I’ve been seeing more and more irrelevant sponsored links in the blogosphere. In fact, I think the situation’s getting worse every passing day. Nothing kills my interest in a post more quickly than seeing an irrelevant sponsored link in the body of the post.
There are three reasons why I think irrelevant sponsored links are evil:
- Sponsored links are of questionable sincerity
- Sponsored links are deceptive and misleading
- Sponsored links benefit bloggers and sponsors but not readers
Sponsored links are of questionable sincerity
Call me old school, but from where I stand I see that posts are the product of a blogger’s thoughts and emotions. I’ve always thought that the birth of a blog post would be along the following pattern:
- The blogger has an idea
- The blogger writes down his/her idea
- The blogger publishes said work
With the rise of undisclosed sponsored links in blog posts, I’ve became more guarded in processing blog content. Is the blogger really talking about something he’s experienced or is the post just an excuse to stick in a sponsored link?
Sponsored links are deceptive and misleading
Some of the most irritating form of sponsored link is when it has absolutely nothing at all to do with the blog post topic.
For example, ending a tutorial post with something like;
After writing all this, I feel like going to a spa centre.
Where the term spa centre is linked to a sponsor. This sort of sponsored links just drive me nuts! Why? I’ll tell you why: It is an obvious plug that doesn’t contribute anything to the blog post topic.
Would you like it if you’re approached by a salesman while you’re eating in a restaurant and he says; “Wow, your burger looks delicious! Want to buy this pen? It’s on sale!”
I know I don’t.
Sponsored links benefit bloggers and sponsors but not readers
I have ads on my blog. The reason I have them is that they provide a decent side income. I’m not against anyone making money on the Internet; provided it’s done in a mutually beneficial manner for both the blogger and readers.
That’s why the ads I run are contextual, meaning some computer program will publish ads that they think are relevant to the content of the page its on. I feel that this is a win-win-win situation for me (the blogger), the advertiser and readers.
I also do paid reviews because in addition to the review charges, I also get to improve my writing skills. Readers on the other hand will find out about the product or service I’m reviewing. Of course, the sponsor will get visitors who are interested in their products.
Sponsored links are evil because it’s being used for the purpose of gaming search engines to rank the sponsored page higher. That’s why many sponsored links advertisers don’t really care what your post is about… they just want their links plugged in.
To conclude, I’m very certain that bloggers who blog for sponsored links will sooner or later find their readers boycotting their blogs. Regardless how you look at it, there’s absolutely nothing positive about sponsored links when it comes to visitors and search engines. In fact, these two will suffer the most.
Sponsored links are just selfish popularity schemes where the advertisers are really buying search engine results and bloggers are employed as search result spammers.
I’m sure companies in the Internet search are improving their technology to filter out these sponsored spams. If you’re in this business, I suggest that you diversify your income sources.
The days of spam link peddling in blogs may come soon. And personally, I think this is a good thing. Do you sponsor links? Do you care about the quality of content you’re giving your visitors? What’s your take on this issue?