In the classroom and panel discussions I've been having lately about blogging, someone always asks whether blogs can be believed. I usually give a spiel on knowing who to trust and being a critical, wary consumer of any information source. Guess I should add that on some blogs, the posts you read may include a paid product placement—a cheap one at that. From a Craigslist ad:
Write a blog? Want to earn cash?
Mention our clients on your Blog and earn $5 per post. You will receive up to two a day. Email me the URL to your Blog and when you are approved we will start sending you topics.
And based on another Craigslist posting, the comments from seemingly ordinary readers might also be for hire:
A Christian based marketing firm is looking for 2 writers to blog and participate in a wide variety of blogs and online forums. Ideal candidates are fast typers, with excellent communication skills, and are fast learners. $11 per hour - 25 hours per week.
Come to think of it, paid shills could be more authentic than the mindless ravings that some blogs foist on their public. But not any (well, most) L.A. blogs!