Our friends at PRNewser and FishbowlNY are tackling the controversial issue of the “Sponsored Conversations.” This is where bloggers get paid to either write positively about a product or turn over the space within their blog feed to an advertising copywriter. As blog posts go, the benefit to the client is the post could be commented on, the link sent around, the story Tweeted about and/or posted on myriad social networking sites — you can’t do all that with a banner ad. Appearing in the body of a blog also gives it heft.
PRNewser’s Joe Ciarallo talks with AdAge’s Michael Learmonth about the ethical issues surrounding the idea. “I don’t see too much difference between paying a blogger, paying a lobbyist, or paying a PR person,” he said. “The difference is PR people and lobbyists see themselves as part of professions that have standards and practices and whatnot, and generally disclose who is paying them–or at least that’s the idea, and try to operate above-board. The best bloggers disclose their conflicts, but some don’t,” said Learmonth.
Meanwhile, FishbowlNY’s Glynnis MacNicol asks in a poll “Is Paying a Blogger for Content/Coverage Ever Appropriate?” Currently, 67% say it’s never appropriate.