It was sometime in late 2007, I found myself in the center of a blogosphere-only brouhaha around “conversational marketing.” It was spearheaded by folks from Gawker Media and was directed at John Battelle, who came up with the idea of “sponsored posts” and rebranded them as “conversational marketing.” Almost a decade later, the same idea of “sponsored posts” is viewed as the salvation for the media industry including Gawker. It is a popular way for folks to monetize their audiences, especially in the face of Facebook and Google stealing all other opportunities.
For a few years now, much was made of ethics, startups and technology media. The debate has been healthy and welcome. Of course, the ethicists always sniffed their noses, wagged their fingers and pointed to those guys in Silicon Valley. Today, the same question needs to be asked of Verizon, which owns The Huffington Post (via AOL.)
HuffPo editor Ariana Huffington is joining the board of Uber – which is not a bad thing: she will bring a lot of political contacts and a different perspective to the company which needs some outside voices. The question is should she be the editor of HuffPo considering the third-rail nature of Uber and its relationship with society at large, and the global economy in general.
Huffington, thanks to powerful friends gets away with a lot and I am pretty sure the media writers will let this slide as well. My inner cynic believes that the society at large doesn’t really care. They don’t much value the media anyway. In this era of social noise, I guess, anything goes. And everything changes!
— OM (@om) April 27, 2016