The traditional “Chinese Wall” in publishing stipulates that ads need to be clearly labeled as ads and that editorial content is completely independent, i.e. not paid for. The classic “advertorial,” with content that appears to be editorial but was actually bought and paid for, always walked a fine line by merely using a small slug at the top that said “Special Advertising Section.” That system worked well enough in a world of mass advertising, with one-size-fits-all messages. But we’ve already seen in this new era of micro niche marketing that marketing messages need to be tailored for individual relevancy — it’s a big open question who will create all of this new marketing content, because traditional ad agencies aren’t set up to do it.
Bloggers, almost by definition, create their own niche communities — they create content, readers comment, other bloggers link — it’s a deeply symbiotic relationship where participants get to know each other. There’s a direct connection between bloggers and their communities — so who better than the blogger to create marketing messages that are relevant and interesting for their communities?