There was an excellent article in the New York Times about the line between sponsors and/or advertisers and bloggers, and what the bloggers should disclose. As more marketers see the influence of bloggers, they are sending them products to review and discuss. However bloggers do not always reveal that they have been given these products.
The article in the TImes specifically discussed a blogger called "Classymommy" (ugh) who has reviewed more than 1,500 products on her blog. Alghough she does acknowledge which posts are "sponsored" and which are her own, many bloggers do not. I think at this level of "sponsored posts" in a blog, then it becomes one big commercial. In journalism, there's always been a sharp line between the reporting side and the advertising side, so that there's no influence.
I had a rather sharp discussion with a food blogger who was sent sushi-quality fish, high grade meats, kitchen utensils and small appliances and much more, without ever acknowledging that she had been given the items in hopes that she'd write a positive post about them (which she did). I thought that this was unethical. When I do talk about a commercial venture, I am doing it to share information and no other reason.
I receive loads of PR e-mails and always refuse to post about them, for several reasons. Most of what I am sent shows that the person hasn't really taken the time to read my blog. I write about what I think is interesting, and am not willing to flack for someone else. I also know that lots of the other bloggers are receiving the same e-mails, and I tend to follow my own road. I have also received offers of product, but I have turned that down as well, because I think that it puts the blog on a slippery slope towards becoming an advertising vehicle.
What are your thoughts on blogs promoting certain products? Do you or would you do it? Why or why not?
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