Many people may be asking themselves, what is blog inclusion? Basically, blog inclusion is accepting money in exchange for mentioning a company or a product on your blog. Note that this does not necessarily need to be positive feedback – companies might want their products and services to be reviewed for market research purposes or to start an online conversation about what they have to offer. The goal of a smart marketer would be to channel negative feedback into development and fix problems that alienate potential customers. There has been a lot of talk about Jeremy Zawodny renting links on his blog.
Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Jeremy doing this since I trust his opinion and I know he won’t link to spam sites. If he does sell out and start linking to spam he will eventually lose his readership and his PageRank. Google needs to stop being so paranoid, learn to understand the “black marketing” for links that they have created and realize that it is OK for somebody other than them to make some money on the internet. This is a great example of people incluencing bloggers to include links to their own content – it seems like an in-post sponsorship, if the relationship is disclosed by the blogger, could potentially help gain credibility as people became increasingly more skeptical of biased content.
Though in the beginning there is typically much contraversy regarding sponsorship of a new form of media, it always dies. Why? Because once there is sponsorship, the material gets better. Take, for example, television. Before there were sponsors, it was bland and boring. But with the funding of sponsors, networks were able to spend more on better writers, better special effects, and better actors. This also goes to show that sponsorship leads to more innovation — which is what we are constantly striving for as a society. Take also Google for example. Once they added sponsored links to the results, they had additional funding to improve their search technology and make it better.
Had they not added them, Google would have gone out of business — imagine the implications of that! Though now there is much controversy regarding the sponsorship of blogs through “blog inclusion”, both consumers and bloggers will soon see that the same thing that happened with television will happen with the blogosphere — the material will get better. Once bloggers have more funds to work with, the articles will get better, not worse, the content will be richer, not blander, and there will be more innovation. Because of this, blogs will begin to get more respect with sponsorship, not less. Pioneers of every form of objective media have had to decide whether to invite commercialization to the picture or not. TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, etc. have all had to decide whether the media would be sustained by contributions from supporters (viewers, readers, government, etc.) or by sponsorship.
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