Your Transparent Ad is Better Than Your Fake Conversation

I like to know when I’m being marketed to. Ads for a Toyota, or an iPod or the latest and greatest razor never make me recoil in disgust. I might listen to your pitch for Ginsu knives or Crest toothpaste or I might change the channel but it’s doubtful that your ad will leave a bad taste in my mouth.

But, if I read a glowing product review on your blog and find an affiliate link to the product, that makes my left eye twitch. I suddenly trust you less than I trust the guy hawking Oxyclean. I know the guy selling Oxyclean is honestly trying to sell me a product, but you, well you and I were just having a conversation right up until I discovered you were trying to sell me something.

Scott Karp sums up my feelings beautifully;

It feels like we’ve reached the point where good old fashioned, in-your-face, BUY THIS advertising is starting to look a whole lot more authentic than all of the fake “authenticity” that the hyping of authenticity has engendered.

Blog reviews became popular because people trusted the individual. People liked that the marketing agencies were outsiders in the blog world. They wanted the objectivity that bloggers could provide.

Now many of the same bloggers that were hyping ‘transparency’ are pretty vocal about their displeasure with ‘disclosure‘. Some of them are making comparisons to television or other media. We’ve had a long time to digest and understand other media. We know that actors are paid to endorse products. We expect hyperbole on TV and radio. We don’t expect it from bloggers, nor do we expect them to market to us on the sly.

And again, Scott Karp says it well,

Ads are annoying. Fake conversations are deceptive. I’ll always opt for the former

My apologies Scott, for my blatant theft of your title. I simply couldn’t think of a better way to say it.


  1. Yeh I agree – I’ve actually lost a bit of respect for a few blogs I’ve been reading lately since they started embedding more promotional stuff in posts. It’s funny though – I wouldn’t think twice about ads / aff links in a personal website.

    Really rubbish advertising (on any media) really does get me annoyed though – I frequently shout at the TV in disgust! ;)


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