I haven’t bitched about sponsored content on blogs for a while and I’m feeling the need because damn, that shit is everywhere. I just discovered a new blog I’d totally like if not for the blah blah sponsored by Disney blah blah I got some free crappy cheese in exchange for writing this boring-ass post blah blah my entire wardrobe is c/o people who give me free shit etc.
In the past few weeks, I’ve mellowed in my opposition to monetizing blogs somewhat. I’m to the point where I don’t mind sidebar ads any more. Granted, I use Adblock Plus so I probably don’t even see them, but they don’t bother me. It’s the sponsored content that drives me crazy. I’ve been avoiding blogs with sponsored content for a while now, but I’m ready to officially state that, with no exceptions,1 if your blog contains sponsored content, I will not read it.
Content written at the behest of a sponsor is a commercial. I don’t want to see commercials. The only time I watch them on tv is during live sports when I’m too lazy to flip to another channel for the duration of the commercial break. I don’t really look at them in magazines most of the time.
It’s harder to ignore the commercials on a blog. Often, bloggers don’t even tell you a post is sponsored until you get to the end (although 95% of the time, I can tell by the first sentence). The other problem is that with blogs, the line between actual, legitimate content and commercials isn’t as easy to draw as it is with other media. It’s easy to tell when a baseball game cuts away to an ad for crappy beer with a punch-top can2 or when you open the latest issue of Sports Illustrated and see an ad for that freaky golf book that features an image of a head with its brain exposed (trigger warning: braaaaaaaains), which, also WTF.3
When bloggers try to pass off sponsored content as legitimate content, or at least content anyone but the sponsors themselves might actually want to read or give a shit about, it comes off as inauthentic. After enough sponsored content has appeared on a blog, that sense of inauthenticity, as it were, rubs off on other, non-sponsored content. For me at least, if you’re a commercial at least some of the time, I have a hard time figuring out and giving a shit about those times you’re not a commercial.
This is a very long way of saying that if you post sponsored content on your blog, you’re Billy Mays (except for the dead part, of course). And anybody who comments on sponsored posts is the internet version of the extras in the following Oxi Clean commercial talking about how they’re on the ball.
Don’t be on the ball, dudes, at least not like this. It’s only a matter of time before people realize they don’t want to read this shit and brands realize sponsored content is hurting them as much as it’s helping.
1. For a while I had an exception, but that blogger is now a shitty shampoo ambassador and it’s all over. By the way, if you refer to yourself as a brand ambassador or if you’re a brand that hires ambassadors, fuck you.
2. Okay, I guess I did pay attention to a commercial and I am completely baffled by the point of the punch-top beer can that requires some sort of external implement to make the punch, which, WTF why do you want to do this anyway can you not drink the beer fast enough with regular cans while at the same time being far too sophisticated for the old-school shotgun approach.
3. I don’t want to see brains in my sports magazines or, well, anywhere.