What is a Sponsored Post?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A sponsored post is a post on a website or blog which is paid for by an advertiser. Sponsored posts are viewed by some people as a legitimate advertising method, while others believe that they can be somewhat misleading, and they can compromise the integrity of a website. A number of advertising companies offer sponsored post services which connect advertisers with willing authors, and some companies also reach out directly to websites which are read by their target audience.

A sponsored post is a post on a website or blog which is paid for by an advertiser.
A sponsored post is a post on a website or blog which is paid for by an advertiser.

When the owner of a website is ethical, he or she clearly identifies sponsored posts. The content of such posts varies; a sponsored post may, for example, review a product, or discuss a company's offerings. In other instances, website owners simply embed advertisements from sponsors in posts which are related to their products, differentiating such advertising from sidebar or banner ads elsewhere on the site, and sometimes charging a premium for it.

Sponsored posts help bloggers make money.
Sponsored posts help bloggers make money.

Some bloggers make sponsored posting into a very profitable venture, monetizing their blogs very effectively. Others may use it to create a small supplemental income which helps to pay for site maintenance and special projects. It is common to see sponsored posts combined with other forms of advertising; for advertisers, the advantage of sponsored posts is that they show up in site feeds, ensuring that they reach all viewers of a site, not just those who visit the main page.

Opposition to sponsored posts can also be found in the blogging community. Some people argue that when bloggers write paid content, it compromises the rest of the content on their sites; for example, an author who writes a sponsored post about diet pills might be reluctant to criticize the diet industry. Others simply find sponsored posts irritating, especially when they deviate radically from the rest of the blog's content, and some blogs certainly do lose readers by going overboard with sponsored posts. There are also ethical issues involved; for example, when a sponsored post is not identified, readers may not realize that the author has been paid or otherwise compensated to endorse a product.

The revenue from sponsored posts varies. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the website, the greater the profit, because advertisers will pay more to sites with more readers. Smaller websites may be offered free products or smaller incentives, with advertisers hoping to reach niche readerships with a minimal outlay of money or goods.

A blogger who writes a sponsored post about diet pills may be reluctant to criticize the diet industry.
A blogger who writes a sponsored post about diet pills may be reluctant to criticize the diet industry.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

umbra21

I don't think there's anything wrong with using sponsored links as long as you're honest about what you're talking about and say that you get a small amount from the link.

I know there are a few game sites which have affiliate programs.

You can review games and let people choose whether or not to click through to them. There are all kinds of ways to add value for people, maybe give tips or new ways to play the games, or a list of similar games.

People have to be able to make money somewhere. It gives them more incentive to write.

The problem is making them be honest about what their selling, but in that case all you can do is let your fingers do the talking.

irontoenail

Most of the time it is easy enough to figure out if someone is posting a sponsored post. You just hold your cursor over the link and the website will appear at the bottom of your screen. If it is a simple website address ending in .org or .com then it is most likely not a sponsored link.

If it has weird looking number and letter combinations it is probably linked to a user account and they get credit when you click on it.

There are places that will allow you to choose your own link addresses though, so you can be sneaky and pick one that looks like it isn't a sponsored link.

Usually clicking won't hurt you (not always... get good virus protection!), but it will encourage people to continue posting hidden affiliate links.

So don't click unless you are genuinely interested, and the person posting was upfront about what they were sending you to.

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