The Sanctity of Social Media?

Quite a firestorm (or teapot tempest) yesterday over this. I’m not going to bludgeon the issue, because There have been so many posts already…point, counterpoint…and I doubt I can add anything original to that discussion. And I’ll let Chris’ own outstanding response speak for itself, since I’d gather you’re all reading him anyway.

But the underlying issue to me is this idea that social media mechanisms like blogs are somehow sacrosanct, hallowed ground. That there is no room for commercialism within the walls of the Almighty Conversation. That the only use for these tools in within the confines of personal expression, removed from a capitalistic context. That simply isn’t the case. Blogs are tools, and not those that only serve a singular purpose.

Social Media in Business

If we’re continue to argue that social media is viable within a business framework, there’s no way to keep the peas from touching the mashed potatoes.You’re in business to make money. Ultimately, your use of social media channels is intended to forge stronger relationships with customers in support of the long term goal of driving business success (read: money). It’s that simple. Just because the line between the two is dotted doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It would be a patent waste of time otherwise.

Social media and capitalism are not mutually exclusive. Social media is an idea, a culture. It’s about transparency of business relationships, and a willingness to allow and encourage the ensuing conversation. (Incidentally, no one mentioned the huge risk that Izea and KMart took here…Chris could have written a scathing review just as easily. If he had, would we then be criticizing him for using his influence to damage a company’s reputation?). The communication is the foundation. The rest (including the monetization) is built upon that, first.

Truth and Trust

The difference between promotion of the craptastic kind and a sponsored blog post is immense. Craptastic promotion reeks of subterfuge and manipulation. It’s an opinion that’s paid for, like a paid endorsement of life insurance by a has-been game show host. It’s not credible, it’s not real, and it’s insulting to the audience. And a blog post in this same vein would equate.

But someone sponsors a post for a review of a product or service. The conclusion is undrawn – that’s up to the blogger. The blogger discloses the relationship, checks stuff out, writes up an opinion, the community decides how to respond. The WalMart Moms do this. There are any number of paid review sites where bloggers receive products or compensation for simply writing their conclusions. Companies like K-Mart are doing their best to reach out to the community to render their open and honest opinions to raise visibility for their company, and I for one think their promotion was savvy and well played to the right audience. Why isn’t this the same as hiring someone for an hour of consulting and asking for their conclusions?

The root of evil in social media is not that money changes hands. It’s when money changes hands for the purposes of “buying” an opinion. The inauthentic line is not that someone is compensated for using their medium or influence to transmit a message – we’ve been doing that since the dawn of business (there’s a reason charities use celebrity spokespeople). It’s not inauthentic to compensate someone to render an opinion. Inauthentic is only achieved when there is a lack of transparency about the existence of the arrangement, and/or a definitive move to purchase the ensuing conclusions.

Why are we so predisposed to believe that a positive review is bought or unduly influenced? It’s insulting to the general population to assume that individuals are incapable of drawing an independent conclusion in the face of compensation. And are we seriously trying to say that influence can only be used for altruistic versus capitalistic purposes, even if that business relationship is front and center for all to see? Is there no room for leadership, for stronger voices here? If not, doesn’t that miss the point of the power of dialogue in the first place?

Proof

We talk a lot about ROI. About proving the worth of social media in business and demonstrating that it can move the needle. In this particular case, success was visible. People talked about the promotion, they participated. The sponsor was happy. They didn’t buy an opinion, they bought the spotlight (and the risk that went along with it), and the community did the rest. And they opened up their brand to an open-ended conversation and hoped to reach new audiences, which I’d argue they did.  You want ROI? There you go.

What’s Next?

Social media’s beauty is not in stifling the growth of business, removing monetary elements, or even the individual success (or compensation) of those behind blogs. It is in changing the visibility around and within those dialogues so that everyone knows where they stand and can make their own educated, individual choices about how to further that business relationship.

Blogs are opt-in. Something not for you? Prefer a blog that’s the result of someone’s free time instead of their livelihood? You can find one.  Personally, I will always support the ability for bloggers to occasionally focus their compensated attention on one company or product if it means that their outstanding unpaid content will be there for me to digest for some time to come. Not your thing? Use the voice that social media gave you to say so and opt out. It’s pretty darn easy to skip over a post.

Not all social media endeavors will survive without some kind of underwriting, and there’s credit due to those who are putting their own influence to the test to see how and when that works for those without the resources to test such. The “rules”, if you will, are still being written, and they will forever be evolving. Let’s put some of our collective trust in the community we so believe in, and contribute to finding positive and constructive ways for social media and business to combine (with a little tolerance thrown in for good measure, please).

Photo credit: Tim Parkinson

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  • Damien Basile

    Your exact words “inauthentic is only achieved when there is a lack of transparency about the existence of the arrangement”

    I agree that bloggers deserve to make money, for it’s a valid job. I also see this “assignment” as a brilliant open way to engage bloggers and allow them to speak their mind.

    What I feel is off-base here is Mr. Brogan’s lack of transparency with full disclosure. Sure IZEA may not require FULL disclosure according to their policies but we as readers do. Conflicts of interest begin to arise when you are a well known blogger who is being PAID in equity options and sit on the company’s board. You stand to substantially gain from their exposure as their value on the market will rise due to your promotion. Tell me where is the line?

    I may have had less of a problem with it if he fully disclosed his position from the beginning but he didn’t. If you connect the dots you can see how he stands to benefit from an artificially inflated review and prominence of a controversy, both which push the company’s name and position forward.

    Sponsored posts are one thing. Benefiting if the company becomes more prominent while feigning journalistic integrity is another. I am not bringing in to question whether or not Chris Brogan ommitted these details intentionally. That would be conjecturing and assuming. I don’t do that. That’s a dangerous area. But ignorance is not excusable under the law. It is his job to know his ties with IZEA and let us know so we can come to our own conclusions about how biased his review may be.

    Damien Basiles last blog post..The Wonderful Ways of Wicked

  • Damien Basile

    Your exact words “inauthentic is only achieved when there is a lack of transparency about the existence of the arrangement”

    I agree that bloggers deserve to make money, for it’s a valid job. I also see this “assignment” as a brilliant open way to engage bloggers and allow them to speak their mind.

    What I feel is off-base here is Mr. Brogan’s lack of transparency with full disclosure. Sure IZEA may not require FULL disclosure according to their policies but we as readers do. Conflicts of interest begin to arise when you are a well known blogger who is being PAID in equity options and sit on the company’s board. You stand to substantially gain from their exposure as their value on the market will rise due to your promotion. Tell me where is the line?

    I may have had less of a problem with it if he fully disclosed his position from the beginning but he didn’t. If you connect the dots you can see how he stands to benefit from an artificially inflated review and prominence of a controversy, both which push the company’s name and position forward.

    Sponsored posts are one thing. Benefiting if the company becomes more prominent while feigning journalistic integrity is another. I am not bringing in to question whether or not Chris Brogan ommitted these details intentionally. That would be conjecturing and assuming. I don’t do that. That’s a dangerous area. But ignorance is not excusable under the law. It is his job to know his ties with IZEA and let us know so we can come to our own conclusions about how biased his review may be.

    Damien Basiles last blog post..The Wonderful Ways of Wicked

  • http://www.simonsalt.com Simon Salt

    Damien
    I have to disagree with you. Chris discloses his connection with IZEA on his blog. He also puts “Sponsored Post” at the beginning and end of his post. So I am not sure how you can say he hasn’t made full disclosure. He has a full section on his blog dedicated to disclosing all his alliances, where he has been paid for ads etc. IZEA is the 6th line down in this section. Might be an idea to revisit Chrisbrogan.com and read the about page.
    Simon

    Simon Salts last blog post..Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Me

  • http://www.simonsalt.com Simon Salt

    Damien
    I have to disagree with you. Chris discloses his connection with IZEA on his blog. He also puts “Sponsored Post” at the beginning and end of his post. So I am not sure how you can say he hasn’t made full disclosure. He has a full section on his blog dedicated to disclosing all his alliances, where he has been paid for ads etc. IZEA is the 6th line down in this section. Might be an idea to revisit Chrisbrogan.com and read the about page.
    Simon

    Simon Salts last blog post..Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Me

  • http://ericinparkcity.wordpress.com Eric Hoffman

    Social media is first and foremost about the relationship between people, with this comes the need for transparency and most importantly the need to listen. If sponsored posts lead to erosion of trust due to lack of transparency, then that blog will start to lose readership, and if the author doesn’t listen to their readers this will only accelerate. To me, it’s a self-correcting situation and one that the community can see and deal with on it’s own merits. I may not agree with someone posting ‘sponsored content’ in a certain manner, but I don’t think that there should be control as to what a blogger can or cannot publish, because I support the idea of social media being an open sandbox and have faith in the communities’ ability to moderate.

    Eric Hoffmans last blog post..Game On!

  • http://tangerinetoad.blogspot.com Alan Wolk

    Biggest questions here seem to be:

    1. Was it worth $500? (I’m thinking yes, given that a page in a local pennysaver costs more than that.)

    2. Was Brogan’s audience the right target for this sort of promotion (Again, I’m thinking yes – the Dad blog seems to very much fit in with a “My shopping trip to KMart” post – this is not his social media blog and the overall tone is supremely middle American versus coastal urban)

    3. Did Brogan- shill or not- have any credibility to talk about K-Mart? I think he did- his Dad blog focuses on a lot of similar stuff – and shopping is something we all do. Contrast that with Jaffe and the whole Nikon controversy ( http://www.jaffejuice.com/2007/04/nikon_d80_blogg.html ) – Jaffe got dinged because neither he nor any of the other marketing bloggers had any credibility talking about camera, and so their opinions were basically worthless.

    Alan Wolks last blog post..iPhone Magic

  • http://ericinparkcity.wordpress.com Eric Hoffman

    Social media is first and foremost about the relationship between people, with this comes the need for transparency and most importantly the need to listen. If sponsored posts lead to erosion of trust due to lack of transparency, then that blog will start to lose readership, and if the author doesn’t listen to their readers this will only accelerate. To me, it’s a self-correcting situation and one that the community can see and deal with on it’s own merits. I may not agree with someone posting ‘sponsored content’ in a certain manner, but I don’t think that there should be control as to what a blogger can or cannot publish, because I support the idea of social media being an open sandbox and have faith in the communities’ ability to moderate.

    Eric Hoffmans last blog post..Game On!

  • http://tangerinetoad.blogspot.com Alan Wolk

    Biggest questions here seem to be:

    1. Was it worth $500? (I’m thinking yes, given that a page in a local pennysaver costs more than that.)

    2. Was Brogan’s audience the right target for this sort of promotion (Again, I’m thinking yes – the Dad blog seems to very much fit in with a “My shopping trip to KMart” post – this is not his social media blog and the overall tone is supremely middle American versus coastal urban)

    3. Did Brogan- shill or not- have any credibility to talk about K-Mart? I think he did- his Dad blog focuses on a lot of similar stuff – and shopping is something we all do. Contrast that with Jaffe and the whole Nikon controversy ( http://www.jaffejuice.com/2007/04/nikon_d80_blogg.html ) – Jaffe got dinged because neither he nor any of the other marketing bloggers had any credibility talking about camera, and so their opinions were basically worthless.

    Alan Wolks last blog post..iPhone Magic

  • http://thecauseisthehabit.com Damien Basile

    Oh I saw that. Assuming readers will do their due diligence by digging through other pages is dangerous and lazy. You have to restate your position every time you do something that can be seen as a conflict.Journalists for major media outlets fully disclose every time a conflict comes up in an article. They don’t assume the reader will look to the authors about page. It’s their job to give all the facts up front in the article. It’s not a reader research paper. Plus, Chris wrote the post was a sponsored post via IZEA. Can that be any less clear of HIS POSITION? Via isn’t descriptive enough in this circumstance. Via doesn’t let me know that he stands to gain more than the $500 gift card. Via just says it’s coming from them. I’m resolved that his disclosure wasn’t up front enough. That’s all.

    Damien Basiles last blog post..The Wonderful Ways of Wicked

  • http://thecauseisthehabit.com Damien Basile

    Oh I saw that. Assuming readers will do their due diligence by digging through other pages is dangerous and lazy. You have to restate your position every time you do something that can be seen as a conflict.Journalists for major media outlets fully disclose every time a conflict comes up in an article. They don’t assume the reader will look to the authors about page. It’s their job to give all the facts up front in the article. It’s not a reader research paper. Plus, Chris wrote the post was a sponsored post via IZEA. Can that be any less clear of HIS POSITION? Via isn’t descriptive enough in this circumstance. Via doesn’t let me know that he stands to gain more than the $500 gift card. Via just says it’s coming from them. I’m resolved that his disclosure wasn’t up front enough. That’s all.

    Damien Basiles last blog post..The Wonderful Ways of Wicked

  • http://twitter.com/hdbbstephen @Stephen

    Hi Amber, I run into this controversy everytime I post about a product or share an affiliate link to an item that I am reviewing. Every time I lose a subscriber or two, but I also help sell a few products and the purchasers e-mail me to tell me how much they like/dislike the product. And the likes vastly outnumber the dislikes. I have two rules for doing a review at my blog, 1- I have to like the product/service and be willing to use it myself, 2-I go out of my way to announce that it is a sponsored post. That seems to work and cuts down on the negativity.

    @Stephens last blog post..hdbbstephen: @phyllismufson Sitemeter is close to real-time, GA has a 2-6 hr lag. It is very good for looking at what happened yesterday.

  • http://twitter.com/hdbbstephen @Stephen

    Hi Amber, I run into this controversy everytime I post about a product or share an affiliate link to an item that I am reviewing. Every time I lose a subscriber or two, but I also help sell a few products and the purchasers e-mail me to tell me how much they like/dislike the product. And the likes vastly outnumber the dislikes. I have two rules for doing a review at my blog, 1- I have to like the product/service and be willing to use it myself, 2-I go out of my way to announce that it is a sponsored post. That seems to work and cuts down on the negativity.

    @Stephens last blog post..hdbbstephen: @phyllismufson Sitemeter is close to real-time, GA has a 2-6 hr lag. It is very good for looking at what happened yesterday.

  • http://lgbusinesssolutions.typepad.com/solutions_to_grow_your_bu/ Lewis Green

    Amber, tomorrow (Monday) I discuss not only the appropriateness of using social media as a business revenue-generator but also as a necessary part of social media if it is to have a place in business.

    Good post. I actually seldom read Chris, as social media is today such a small part of marketing and most of the marketers I know are not evangelists and, as you say, see it as a communications tool not as mana from Heavan. Apparently, Chris discussed monetization. And he should.

    Lewis Greens last blog post..Top 10 Things I Learned A Year Too Late: Getting Your Book Read

  • http://lgbusinesssolutions.typepad.com/solutions_to_grow_your_bu/ Lewis Green

    Amber, tomorrow (Monday) I discuss not only the appropriateness of using social media as a business revenue-generator but also as a necessary part of social media if it is to have a place in business.

    Good post. I actually seldom read Chris, as social media is today such a small part of marketing and most of the marketers I know are not evangelists and, as you say, see it as a communications tool not as mana from Heavan. Apparently, Chris discussed monetization. And he should.

    Lewis Greens last blog post..Top 10 Things I Learned A Year Too Late: Getting Your Book Read

  • Leslie Carothers

    Amber, this is beautifully written. And, I agree. There is only one thing that i wish Chris had done-and I said so on another blog yesterday.

    I think he might have benefitted if he had told his community IN ADVANCE that he was about to post a sponsored blog. Asked their permission. Maybe it would have saved Chris a lot of grief. Knowing him(albeit only through twitter), I don’t think he THOUGHT about all of the ramifications ahead of time that might benefit his client, IZEA. I really don’t think he did this with misleading intentions.

    One thing I have learned-being new to twitter-is to listen to all sides first before commenting. I am not always good at doing this, but this controversy has shown me the value of reserving my opinion until all opinions are aired.

    Thanks, Amber, for a thought provoking post and, Damien, a lucid initial reply, too.

  • Leslie Carothers

    Amber, this is beautifully written. And, I agree. There is only one thing that i wish Chris had done-and I said so on another blog yesterday.

    I think he might have benefitted if he had told his community IN ADVANCE that he was about to post a sponsored blog. Asked their permission. Maybe it would have saved Chris a lot of grief. Knowing him(albeit only through twitter), I don’t think he THOUGHT about all of the ramifications ahead of time that might benefit his client, IZEA. I really don’t think he did this with misleading intentions.

    One thing I have learned-being new to twitter-is to listen to all sides first before commenting. I am not always good at doing this, but this controversy has shown me the value of reserving my opinion until all opinions are aired.

    Thanks, Amber, for a thought provoking post and, Damien, a lucid initial reply, too.

  • http://www.acclimedia.com Gennefer Snowfield

    This is a very well-articulated post, and your points definitely resonate with me from a monetizing standpoint. As you pointed out, blogging IS a business so it’s not out of the realm of reason for it to be a vehicle for generating revenue. Bloggers getting paid for their content is no different than journalists who write for a newspaper or magazine. Valuable content has worth. Period.

    I also think it’s perfectly acceptable for businesses to engage bloggers and other inhabitants of the social web for purposes of marketing their product or service and extending their brand’s reach. It’s a viable channel for making a meaningful brand connection and spurring viral/WOM activities. In fact, more brands SHOULD be harnessing the medium in human-driven ways. People will always respond more favorably if they have a relationships with the brand and/or a person who represents a brand so it’s a no-brainer strategy.

    And for years, application and software developers have given tech bloggers beta access to their products in the hopes that they would publicly share a [favorable] review of the product. But no one ever questioned the tech bloggers journalistic integrity if they wrote a glowing review. Perhaps because more often than not, the reviews were NOT favorable and/or overtly technical in nature, instantly giving it an air of authenticity not always bestowed upon other verticals such as the retail sector which has a tarnished reputation for being overtly sales-y.

    As always, I think the core issue lies with intent. By virtue of the web, anyone can slap up a blog and start driving traffic for purposes of making a few quick bucks via ad units. And while I completely agree with you that those are easy to spot, I think there are stealthier operations that if left unchecked, do deteriorate valid monetization efforts, undermine value, and taint the industry as a whole.

    Is social media a sacrosanct space? No.

    Should social media business professionals and bloggers profit for their knowledge and expertise? Absolutely.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s exempt from putting guidelines and structure in place. Just as you analyze data and review case studies to determine efficacy, penetration and results, time should be spent analyzing the best business model to govern the space. That doesn’t limit it to only one *right* way, however. There are probably several, and some that we haven’t even yet uncovered. But there still needs to be checkpoints and protocol.

    I think the other misconception about social media is that it is devoid of rules and is a veritable online free for all where anything goes and conversations require no filter. But EVERY relationship has rules. And filters are not inherently bad.

    There are things that are appropriate and not in personal relationships and in business, both on- or offline, whether money exchanges hands or not. And contrary to popular belief, setting standards in the space is not dogmatic. It’s just good business, and allows for proformas and best practices to be developed that will ultimately benefit everyone and allow for repeatable, scalable initiatives that have evidence-based monetary value and are worth every penny.

  • http://www.acclimedia.com Gennefer Snowfield

    This is a very well-articulated post, and your points definitely resonate with me from a monetizing standpoint. As you pointed out, blogging IS a business so it’s not out of the realm of reason for it to be a vehicle for generating revenue. Bloggers getting paid for their content is no different than journalists who write for a newspaper or magazine. Valuable content has worth. Period.

    I also think it’s perfectly acceptable for businesses to engage bloggers and other inhabitants of the social web for purposes of marketing their product or service and extending their brand’s reach. It’s a viable channel for making a meaningful brand connection and spurring viral/WOM activities. In fact, more brands SHOULD be harnessing the medium in human-driven ways. People will always respond more favorably if they have a relationships with the brand and/or a person who represents a brand so it’s a no-brainer strategy.

    And for years, application and software developers have given tech bloggers beta access to their products in the hopes that they would publicly share a [favorable] review of the product. But no one ever questioned the tech bloggers journalistic integrity if they wrote a glowing review. Perhaps because more often than not, the reviews were NOT favorable and/or overtly technical in nature, instantly giving it an air of authenticity not always bestowed upon other verticals such as the retail sector which has a tarnished reputation for being overtly sales-y.

    As always, I think the core issue lies with intent. By virtue of the web, anyone can slap up a blog and start driving traffic for purposes of making a few quick bucks via ad units. And while I completely agree with you that those are easy to spot, I think there are stealthier operations that if left unchecked, do deteriorate valid monetization efforts, undermine value, and taint the industry as a whole.

    Is social media a sacrosanct space? No.

    Should social media business professionals and bloggers profit for their knowledge and expertise? Absolutely.

    But that doesn’t mean it’s exempt from putting guidelines and structure in place. Just as you analyze data and review case studies to determine efficacy, penetration and results, time should be spent analyzing the best business model to govern the space. That doesn’t limit it to only one *right* way, however. There are probably several, and some that we haven’t even yet uncovered. But there still needs to be checkpoints and protocol.

    I think the other misconception about social media is that it is devoid of rules and is a veritable online free for all where anything goes and conversations require no filter. But EVERY relationship has rules. And filters are not inherently bad.

    There are things that are appropriate and not in personal relationships and in business, both on- or offline, whether money exchanges hands or not. And contrary to popular belief, setting standards in the space is not dogmatic. It’s just good business, and allows for proformas and best practices to be developed that will ultimately benefit everyone and allow for repeatable, scalable initiatives that have evidence-based monetary value and are worth every penny.

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  • http://chelpixie.com Michelle / chelpixie

    Damien,

    Chris has been very clear REPEATEDLY about his position and the details surrounding the post and the contest. I’m not sure what you’re looking for here, but it’s definitely not transparency.

    Michelle / chelpixies last blog post..Label your equipment

  • http://chelpixie.com Michelle / chelpixie

    Damien,

    Chris has been very clear REPEATEDLY about his position and the details surrounding the post and the contest. I’m not sure what you’re looking for here, but it’s definitely not transparency.

    Michelle / chelpixies last blog post..Label your equipment

  • http://www.ted.me Ted Murphy

    Fantastic post. I commend Kmart and Chris for pushing social media forward as a viable medium.

    Ted Murphys last blog post..Pancheros Gets Twitter … Kinda

  • http://www.ted.me Ted Murphy

    Fantastic post. I commend Kmart and Chris for pushing social media forward as a viable medium.

    Ted Murphys last blog post..Pancheros Gets Twitter … Kinda

  • http://www.thisisherd.com Dirk Singer

    I absolutely agree that if someone wants to make money from a blog, fair play to them.

    I’d really point to two things though.

    First of all, whether you think they are effective or not, I appreciate that advertorials or advertising promotions are an accepted part of magazine publishing, so what’s different here?

    What’s different is that the ad department of the magazine generally handles the process…and it’s someone like my company who writes the copy. It would be unthinkable for the editor to write the editorials as that would be a loss of credibility for him / her.

    Most bloggers are different, they are the editors, ad dept and publishers in one go. That begs the question of if you make a habit of sponsored posts, whether it devalues your overall content.

    I think over time it does, but I appreciate a lot of you will disagree with me.

    The second issue is the link with Izea, which owns payperpost.

    A comment on my blog said I was wrong to associate Chris with the in your face practices of payperpost.com. But was I?

    I completely understand that as an A List blogger, Chris took part in a bespoke promotion with a select group of bloggers, while payperpost.com harvests the more common garden variety bloggers like myself.

    Yet, Chris is on the board of Izea, Izea runs payperpost, and the Kmart promo is highlighted on the front page of the Izea site.

    The Kmart promo is used as a way to showcase the whole Izea offering, which includes touting blogging as one of those make money on the Internet schemes (take a look at the site).

    It’s all part of the same universe, and that is something I’d definitely advise brands to stay well clear of.

    Dirk Singers last blog post..The fallacy of pay-per-post or "o-pay-nions"

  • http://www.thisisherd.com Dirk Singer

    I absolutely agree that if someone wants to make money from a blog, fair play to them.

    I’d really point to two things though.

    First of all, whether you think they are effective or not, I appreciate that advertorials or advertising promotions are an accepted part of magazine publishing, so what’s different here?

    What’s different is that the ad department of the magazine generally handles the process…and it’s someone like my company who writes the copy. It would be unthinkable for the editor to write the editorials as that would be a loss of credibility for him / her.

    Most bloggers are different, they are the editors, ad dept and publishers in one go. That begs the question of if you make a habit of sponsored posts, whether it devalues your overall content.

    I think over time it does, but I appreciate a lot of you will disagree with me.

    The second issue is the link with Izea, which owns payperpost.

    A comment on my blog said I was wrong to associate Chris with the in your face practices of payperpost.com. But was I?

    I completely understand that as an A List blogger, Chris took part in a bespoke promotion with a select group of bloggers, while payperpost.com harvests the more common garden variety bloggers like myself.

    Yet, Chris is on the board of Izea, Izea runs payperpost, and the Kmart promo is highlighted on the front page of the Izea site.

    The Kmart promo is used as a way to showcase the whole Izea offering, which includes touting blogging as one of those make money on the Internet schemes (take a look at the site).

    It’s all part of the same universe, and that is something I’d definitely advise brands to stay well clear of.

    Dirk Singers last blog post..The fallacy of pay-per-post or "o-pay-nions"

  • http://thecauseisthehabit.com Damien Basile

    Amber

    That’s where you have me mistaken. I am looking for transparency. As a follower of his posts it may have been transparent for you when taking in to account his other posts. That particular review was NOT transparent enough for a casual random reader. Each post can only be judged on it’s own merit not the total sum of the others for this singular imortant reason. This post only said it was a sponsored review for Kmart via IZEA. Nowhere does it say on that post of his board position or equity options. If you can point this out then I stand corrected and it is my oversight. Even in this possible instance if it’s easy enough for my oversight then it truly isn’t transparent enough for others. Full disclosure should be up front every time to lend itself to true transparency. These integrity standards shouldn’t even be up for discussion

    Damien Basiles last blog post..The Wonderful Ways of Wicked

  • http://thecauseisthehabit.com Damien Basile

    Amber

    That’s where you have me mistaken. I am looking for transparency. As a follower of his posts it may have been transparent for you when taking in to account his other posts. That particular review was NOT transparent enough for a casual random reader. Each post can only be judged on it’s own merit not the total sum of the others for this singular imortant reason. This post only said it was a sponsored review for Kmart via IZEA. Nowhere does it say on that post of his board position or equity options. If you can point this out then I stand corrected and it is my oversight. Even in this possible instance if it’s easy enough for my oversight then it truly isn’t transparent enough for others. Full disclosure should be up front every time to lend itself to true transparency. These integrity standards shouldn’t even be up for discussion

    Damien Basiles last blog post..The Wonderful Ways of Wicked

  • http://www.thoughtgadgets.com Ben Kunz

    Amber, beautifully written point of view. I still disagree with the pay-to-post structure, and if I may here is why — you wrote:

    “The root of evil in social media is not that money changes hands. It’s when money changes hands for the purposes of ‘buying’ an opinion.”

    It’s frankly obvious that giving someone a $500 freebie gift card to go shopping is not going to generate an objective review. That’s the author’s right, of course, and I’m sure the author can try to be objective.

    But then this leads to other problems. Will future clients in the retail sector believe that author is credible? What if the author also writes about online banking systems with a puff piece that is paid for — will other financial clients then turn to him for solid strategic recommendations? As the author progresses with puff pieces in each industry, he is shutting doors to the many potential clients in that industry who may be turned off by what “appears” to be paid-for opinions.

    And that is the key. It’s not the conflict of interest that counts, it is the *appearance* of conflict of interest. Most public corporations have guidelines demanding that senior executives avoid even the *appearance,* because it damages the corporation’s credibility and future business negotiations.

    I appreciate your point of view that anyone should be able to make money. I would encourage those who do to think long-term about what a series of paid posts will do to their future credibility for real clients who need real help. It’s not about sanctity — it’s about the perception and what that does to your future relationships.

    Ben Kunzs last blog post..The problem with Chris Brogan’s Kmart promotion

  • http://www.thoughtgadgets.com Ben Kunz

    Amber, beautifully written point of view. I still disagree with the pay-to-post structure, and if I may here is why — you wrote:

    “The root of evil in social media is not that money changes hands. It’s when money changes hands for the purposes of ‘buying’ an opinion.”

    It’s frankly obvious that giving someone a $500 freebie gift card to go shopping is not going to generate an objective review. That’s the author’s right, of course, and I’m sure the author can try to be objective.

    But then this leads to other problems. Will future clients in the retail sector believe that author is credible? What if the author also writes about online banking systems with a puff piece that is paid for — will other financial clients then turn to him for solid strategic recommendations? As the author progresses with puff pieces in each industry, he is shutting doors to the many potential clients in that industry who may be turned off by what “appears” to be paid-for opinions.

    And that is the key. It’s not the conflict of interest that counts, it is the *appearance* of conflict of interest. Most public corporations have guidelines demanding that senior executives avoid even the *appearance,* because it damages the corporation’s credibility and future business negotiations.

    I appreciate your point of view that anyone should be able to make money. I would encourage those who do to think long-term about what a series of paid posts will do to their future credibility for real clients who need real help. It’s not about sanctity — it’s about the perception and what that does to your future relationships.

    Ben Kunzs last blog post..The problem with Chris Brogan’s Kmart promotion

  • http://twittermaven.blogspot.com Warren Sukernek

    Very thoughtful post, Amber. It is interesting that the two most popular posts about Twitter this weekend are Chris Brogan’s and Mashable’s questioning the right of brands to exist on Twitter.

    I’m kind of fed up with this holier than thou attitude.

    Warren Sukerneks last blog post..Twitter: love having the brands, but I don’t have to know the person behind the brand

  • http://twittermaven.blogspot.com Warren Sukernek

    Very thoughtful post, Amber. It is interesting that the two most popular posts about Twitter this weekend are Chris Brogan’s and Mashable’s questioning the right of brands to exist on Twitter.

    I’m kind of fed up with this holier than thou attitude.

    Warren Sukerneks last blog post..Twitter: love having the brands, but I don’t have to know the person behind the brand

  • http://soloprpro.com Kellye Crane

    I agree that Chris’ ethics should not be in question. He’s a true pioneer, and this is just one example of Chris testing the boundaries for us. As a result, we all get to learn from this experience. I think our job now is to look at whether the promotion could have been handled differently, in a way that would allow the blogger to be compensated, but without the backlash.

    Forgive me if this has been suggested by others, but what if Kmart chose to “buy the spotlight” by hosting the sponsored posts from these leading bloggers on its own site? The compensated bloggers could then run a referencing post on each of their blogs, pointing to their Kmart piece, and the Retweeting portion of the campaign could have remained virtually the same (but referencing the Kmart blog destination). Besides being less questionable, it seems to me this actually would have been better for the client, since the traffic and comments would be driven to the company’s site (rather than the bloggers’) and a closer relationship could be formed there with the readers.

    These are just my initial thoughts. As you say, “Social media and capitalism are not mutually exclusive,” and I’m looking forward to the innovations as this still nascent area evolves.

    Kellye Cranes last blog post..End of Year Tips for Consultants

  • http://soloprpro.com Kellye Crane

    I agree that Chris’ ethics should not be in question. He’s a true pioneer, and this is just one example of Chris testing the boundaries for us. As a result, we all get to learn from this experience. I think our job now is to look at whether the promotion could have been handled differently, in a way that would allow the blogger to be compensated, but without the backlash.

    Forgive me if this has been suggested by others, but what if Kmart chose to “buy the spotlight” by hosting the sponsored posts from these leading bloggers on its own site? The compensated bloggers could then run a referencing post on each of their blogs, pointing to their Kmart piece, and the Retweeting portion of the campaign could have remained virtually the same (but referencing the Kmart blog destination). Besides being less questionable, it seems to me this actually would have been better for the client, since the traffic and comments would be driven to the company’s site (rather than the bloggers’) and a closer relationship could be formed there with the readers.

    These are just my initial thoughts. As you say, “Social media and capitalism are not mutually exclusive,” and I’m looking forward to the innovations as this still nascent area evolves.

    Kellye Cranes last blog post..End of Year Tips for Consultants

  • http://www.ck-blog.com CK

    I’ll start by saying this: any and all bloggers are free to monetize their blogs however they see fit. It is their right. Plus, social media is based upon choice–choice of tools like blogs, twitter, vidcasts–and choice of what info. to relay. Just like free speech, I support that right… even if I may hate some of the despicable things that people say with their rights to free speech and even though I think the mixing of ads and content is an undesirable marketing model.

    I also don’t believe in mobs and I’m glad to have a chat about paid posts as a ‘model’ vs. attacking people. My focus is the model of mixing ads in content not to tear apart individuals that do like the model.

    My goal is pretty darn simple: I push my clients to be “WOM worthy” instead of having to pay to get content inside of a post (to me that’s fake WOM by virtue of one having to pay to get WOM). Instead of having ads to the side, it’s mixing ads with content… content that was not inspiring enough on its own merits that it had to pay to play. When one has to pay to play, it’s called advertising or sponsorships and it’s a fine model because it’s to the side (not mixed with content). It doesn’t muddy those credible content waters.

    I also work to push clients to create clever awareness programs that leverage these tools so that people are impressed enough to authentically WOM them. So that’s where my head and heart are at. I understand if others disagree; but I’m proud that I want to push brands to do better based on their own quality and clever strategies and awareness programs.

    But I will ask you this–because you have such a good brain when it comes to marketing. With pay-for-post and magpie models, how long do you think it will take to get really noisy in here? Let us go back through history (as sadly, history has an odd way of repeating itself). TV? Seems we all love TiVo because it lets us record TV on our time. And we also love it because it lets us fast-forward through annoying commercials! Mail? How many pieces of junk do we dispose of every week (or every day)?

    The telephone? I know that I signed up to be on the do-not-call list as soon as it came out–because of marketers making it so noisy we actually have to have a federal law! Print? It’s annoying to have to bypass 30 pages of ads to try and get to the article I want to read (and, yes, publishers put lots of ads in-between the cover and the TOC so I can’t even find which page I need to get to before being interrupted). And the Internet? I install pop-up blocker to block as many paid ads as possible…I believe a lot of others do the same; actually I know they do. Who’d a thunk there would be a profitable business model based on blocking ads?

    All the above examples are the type of noise where the ads are separated from content. And now we arrive at social media with models that MIX ads with content (like PPP and magpie). So, ads to the side + ads in posts + ads in our twitterstreams. Geez, that’s a lot of noise-to-signal ratio. I can’t support that as I wouldn’t be taking care of my markets.

    That’s also why I have so very much support your “not clicking your junk!” program—because we marketers need to set that good example. How much better of an example would it be for us to push companies to improve their products, services, experiences, etc. so that they reached the bar where bloggers authentically WOMmed them—instead of having to be paid to mix content and ads?

    Thus, in the minority I remain. I’m OK being here. And when it gets really noisy with paid-for posts and magpie models ON TOP of ads to the side and this beautiful medium loses credibility, at least I’ll be able to look back and show that I worked to push marketers/companies to make products/services/experiences that were WOM-worthy on their own merits.

    It just seems so odd that I’m supporting what marketing is supposed to do in the first place… which is to add value, not add more noise.

    CKs last blog post..Inspiration from the factory floor…

  • http://www.ck-blog.com CK

    I’ll start by saying this: any and all bloggers are free to monetize their blogs however they see fit. It is their right. Plus, social media is based upon choice–choice of tools like blogs, twitter, vidcasts–and choice of what info. to relay. Just like free speech, I support that right… even if I may hate some of the despicable things that people say with their rights to free speech and even though I think the mixing of ads and content is an undesirable marketing model.

    I also don’t believe in mobs and I’m glad to have a chat about paid posts as a ‘model’ vs. attacking people. My focus is the model of mixing ads in content not to tear apart individuals that do like the model.

    My goal is pretty darn simple: I push my clients to be “WOM worthy” instead of having to pay to get content inside of a post (to me that’s fake WOM by virtue of one having to pay to get WOM). Instead of having ads to the side, it’s mixing ads with content… content that was not inspiring enough on its own merits that it had to pay to play. When one has to pay to play, it’s called advertising or sponsorships and it’s a fine model because it’s to the side (not mixed with content). It doesn’t muddy those credible content waters.

    I also work to push clients to create clever awareness programs that leverage these tools so that people are impressed enough to authentically WOM them. So that’s where my head and heart are at. I understand if others disagree; but I’m proud that I want to push brands to do better based on their own quality and clever strategies and awareness programs.

    But I will ask you this–because you have such a good brain when it comes to marketing. With pay-for-post and magpie models, how long do you think it will take to get really noisy in here? Let us go back through history (as sadly, history has an odd way of repeating itself). TV? Seems we all love TiVo because it lets us record TV on our time. And we also love it because it lets us fast-forward through annoying commercials! Mail? How many pieces of junk do we dispose of every week (or every day)?

    The telephone? I know that I signed up to be on the do-not-call list as soon as it came out–because of marketers making it so noisy we actually have to have a federal law! Print? It’s annoying to have to bypass 30 pages of ads to try and get to the article I want to read (and, yes, publishers put lots of ads in-between the cover and the TOC so I can’t even find which page I need to get to before being interrupted). And the Internet? I install pop-up blocker to block as many paid ads as possible…I believe a lot of others do the same; actually I know they do. Who’d a thunk there would be a profitable business model based on blocking ads?

    All the above examples are the type of noise where the ads are separated from content. And now we arrive at social media with models that MIX ads with content (like PPP and magpie). So, ads to the side + ads in posts + ads in our twitterstreams. Geez, that’s a lot of noise-to-signal ratio. I can’t support that as I wouldn’t be taking care of my markets.

    That’s also why I have so very much support your “not clicking your junk!” program—because we marketers need to set that good example. How much better of an example would it be for us to push companies to improve their products, services, experiences, etc. so that they reached the bar where bloggers authentically WOMmed them—instead of having to be paid to mix content and ads?

    Thus, in the minority I remain. I’m OK being here. And when it gets really noisy with paid-for posts and magpie models ON TOP of ads to the side and this beautiful medium loses credibility, at least I’ll be able to look back and show that I worked to push marketers/companies to make products/services/experiences that were WOM-worthy on their own merits.

    It just seems so odd that I’m supporting what marketing is supposed to do in the first place… which is to add value, not add more noise.

    CKs last blog post..Inspiration from the factory floor…

  • http://tangerinetoad.blogspot.com Alan Wolk

    @CK: Do you think that’s self-correcting though?
    That once people feel a blog is doing too much pimping for others, they’re going to start looking elsewhere for their content?

    Ditto Twitter. You have “click my junkers” because people follow strangers. Solution: don’t talk to strangers. Only follow people you actually know and no one will spam you.

    @Dirk – what happens when the blog is something like HuffPo? Brogan’s Daddy blog seems to have a bunch of authors, not just him.

    Alan Wolks last blog post..iPhone Magic

  • http://tangerinetoad.blogspot.com Alan Wolk

    @CK: Do you think that’s self-correcting though?
    That once people feel a blog is doing too much pimping for others, they’re going to start looking elsewhere for their content?

    Ditto Twitter. You have “click my junkers” because people follow strangers. Solution: don’t talk to strangers. Only follow people you actually know and no one will spam you.

    @Dirk – what happens when the blog is something like HuffPo? Brogan’s Daddy blog seems to have a bunch of authors, not just him.

    Alan Wolks last blog post..iPhone Magic

  • http://www.ck-blog.com CK

    @alan: well, let’s say that 10 of 20 blogs (ppl actually don’t read more than 10 on a regular basis) do a paid post. And they do 1 a month each. That’s A LOT of ads mixed with content (vs. on the side) for a reader to digest. Let’s take a step back and from the regular consumer’s POV they’re gonna feel it’s just one big ad is my concern–which is too bad since social media is the one medium controlled by people. Btw, the reason I love your blog so much is your “frank-but-fair” POV. If you were to do paid posts, I couldn’t help but feel that the frankness and fairness was clouded; just being honest.

    CKs last blog post..Inspiration from the factory floor…

  • http://www.ck-blog.com CK

    @alan: well, let’s say that 10 of 20 blogs (ppl actually don’t read more than 10 on a regular basis) do a paid post. And they do 1 a month each. That’s A LOT of ads mixed with content (vs. on the side) for a reader to digest. Let’s take a step back and from the regular consumer’s POV they’re gonna feel it’s just one big ad is my concern–which is too bad since social media is the one medium controlled by people. Btw, the reason I love your blog so much is your “frank-but-fair” POV. If you were to do paid posts, I couldn’t help but feel that the frankness and fairness was clouded; just being honest.

    CKs last blog post..Inspiration from the factory floor…

  • http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheViralGarden mack collier

    First, I agree with CK, I think we can do better than PPP. I also say that if the post is clearly disclosed as being paid, I don’t really have a problem with it.

    But let’s say that instead of doing a PPP, that I added Google Ads to my blog. And let’s say that after my latest post about the Twitterstorm, and ad for ‘How to make money on Twitter’ is served up. My guess is that some/most of my readers would find that mildly/highly offensive. In fact, so would I.

    I think we need to get to the point where we accept the fact that monetizing social media is NOT going away. The horse is out of the barn, folks. If we can accept that, then we can get to work on improving the entire process.

    I think we can do better than PPP and Ad Sense as ways to monetize blog posts. But we won’t get there until we stop complaining about what we have, and start working toward what we could have.

    mack colliers last blog post..Who’s going to clean up this mess?

  • http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheViralGarden mack collier

    First, I agree with CK, I think we can do better than PPP. I also say that if the post is clearly disclosed as being paid, I don’t really have a problem with it.

    But let’s say that instead of doing a PPP, that I added Google Ads to my blog. And let’s say that after my latest post about the Twitterstorm, and ad for ‘How to make money on Twitter’ is served up. My guess is that some/most of my readers would find that mildly/highly offensive. In fact, so would I.

    I think we need to get to the point where we accept the fact that monetizing social media is NOT going away. The horse is out of the barn, folks. If we can accept that, then we can get to work on improving the entire process.

    I think we can do better than PPP and Ad Sense as ways to monetize blog posts. But we won’t get there until we stop complaining about what we have, and start working toward what we could have.

    mack colliers last blog post..Who’s going to clean up this mess?

  • http://chelpixie.com Michelle / chelpixie

    Damien,

    I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree on the transparency.

    Also, my name is Michelle, not Amber. Amber owns this blog, I’m a reader of the blog. We’re two different people.

  • http://chelpixie.com Michelle / chelpixie

    Damien,

    I’m afraid we’ll have to agree to disagree on the transparency.

    Also, my name is Michelle, not Amber. Amber owns this blog, I’m a reader of the blog. We’re two different people.

  • Amber Naslund

    Damien, Journalistic integrity is misplaced here, and I think you’re being a bit unrealistic about some gold standard of disclosure. Chris isn’t a journalist. I still think it’s incumbent on readers to pay attention. Chris was nothing short of transparent about his affiliations, and if you think a few paper-based stock options for a startup are enough to color someone’s judgment for a $500 gift card that was largely devoted to charity, I say you aren’t reading closely enough to Chris’ longstanding positions about disclosure.

    I have a client, Radian6, that does social media monitoring. In a way, you could say they underwrite some of the time I spend putting together this blog. And I’ve posted about the importance and value of social media monitoring. Is it then required that I disclose that relationship every time, on the off chance that something I may blog might encourage someone to secure a solution like Radian6 for their monitoring? Because by that logic, their success would then beget mine. They’re not paying me to blog about their product specifically, but does my affiliation with them slant my perception about social media monitoring in general? That assumes that I’m not smart enough to think for myself, nor astute enough to blog my own thoughts in spite of our relationship. I have other clients, too, in the PR space, marketing, consumer products. Does their support of my business buy my opinions?

    Personally, I think sponsored posts have a place and good intentions like many other forms of communication, advertising, and marketing. And I think ultimately, the voices empowered by social media will be the ones to decide – individually – what works for them and how.

    I *do* take issue with the dogmatic notions of blanket rules and guidelines that apply in every circumstance. This isn’t journalism. This is social media. It’s communications in a broad spectrum, and it requires broader perspective than this if we’re to ensure its success.

  • http://thecauseisthehabit.com Damien Basile

    Sorry about that Michelle. As far as disagreement, I’ve actually moved beyond taking a side to going to apathy. Social Media can tear itself apart if it wants to. All I will say is truth and integrity demand standards. Do what you may with that but I am done with this issue. I see no need to fight the good fight if all I get is personally attacked. It’s just not worth it. You all can sort it out for yourselves. You’re big boys and girls. If you can’t figure out what is acceptable for you by now then I don’t know what to tell you. It may be a cop out on my part but I’m done trying to get others to see golden standards of uprightness.

    Everyone can fall on their own face and face the firestorm for themselves. Happy Social Media-ing

    From now on my contribution to Social Media in moving the conversation forward is to host a chat delving into these issues as you can see from my CommentLuv post below. The next one is Tuesday night 6:30PM EST with Lisa Hoffmann on Social Media Promotions: Where do you draw the line? at http://tr.im/causechat. I hope you all can come to your own conclusions without me here. Namaste

    Damien Basiles last blog post..Causechat: Design- Ethics In Design

  • http://thecauseisthehabit.com Damien Basile

    Sorry about that Michelle. As far as disagreement, I’ve actually moved beyond taking a side to going to apathy. Social Media can tear itself apart if it wants to. All I will say is truth and integrity demand standards. Do what you may with that but I am done with this issue. I see no need to fight the good fight if all I get is personally attacked. It’s just not worth it. You all can sort it out for yourselves. You’re big boys and girls. If you can’t figure out what is acceptable for you by now then I don’t know what to tell you. It may be a cop out on my part but I’m done trying to get others to see golden standards of uprightness.

    Everyone can fall on their own face and face the firestorm for themselves. Happy Social Media-ing

    From now on my contribution to Social Media in moving the conversation forward is to host a chat delving into these issues as you can see from my CommentLuv post below. The next one is Tuesday night 6:30PM EST with Lisa Hoffmann on Social Media Promotions: Where do you draw the line? at http://tr.im/causechat. I hope you all can come to your own conclusions without me here. Namaste

    Damien Basiles last blog post..Causechat: Design- Ethics In Design

  • http://tangerinetoad.blogspot.com Alan Wolk

    @CK – We are in full agreement on that. What I’m saying though, is that I think/hope that if that were to happen, other blogs, free from any sort of ads would spring up.

    @The Rest of You: Here’s the deal, at least as I see it:
    1. Certain types of blogs lend themselves to paid content and all that. It’s like an advertorial: not out of place in your local society pics and realtor ads magazine, but completely out of place in something like Foreign Affairs. Ditto blogs. If you’ve got a happy feel-good fluff piece type blog, there’s not a whole lot of “journalistic integrity” to impugn.

    2. The readers of said blogs will determine whether paid posts turn them off. To CK’s point, they’ll just stop coming.

    3. Paid Ads: To Mack’s point, on smaller low-traffic blogs (and compared to HuffPo or PerezHilton, ALL marketing blogs are low-traffic) they’re just going to be kinda sleazy and likely not worth whatever money you’ll make from them. But if P&G is throwing a banner up on your blog- more power to you.

    4. We need to stop lumping all blogs together: Altitude Branding has nothing in common with HuffPo other than that they both appear online. And “Dadomatic” is a third category all together. Different rules/standards/expectations for different types of blogs.

    Alan Wolks last blog post..Odds & Ends

  • http://tangerinetoad.blogspot.com Alan Wolk

    @CK – We are in full agreement on that. What I’m saying though, is that I think/hope that if that were to happen, other blogs, free from any sort of ads would spring up.

    @The Rest of You: Here’s the deal, at least as I see it:
    1. Certain types of blogs lend themselves to paid content and all that. It’s like an advertorial: not out of place in your local society pics and realtor ads magazine, but completely out of place in something like Foreign Affairs. Ditto blogs. If you’ve got a happy feel-good fluff piece type blog, there’s not a whole lot of “journalistic integrity” to impugn.

    2. The readers of said blogs will determine whether paid posts turn them off. To CK’s point, they’ll just stop coming.

    3. Paid Ads: To Mack’s point, on smaller low-traffic blogs (and compared to HuffPo or PerezHilton, ALL marketing blogs are low-traffic) they’re just going to be kinda sleazy and likely not worth whatever money you’ll make from them. But if P&G is throwing a banner up on your blog- more power to you.

    4. We need to stop lumping all blogs together: Altitude Branding has nothing in common with HuffPo other than that they both appear online. And “Dadomatic” is a third category all together. Different rules/standards/expectations for different types of blogs.

    Alan Wolks last blog post..Odds & Ends

  • http://www.ck-blog.com CK

    “I have a client, Radian6, that does social media monitoring. In a way, you could say they underwrite some of the time I spend putting together this blog. And I’ve posted about the importance and value of social media monitoring. Is it then required that I disclose that relationship every time, on the off chance that something I may blog might encourage someone to secure a solution like Radian6 for their monitoring?”

    No, Amber, you don’t have to disclose that relationship–all our clients make us better and able to share best practices/opinions/experiences.
    If we didn’t do marketing, how would we write on marketing? Your experience and wisdom helps your readers.

    But if you were to name Radian6 in a post, then it’s a real good idea to disclose they are a client. That’s a best practice and it’s been done like that for years. (I’m sure you know this already, I’m just answering your question!)

    This isn’t journalism; you are right. I call us opinionistas (or passionistas). But, because social media is an intimate medium where authenticity is so treasured, I think it’s really best to keep ads and content separate. Otherwise the trust and objectivity concerns ensue. And, believe me, in blogging for 2.5 years, this isn’t the first uproar over PayPerPost. Nowhere near. Fact is, it just really hits a nerve with many. I actually appreciate that people want to keep the waters pure. But others are more than allowed to monetize as they see fit.

    I didn’t know you supported sponsored posts. But I’ll respectfully agree to disagree on that front with you (no negativity or mobbing needed, just exchanging differing views as we are all allowed to disagree ;-) .

    By the way–and this is just something I’m throwing out there to all: they aren’t “sponsored posts” because a sponsor makes an initiative possible. Like a conference, charity event or a newsletter. But that conference, charity event or newsletter could exist with OTHER sponsors and they are NOT part of the core content (or, in this case, 100% of the content).

    These are pay-for-posts because the entire post is about the company that pays for it, instead of an ad that’s separated in a newsletter or a logo of a sponsor at an event. These are posts that are 100% about the actual company. I just want to be clear so that we don’t start using marketing messaging that’s not true. Maybe when IZEA renamed from Pay Per Post it also started calling them ‘sponsored posts’. I’m honestly not sure; I just know that this is the first time I’ve started hearing the words “sponsored post” and it doesn’t ring true to me.

    (well, at least this comment was somewhat shorter than my earlier one)

    CKs last blog post..Inspiration from the factory floor…

  • http://www.ck-blog.com CK

    “I have a client, Radian6, that does social media monitoring. In a way, you could say they underwrite some of the time I spend putting together this blog. And I’ve posted about the importance and value of social media monitoring. Is it then required that I disclose that relationship every time, on the off chance that something I may blog might encourage someone to secure a solution like Radian6 for their monitoring?”

    No, Amber, you don’t have to disclose that relationship–all our clients make us better and able to share best practices/opinions/experiences.
    If we didn’t do marketing, how would we write on marketing? Your experience and wisdom helps your readers.

    But if you were to name Radian6 in a post, then it’s a real good idea to disclose they are a client. That’s a best practice and it’s been done like that for years. (I’m sure you know this already, I’m just answering your question!)

    This isn’t journalism; you are right. I call us opinionistas (or passionistas). But, because social media is an intimate medium where authenticity is so treasured, I think it’s really best to keep ads and content separate. Otherwise the trust and objectivity concerns ensue. And, believe me, in blogging for 2.5 years, this isn’t the first uproar over PayPerPost. Nowhere near. Fact is, it just really hits a nerve with many. I actually appreciate that people want to keep the waters pure. But others are more than allowed to monetize as they see fit.

    I didn’t know you supported sponsored posts. But I’ll respectfully agree to disagree on that front with you (no negativity or mobbing needed, just exchanging differing views as we are all allowed to disagree ;-) .

    By the way–and this is just something I’m throwing out there to all: they aren’t “sponsored posts” because a sponsor makes an initiative possible. Like a conference, charity event or a newsletter. But that conference, charity event or newsletter could exist with OTHER sponsors and they are NOT part of the core content (or, in this case, 100% of the content).

    These are pay-for-posts because the entire post is about the company that pays for it, instead of an ad that’s separated in a newsletter or a logo of a sponsor at an event. These are posts that are 100% about the actual company. I just want to be clear so that we don’t start using marketing messaging that’s not true. Maybe when IZEA renamed from Pay Per Post it also started calling them ‘sponsored posts’. I’m honestly not sure; I just know that this is the first time I’ve started hearing the words “sponsored post” and it doesn’t ring true to me.

    (well, at least this comment was somewhat shorter than my earlier one)

    CKs last blog post..Inspiration from the factory floor…