Just a matter of time, I suppose, and it’s happened sooner rather than later. Marketing VOX has a brief news item about a US company called Blogversations who offer to match bloggers with sponsors (advertisers); the bloggers would write about the sponsor’s product or service and get paid for it.
Hmm. A natural development in just another medium to reach consumers? Maybe. I can see a market growth opportunity for blogs that no doubt will spring up that will be reviews of products and services, and openly described as such. No one would be in any doubt.
But if we’re talking about ordinary blogs authored by individuals – much like this one that I write – there’s a fine line here between credibility (the blogger) and honesty (the advertiser) that would be seriously compromised if a blog publishes something about a product or service where the blogger received payment for writing it but you the reader believes is just the blogger’s un-influenced opinions. Fine if there’s clear and open disclosure on the blog (not unlike the principle of the Canadian journalist’s blog disclosure I commented about the other day).
From how Blogversations describe the service on their website, it looks to me like they are targeting individual bloggers. And they use an odd turn of phrase in their description: “Advertisers truly engage audiences without doing evil; bloggers get paid for doing what they do best – blogging.”
Make up your own mind. Take a look at Blogversations’ offer.