To Augie Ray: Thanks for the offer, but we don't take sponsorships
By Josh Bernoff
Augie Ray offered us $500 to write about his blog. But as he figured out, Forrester doesn't allow research or blogs to accept sponsorships. So I'll decline.
There's a little confusion here, part of it intentional on Augie's part, so let me clear things up.
We've only written about what marketers should do. They already provide samples and other exchanges of value to bloggers. We say it's ok for them to pay bloggers directly, as long as they require that the payment be disclosed, and allow the blogger to say whatever he or she wants about the product. That's sponsored conversation.
We haven't written about what bloggers should do, so I'll do that now. Bloggers should do whatever they want. If you want to be a blogger that doesn't accept any sort of sponsorship or payment, that's fine. Many bloggers are like this since they want to avoid any sort of suggestion of undue influence. This includes Forrester blogs and Seth Godin.
Some bloggers have posts on their site that talk about sponsors, which is clearly noted. This is fine.
Some bloggers will accept money in exchange for posting on a topic with disclosure and authenticity. This is sponsored conversation, and it's what Chris Brogan did, for example. We think that's fine, others disagree.
Some bloggers will take money to do anything, regardless of disclosure or authenticity. I don't have any to point out to you, since such bloggers have no credibility and generally, no audience. If you are a marketer and you find one like this, avoid him. If you are a blogger like this, good luck to you, but we want nothing to do with you.