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Trial and Error

Do Web Creators Sell Out When They Partner With Advertisers?

February 4, 2008 8:03 AM

One of the hottest topics in the video blogging world these days is whether a creator should integrate an advertiser into a video.

Some critics call it selling out. Some fans are irritated by mentions of products.

Here’s my take: It’s called making a living. Creators are making a living so fans can be entertained, can laugh, can listen to music. Late last month, Cadillac hired comedy duo Rhett and Link to cover the Sundance Film Festival and to interview stars like William H. Macy and Matthew Perry at the show. Sure, Rhett and Link mentioned Cadillac a lot. They feature the Cadillac Lounge a lot in their videos. But without Cadillac, they wouldn’t have been able to cover the event at all.

Here’s what they had to say in their blog about product integration.

“Obviously, the idea was to integrate the Cadillac brand into genuinely interesting content. We understand that there's a fine line with this whole brand-integration approach, but it's a line we're going to have to walk if we want to continue to bring you regular content online. Since no one is willing to pay for access to web content (I'll bet you a dollar that you wouldn't pay a dollar to access RhettandLink.com), this is how Web personalities like us are going to make a living for the foreseeable future.”

I’m all for supporting them. If you are too, check out their latest video here:


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Comments (2)

Nothing is wrong with brand integration. I've done it for my company. I was blessed that the sponsors didn't want to intefer with the content. As long as I mentioned their product, they were happy. When the Brands start to dictate the product and actually change it so much that the content becomes one long commercial, then that is the problem. Yes, no one on the web pays for anything. So we should not be upset when content providers have to find someone to pay for them to create what we watch for free.

There will always be blog purists and blog capitalists, and friction between. And no one should disparage people who want to make a living. The fact that so many people offer their work free of advertising and free of charge is one of the magical parts of the internet and its culture of generosity.

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