I know you (just like me) make sure to be a little skeptical when it comes to reading news articles and anything online. Just because it’s reported on the news or posted online, doesn’t mean you should just take it as the truth without questioning the source first. Having worked for the news for over 3 years, I don’t really believe that the news on TV is out to brainwash you or twist the truth. At least not the network I work for. But then again there are a ton of other news outlets (*cough Fox News *cough Sun News) that I believe are heavily biased and present the facts in such a way as to push a certain agenda onto their viewership.
How this relates to personal finance blogs is that it would be crazy to think that none of these blogs don’t also have agendas or ulterior motives. Let’s be honest here, most people who start personal finance blogs don’t want to just write and write for years on end without ever making a dime. We’re in love with money! Us personal finance bloggers are seriously obsessed with the almighty dollar and all secretly dream of winning the lottery and buying something completely irresponsible like sharks with lasers on their heads. So if some blogger has a paid guest post or a sponsored post on their blog, am I gonna be a hater? Hell no, I totally get it! Am I gonna make sure to be a bit more selective and aware when reading their blog? You betcha!
Maybe it’s because I come from an advertising and sales background, but I don’t think ads in whatever form they may be in are a bad thing. Without advertising we wouldn’t know about the new restaurant down the street or that Gap has free shipping on its site. Without advertising businesses wouldn’t make enough money to continue being businesses! And sure, sometimes the ads are annoying (I don’t know why so many sites think I want a Russian bride), but sometimes their nice, like all the bus ads promoting the run of White Christmas at the Arts Club this year.
That all being said, knowing that many bloggers (including myself) are being paid for some of the content they publish on their blogs (which is what advertorial is), it’s important to be a cautious reader. Even if it’s the blogger writing the post and you’ve trusted them as a loyal reader for years, if they are publishing a sponsored post, that means the point of the content is to promote something and inevitably entice you to buy it. Some of you may think that this is sneaky, or feel like these posts taint the author’s overall blog, but as long as it’s visibly indicated that it is paid content (IE. the post noting that it’s a “guest post” or “sponsored post”), what’s the harm? No one’s forcing you to read it, and at the end of the day no animals were harmed in the making of that post.
I personally read over 100 personal finance blogs, and when I see another blogger publishing a post I know is being paid for, I don’t discredit the blogger for being a sell out, I just skip the article and wait for a new original post to go up. I’m a smart gal and I know that everyone is trying to make a buck however they can, so I try to read everything (and I mean everything) with a big ol’ grain of salt. And that’s what I’d expect from you awesome readers of mine. If I’ve got a guest post or sponsored post, I want you to know so you can avoid it if you want to.
I do however have an issue with blogs whose original author sells it to a company, never reveals that this exchange has taken place, and then the company starts to churn out content as if they were the original author. That’s totally shady and a bit disrespectful to any loyal readers if you ask me. Not that I’m naming names or anything, but I’m sure you’ve all seen one or two of these blogs before. Not cool!
What do you think about paid content on blogs? Are you cool with it or does it really grind your gears?
-Mo’ Houses out!