ethics of sponsorships

by - 9:57 AM

I debated whether or not to write about this subject but, in light of a recent sponsorship experience, I couldn’t not. I am channeling my inner Jen, from People I want to Punch in the Throat because, let’s be real…THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT I WANT TO DO.

Rarely am I approached by companies offering me money for a spot on my blog so, when it happens, I get excited. Blogging is a hobby of mine, and one I never intended to make money off of, but if the opportunity arises you can bet it’s something I am going to consider. Thus far on my blogging journey I have been sponsored by two organizations – and those relevant links are housed to the right. They didn’t have fancy widgets and simply wanted links – so I obliged. What do I have to lose?

Which brings me to the reason I am writing.

 I was approached this week by the advertising team from www.answers.com asking to sponsor my blog. They had a button they wanted me to place under the sponsorship section. Wonderful, I said. Until our corresponded continued like this:

Hi Jessica,

My apologies on a late reply. There are a few links on your blog that do not meet our standards of quality. I've taken a screen shot of these links. If these can be removed, we can work with having our widget installed. I have a budget of $150 that I can offer, if that can help you make the decision. I appreciate your feedback and response, Jessica.

Inline image 1

-Answers.com Ad Team


I nicely asked them to clarify.

Hi Jessica,

Links that don't meet our quality standards for this project can include unrelated content or low quality links. If it falls into the latter category, that is up to the management team to decide.

Thanks,
-Answers.com Ad Team


Again, I nicely asked for clarity.

Hi Jessica,

Unfortunately for this project I do have to keep in mind what other advertisers are featured on sites and blogs. The team I am referring is our sales team. I provided the option to see if there was a way we could work together. Since this is not an option, we will pass on the opportunity to work together.

Thanks,
-Answers.com Ad Team

I not-so-nicely responded like this:

Hi,

First off, it is unethical for your team to demand people to end their contracts with other sponsors - this is not your platform and, truthfully, $150 is a measly offering. I would not have accepted this offer for the sake of ethics. I cannot imagine what other bloggers will say. You came to me - not the other way around.

I would advise approaching bloggers a different way as you move forward. After all, you are corresponding with someone who has a public forum. That's why you approach us, yes? You can be sure I'll be writing a post on this interaction - and it won't be the kind you want.

Very unfortunate business handling.

Jessica

They apologized for the inconvenience.

I kept going back for clarity because I didn't think I was understanding their demands correctly. Was this a misunderstanding? Surely no company would ask such an odd request. It wasn't a misunderstanding.

Lessons? Please don’t email with demands to change my site or drop my lovely sponsors because they “didn’t meet your standards” – whatever the hell that means. I am shocked and disgusted with the level of unprofessionalism and lack of ethics this company had.

This is MY blogging platform, and I call the shots. I will not sacrifice my morals and ethics for a measly amount of money. That's not why I have a blog.

So, other bloggers, a warning to you about sketchy companies. Tread carefully with sponsorships.


*salesperson’s name on correspondence removed for privacy reasons

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