behaviors we criticize. And above all, we shall never, under any circumstances, sell out to any food, supplement or natural medicine manufacturer by recommending an inferior product due to a profit motive.

NaturalNews is the natural health news source for people who demand honesty, who think for themselves, and who are discerning health consumers.

I thank you for your continued support, and I ask that if you find value in the information we provide, please consider making a generous donation to our operations. The fact that we don't earn money on the products we recommend creates serious revenue challenges, and we really do depend in part on reader donations for our operating funds. You'll find donation boxes on any article page.

To your health,
- Mike Adams
The Health Ranger

P.S. Be sure to check out the other NaturalNews sites and resources that readers find valuable: - A new site offering five-step solutions to health challenges. - A site offering a free download of our honest, independent food guide for consumers. - A free online resource detailing the healing properties of foods, herbs and more. - Here's where you'll find 15+ free downloadable reports and interviews, plus various books written by myself and other top health authors.

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