The Blog Whores

So where's my cut?

When grand events bring blogs into the forefront of the media, it is almost always a story based on "us .vs. them" ... where "us" is the Brave Grassroots Journalists and "them" is any one of a selection of corporate, mainstream media, or government oppressors. The whole thing leads to a cherished image of bloggers as the last bastion of free speech and the finest example of independent and untainted mass media. Bloggers love this idea, and hold it up like a war banner ... "Look at us! Marvel at our purity!"

These innocent types would be appalled to find out that there are legions of "corporate bloggers" out there, who blog to promote specific points of view for their financial masters. These blog sluts slide in at anywhere from $40k to $70k (U.S.) and work for everyone from on-line media oulets to food manufacturers. Of course, the Wall Street Journal story seems to imply that all of this is on the up and up, and the blogs clearly appear on the corporate web sites as "advertising" content. But ... the not-so-deep and dark secret is that a large chunk of these jobs are for seemingly-independent bloggers who only "subtly" promote the products or viewpoints of companies in either stand-alone blogs or (more alarmingly) blogs that are part of a supposed "news" site. If you head over to SimplyHired (a job search "metasite" that searches all of the other job sites for you) and search for "blogger" or "blogging" you will get a big whack of hits, many of which are for these "puppet" positions.

The real question, of course, is how many of the "grassroots" types - who would be shocked to find out that MSNBC and CNN employ tech and lifestyle bloggers who write to appease the advertisers - would turn down the job if it came their way. I am guessing the answer would be "not many".

Posted: Wed - June 1, 2005 at 06:10 AM