influencing influence

eskimon's paid opinions

Paid opinions are a hot topic for discussion at the moment.

In the past 24 hours, PSFK, Marketing Pilgrim, and 1000Heads have all shared some great thoughts on the subject.

While reading their posts, it occurred to me that people view this issue quite differently, depending on the context.

That’s not surprising – context is always critical – but which specific elements influences our perspective?

In the ‘offline’ world, we seem to have little issue with paid endorsement.

Sports players invariably endorse the brands they use, and most of us seem comfortable with that.

The thinking seems to be,

“If Tiger’s success depends so heavily on the clubs he uses, surely he wouldn’t compromise his success to endorse a brand he doesn’t trust?”

Similarly, come Oscars time, gossip columns lead with stories on which designer was ‘chosen’ by each celebrity.

“If Angelina’s success depends so heavily on looking great at all times, surely she wouldn’t compromise her look by wearing anything less than the best label?”

Such sponsorship seems acceptable to most people.

But when it comes to sponsored editorial and opinion – especially online – people adopt a very different standpoint.

“If a blogger is being paid to review a brand, their review will inevitably be biased”

Why this change of perspective?

Blogging success is (usually) determined by readership, and that readership depends on the respect and trust of the blog’s followers.

So why would any sensible blogger compromise their success for any brand that pays them?

It seems ironic that, when it comes to sponsorship, we place less faith in the actions of the people whose opinions we normally trust than we do in those of celebrities and sportspeople.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.


1 Response to “influencing influence”

  1. 1 Mathdelane July 22, 2009 at 12:24

    It’s very ironic to me. I’d rather trust somebody’s written editorial online than a celebrity on the runway flaunting a brand which looks like crap! Paid posts are advertisements and people must accept that unless those who have issues with it are simply reacting out of jealousy or greed because the blogosphere is taking away some hefty part of advertising revenue from companies instead of going to some dominantly arrogant big players which makes it frustrating for them. This is a rather old issue and I think if there are no ads online, then let’s just kill the internet. End of story.

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