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its has been at least a couple of years since 'Sponsored Posts' burst onto the blogging scene with loads and loads of controversy. So now that the dust has settled I'm wondering where people sit on the issue today.

Do you do sponsored posts on your blog? Why/Why Not? Has your opinion of them changed?
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Deb Hodgkin's profile photoAndrea Rennick's profile photoJames Hussey's profile photoShane Steinkamp's profile photo
26 comments
 
I wouldn't do it unless I had actually used and fallen in love with the product or service that was effectively being promoted. As long as I feel that strongly about the product then, just like when I sign up to be an affiliate, it's OK.
 
sometimes sponsored posts are the best fresh content one can have on their blog and they have better chance of going viral then conventional blog niche post..
 
We do them on Delimiter (but I wouldn't run more than one every couple of days), and I find they can really engage the reader better than traditional advertisements if done well. It's a technique which I've heard referred to as "content marketing". Of course, we prominently mark them as being an advertisement.
 
"Sponsored Posts" are garbage. What I mean is.. people shouldnt mark them. Being overly transparent has its downsides. For one it makes i obvious to your readers that you are a sellout. Better to just do it without the mention of sponsored. 2) for the buyer it makes it to obvious that they are buying links. Its lose lose. I wish people would stop letting google tell them what to do =/
 
I still think Sponsored Posts are a bad idea. My opinion hasn't changed one bit since it was first announced. Naturally, I've never posted any.
 
Kris FTW. The second you sell out, you flush all the credibility you worked so hard for. 
 
Not a fan of them...So many other options to monetize ....the blog loses it's voice,and rhythmic appeal for me....but for folks that have a hard time writing ....maybe
 
If I'm really happy with a product I will mention it anyway if it's relevant to blog I'm writing at the time. However personally I consider sponsored blogs to be paid endorsements, which always raise alarm bells for me. Even worse if they're are not marked as such.

Interestingly I don't have trouble with sponsors on podcasts; probably because I consider the guys who produce the ones I watch to be ethical and know they will give an honest opinion regardless.
 
never. impossible to maintain objectivity and integrity while taking money to be a mouthpiece.
 
Jeez talk about groupthink. I have never done a sponsored post, but there is nothing fundamentally wrong with them. Main stream media would not exist without them. Radio and magazines do it all the time.

The important part is the voice of the author. If you endorse crap, you lose your influence. If the endorsed product or service has value, you gain influence.

If you don't have an audience and someone's willing to pay you? take the money.
 
Just to clarify what I said earlier ... if, as the owner of a blog, you write a sponsored post in your own voice, that, I think, is definitely an issue. But if you're posting a sponsored post written by someone who works at the advertiser, and if you mark it as an advertisement and written by them, I don't see the problem.
 
I have a website and write a blog because I prefer to work for myself, and answer to no one.Sponsored posts sometimes make me feel like I work for them, and they get to call the shots - so I struggle with the idea.
 
Interested to read this since I am about to write and post my very first sponsored post.

Do I think I'll lose credibility? No. Probably gain it.

Do I think it will annoy my readers? No. I think they'll respect my choice.

On my travel blog (Get In the Hot Spot) I've decided advertising and sponsorship is the best option for creating a revenue. I don't think my readers will hold it against me.

I've liberated myself and my readers because I don't intend to write about my sponsor at all. I'll just write about a related and hopefully funny story in my usual style and I think everyone will be happy. Me - I'll get paid $1 a word, My readers - they get an extra post from me and one I've worked especially hard to make entertaining and the Sponsor - they get to be associated with a fun brand and an an inspiring community.

Sounds like a win win win for everyone. Although I plan to make sure sponsored posts are limited to say one a week.

Happy blogging everyone:)
 
+Annabel Candy Never thought of sponsored posts in this perspective. I have always been against it.

I think the biggest reason why people hate it is because when bloggers recommend products with out really using it and just for money.

But as you said, if you could present the post in a nice way that benefit the community, it is a win-win.
 
I think they're fine if they have some relevancy to your blog. I've seen sponsored posts on personal blogs and it just jars. It doesn't make any sense to suddenly be promoting a new mobile network, when you've never blogged about that before.

The key to me is relevancy to your blog.
 
The sponsored posts I've seen (and the one I did) are quite different to reviews. I got a guideline 'talk about memories of being in the car with your dad' and had a link to a magazine which I happen to get anyway and a Father's Day competition.

I accepted because it's a good fit for my blog, and the post was exactly the same as I would normally do except for a couple of links and a competition at the bottom. That's a good deal for my readers, it's not me flogging a product.

I would have huge ethical issues if sponsored posts aren't notified. In the US it would be illegal (isn't it?) and readers should know if you are selling them something. In the case of most sponsored posts I've seen, the blogger isn't selling a product but rather selling their writing and ability to put links in front of an audience who have no obligation to click on them. Yes if you choose a product that doesn't fit your blog you'll annoy readers, but getting paid for something doesn't mean you lack integrity.
 
+Deb Hodgkin said "In the US it would be illegal (isn't it?)"

Under what Act? Do radio DJ's say "Now a word from our sponsors" when they do a live read-to-air? Does an IT magazine buy every piece of tech they write about?
 
No, because they come across as paid links. I wouldn't risk it - I think of how Google looks at Text Link Ads in a hostile manner, I wouldn't want to do a sponsored post.

I'd also rather maintain integrity - I have affiliate links but only to products I trust/use/can vouch for. I know you usually get to try the product, but I just wouldn't want to risk the potential penalty from Google on the issue.
 
+Paul Zagoridis The FTC policy on disclosure of advertising in 'non-traditional contexts' which includes affiliate links and incentives to blogs. Here's a basic link with more links including the actual document http://searchengineland.com/ftc-disclosure-and-your-blog-34789

And yes, you'll find that radios do mention that it's sponsored, certainly any I've heard. Like in magazines advertorials are always marked.
 
The mommy blogger crowd is really big on this.
 
I think there is a considerable range of what "sponsored post" means. Let's put false and misleading claims aside for now as clearly illegal in most western jurisdictions.

If a sponsored post is something paid for and/or linked to, how is it different from a radio DJ saying "The Mattress King store in SOHO is having an end of year sale? How can he stay in business at these prices". That is a typical live-read.

Another "I was talking to Chancey from Chancey's cruises yesterday. He said he can beat anybody's quote on your next Carribean cruise, call him on ..."

Or "Murray from Tres Magnifique Diner and Lube shop, hosted my wife and I at dinner last night. We had a great time and the live kazoo band serenaded us with white pride anthems." Okay that last one crossed the line, the Bureau of Automotive Repair would never allow a kazoo band.

I am not talking about 30 second ad spots. Specifically I am comparing it to Live-Reads in radio and new products pages in magazines.

If the material is relevant to your audience and in keeping with your topic range and style it is acceptable especially if you have a disclosure page stating you accept endorsements in cash and kind.

If you endorse products or services that clash with your circle of influence, then you are risking your influence for a few coins. Not a good trade. Google might not like it, but it is happening in big and small media outlets. Google will work out how to deal with it eventually.

For the get-rich-quick types how see this as the path to overnight gajillions, they won't keep an audience. Ignore them. Like anything it is possible to game the system but not in a widespread manner and not for a sustained time.
 
I wouldn't do it anyway because the money is short term. If I accepted a sponsored post for my first site, I'd have a hundred dollars max.

I didn't and don't - I write my own copy as an affiliate marketer and made that into a $60k/yr website. Not life-shattering or anything, but I'd take that long-term money over the measly $50-$100 short-term any day.

Getting back to Google - they're constantly inviting spam reports, etc. They forbid selling PageRank - yeah, it happens, but all it takes is a smarter algo or a competitor to snitch: bye-bye, traffic.

I wouldn't do it.
 
Let's take a recent example... What are Alec Baldwin, Joe Namath, Lenny Kravitz, Aubrey Plaza, Thurston Moore, Julianna Margulies, Joe Wong and Lady Antebellum doing on Letterman this week?

Oh yeah - spruiking their stuff.
 
You're comparing apples to oranges. You'd make more money as an affiliate. Sponsored blogging is a great way to leave money on the table and get your site potentially hit with a Panda swipe.
 
I never understood the controversy. Commercials are everywhere, so why can't I have them on my blog? My only problem with them is they don't pay enough oftentimes. I do them happily when I get paid at least $50-$200. And I have a disclosure policy page on my blog. I never say I've used a product myself if I haven't. As a weaver of words, it's easy to write in such a way that the product sounds great without saying I've tried it myself. Nothing wrong with making an honest buck as long as no one gets hurt.
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