From this week’s New York Times:
The Shopper as Seller
Social Media Sites Offer Payment For Product Links
Julie Medeiros thinks her taste in fashion is worth something. Turns out it is: about $50 a month.
Ms. Medeiros is not a style pro; her day job is at a talent agency in Manhattan. But in a little-known practice, social media shopping sites are offering payments to shoppers who post product links that drive Web traffic and sales to retailers.
In the case of Ms. Medeiros, it is the sneakers and lipstick she added to Pinterest and the night life collection she posted on the shopping site Beso.
Favorable mentions on blogs have been for sale for years. Product reviews can also be bought. Now social media sites are taking citizen marketing to a new extreme, turning anyone’s Twitter message, Facebook post, Pinterest image or e-mail into a possible paid promotion.
But there’s also trouble in Blogola Paradise.
The love affair between bloggers and fashion brands and retailers is entering its next phase. And like in many relationships, money is a big part of the question.
There’s been some backlash from designers and brands as they question having to pay bloggers from $5,000 up to $50,000 to work with them. Skeptics question whether paying bloggers results in significant return on investment, especially in comparison to a magazine or television ad. Besides, some brands contend, if bloggers are journalists, journalists aren’t paid for writing about a company.
Bloggers argue back that their fees have substantial ROI because blogs can drive millions of page views a month both on their sites and the brand’s Web site. So why shouldn’t they be paid? And while some bloggers are journalists in the true sense, most of them don’t consider themselves journalists on par with those at The New York Times or the The Wall Street Journal. They are more like columnists, expressing opinions about what they see.
Here’s the hardsneaking staff’s opinion:
If you actually read these pieces, you’ll likely be appalled at the unholy alliance of content and commerce.
But only if you actually read these pieces.
John Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is a media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
John Carroll has 281 post(s) on Sneak Adtack