Thursday, March 21, 2013

That whole "Sponsored Post" thing...

You might as well write "Treat like Sky or Domino's Pizza Flyers" at the top of your Blog Post rather than 'sponsored'
So the whole Sponsored Post thing has reared its ugly head once again. Don't get me wrong, I can fully understand that some Bloggers have mobilised and monetized their scribblings but, well here's the thing, no matter how transparent you are about being 'on the take' for what you've written, it has the effect on me described above in the header image. The exact same effect junk mail and junk that comes through the letterbox has. More work for our gallant recycling teams (or email filters).

Why? Well put it this way, you're being paid to say something that is effectively someone else's opinion of their product. They're not going to point out its flaws, they're not going to tell you a tale of woe about that time their flashy new mobile phone had an upgrade or security patch and bricked overnight, or the pitifully short battery life, or the fact that its bluetooth won't talk to any other bluetooth device despite bluetooth supposedly being a standard connectivity method.

That's what bloggers do best, and if there's one thing we Brits excel at, it's grizzling and moaning about things we've spent our hard earned cash on that haven't quite lived up to expectations.

Of course, the definition of a sponsored post is pretty broad. You've got those horrible, hateful posts that are little better than a copy-and-paste job from the original PR document. Or you've got those equally horrible posts alleging that life was a bleak dystopian daily slog before "the wonderful Vac-U-Vin 4000 (TM) entered our household and started changing baby's nappy, cleaning the house, walking the dog and servicing the boiler."

Reviewing books, we get sent a fair few and you could of course point out that anything you've gained for nothing is effectively 'sponsorship' of a sort, and that your opinion on that item is degraded as a result. But there's the bit we'd highlight in bold - it's our opinion, and it's often a brutally honest opinion thanks to Princess C's input on the blog and her fairly high standards when it comes to children's books.  We don't get sent anything for here but if we did, we'd apply those same standards.

With that in mind, we'd definitely welcome the current initiative going on at Cybher that describes non-disclosure in its correct terms, as a breach of consumer law and also - worse than that - as a betrayal of trust between you (the blogger) and your readers.

If you're on the take for a post, fess up - and if the company or PR you're dealing with isn't happy with you mentioning this, link them back to the Cybher site and slam the door on their arse. That is, of course, if you give a flying stuff about your integrity as a blogger / writer, and want your opinion to be considered worth a damn...

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