Blogola Goes Big-Time in Mainstream Media

For several years now the hardtracking staff has noted the growing use of blogola in violation of Federal Trade Commission guidelines, from Lord & Taylor’s paying 50 bloggers under the table to wear a dress from its Design Lab clothing collection and post it on Instagram to Honda’s paying bloggers to (spark)plug its cars.

But now, as The Outline’s Jon Christian reports, blogola has wormed its way into a stunning array of major media publications.

HOW BRANDS SECRETLY BUY THEIR WAY INTO FORBES, FAST COMPANY, AND HUFFPOST STORIES

An Outline investigation found that contributors to prominent publications have taken payments in exchange for positive coverage.

In late October, TechCrunch editor-at-large John Biggs noticed a Facebook Messenger request from someone he didn’t know, a man named Varun Satyam. When Biggs accepted the request, Satyam introduced himself as a marketer for technology startups. He was looking for coverage of some clients, he said, and he was willing to pay Biggs to write about them.

It was a bold opening move, and an unethical proposition for any journalist who wants to retain their credibility. But Biggs wasn’t surprised. He estimates that he receives two or three similar offers each month, and he doesn’t take them seriously.

“They’re stupid,” said Biggs. “Organic press is far more effective and anyone with a brain can see through them.”

By them Biggs means the plugs that an increasing number of brands seek to insert into editorial content on major media websites.

Drive-purists-nuts graf . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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