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?