Every time I read a post bemoaning the idea that copywriters and bloggers deserve to be compensated for their time because journalism should be impartial, I wonder whether people truly believe that the major media does not primarily benefit the wealthy who control it.
Back in the old days (say in the ’70s when I studied Journalism), a journalist was taught to only report the news and any opinion was to be found only on the editorial page.
The truth remains that those businesses that could afford to buy advertising influenced what got published. To deny that is naive.
What the audience of any publication really needs to know
will never appear in the major magazines, newspapers or broadcasts
whenever that information would be contrary to the
interests of the advertisers supporting that media.
I’ll offer an example from an industry I know well. You are never going to read in The Blood-Horse or The Thoroughbred Times that the Thoroughbred Breeding Industry is about creating the next big stallion – not racing.
You are not going to read that the Throughbred Industry’s goal is not creating great racehorses as much as it is to separate those with the deepest pockets from their money consistently. (Which, given the overhead they have, is a logical – although not very ethical given how it is done – goal to have.)
They have spent decades conditioning buyers to believe that only the offspring of Kentucky Derby winning stallions out of mares who have already produced stakes winners can become stakes winners and deserve the highest bids because only they will win the Kentucky Derby.
If you believe that is true you haven’t paid attention to history. Use the Internet to find articles like this 1971 article from Sports Illustrated: Is it Crooked or Straight? The legs of yearlings go every which way at Keeneland’s poor man’s sale, but smart buyers have found the last two Derby winners there.”
Statistics prove otherwise and if someone wanted to be leading owner they can do that for a lot less money IF they hire the best pedigree analysts and one particular conformation expert I know AND know what specific conditions where the prospect was raised they must avoid.
To their credit, The California Thoroughbred Breeders Association publishes a Thoroughbred Yearling Buyers Guide that debunks some common myths, but if you really want to be successful hire an insider and buy directly from the farm BEFORE the yearlings go through conditioning.
You will never read that the most expensive racing prospects are being crippled by elective equine corrective surgery to make them APPEAR to be correct when they might be sound (although less perfect in appearance) if left alone. Sadly, the surgery misaligns the supporting structures and almost guarantees they will break down.
This happens because agents want to avoid any visible conditions when recommending purchases so they will not be blamed if the prospect does not stay sound. If they were NOT operated on and had a visible imperfection, but were sound the agent WOULD BE BLAMED should some unrelated accident disable them.
You don’t even want to know what is done to win races or how many means are justified in the pursuit of the ends. That is true for racing and it is true for most other industries, BUT WE CAN CHANGE THAT!
We can collectively favor the best Fair Trade concepts and be willing to pay reasonable prices for what we buy. We can support ethical small businesses with our time and money and stop spending money that benefits none by the wealthy few.
Let me study any industry and I will find for you the unwritten truth that you will never read because to publish what hurts your advertisers is suicidal for any media outlet.
Today news isn’t even news and the main reason I believe there are influential people championing the idea that word of mouth should always be free is to benefit the bottom line of companies that would always rather improve their bottom line than pay the ‘little people’ like us.
“Mass Media is the most powerful tool
used by the ruling class to manipulate the masses.
It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes
and defines what is normal and acceptable. “
~ Vigilant Citizen ~
Mind Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media
The opinions of bloggers who are
highly ethical thinkers are
NOT for sale at ANY price!
Our time and influence are valuable so
We expect to be compensated!
We can write about businesses, products or services and give our honest opinions whether we do this because we were moved to do so or whether we receive products or access to services or we are paid to write our views.
Money does not corrupt us – especially such tiny
amounts of money because we do not worship money.
Transparency makes a lot more sense because many question whether journalism can be impartial because everything anyone writes IS someone’s opinion and is colored by their background. While some may APPEAR to be impartial that only indicates that their opinions may be more mainstream than some others.
Dan Thornton suggested that Great Journalism Can Be Impartial But Not Neutral. What we believe to be impartiality is more likely to be our being in sync with whatever the publicly acceptable opinions of the day are. If we’re honest, we have to admit we would not be impartial if we were moved to somewhere that accepted norms were vastly different.
Some Word of Mouth advocates seem to be believe that bloggers writing about your business should be free and instead of paying celebrities for endorsement maybe you’ll get lucky and catch them using your product so you can buy advertising that takes advantage of an implied endorsement instead of paying them.
That reminds me that many celebrities are suing brands over their use of look-alike actors and actresses who are basically impersonating them in commercials. At least some of the time the celebrities or their estates win lawsuits over celebrity impersonations used in advertising. Just last month it was widely reported that Kim Kardashian is suing Old Navy for Violating Her Right of Publicity.
Does anyone else find it ironic that brands question
bloggers’ integrity when their own is so slippery?
And don’t even get me started about how far over the line of what is appropriate for public display in what we once referred to as “polite” or “mixed” company the mainstream media is now. Advertising has gone beyond suggestive to blatantly sexual adult entertainment masquerading as advertising. Where will the line be drawn if we don’t start speaking out?
I ask my fellow bloggers to not take the easy way of promoting big brands and instead reach out to their local small businesses. By adding local content to your blog and creating collaborations of bloggers we can make a good living creating stronger local communities.
I wrote about Why Supporting Your Favorite Local Small Businesses Through Word of Mouth Recommendations improves our standard of living. That post includes statistics clearly showing what the results of a new study by Economists Stephan Goetz and David Fleming published in Economic Development Quarterly finds that Local Businesses are Key to Income Growth:
The key to reversing the long-term trend of stagnating incomes
in the U.S. lies in nurturing small, locally owned businesses
and limiting further expansion and market consolidation
by large corporations.
The debate over whether bloggers can be both compensated and trusted has been raging since PayPerPost offerings in 2006 and heated up at Evo’11 Evo Conference (Evolution of Women in Social Media) when Estee Lauder’s Aveda came out against what LoraLee of @looneytoons called “monetarily compensating bloggers”.
Hers is one of the best posts that came out of Evo:
I THINK SEASONED BLOGGERS ARE FIGHTING
FOR MONETARY COMPENSATION FOR SPONSORED WORK.
NOT EDITORIAL WORK.
And this is where I think a lot of misunderstanding happens.
I love the way Yvonne DiVita of Windsor Media Enterprises, LLC said she replies to PR pitches in The Cost Of Free Publicity: How Much Is Too Little? on the American Express OpenForum:
“Did your local newspaper offer to promote this for free?
If they don’t do free advertising, why should I?”
Scroll way down for links to excellent discussions on whether bloggers should ever be paid, and if they are under what circumstances. Be part of these discussions that will shape where blogging, PR and business are going.
Before you do, though, give some serious thought to the purpose of media and why you blog. I want to share with you some information about media you may have never considered and encourage you to realize this:
WE BLOGGERS, COLLECTIVELY,
Can be the voice denied us for so long.
We can be a counterbalance to the conditioning
Of humanity worldwide by the major media.
Take our role seriously as a way to create a better world
For whatever time we have left.
Edward Benais wrote in his 1927 book Propaganda available online at History is a Weapon:
“Society consents to have its choice narrowed to ideas and objects brought to its attention through propaganda of all kinds. There is consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the interest of some policy or commodity or idea.” ~ Edward Benais ~
We are not like those who allow others to make their decisions for them. We do not consent to have the Google Monopoly decide what we will see and will not see.
Through collaborations of wise bloggers
we can retain our freedom of choice and
make sure our blogs and small businesses can be found.
It is time that many more people wake up and realize there has always been an agenda and we are getting very near the end of it. Before any are tempted to dismiss what I say as some “conspiracy theory” you really need to see all the famous people who have publicly announced that there IS a NEW WORLD ORDER.
This video is one of the simpler ways to grasp the big picture all at once (full length movie 2 hours 14 minutes):
- GrowMap: What is Blog Outreach – Includes Types of Blog Outreach and how they are usually compensated
- MarketingPilgrim: According to new eMarketer Research: Nearly Half of All Marketers are Willing to Pay for Posts (Aug 26, 2011)
- WOMMA: Code of Word of Mouth Marketing Ethics and Standards
- Jeremiah Owyang: A Running List of Sponsored Conversations across different mediums including product placement in movies (Mar 2, 2009 but may be being updated)
- FTC to Bloggers (and Celebrities): Fess Up or Pay Up
PRO PAYING BLOGGERS:
- Brand Meets Blog: Paying Bloggers (Aug 22, 2011)
- Stephanie Schwab on Social Media Explorer: Bloggers Are Promotional Partners, Which Is Bad For PR (Aug 4, 2011)
- LoraLeesLooneyTune: When and How Should Bloggers Be Compensated? (Jul 13, 2011)
- JustinCaseYourWereWondering: PR Should Never Pay Bloggers, Right? Never Say Never (Jul 19, 2011)
- Sommer Poquette: Brands, Bloggers and Money (Jul 11, 2011)
- blogging Angels: Tips for Brands on How to Approach Bloggers (Jun 27, 2011)
- Kelli on MurrayNewlands.com: Should Businesses Pay Mommy Bloggers (Sep 13, 2010)
- Stephanie Schwab on Cracker Jack Marketing: Brands Working with Bloggers: It’s Confusing (May 18, 2010)
- Jeremiah Owyang: How To Make Sponsored Conversations Work (Mar 2, 2009)
- Forrester Research: Add Sponsored Conversations to Your Toolbox
- Social Media Consultant Kelby Carr: Mom Bloggers Deserve to Get Paid (Nov 15, 2009)
- Empowered (Forrester Blog post by Josh Bernoff): Why sponsored conversation — aka paid blog posts — can make sense (Mar 2, 2009)
- Chris Brogan: Advertising and Trust (Dec 13, 2008)
AGAINST PAYING BLOGGERS:
- HighTalk: Brands Should Not Pay Bloggers (Jul 21, 2011)
- ReadWriteWeb: Forrester is Wrong About Paying Bloggers (Mar 2, 2009)
UNDECIDED or IT DEPENDS:
- PR Consultant Scott Hepburn: When Should Brands Pay Bloggers (Excellent food for thought and discussion of specific scenarios.) (Aug 5, 2011)
- Are You Paying for Word of Mouth Marketing? (Jul 15, 2010)
- Big Banks Pay Bloggers Big Bucks for Sales Referrals
As always, your opinions and questions are welcome here – whether you agree or disagree. How and when bloggers should be paid for what is still evolving and the more input from different niches the faster we can all develop best practices in that regard.
Also as always here we encourage you to leave links in the comments to any related posts or discussions you feel others may want to see. We believe that only by having an open mind and considering all input can we find the Truth.