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When Blogs Go Commercial

Hmm.. Reading through Chris Pirillo's Brain-Trust initiative  I must say - This is a pretty smart idea! However, one thing I don't understand:  Here's one of the testimonials from that page:

"Just wanted to let you know that you have brought OnlineHomeBase more users than any other media report about the service. 14% of my frequent users cite [you] as the place where they heard about OHB. The New York Times is a close second with 13.6% of frequent users citing it. So, you're more influential than the New York Times!" ~ Marc Fest, QuickBrowse creator

Does this mean that you can pay chris to blog about you? It seems to me this hurts the credibility of his blog(If my assumption is correct). I'm the last person to judge, but I'd hate to see a great personal blog become a commercial-fest disguised as 'personal musings'. It could be as annoying as the "Articles" you see in the newspaper that talk about how great a new product is , but if you look closely you'll see it says "Ad" written in small letters at the top.

This is more of a general issue - Personal blogs become so popular that they can become commercial-ridden animals. Should we require these blogs to note which is an ad for something and which is not? What would the ethics of this be?



Marc fest just contacted me and wrote the following:

Just for the record, I never paid Chris anything. When I sent him that email I didn't even know that he was going to use it as a testimonial. I sent it to him as a private note because I thought it was curious and noteworthy that a write-up on his site,, would bring me more signups than an article in the New York Times.

“...Oh, and now I see where some confusion may have come from. Because he quotes me in the Braintrust context, it may seem that I paid Chris to be part of his Braintrust. In fact, I never have subscribed to it and never have partaken in any of its discussions. But I understand how you came to your conclusions...”

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