Another nail in the coffin of editorial content
Some blogs are overtly commercial. Most are the editorial writings of individuals. And unless it is abundantly clear that a blog is commercial in nature and purpose, we expect that the views expressed be those of the blogger.
In fact, the blogosphere is one place where one can often go for the unvarnished truth.
But as is the way with so many media, the lines between editorial and marketing are becoming blurred in the land of the blog.
BusinessWeek recently published an article on how bloggers are now being paid to write “editorial” on behalf of marketers. A new site called PayPerPost.com pays a bounty of about $5 to $10 for each post entered. There are various caveats, but essentially a blogger can now make money by saying the right kinds of things about companies, regardless of whether he or she actually believes in the company and its products or services.
This is just one more example of a very real tension and tug of war that is taking place online right now.
On the one hand there are those marketers who will do absolutely anything to make a few extra dollars. And many of them are making money hand over fist.
On the other hand there are marketers who believe that honesty and transparency pave the road to long-term success. You will find this viewpoint explained in detail in our essay on Transparent Marketing.
Which of these opposing factions will win in the end? The answer lies with consumers. Whether it is hype or honesty that prevails in the end will all depend on what consumers are willing to put up with.
Will consumers finally demand honesty? Or will they willingly open their wallets in response to hype and advertorial?
This writer feels cautious about placing any bets either way.