Part 1 of 2: The End Of The Sponsored Blog Era

Posted on April 26, 2017


“There should be a presumption that media is misleading unless it’s been properly identified and labeled in advance,” he said.  April 26th, 2017 article Branded content regulation recommended for parliamentary review, as advertiser pressure is posed as a remedy for fake news By

According to the above article that appeared in the April 26th issue of The Drum, when it comes to making the distinction between real news and pay-to-play coverage, the onus is shifting from the reader to the media – including advertisers.

While some may question the motivation for advertisers to assume responsibility in this area, a submission from Bangor University suggested otherwise. Specifically, that “advertisers will not want their ads associated with content that, by its nature, cannot be trusted.”

According to the Drum article, meaningful parliamentary intervention to address the fake news issue is still up in the air. This isn’t a surprise, as legislative reform in the US has been a topic of discussion for some time. I remember covering the story regarding the FTC’s intention to hold blogs to a higher standard regarding their relationship with vendors whose products they were reviewing back in 2009. You can listen to my 2009 radio segment “Has Blogging Crossed the Threshold of Legitimacy?” for more details.

All this being said, one thing is clear; with or without government involvement change is on the near horizon.

For example, and whether warranted or not, Spend Matters’ introduction of its SolutionMap service has been met with skepticism from some in the industry. One of the knocks against the SolutionMap offering is that it will only feature those service providers who are willing to pay. From my standpoint, the jury is still out on whether this is actually the case. However, the fact that Spend Matters accepts sponsorship dollars creates a where there is smoke there is fire mindset that undermines what could be a worthwhile service.

This, of course, leads to the obvious question that has forever been asked but never actually answered; if you cut-off the flow of the service provider revenue stream, will a blog’s readership be willing to step up to fill the economic void that keeps the majority of blogs afloat?

In Part 2 of this series, I will talk about the emergence of the SaaS era of digital journalism.


Posted in: Commentary