kosmic blogging in samsara (redux)
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I couldn’t help but notice that there’s a little bit of a discussion going on at Twitter at the moment with regards paid blogging.

As with any discussion, there are two sides that are equally as vociferous when it comes to their views on the topic.

The reason a lot of the discussion started was due to leading social media blogger Chris Brogan writing a sponsored post for K-Mart.

The gist of the argument on Twitter is whether Chris has lost any “value” because he wrote a review that was paid for. K-Mart gave Chris a $500 gift voucher and asked him to figure out what was cool to buy with it at their store, and then write about it. Seems straightforward enough, particularly when Chris himself even mentioned on the blog itself that it was a sponsored post, although all the views were his own.

As I said, where it gets interesting on Twitter is that there have been a few people that feel let down by Chris, and have either stopped following him or made their feelings clear that they’re disappointed. So it got me thinking about paid blogging, and if it does actually lose the reviewer any authority or credence because they’re being paid for what they’re writing.

Honestly, I don’t see what the problem is.

I’m a blogger myself, and I write pretty regularly. But I don’t do it for the money (if I did I’d be bankrupt!) – I do it because I enjoy the conversations that can then take place afterward. I love to write and when someone joins in and adds to the conversation via the comments after each post, then that’s one of the most satisfying parts of blogging. After all, I’m just the conduit – many of the comments are even more interesting than the post itself. It’d be nice to get paid, but that’s not why I’m here.

So I can see why paid blogging could be so attractive. After all, you’re still doing the same thing you’re always doing – writing – with the only real difference being that you’re actually receiving some financial outlay for it. And with the economy like it is, isn’t the ability to make some more money for your family – or, in Chris’s case, buy some Christmas gifts – worth it?

As long as the blogger is upfront and transparent about the post being sponsored, then I don’t have an issue with paid blogging. The bloggers I read, I’ve read for a while – you get to know their writing style and I’d soon spot if Chris (or anyone else) was writing BS. And if I thought that was the case, I’d be the first to call him on it.

But the fact that it was called as sponsored and there was no heavy sales pitch in the post itself? If people can make money on their blogs by writing sponsored posts yet still keep it honest, more power to them.

And for anyone that feels let down by sponsored blogging? I liken it to the indie band syndrome – the band’s great while they’re your secret, but the moment success and money becomes involved, you don’t want to know. Which begs the question – were you really a fan in the first place?

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.
58 comments
arthuryann
arthuryann

Danny,I agree: What's the problem?The PRSA Code of Ethics is instructive in this area. In a recent "practice advisory" to our members (periodic updates to our code), we advised our members to disclose any exchange of value intended to garner or influence editorial coverage. The code now stipulates that is unethical to knowingly fail to request disclosure of confidential compensation to a communication medium for placement of specified editorial content. It also encourages disclosure of any exchange of value that influences how those they represent are covered.Given those disclosures, readers can assess for themselves the information’s bias, accuracy and usefulness. Seems to me that Chris Brogan got it right.Arthur Yann is vice president of public relations for PRSA.

arthuryann
arthuryann

Danny,

I agree: What's the problem?

The PRSA Code of Ethics is instructive in this area. In a recent "practice advisory" to our members (periodic updates to our code), we advised our members to disclose any exchange of value intended to garner or influence editorial coverage.

The code now stipulates that is unethical to knowingly fail to request disclosure of confidential compensation to a communication medium for placement of specified editorial content. It also encourages disclosure of any exchange of value that influences how those they represent are covered.

Given those disclosures, readers can assess for themselves the information’s bias, accuracy and usefulness. Seems to me that Chris Brogan got it right.

Arthur Yann is vice president of public relations for PRSA.

arthuryann
arthuryann

Danny,I agree: What's the problem?The PRSA Code of Ethics is instructive in this area. In a recent "practice advisory" to our members (periodic updates to our code), we advised our members to disclose any exchange of value intended to garner or influence editorial coverage. The code now stipulates that is unethical to knowingly fail to request disclosure of confidential compensation to a communication medium for placement of specified editorial content. It also encourages disclosure of any exchange of value that influences how those they represent are covered.Given those disclosures, readers can assess for themselves the information’s bias, accuracy and usefulness. Seems to me that Chris Brogan got it right.Arthur Yann is vice president of public relations for PRSA.

lucio ribeiro
lucio ribeiro

Danny, be honest here, read your post but didn't read all comments. Im straight forward when it comes to paid reviews, there's nothing with ethics ! Dont really get all this conversation about ethics in monetizing your blog. It's acceptable a full webspage with adwords but not review a product/brand paying? Juts because internet was born free doesn't mean it cant evolute, and money plays strong on this evolution. lucio ribeiro´s last blog post..They Know Something You don’t

lucio ribeiro
lucio ribeiro

Danny, be honest here, read your post but didn't read all comments.
Im straight forward when it comes to paid reviews, there's nothing with ethics ! Dont really get all this conversation about ethics in monetizing your blog.
It's acceptable a full webspage with adwords but not review a product/brand paying?
Juts because internet was born free doesn't mean it cant evolute, and money plays strong on this evolution.

lucio ribeiro´s last blog post..They Know Something You don’t

Danny
Danny

I understand what you mean (and I wasn't looking for vindication of any trust in me) ;-)

The question was more from the point of view of why you understand why others might have felt let down by Chris's post (if that was your meaning in the original response)?

If they've been following him for any decent amount of time (either as a blogger or on Twitter) then I'd say that they've already trusted his voice and opinion. So why would a disclosed post that wasn't an out-and-out sales pitch cause them to lose that trust? Particularly when much of the criticism was coming from people that "have known Chris for a long time" even without meeting, as you mention yourself, by reading his blog for so long.

Danny
Danny

I understand what you mean (and I wasn't looking for vindication of any trust in me) ;-) The question was more from the point of view of why you understand why others might have felt let down by Chris's post (if that was your meaning in the original response)? If they've been following him for any decent amount of time (either as a blogger or on Twitter) then I'd say that they've already trusted his voice and opinion. So why would a disclosed post that wasn't an out-and-out sales pitch cause them to lose that trust? Particularly when much of the criticism was coming from people that "have known Chris for a long time" even without meeting, as you mention yourself, by reading his blog for so long.

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

There is a chemistry that occurs between two people when meeting in person, as I've done with Chris, when one's eyes look into another's, and explanations are unnecessary.

That's not to say I don't trust you, Danny, but I trust Chris more.

It's similar among people who've never physically met but have known each other for a long period of time, when the truth is understood without saying anything.

Know what I mean?

Ari Herzog´s last blog post..Why Republicans Prefer Twitter Over Suicide (and Online Media Guidance for CNN)

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

There is a chemistry that occurs between two people when meeting in person, as I've done with Chris, when one's eyes look into another's, and explanations are unnecessary. That's not to say I don't trust you, Danny, but I trust Chris more. It's similar among people who've never physically met but have known each other for a long period of time, when the truth is understood without saying anything. Know what I mean? Ari Herzog´s last blog post..Why Republicans Prefer Twitter Over Suicide (and Online Media Guidance for CNN)

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

There is a chemistry that occurs between two people when meeting in person, as I've done with Chris, when one's eyes look into another's, and explanations are unnecessary.

That's not to say I don't trust you, Danny, but I trust Chris more.

It's similar among people who've never physically met but have known each other for a long period of time, when the truth is understood without saying anything.

Know what I mean?

Ari Herzog´s last blog post..Why Republicans Prefer Twitter Over Suicide (and Online Media Guidance for CNN)

Danny
Danny

What would you say is the reason that others felt let down, Ari?

Danny
Danny

What would you say is the reason that others felt let down, Ari?

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

I wasn't let down by Chris. I understood why others have. Ari Herzog´s last blog post..Why Republicans Prefer Twitter Over Suicide (and Online Media Guidance for CNN)

Ari Herzog
Ari Herzog

I wasn't let down by Chris. I understood why others have.

Ari Herzog´s last blog post..Why Republicans Prefer Twitter Over Suicide (and Online Media Guidance for CNN)

Danny
Danny

What would you say is the reason that others felt let down, Ari?
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Danny
Danny

@ Kimberly. It does seem kind of ironic that we're all for increasing awareness of social media, yet hit out at anyone that's doing it in a way we don't "approve of" - especially when the target is a guy like Chris Brogan who epitomizes all that's good about the medium. Crazy.

@ Christa. Good to hear from a B2B Marketing perspective, Christa. I think this is where many people may be missing out - IZEA and K-Mart took a gamble by involving such high-profile bloggers in the first place. After all, what would have happened if Chris had had a negative time in the store? 20,000+ followers suddenly put off shopping at K-Mart? Although as you say, this could also have led them and other businesses to improve failings in their set-ups, so surely that should be encouraged?

@ Adam. While I can see your point, Adam, isn't is just the same as ethics in our everyday jobs? From a PR point of view, I've blogged about client projects I've been working on with their results before (with the client permission, obviously) and criticisms in there of certain practices have helped that client improve working practices. With regards being hired because of the number of followers, is it more to do with the numbers or the respect the blogger has for his views?

@ Lisa. I agree, Lisa - there are so many ways of "invisible advertising" going on at the moment that transparent sponsorship is much more acceptable. I'd be curious to see how many of those criticizing Chris have blogs of their own with adverts that have nothing to do with their own preferences.

@ Warren. It is sad to see the "I wouldn't do that so you shouldn't" voice making such a stance. As I say to Lisa, I wonder how many of these voices have subliminal ads of their own that they never declare?

@ Susan. Interesting points, Susan, and again one which only the blogger can really answer, I guess. As I mentioned in the post (and it's a view that I think everyone commenting here will share), you get to know someone's "style" and trust that opinion. If that changes to a flat-out PR push for something, it will be obvious and then the problems could arise. But in this case, the sponsorship was clear and mentioned enough times, so the furore about it is rather surprising.

@ David. There will always be the question on getting the mix right - as you mention, your ezine is free although it takes up your time, so having advertisements makes sense in covering that time versus cost. I'd perhaps disagree with your comment on disclosure - I think without full disclosure on a sponsored post, that then becomes false advertising and would make me question my trust in that blogger.

@ Snow. This is where time will tell, but as you say Chris has been doing what he has for so long, it's be difficult to see anything but transparency coming from future posts. Hopefully what this episode doesn't do is make him (or anyone else) less inclined to experiment like this in future - then the losers will be consumers as well as companies.

@ Chris. Agreed - I can only guess that some people see too much "success" as something that's to be kept in check, and the IZEA post was the perfect opportunity to take a pot shot.

Thanks for the great comments here, guys, always appreciated and excellent points being made.

Danny
Danny

@ Kimberly. It does seem kind of ironic that we're all for increasing awareness of social media, yet hit out at anyone that's doing it in a way we don't "approve of" - especially when the target is a guy like Chris Brogan who epitomizes all that's good about the medium. Crazy.

@ Christa. Good to hear from a B2B Marketing perspective, Christa. I think this is where many people may be missing out - IZEA and K-Mart took a gamble by involving such high-profile bloggers in the first place. After all, what would have happened if Chris had had a negative time in the store? 20,000+ followers suddenly put off shopping at K-Mart? Although as you say, this could also have led them and other businesses to improve failings in their set-ups, so surely that should be encouraged?

@ Adam. While I can see your point, Adam, isn't is just the same as ethics in our everyday jobs? From a PR point of view, I've blogged about client projects I've been working on with their results before (with the client permission, obviously) and criticisms in there of certain practices have helped that client improve working practices. With regards being hired because of the number of followers, is it more to do with the numbers or the respect the blogger has for his views?

@ Lisa. I agree, Lisa - there are so many ways of "invisible advertising" going on at the moment that transparent sponsorship is much more acceptable. I'd be curious to see how many of those criticizing Chris have blogs of their own with adverts that have nothing to do with their own preferences.

@ Warren. It is sad to see the "I wouldn't do that so you shouldn't" voice making such a stance. As I say to Lisa, I wonder how many of these voices have subliminal ads of their own that they never declare?

@ Susan. Interesting points, Susan, and again one which only the blogger can really answer, I guess. As I mentioned in the post (and it's a view that I think everyone commenting here will share), you get to know someone's "style" and trust that opinion. If that changes to a flat-out PR push for something, it will be obvious and then the problems could arise. But in this case, the sponsorship was clear and mentioned enough times, so the furore about it is rather surprising.

@ David. There will always be the question on getting the mix right - as you mention, your ezine is free although it takes up your time, so having advertisements makes sense in covering that time versus cost. I'd perhaps disagree with your comment on disclosure - I think without full disclosure on a sponsored post, that then becomes false advertising and would make me question my trust in that blogger.

@ Snow. This is where time will tell, but as you say Chris has been doing what he has for so long, it's be difficult to see anything but transparency coming from future posts. Hopefully what this episode doesn't do is make him (or anyone else) less inclined to experiment like this in future - then the losers will be consumers as well as companies.

@ Chris. Agreed - I can only guess that some people see too much "success" as something that's to be kept in check, and the IZEA post was the perfect opportunity to take a pot shot.

Thanks for the great comments here, guys, always appreciated and excellent points being made.

Danny
Danny

@ Kimberly. It does seem kind of ironic that we're all for increasing awareness of social media, yet hit out at anyone that's doing it in a way we don't "approve of" - especially when the target is a guy like Chris Brogan who epitomizes all that's good about the medium. Crazy. @ Christa. Good to hear from a B2B Marketing perspective, Christa. I think this is where many people may be missing out - IZEA and K-Mart took a gamble by involving such high-profile bloggers in the first place. After all, what would have happened if Chris had had a negative time in the store? 20,000+ followers suddenly put off shopping at K-Mart? Although as you say, this could also have led them and other businesses to improve failings in their set-ups, so surely that should be encouraged? @ Adam. While I can see your point, Adam, isn't is just the same as ethics in our everyday jobs? From a PR point of view, I've blogged about client projects I've been working on with their results before (with the client permission, obviously) and criticisms in there of certain practices have helped that client improve working practices. With regards being hired because of the number of followers, is it more to do with the numbers or the respect the blogger has for his views? @ Lisa. I agree, Lisa - there are so many ways of "invisible advertising" going on at the moment that transparent sponsorship is much more acceptable. I'd be curious to see how many of those criticizing Chris have blogs of their own with adverts that have nothing to do with their own preferences. @ Warren. It is sad to see the "I wouldn't do that so you shouldn't" voice making such a stance. As I say to Lisa, I wonder how many of these voices have subliminal ads of their own that they never declare? @ Susan. Interesting points, Susan, and again one which only the blogger can really answer, I guess. As I mentioned in the post (and it's a view that I think everyone commenting here will share), you get to know someone's "style" and trust that opinion. If that changes to a flat-out PR push for something, it will be obvious and then the problems could arise. But in this case, the sponsorship was clear and mentioned enough times, so the furore about it is rather surprising. @ David. There will always be the question on getting the mix right - as you mention, your ezine is free although it takes up your time, so having advertisements makes sense in covering that time versus cost. I'd perhaps disagree with your comment on disclosure - I think without full disclosure on a sponsored post, that then becomes false advertising and would make me question my trust in that blogger. @ Snow. This is where time will tell, but as you say Chris has been doing what he has for so long, it's be difficult to see anything but transparency coming from future posts. Hopefully what this episode doesn't do is make him (or anyone else) less inclined to experiment like this in future - then the losers will be consumers as well as companies. @ Chris. Agreed - I can only guess that some people see too much "success" as something that's to be kept in check, and the IZEA post was the perfect opportunity to take a pot shot. Thanks for the great comments here, guys, always appreciated and excellent points being made.

The Lovable Rogue
The Lovable Rogue

I think that many of the people challenging Brogan's actions are overlooking the fact that he was not paid per se. He was simply invited to spend a designated amount within a specific organisation and asked to express his experience. As many of the comments here correctly establish, Brogan could have experienced a negative experience just as easily as a positive one. The transparency of the post was made incredibly clear, and I fail to see where the problem lies. We all know that Brogan would be the first to highlight any service failure, and I see no reason why sponsorship would influence this in any way.

An insightful piece as always, Danny.

The Lovable Rogue´s last blog post..The Importance of Creativity within 21st Century Business

The Lovable Rogue
The Lovable Rogue

I think that many of the people challenging Brogan's actions are overlooking the fact that he was not paid per se. He was simply invited to spend a designated amount within a specific organisation and asked to express his experience. As many of the comments here correctly establish, Brogan could have experienced a negative experience just as easily as a positive one. The transparency of the post was made incredibly clear, and I fail to see where the problem lies. We all know that Brogan would be the first to highlight any service failure, and I see no reason why sponsorship would influence this in any way. An insightful piece as always, Danny. The Lovable Rogue´s last blog post..The Importance of Creativity within 21st Century Business

The Lovable Rogue
The Lovable Rogue

I think that many of the people challenging Brogan's actions are overlooking the fact that he was not paid per se. He was simply invited to spend a designated amount within a specific organisation and asked to express his experience. As many of the comments here correctly establish, Brogan could have experienced a negative experience just as easily as a positive one. The transparency of the post was made incredibly clear, and I fail to see where the problem lies. We all know that Brogan would be the first to highlight any service failure, and I see no reason why sponsorship would influence this in any way.

An insightful piece as always, Danny.

The Lovable Rogue´s last blog post..The Importance of Creativity within 21st Century Business

TheLovableRogue
TheLovableRogue

Blogger Danny Brown explores the issue of paid blogging, with specific reference to the recent Chris Brogan Kmart incident. Brown provides an introduction to the recent controversy, offering subsequent insight into whether bloggers do indeed risk their integrity by accepting cash incentives for organisation specific posts. Brown concludes that as long as the content remains honest, then there is little reason why bloggers should not benefit from the content which they produce.
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Snow Vandemore
Snow Vandemore

If Chris Brogan decided to utilize his blog to review or promote a particular brand, good for him. It's his blog and he can do with it as he wishes. I have the same choices -- well, in theory. The root of all of this controversy seems to be whether any of his future posts will be "funded" by some type of mysterious payola. He was transparent in the current transaction and I have no reason to believe any further reviews won't carry the same disclosure. There is always a price to pay when you hold hands with Corporate America -- Chris is a big boy and I trust he weighed his options carefully. To each his own, I say. Seems like a tempest in a teapot from where I stand.

Snow Vandemore
Snow Vandemore

If Chris Brogan decided to utilize his blog to review or promote a particular brand, good for him. It's his blog and he can do with it as he wishes. I have the same choices -- well, in theory. The root of all of this controversy seems to be whether any of his future posts will be "funded" by some type of mysterious payola. He was transparent in the current transaction and I have no reason to believe any further reviews won't carry the same disclosure. There is always a price to pay when you hold hands with Corporate America -- Chris is a big boy and I trust he weighed his options carefully. To each his own, I say. Seems like a tempest in a teapot from where I stand.

Snow Vandemore
Snow Vandemore

If Chris Brogan decided to utilize his blog to review or promote a particular brand, good for him. It's his blog and he can do with it as he wishes. I have the same choices -- well, in theory. The root of all of this controversy seems to be whether any of his future posts will be "funded" by some type of mysterious payola. He was transparent in the current transaction and I have no reason to believe any further reviews won't carry the same disclosure. There is always a price to pay when you hold hands with Corporate America -- Chris is a big boy and I trust he weighed his options carefully. To each his own, I say. Seems like a tempest in a teapot from where I stand.

Derek
Derek

I totally agree. As long as a blogger is up front and transparent... there is no reason for anyone to be up in arms. Unfortunately, people see people making money and they get jealous.

Derek
Derek

I totally agree. As long as a blogger is up front and transparent... there is no reason for anyone to be up in arms. Unfortunately, people see people making money and they get jealous.

Derek
Derek

I totally agree. As long as a blogger is up front and transparent... there is no reason for anyone to be up in arms. Unfortunately, people see people making money and they get jealous.
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David Leonhardt
David Leonhardt

I have never done a sponsored blog post, at least I don't recall doing one, but if I was asked to and it was a good post for my readers, why not? I have posted affiliate links a couple times, so I suppose that's sponsored blogging, but that was always a matter of talking about something and adding the affiliate link because it fit well with the post.

Even the matter of disclosure is, in my mind, a personal matter. What counts is that the post is true and useful.

I do publish an ezine and there are blatant sponsor messages on every issue. Once or twice somebody has complained, and my answer to them was in the form of a question: "How much were they willing to pay for their subscription?" The deafening silence is why my Daily Dose of Happiness remains free and why I continue to run ads.

David Leonhardt´s last blog post..Is an SEO’s Place in the Kitchen?

David Leonhardt
David Leonhardt

I have never done a sponsored blog post, at least I don't recall doing one, but if I was asked to and it was a good post for my readers, why not? I have posted affiliate links a couple times, so I suppose that's sponsored blogging, but that was always a matter of talking about something and adding the affiliate link because it fit well with the post. Even the matter of disclosure is, in my mind, a personal matter. What counts is that the post is true and useful. I do publish an ezine and there are blatant sponsor messages on every issue. Once or twice somebody has complained, and my answer to them was in the form of a question: "How much were they willing to pay for their subscription?" The deafening silence is why my Daily Dose of Happiness remains free and why I continue to run ads. David Leonhardt´s last blog post..Is an SEO’s Place in the Kitchen?

David Leonhardt
David Leonhardt

I have never done a sponsored blog post, at least I don't recall doing one, but if I was asked to and it was a good post for my readers, why not? I have posted affiliate links a couple times, so I suppose that's sponsored blogging, but that was always a matter of talking about something and adding the affiliate link because it fit well with the post.

Even the matter of disclosure is, in my mind, a personal matter. What counts is that the post is true and useful.

I do publish an ezine and there are blatant sponsor messages on every issue. Once or twice somebody has complained, and my answer to them was in the form of a question: "How much were they willing to pay for their subscription?" The deafening silence is why my Daily Dose of Happiness remains free and why I continue to run ads.

David Leonhardt´s last blog post..Is an SEO’s Place in the Kitchen?

Susan Mazza
Susan Mazza

Does anyone really think a guy like Chris would risk his reputation for $500? K-Mart didn't pay Chris to say nice things about their store or reinforce their brand identity or deliver a canned message (Chris is a reputable guy so I would accept his word on that). They gave him an opportunity to go buy things at their store and asked him to write about it. They did not suggest what he buy. They took a risk that he could have a lousy experience.

Yet I understand the suspicion - once money exchanges hands it is natural to wonder "is this a script or is it a real opinion?". But to abandon Chris at this stage of the game based on this example seems as @Warren put it a little too "holier than thou". It is his integrity as demonstrated by his transparency that allows us to thoughtfully engage the question can we BOTH be paid for our opinion AND be trusted to give our honest opinion?

Clearly some people think there is a black and white answer. That is the kind of thinking that impedes progress in any endeavor. I think we would all be better served by discussing the practices that could empower a BOTH/AND scenario rather than debate which way is right.

Susan Mazza
Susan Mazza

Does anyone really think a guy like Chris would risk his reputation for $500? K-Mart didn't pay Chris to say nice things about their store or reinforce their brand identity or deliver a canned message (Chris is a reputable guy so I would accept his word on that). They gave him an opportunity to go buy things at their store and asked him to write about it. They did not suggest what he buy. They took a risk that he could have a lousy experience.

Yet I understand the suspicion - once money exchanges hands it is natural to wonder "is this a script or is it a real opinion?". But to abandon Chris at this stage of the game based on this example seems as @Warren put it a little too "holier than thou". It is his integrity as demonstrated by his transparency that allows us to thoughtfully engage the question can we BOTH be paid for our opinion AND be trusted to give our honest opinion?

Clearly some people think there is a black and white answer. That is the kind of thinking that impedes progress in any endeavor. I think we would all be better served by discussing the practices that could empower a BOTH/AND scenario rather than debate which way is right.

Susan Mazza
Susan Mazza

Does anyone really think a guy like Chris would risk his reputation for $500? K-Mart didn't pay Chris to say nice things about their store or reinforce their brand identity or deliver a canned message (Chris is a reputable guy so I would accept his word on that). They gave him an opportunity to go buy things at their store and asked him to write about it. They did not suggest what he buy. They took a risk that he could have a lousy experience. Yet I understand the suspicion - once money exchanges hands it is natural to wonder "is this a script or is it a real opinion?". But to abandon Chris at this stage of the game based on this example seems as @Warren put it a little too "holier than thou". It is his integrity as demonstrated by his transparency that allows us to thoughtfully engage the question can we BOTH be paid for our opinion AND be trusted to give our honest opinion? Clearly some people think there is a black and white answer. That is the kind of thinking that impedes progress in any endeavor. I think we would all be better served by discussing the practices that could empower a BOTH/AND scenario rather than debate which way is right.

Warren Sukernek
Warren Sukernek

Danny, well said. Chris Brogan has always represented honesty, transparency and authenticity in all of his social media activities and this episode is no different. He was upfront and clearly marked it as a sponsored post, yet gave his honest opinion. This holier than thou blogging/ Twittering thing is getting tiresome.

Warren Sukernek
Warren Sukernek

Danny, well said. Chris Brogan has always represented honesty, transparency and authenticity in all of his social media activities and this episode is no different. He was upfront and clearly marked it as a sponsored post, yet gave his honest opinion. This holier than thou blogging/ Twittering thing is getting tiresome.

Warren Sukernek
Warren Sukernek

Danny, well said. Chris Brogan has always represented honesty, transparency and authenticity in all of his social media activities and this episode is no different. He was upfront and clearly marked it as a sponsored post, yet gave his honest opinion. This holier than thou blogging/ Twittering thing is getting tiresome.

Mary Wehrle
Mary Wehrle

I'm with you. I blog because I enjoy it but probably wouldn't say no to an opportunity to make some money at it if given the opportunity. I read Chris' post when he first put it up and appreciated the honesty that it was a sponsored post.

Many bloggers get paid to post so why fault Chris? It's his blog and he is free to do what he pleases. Chris has developed quite a readership because of what he knows and how he writes. Is he less of a great guy if he gets paid for a sponsored post every now and then? He gets paid for other things such as speaking engagements. Why is that OK and the occasional paid review not? Chris was honest in his review of K-Mart and what he thought. It's the honesty I appreciate and that's why I subscribe to him. Amazing how others on line decide what the rest of us are supposed to do.

Mary Wehrle´s last blog post..Ice Storms

Mary Wehrle
Mary Wehrle

I'm with you. I blog because I enjoy it but probably wouldn't say no to an opportunity to make some money at it if given the opportunity. I read Chris' post when he first put it up and appreciated the honesty that it was a sponsored post.

Many bloggers get paid to post so why fault Chris? It's his blog and he is free to do what he pleases. Chris has developed quite a readership because of what he knows and how he writes. Is he less of a great guy if he gets paid for a sponsored post every now and then? He gets paid for other things such as speaking engagements. Why is that OK and the occasional paid review not? Chris was honest in his review of K-Mart and what he thought. It's the honesty I appreciate and that's why I subscribe to him. Amazing how others on line decide what the rest of us are supposed to do.

Mary Wehrle´s last blog post..Ice Storms

Mary Wehrle
Mary Wehrle

I'm with you. I blog because I enjoy it but probably wouldn't say no to an opportunity to make some money at it if given the opportunity. I read Chris' post when he first put it up and appreciated the honesty that it was a sponsored post. Many bloggers get paid to post so why fault Chris? It's his blog and he is free to do what he pleases. Chris has developed quite a readership because of what he knows and how he writes. Is he less of a great guy if he gets paid for a sponsored post every now and then? He gets paid for other things such as speaking engagements. Why is that OK and the occasional paid review not? Chris was honest in his review of K-Mart and what he thought. It's the honesty I appreciate and that's why I subscribe to him. Amazing how others on line decide what the rest of us are supposed to do. Mary Wehrle´s last blog post..Ice Storms

Lisa Hoffmann
Lisa Hoffmann

People who are getting their panties in a wad about this need to think about whether they think bloggers deserve to make a living too. If you follow a college football player to the pros and he becomes a star and starts endorsing sports drinks and protein bars do you move on? Chris Brogan is the perfect example here, Danny, because is so NOT a sell-out. It doesn't matter if someone is sponsoring him, he still comes across as honest and genuine. I respect and appreciate that. It's one of the reasons he has found such success. Should he start to sound like a corporate shill he will lose his following - but I suspect he's acutely aware of this. Lisa Hoffmann´s last blog post..Don’t let social media bleed you dry

Lisa Hoffmann
Lisa Hoffmann

People who are getting their panties in a wad about this need to think about whether they think bloggers deserve to make a living too. If you follow a college football player to the pros and he becomes a star and starts endorsing sports drinks and protein bars do you move on?

Chris Brogan is the perfect example here, Danny, because is so NOT a sell-out. It doesn't matter if someone is sponsoring him, he still comes across as honest and genuine. I respect and appreciate that. It's one of the reasons he has found such success.

Should he start to sound like a corporate shill he will lose his following - but I suspect he's acutely aware of this.

Lisa Hoffmann´s last blog post..Don’t let social media bleed you dry

Adam Gainer
Adam Gainer

Hi Danny,

I think that in it's context what Chris did was okay. There is a potential ethical dilemma there. I can't say if I was given a 500$ shopping spree I could necessarily turn it down. It's interesting to think that as bloggers / PR people we need to start thinking about ethics in this category.

Is it ethical for us to tweet/ blog about our clients? What if in particular we are popular bloggers. I mean while it does help to be a name in your field, if you are beginning to be hired because you have a large group of followers that too could become an ethical dilemma.

While I don't personally blame Chris or think what he did was unethical I can see where some would make the point.

Adam Gainer´s last blog post..5 Lessons I’ve Learned About Social Media

Adam Gainer
Adam Gainer

Hi Danny,

I think that in it's context what Chris did was okay. There is a potential ethical dilemma there. I can't say if I was given a 500$ shopping spree I could necessarily turn it down. It's interesting to think that as bloggers / PR people we need to start thinking about ethics in this category.

Is it ethical for us to tweet/ blog about our clients? What if in particular we are popular bloggers. I mean while it does help to be a name in your field, if you are beginning to be hired because you have a large group of followers that too could become an ethical dilemma.

While I don't personally blame Chris or think what he did was unethical I can see where some would make the point.

Adam Gainer´s last blog post..5 Lessons I’ve Learned About Social Media

Adam Gainer
Adam Gainer

Hi Danny, I think that in it's context what Chris did was okay. There is a potential ethical dilemma there. I can't say if I was given a 500$ shopping spree I could necessarily turn it down. It's interesting to think that as bloggers / PR people we need to start thinking about ethics in this category. Is it ethical for us to tweet/ blog about our clients? What if in particular we are popular bloggers. I mean while it does help to be a name in your field, if you are beginning to be hired because you have a large group of followers that too could become an ethical dilemma. While I don't personally blame Chris or think what he did was unethical I can see where some would make the point. Adam Gainer´s last blog post..5 Lessons I’ve Learned About Social Media

Christa M. Miller
Christa M. Miller

I come from a background in B2B/trade magazine writing, where many "real" journalists don't take us seriously because it's just so much "PR fluff." Their view: we can't tell both sides about products. To an extent that's true, so that's where social media is all the more important: get the users talking about the product we B2B'ers led them to.

With regard to blogging, if the blogger is upfront about the sponsorship, says his opinion is his own and honest, and it's not overwhelmingly positive, I think it's fine. (When you tweeted that initial question I hadn't read Chris' blog post and thought you were talking positive reviews.)

As I said on Twitter, - companies should welcome negative reviews (if they're fair) and use them to make the product or service better, or figure out how else to address the concern. If you're paying a well-known blogger with a reputation then you should expect and respect total honesty; maybe that's even what you're after.

And blog readers should think more critically about the presentation - what's being said, what isn't, and whether (as you said) it accurately represents the blogger.

Christa M. Miller´s last blog post..Webcams: the new Crime Watch

Christa M. Miller
Christa M. Miller

I come from a background in B2B/trade magazine writing, where many "real" journalists don't take us seriously because it's just so much "PR fluff." Their view: we can't tell both sides about products. To an extent that's true, so that's where social media is all the more important: get the users talking about the product we B2B'ers led them to. With regard to blogging, if the blogger is upfront about the sponsorship, says his opinion is his own and honest, and it's not overwhelmingly positive, I think it's fine. (When you tweeted that initial question I hadn't read Chris' blog post and thought you were talking positive reviews.) As I said on Twitter, - companies should welcome negative reviews (if they're fair) and use them to make the product or service better, or figure out how else to address the concern. If you're paying a well-known blogger with a reputation then you should expect and respect total honesty; maybe that's even what you're after. And blog readers should think more critically about the presentation - what's being said, what isn't, and whether (as you said) it accurately represents the blogger. Christa M. Miller´s last blog post..Webcams: the new Crime Watch

Kimberly LeRiche
Kimberly LeRiche

I think it's ridiculous that people feel "let down" because Chris chose to do a sponsored blog post. I find it even more ridiculous that they choose to unfollow him because of this. Do they also not watch professional sports because so many of those athletes have endorsements? And those guys are solely doing it for money without any consideration of their own viewpoints or opinions. So many people write about how companies need to get into social media marketing but then when one of the better known social media gurus do just that and help to start a viral campaign, then people are suddenly disappointed? Pretty ironic. I'm with you Danny, I just don't get what there is to be so disappointed about.

Kimberly LeRiche
Kimberly LeRiche

I think it's ridiculous that people feel "let down" because Chris chose to do a sponsored blog post. I find it even more ridiculous that they choose to unfollow him because of this. Do they also not watch professional sports because so many of those athletes have endorsements? And those guys are solely doing it for money without any consideration of their own viewpoints or opinions.

So many people write about how companies need to get into social media marketing but then when one of the better known social media gurus do just that and help to start a viral campaign, then people are suddenly disappointed? Pretty ironic.

I'm with you Danny, I just don't get what there is to be so disappointed about.