Do Bloggers and Corporate Sponsorship Go Together?

greene king pub signLast night I consumed several pints of Greene King IPA, 3 1/2 sausages, an anonymous sort of pasty and half a plate of chips – all paid for by Greene King, the brewers.

Oh, I nearly forgot the goody bag of 6 assorted Greene King bottled beers that I was given as a parting gift at the end of the evening.

There, that’s got the declaration out of the way. I’ll explain in a moment.

A short while ago I made a small contribution to an online conversation about whether bloggers should accept payment for writing about commercial products.  My contribution was simply to draw attention to the new US Federal Trade Commission regulations that came into effect last December which require disclosure.  FTC interview here if you want to know more (as you should).

For example; if you receive a FREE copy of any product, even for the purposes of reviewing the product, and you subsequently post a review of that product, you must disclose the fact that you did not pay for the product and received it free.

Hence the opening paragraph in which I advised you, dear reader, of how I have benefited from Greene King’s largesse although this post isn’t actually a review of their beer.

The event was this month’s London Blogger’s Meetup when all sorts of bloggers; hobby, passionate and professional, gather together to exchange notes, opinions and chat which may or may not be about blogging.

Such an assembly of blogging potential is like a magnet for corporate sponsorship who no doubt hope to achieve a starburst of ‘buzz’ as this group of inveterate bloggers write about their activities just as I am doing now. Hence generating links, word of mouth social impetus and good old SEO links.

Now I’m not saying this is a bad thing although there are many purist bloggers out there who will. But I do consider that bloggers should give some thought to the impact of what they are doing as well as, purely from a self preservation point of view, have some knowledge of their legal obligations.

The internet and the blogosphere are still in their infancy and there will inevitably still be wild oscillations of practice and regulation of which the new FTC regulations are only an example.  However, the subject deserves some thought.

Fortunately, Andy Bargery, the organiser of London Bloggers Meetup went some way to salve our collective conscience by also giving speaking time to a young lady who’s name, I regret, I failed to catch, but spoke on behalf of Azafady, a charity working in Madagascar.

Contributing her blogging and social marketing efforts in her spare time she was looking for any support available from the audience to use their social marketing skills to spread the message and recruit skills, time and even money to the Azafady cause.

Cask Revolution beer engine

Cask Revolution beer engine

The evening included a quick chat with Chris Gilmour (Nice post Chris – I just snoozed on the train), a nod to Lolly Borel and a conversation with Marcin about AdTaily which sounds like it could be an interesting plugin to sell advertising on your blog with minimal effort.

I suppose I’d better show you what it was all about.  This is Greene King’s ‘Cask Revolution’ beer engine. It allows you to choose whether you want your pint in the Northern or Southern style.

Coming from the North as I do I think they’ve got them the wrong way around – but what do I know?

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