When it is an advertisement! I saw Estee’s post on ‘Why I LOVE BOYS with BALLS and … a good set of wheels‘ and I found it interesting. Parts of the post sounded a lot like ad copy. So just to test, I took the phrase ‘They amaze us with their skills, humble us with their rootedness‘ and googled it. These are the results. Check this site out.
Learning this brought up a whole mix of thoughts and feelings. I have nothing against ads on blogs. Bloggers have the right to want to monetize their blog. I have nothing against endorsements also. Celebrities do it all the time when they go onto TV and say how wonderful a particular product or service is. Bloggers should be given the right to do so too on their blog.
The thing is that when it comes to blogs, we tend to expect (and possibly unfairly) that bloggers should always speak with their own voice – endorsements or not. While Estee did inject her own voice into the post, a part of it wasn’t hers. Which begs the question – next time, when do we know if it is really Estee speaking?
Should Ad copy be separated?
To be fair, Estee did put a disclaimer in the post title with the letters ‘ADV’ in brackets. And she probably isn’t the only blogger involved in this campaign by Nike.
Another thing that I’m still not sure about is how to feel about bloggers putting ad links within a post. Looking at the link information to Nike’s site, you can tell that Nuffnang is the ad provider.
One reason why ‘Pay Per Post‘ has raised the irk of certain bloggers in the States is because the medium makes it hard to differentiate between genuine show of support versus paid endorsements. In TV, it is easy. We can tell that a segment is an advertisement. Product placements within shows are easy to spot. Advertisements occur before a movie. In magazines, it used to be easier, but now with increasing number of advertorials, it is getting harder. Blogs started out as personal diaries but its use is evolving. I think the nature of the birth of the medium is one reason why some of us feel strongly against the invasion of paid posts. It is like inviting a friend to your house or visiting a friend for a party and they only reason why they want you there is so that they can try to sell you some multi-level product which you don’t really need so that they can make money.
On a final note, I do hope Estee forgives me for using her blog post as a reference point for my thoughts on this issue. And in no way am I insinuating that Estee has been dishonest. She did put a disclaimer as I have mentioned above.