Sponsored blog posts, reviews raise ethical questions
By Sarah Lundy
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT)
A video shows
"One biker actually stopped his buddy and pointed at me as I drove by," she wrote on Chevy's Girl on the Go blog, which she linked to her own blog.
Auer is one of five
The English teacher is part of an evolving movement in the world of blogging, in which businesses call upon popular local blogs to help market their goods. And bloggers are embracing the idea, often getting a service or product for free or even collecting a small paycheck.
"It sounded like fun, and it drove more traffic to my site," said Auer, who created her blog, called Central Florida Top 5, a year ago.
For years, bloggers and marketing executives have searched for a fine balance between independent bloggers staying true to their readers and businesses promoting their products. Now, the blogging/marketing relationship has become so common that blogging conferences devote sessions on how to connect to companies.
Last year, Cadillac sought out 64 well-connected
"For many years, bloggers weren't given a lot of respect or authority, and now people really see them as a go-to resource, and they have influence," said
"In the past, word-of-mouth was always critically important, but it didn't have the mass reach that we have when the Internet and social media come into play," he said. "Now, everyone's opinion can be heard … as people grow with their social prominence online, their reach becomes even further."
"Over time, it became more of an accepted practice," said
With the introduction of more bloggers, businesses are doing this even more, she said.
Last year, the
In March, for example, the
But McBride questioned how the FTC would be able to enforce the rule.
Readers are always going to seek trusted voices. And bloggers tend to be closer to their audience, she said.
"They are truly unpaid spokesmen for a product. The company is benefiting off it," said
The Southern Chevy Dealers in
"There's whole network of women who constantly share their stories … interacting in a social environment," said
That's why they chose women who were influencing others online. They started last winter with the Traverse and did another month with the Malibu.
For the Chevy Girls on the Go Campaign, dealers are providing the cars and gas money. The bloggers are not told what to say — an important distinction to them.
"Frankly, I think I would have bowed out gracefully if we'd been told that we could only speak positively about the product," the 34-year-old public-relations executive said. "The blogger community and readers are smart enough to know when they're being sold to. … There's plenty of room for that in traditional advertising."
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
. Comment by clicking here.
© The Orlando Sentinel Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.