A Case for Advertising on Blogs (With a Caveat)

Sponsored Nascar CarClaire, one of my students, recently posted this on her blog: Why I’m Getting Tired of Reading Blogs, Even Though I Have One.

She blogs about “Mom stuff,” and reads a lot of other sites that do the same. Read her post for the full story, but basically she’s frustrated by the increase in sponsored posts. Companies want their products to be part of “authentic” stories on popular blogs. But it doesn’t always work out. From Claire’s post:

The thing is, as sponsored posts become more frequent, they inevitably feel less authentic and become less effective. As an example, the other day, I read a post by another “mom blogger.” After reading the post, I realized it was an ad for a fertility product. Honestly, I felt a bit “had.”

Disclosing the sponsorship at the top of the post might have helped. But there’s a bigger issue. Too much native advertising can poison a good blog just as much as crazy banner and sidebar ads. It might be better (and more authentic) to make a few bucks from clearly labelled ads on your site, rather than incorporating corporate interests into your content.

But no one wants random ads polluting their blog, right?

What if bloggers could choose ads to display with their content? I don’t mean choosing a category, or letting Google try to decide which ads fit your topic best. What if you could pick specific ads, from specific companies, to show beside your posts?

There would be some advantages:

  • Bloggers could choose ads for organizations they support or products they legitimately like.
  • It would encourage quality advertisements, since fewer people would choose ugly or misleading ads.
  • It could still be a way for bloggers and companies to connect and foster beneficial relationships.

Does anyone know if something like this exists? Do you think it could take some pressure off the push for sponsored content?

Picture credit: Ricky Rudd on Flickr

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