online journalism review article on "blogging for dollars" (semi-sponsored post)


J. D. Lasica has written an interesting article for USC's Online Journalism Review entitled "The cost of ethics: Influence peddling in the blogosphere."

My trust in the piece was somewhat marred by JD's poor fact-checking--I'm a professor, not a lecturer (there's a big difference...sort of like calling someone a copy editor vs a reporter, or a reporter vs an editor), and more importantly I teach at RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) not RPI.

I would have commented on the site with a correction, but commenting on OJR requires not only your name and email, but also your date of birth, which I found a bit intrusive.

Nonetheless, I think JD does a decent job of outlining the issues in the debate.

I have to say that I take Stowe Boyd's criticism of the Marqui program with a grain of salt. I founded Corante's Many-to-Many blog on social software, and have been writing for it for nearly two years. I have yet to receive one penny of compensation from Corante for that work. This week, however, I cashed a hefty check from Marqui for the four clearly-marked sponsored posts that I wrote in January.

All in all, I don't feel at all bad about participating in Marqui's program. I don't think it has had any impact on my writing in other areas, nor have I felt that I've misled my readers in any way. So it's hard for me to see where Stowe's outrage comes from.

It will be interesting to watch where this all goes...


Sorry, Liz, fixed now. Trying to nail down a zillion facts while launching a startup ain't easy. :~)

Granted, no one has offered me $800 a month to blog for them, so it is easy for me to criticize. Or perhaps it is reason to criticize out of jealousy :-)

Personally, I have reservations about "sponsored" weblogs. Yes, sponsored entries can be clearly marked, as you have done, Liz, but every entry becomes framed in light of the sponsor. A sponsor pays a blogger to talk about the sponsored product because of the perceived value of the person's weblog. They get the whole package. Which means as a reader, I look at every entry under the same light as the sponsored entries, even if they are clearly marked. I wonder if other readers have the same experience, or if I am just atypical.

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