Analyst firm Forrester published a report this morning telling corporations that it's a good idea to engage bloggers in "sponsored conversations," or the exchange of goods or credit in exchange for blog coverage. The report, titled "Add Sponsored Conversations to Your Toolbox", is 8 pages long, focuses on a number of high profile examples like the case of KMart and Chris Brogan, and sells for $795.
We respectfully disagree with Forrester's recommendations on this topic. In fact, we think that paying bloggers to write about your company is a dangerous and unsavory path for new media and advertisers to go down. We recognize that it's a complicated question, but we don't feel convinced by Forrester's conclusions regarding those complications.
Forrester is Wrong About Paying Bloggers
Forrester is promoting a very dangerous idea. It is a good short term way for bloggers to make money but, if abused, will in the long run diminish the value of the blogosphere. The flip-side to this argument is that there is a lot of pay-to-play in the print media (you buy this ad I write an article about you) and few people question the validity of print media.