The other day I came across the site 'Blog with Integrity'. It's not a large site, but it's message is simple, and powerful - Blog with Integrity.
It's about respect, for others, for ideas, and for your readers. It's about being as transparent as possible, openly sharing if posts are sponsored, or paid, or if they were written just for the love of it. It's about declaring to your readers the difference between the editorial, the advertorial and the advertising. It's about being honest, and owning what your post. Even if you don't want to. It's about giving credit where credit is due, and citing inspiration in whatever form it may appear.
It's about being honest, really. Being someone your readers can trust.
I hadn't thought about this at all, until a while back I was contacted by a lady from Home Accent Furniture. She had noted that I'd left a comment on a giveaway that Jj had done at jjustkidding.com. She asked if I would be interested in working together, towards a giveaway.
As exciting as giveaways are, I was a little apprehensive. I'd never heard of Home Accent Furniture before JJ mentioned anything. And I'd certainly never used, seen or brought any of their products. How could I? I live in New Zealand, and Home Accent Furniture is firmly US + Canada based. So much so, that if I did do a giveaway, it would only be open to my US + Canadian readers.
I didn't really feel right about it. It's a simple hope skip and a jump from what I usually post about to straight advertising. But I didn't really think that was where I wanted to go. Don't get me wrong, I totally respect other people that do, but I've never used Home Accent Furniture products. Never seen them, have no idea as to their quality, and really? I try not to support causes blindly.
And then I got an email from Mr Vintage after I brought The Boy a few interesting t-shirts from their site. They asked that if I was real stoked with my order, I could do them a huge favour and write product review, because "that would be wicked awesome". Now, they aren't asking me to post about them, or anything. Just a few words back at them, so they knew what people thought. And if I hadn't just started thinking about advertorial's I probably would have written a product review and posted it to rarg.
Now I'm not too sure whether it's something I'd be keen on.
I'm not really sure where the line is, but here, at rarg, if I'm stoked about something, you can be sure that it's not sponsored. If it is sponsored, I'll let you know. If it's straight up advertising, you can be sure that I'll tell you that too, though anything more than the google ads are unlikely.
What are your thoughts on blogs + advertising?
PS - Mr Vintage shirts are generally awesome. The sizes run big, I'm not loving how big the necks of the shirts are, but being able to grab two very amusing shirts during one of their sales for $5 each? That's pretty wicked awesome!