I have no issue with bloggers making money. Most of us own our domain name and I see no reason not to run advertising to cover blog maintenance expenses (annual domain renewal, etc.) and make the teeniest amount of fun money too. But nowadays, so many blog posts read like thinly veiled advertising, because, well, that's what they are.
We're a people who love wanting things. From the time we were watching Saturday morning cartoons . . .
|Ahh, Gak Attack!|
|Actually, that wasn't a *good* burn . . .|
I suppose it was really only a matter of time before companies started ceasing the marketing opportunity that is bloggers. What better way to sell your product then to give blog readers a genuine endorsement from a voice they already know, like and trust? As a result: yet another medium becomes clogged with advertising.
I'm not really complaining - I just find it amazing that so many things in our culture can be boiled down to a sale. So many income opportunities for bloggers require us to wade through advertising. Several websites - SocialSpark, Blogger2Blogger - attempt to match bloggers with appropriate advertisers to write sponsored posts for pay. While Swagbucks isn't specifically for bloggers, this website where you earn points (aka Swagbucks) which can be redeemed for giftcards and other items of monetary worth, revolves around disseminating advertisers' messages. The more advertising I subject myself to, the more points I earn.
(By the way, if you're not using Swagbucks, it really is a great way to earn points towards things like Amazon gift cards since you get awarded points simply for searching the internet and you can pick and choose how you use the site.)
I like to think I can outsmart the advertising. For some reason, I think recognizing the advertising makes me impervious to it. But who's to say that it isn't sinking in on some subliminal level? If I did have a cat, maybe I would buy Friskies cat food, just because that's the ad I see the most?
We're a culture centered around creating desire: for things we don't need, for things we can't afford. How many people have a Pinterest pinboard simply entitled "Want"? Pinterest itself is really just a place where we all gather to look at things we might want to have. I've always liked window shopping, so I like Pinterest a great deal. But really, it's just advertising, isn't it? Again, it all boils down to the sale of those shoes, the click on that backlink to the blog with the cool craft or recipe on it.
And when advertising starts to blend seamlessly into the content I would read anyway, I start to wonder: Am I seeing through the advertising, or is the advertising seeing through me?