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I have no problem with your sponsored posts but…

Do you really think I’m not going to notice the little link that drops chunkily into an ever so slightly contrived sounding post?
 
Do you really think I’m so blind that I won’t notice the link or the teeny, tiny sponsored post note at the bottom of the page (or the link to your policy on another page)?
 
But more importantly do you really think I want to read those posts?  Especially if you are the eleventy twelfth person to write a post on that exact same product?
 
I know times are tough and we are all looking to make a bit of money (or even a lot of money) from our blogs – heck if I could get some more sidebar advertising I’d be there in seconds – but I don’t read blogs to trawl through sponsored posts in search of the really good, true voiced stuff I know you usually write
 
How about you do me a favour and go back to flagging sponsored posts as such so I don’t have to read them – categorise them, go back to putting something in the title, have a picture that comes up that flags that this is an ‘advertorial’ or whatever the cool kids are calling them these days.  Yes I know there’s a whole host of stuff that Google and the ASA are stamping down on and to make money you have to find ways around them but could they be ways that don’t alienate your loyal readers?
 
You need people like me to drop by regularly to keep up your traffic and to show that you have a community of readers or companies are not going to want to put these links onto your pages.  You need to leaven the PR posts with the stuff that keeps us coming back or we won’t come back and that is no good to anyone
 
Am I being unreasonable or is there a way around this that works for all sides of this?  Or are we doomed to trying to spot sponsored posts from afar so we can avoid them?
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8 comments to I have no problem with your sponsored posts but…

  • TheMadHouse

    Nope, you are right, all mine are imaged and do not go in to my RSS feed, so you have to click on the category to read them, OH and the links are in bright hot pink, so you can not miss them

    Happy to do then, they pay the bills, but also want to keep my readers!

  • Kat

    I have mine segregated and clearly marked. It annoys the bejesus out of me when I get half way through a post and find the link.

    @Jen – your posts do come up in reader – all of them.

    • Muddling Along

      It’s a honesty thing, isn’t it – if I know it is sponsored I can choose to read at the start rather than flicking through and then thinking oops that was sponsored, wonder if it was contrived?

  • You make a good point as someone who writes sponsored posts I see where you’re coming from because it has concerned me in the past. However, I try very hard to make them work and be personal so can I ask why, if you’re enjoying a post, would you stop just because you’ve realised it’s sponsored? Ok that person had been paid and it might not be something that they would normally write about, but if they’ve poured personality and opinion into it, does it make it a less valid post to read? (Just being Devil’s advocate here)

    • Muddling Along

      Good point, it is not that I stop reading just because a post is sponsored but more that having realised it is a clunky way to get a link in I doubt that the post itself is for real – have you just written the words to fit the link or is this a real life post? Mostly it feels contrived and so I just move on

      Harsh possibly but there are an awful lot of posts which I’d read differently if they had sponsored at the top. I’d think ‘oh this is a review of x’ not ‘oh look there’s a link to a really random company in the middle of this post – hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm’

  • Personally, I choose to run an image at the top of any sponsored post I do. And then I link to my disclosure page at the bottom. I’m also intensely aware that ANY commercial content I publish has to be sandwiched in between at least 2 or 3 non-commercial posts. So I try to have a bit of variety and keep my readers interested in the stuff they read me for. That said, times ARE tough and I know (having been on the end of it) that some SEO agencies are putting intense pressure on bloggers NOT to label posts – or to hide the label right at the end in itty bitty text. For many, I think the choice of turning down the money in order to keep their big label at the top of the post just isn’t an option.

    • I hear what you say about the money but think some bloggers need to remember that without the readership there won’t be the pr requests – having readers and getting pr approaches are both sides of the same coin

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