Lee Hopkins points to an emerging problem. Now that blogging is getting popular, ie drawing significant audience numbers, advertisers, sponsors and the rest are looking for a way of leveraging those eyeballs. Problem with blogging is that there is no tradition of separation of editorial and advertising, or disclosure according to some established and broadly accepted code of ethics.
Not sure what the solution is, or if there is one, but its a minefield out there. Blogging practices could make movie product placement look tame by comparison.How do you really know if some blogger who is happily slamming microsoft or google or anything else really doesn't have some commercial conflict? Sure we can say people should declare these interests, but it could be as Hamlet said a principle "more honoured in the breach than the observance".
The problem is growing. Most major league bloggers, keen to turn their blogs into commercially sustainable enterprises, are openly accepting sponsorship and carrying ads on their sites. This will work for some, at least, of them. But many will also be tempted by less transparent forms of support. Added to this desire to earn a living from blogging, as more businesses and governments start appreciating the power of blogging, and especially of all those 'authentic voices', the temptation for blogging world cash for comment or ketchum episodes will grow.