A good blogo-buddy of mine has brought up an intriguing development in the blogo-world: sponsored blog posts.
There are certainly pros and cons to this idea. But I’m not too worried. We’re fortunate that the blogospherozoid world has remained a relative meritocracy to this point and I can’t see “sponsored posts” becoming too corrupting. Readership is gained in the blog world either through quality of writing, mainstream establishment of character, shameless self-promotion, amongst other popularizing factors.
Yes, there’s the obvious likelihood that sponsored posts would to a certain extent be an impossible-to-ignore influence upon the writer. However, the responsible and trusted established bloggers would surely be honorable enough to follow Forrester Research’s suggestion and have a contract that said that they would have to post that their writing was being sponsored and that they could be able to write whatever they want.
I see a few things happening. The most gold-standard-inclined of the bloggers would reject “sponsored posts” out-of-hand as a necessarily corrupting influence and never have writing of the sort. There will be another tier of, as I said, trusted and established bloggers willing to either shill for a product in the way that someone would act as an advertising spokesman and with the clear caveat that they were being paid for said writing. There would also be that group of writers completely willing to sell themselves for the dollar, effectively becoming ad spokesmen. These would lose their credibility within the honest blogging world and be almost marginalized as effective voices. Obviously there will always be people willing to do this, but I’m unconcerned that those blogging types would retain any kind of real credibility or audience.
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