So many things to say, but I guess the biggest thing for me is, readers are not dumb as rocks, they know intuitively what’s real and what’s not. And if they don’t want to read a blog they won’t. It’s really that simple. The recent slew of articles are just pointing out the obvious and provide nothing of substance to the conversation. It’s intensely frustrating.
We don’t get paid a salary. The only reason anyone blogs is because they’re passionate about it, otherwise they’d never get to a position where people actually want to pay them. And when they do that’s awesome for the blogger.
I do agree that anything paid/gifted should be disclosed - and 9/10 - they are. On the flip side I also work in PR - I’ll hound any blogger we either pay or gift to use full disclosure. And if they don’t we won’t work with them again - and the onus to enforce this should be on the brand not the blogger.
My general rule is - the second, in editorial or otherwise, I’m given any instructions, asked to change words, input certain links - then it becomes an advertorial - I get paid and the sponsorship gets disclosed. I wrote an article on this recently: http://www.twopointohla.com/?p=1621
My last point - please don’t use Quantcast or Compete like it’s an accurate resource. I too have hidden my traffic - because even after having them “quantify” it - it still read as under half the traffic as my internal analytics and Google analytics - I have even written to the company three times to try and resolve it - and have been ignored. Which speaks volumes. And Compete is soooo inaccurate it’s laughable - currently it says I have 0 unique visitors. Yeah.