Joho the Blog » Blog baksheesh

Blog baksheesh

The message I received from M80im, a PR social media company, ends by saying:

M80 encourages full transparency. We welcome you to let your readers know that M80 and Fox contacted you to offer information regarding The Onion Movie.

Excellent. I appreciate M80 making that clear and explicit.

The problem is, M80 and Fox didn’t offer just information. Yes, the message says that because I’ve written about The Onion, the agency wants to let me know what there’s an Onion movie coming out. I can have some artwork, etc. to post on my blog. But, then it continues:

Please email me back if you are interested in working with us in promoting The Onion Movie by posting information regarding the release date of the DVD. I can send you a copy of the DVD on the release date as appreciation for your post.

I recognize that the lines are smudgy. As my disclosure statement says, I sometimes get free copies of books — sometimes unbidden, and sometimes publishers offer to send them to me if I want — and sometimes I do blog about them. And I frequently get into conferences for free as some type of media person. But, the Onion offer feels too much to me like a straightforward pay-for-posting deal.

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13 Responses to “Blog baksheesh”

  1. Pretty clear case of Payola to me — ala the old radio days.

    Don’t we wish everyone had as clear a sense of ethics as you and I?

  2. Might be.

    As it is quite off-topic to your blog, it actually is.

    But would this blog of yours have been a films related one, the author might have thought of the message as if you had received an hypothetical book entitled “A Critique to the Cluetrain Manifesto”: really on-topic.

    The good thing is they asked and you correctly decided… though I wonder if you’re not publicizing the movie by writing this post itself ;)

  3. Pretty obvious; first you post and only then do you get the DVD., as “appreciation for your post”. That’s pay for posting, IMO.

  4. What if they’d offered Vidalias?

  5. […] Blog baksheesh28 May 2008 by davidw Yes, the message says that because I’ve written about The Onion, the agency wants to let me know what there’s an Onion movie coming out. I can have some artwork, etc. to post on my blog. But, then it continues: …Joho the Blog – http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger […]

  6. Hey JoHo,

    I work at M80, the company that reached out to you. We didn’t have copies available until release date, so that’s why we hoped you could share information about the film. Now that the film is out and we have it available, a review would be amazing as well.

    Of course, we encourage transparency and honesty. You’re also welcome to post or review about the film however you’d like. Whatever you really think about the film (positive, negative, neutral, etc.) is what we, and your readers, wanna hear.

    So if you are interested, please shoot us an email. Otherwise, thanks for your consideration!

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