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Earned Media or Cash Register Ringing? Social Media Says Cha-ching!




Do you think that a bad economy can’t make just about anybody consider anything for a buck? Well, new research shows that the pristine and highly moral world of the bloggers are more for sale than ever before. Of course, I am being just a bit facetious because basically at heart the blogging world is pure and strictly here for the greater good. Rats! There I go again. Maybe there needs to be some research to settle this issue?

Fortunately, eMarketer and IZEA has done that and it appears as if the idea of “earned media” sounds much better as theory rather than reality. Are you really surprised?

Social media advertising company IZEA surveyed Twitter users, blog writers and other social media publishers about their openness to sponsorship of their social content. More than half said they had already monetized their activities, and almost a third more wanted to. Overall, 71.3% had been offered some kind of incentive, like cash, free products or coupons, for a blog post or tweet promoting a brand.

Asked about the idea of being paid for content, it sounded good for about 89% of the bloggers surveyed. Apparently, the economy has taken its toll on accepted payment methods because social media content generators are not so much interested in barters or coupons, they want to be paid the old fashioned way: cash. (I personally like gold bars but I am different for sure).

The most startling part of this research is as follows

In December 2009, the US Federal Trade Commission released new guidelines designed to protect readers of social media content from undisclosed sponsorships, but according to the IZEA survey more than a third of PR, social media and marketing professionals have not heard of the rules at all. Only 29.9% said they had read and understood them.

So what happened to the idealism of the world of social media? It went the way of just about every ideal that makes everyone sound so great when talking about it. Where is that? It ran headlong into reality where people have to make a living.

So how do you feel about the apparent blogger for hire social media world we really exist in? Is it OK or is it ‘not the way it is supposed to be’?

  • http://www.soicher-marin.com michelle gagne

    Where do I sign?

  • Cynthia

    First off, I prefer to be paid in chocolate bars – in case anyone is interested in hiring me. . .

    Second, I never begrudge anyone a chance to make a buck — except — when it’s fraudulent or even close to it. I don’t mind ads on blogs or even paid reviews, but I do expect bloggers to be honest and not give a rave review to a child’s toy that breaks every safety law on the books or sun tan lotion that turns you green.

    I recently saw a post from a mommy blogger where she pulled back a contest for a product that upon regular use gave her child a rash. She was upfront about the fact that she no longer endorsed the product and she removed the giveaway. I’m sure that wasn’t easy for her to put in print, but that’s the way it should be.

    I would like to think that not everyone is writing purely for the buck – actually, no one is writing just to make money, it would be like coal mining purely for the fun of it. I think everyone should love (or at least like) their job but writers in particular have to enjoy the craft or it’s not worth doing, even for a $25 Amazon GC.