In what is becoming an increasingly competitive business environment, advertisers are beginning to turn to an alternative approach to communicate their messages to their target audience. If the separation between blog posts’ editorial and advertising sides was once a gulf, it is now diminished to the size of a sidewalk crack.
An advertorial is just what the name implies: an editorial and advertisement combined. It is a form of paid advertisement where bloggers are called on to write an “article”, which in most cases is simply a padded advertisement spiel. The inherent deceptive nature of the advertorial poses a question that warrants our attention as responsible consumers: Where does editorial end and advertising begin?
I’ve noticed that there is an increasing number of advertorials on online media platforms, particularly on blogs. First and foremost, I do not have any major issues in relation to bloggers posting ads on their site but the line is definitely crossed when they are not upfront on the original agenda of the post. The worst part is all of this is happening with few repercussions from the community.
“Everyone has to be able to tell the difference between advertising and editorial, and if you can’t tell there’s a difference, there’s a problem,” said Sid Holt, chief executive of the American Society of Magazine Editors. “I’d rather our bloggers focus on creating unfiltered, honest content,” Weblogs Inc.’s chairman and mouthpiece Jason McCabe Calacanis said.
The above quotes reverberates my concerns on the way bloggers are posting competitions and reviews regarding certain products or services, which are paid in kind or sponsored by advertisers but instead, they’re passing it off as their own. I hope these people are able to come clean and create a spin-free zone dedicated to cutting through the crap in online public relations and social media issues with blunt honesty and a healthy dose of scepticism on their personal sites.
While only a naive person would suggest that the advertising/editorial line was ever completely steadfast, the credibility that came with independent coverage is what lent “earned media” its title and its value; you have to earn your coverage. All of this leads further undermines the credibility of your site.
Is that short-term revenue worth damaging the viability and credibility of your blog? I hope everyone keeps that question in mind, always. Oh, don’t forget to put a disclosure when you’re writing a post based on the above points because no one likes to crawl through a rabbit hole which leads to a chopping board.
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