Here’s the question in, more or less, its entirety:
“What if you agreed to do product, service, or publication reviews on which you were contractually guaranteed payment regardless of what you wrote, and guaranteed the right to write whatever you thought? You could link your reviews to an explanation of this arrangement (e.g., “click here for my policy on reviews and product endorsements”).
Alternatively, where you have already independently made positive mention of a product (like I believe you said FeedDemon is your preferred newreader), what’s the harm in an unobtrusive paid linked endorsement on your blog (“I use FeedDemon to monitor 523 different blogs and news sources every day!”)
People know to take “celebrity” endorsements in other media with a grain of salt; why not the same with bloggers, particularly if not placed in the body of the blog like an infomercial?
And your deal could include speaking engagements on [a general, but related, subject] in which you use [the endorsed product] for demo screenshots, mentioning that you use it personally and receive some compensation from them, but there are other good choices, perhaps even including a handout with urls for competitors.”
I like it, I like it.
A few months ago, I was moving strongly toward an “ads in feed” model. However, I had a few conversations that have made me pull back and rethink that approach.
My gut feeling is that an advertising or sponsorship model is not the best model for bloggers (but, by default, it might become the only model, like it or not). Lately, I’ve been thinking of something more along the lines of the sports/entertainment model, perhaps a blend of endorsement, relationship, appearances, speaking, preparing white papers and the like that results in the possibility of a substantial payment to the blogger and visibility and marketing value to both blogger and the company involved in the deal.
Obviously, disclosure of this type of relationship is vital, but disclosure on a relationship of this type is easy to do and pretty straightforward. It’s not a subtle issue where people might disagree about whether disclosure is required (company X gives you a free copy of its $19.95 software, company Y gives you a gift of a DVD of North by Northwest, you own 100 shares of company Z in your retirement account, a political party pays you to promote a candidate in your blog). If you don’t disclose and people find out (any you are dreaming if yu think that they won’t), your credibility will take a serious hit.
I think that there is some promise in the types of arrangements described in this thoughtful question (which wasn’t even written by me). I’m curious about what others think about this approach. By the way, if you are a company interested in pursuing this type of arrangement, I’m all ears.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (]