CNN Money reports that Country Music Television hired its own blogger to promote the "Dukes of Hazzard" weeknights at a cost of US$100,000...
It is said that more than half of the jobs our children will do have not been invented yet. Looks like Corporate Blogger will be added to that list (it's an imaginary list as it hasn't been invented yet). Salary package is not bad either... It won't be long before blogging courses tout punters with claims like "tired with your job? feel undervalued? yearning for the lifestyle you truely deserve? Become a blogger and earn over US$100,000! No experience necessary. All training provided."
Steve Rubel thinks that CMT pulled a clever PR stunt but raised questions about transparency.
He is right. I have no moral dilemna about bloggers getting paid to blog, as long as they reveal their cards. It is up to the informed readers to decide what amount of credibility they would give to paid bloggers. The keyword here is "informed". Would you ask a LandRover salesman for advice on what 4WD make you should spend your money on? Probably not. But that is because you saw the LandRover logo hanging above its desk. Things are not that clear cut in the blogosphere.
You wouldn't expect anything too controversial in Hazzard county anyway. It is designed by fans for fans. Pure entertainment. But I would hope that Christopher Nelson (that's the chosen CMT blogger name) will state upfront that he is paid by CMT.
I leave you with the Dukes of Hazzard theme song, courtesy of Dukesonline.com :
Just two good old boys, never meanin' no harm...Beats all you never saw, been in trouble with the lawSince the day they was born.Straightenin' the curves, flattenin' the hills...Someday the mountain might get 'em but the law never will.Makin' their way, the only way they know how...That's just a little bit more than the law will allow.Just two good ol' boys, wouldn't change if they could,Fightin' the system like two modern-day Robin Hoods...
You know, I really don't understand all the fuss here about transparency.
The guy is being paid a good salary to write for a company because he responded to a job ad.
Unless I'm mistaken, at the moment we do not know how CMT will brand this blog, and THAT is how most readers will decide transparency. Who is doing the writing and how much they are getting paid is surely irrelevant?
I second Niall's comment, and will add that you should have read my post about the CMT blog job - when it was announced back in March - and there was no hiding the fact that CMT and its PR firm were looking for the blogger. If you downloaded the application - and, yes, I did - you would have seen who was paying the blogger.
It's a pathetic attempt to create a controversy where there is none. Nothing more than that.
Niall, Jeremy: I hear your points and I hear Steve's. My take is that while the CMT blog will be harmless fun, I feel less comfortable with companies in general paying bloggers if their readers have no ideas they are reading advertorials. This is once again a question of trust. You would not accept that from your local newspapers. What would you think if it was revealed that Engadget receive money to tout Sony's products? You will feel betrayed. It is important that transparency so touted as a reason for blogs success not become undermined.
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