An interesting article on the beautifully laid out Upstreamist talks about the influx of advertising into a part of the web that has classically been untouched by ads: the comment section. Located at the bottom of most blog pages (including ours), it affords the reader a chance to offer ideas, opinions, corrections and really anything else he or she wishes. Here on Blogging Calwell we use Facebook comments with moderation. L. Rhodes talks about this idea:
Most major sites already moderate their comment sections, and closer ties between comments and paid advertising will present publishers with a financial incentive for further restricting self-expression.
The world Rhodes talks about here is a very negative one; where comments are created and the content of discussion is controlled by corporate entities. It’s clear advertising has a place, but if it sits masquerading as something other than obvious promotion, that’s a failure of the site and the advertisers. It’s a flat out lie. I tend to think people get better at spotting lies in front of, or away from the keyboard.
Rather than daring advertisers and content creators to get better at lying, shouldn’t we just accept that promoting something is ok? And, if done well and respectfully, support it.