This post follows a post I wrote last week questioning how out of touch fashion magazines are with their readership and championing fashion blogs. This week I turn my attention to advertising. There has been and continues to be much discussion in the “blogosphere” regarding the influence of advertising and sponsorship on the content of blogs.
Leia of Leia’s Delights took the opportunity last weekend to explain her decision to have adverts on her blog. But really, I’m not sure why everyone is so concerned. Flick through any fashion magazine and almost 50% of the content is advertisements. That is before you even begin to take into account “sponsored” articles and editorials. Most of us have at one time or another been “sold” a piece of clothing or a product through a magazine and not really given too much thought to the processes that led us to make said purchase. a fashion blog – more often than not – is far more transparent than a magazine, i.e. most fashion blogs add a “sponsored post” disclaimer to relevant posts.
I decided to do a little research – I know it has been done many times before: Picking up this month’s Vogue (February 2011) I counted the pages in the magazine and then those pages which were advertisements. Of the 215 glossy pages, 115 were advertisements. Over 50% of the magazine is advertising (53% to be precise). Put in another way, for every page of content there is more than one page of advertising.
There aren’t many – if any – blogs on my blog roll that have filled their sites with anything like this amount of advertising. So why is there such an issue surrounding bloggers who accept advertising on their blog. Indeed there seems to be almost a moral high ground from which those bloggers who don’t have advertising look down from. Now, if you have made a personal decision not to have advertising on your blog, that is up to you and that is great for you. But many bloggers spend hours making a success of their blogs: researching posts, taking outfit photos, shopping (!!), writing and designing their blogs. It seems only natural that these bloggers should be given a little reward for their hard work.
However, this does come with a caveat, for both bloggers and companies. While adverts are fine and a legitimate income for bloggers, sponsored posts are a slightly different issue. Sponsored posts can be a great way for extra income or a complementary outfit but when the content is repeated across a whole community of blogs the content gets lost as readers turn off from the products they are seeing. It is time for companies and brands to consider innovative and more imaginative ways of promoting their products on blogs.
What are your thoughts on the subject of advertising on fashion blogs? Should bloggers remain impartial? Is that possible with advertising? What do you think about sponsored posts?