SPOS #134 – Chris Brogan On Trust And Advertising

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Welcome to episode #134 of Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast. This might be a little more controversial than normal. Chris Brogan is widely regarded as one of the leading Social Media Bloggers out there (he is also one of the co-founders of PodCamp). His Chris Brogan Blog is a top 100 Blog on Technorati and he is a Top 10 Blogger in the Ad Age Power 150 list. He recently displayed full disclosure and transparency when posting on one of his other Blogs, Dad-O-Matic, about a Kmart initiative where he was paid $500 for a Blog post. It caused quite the commotion online. Chris agreed to discuss the program and what trust means in this new media world on this episode of Six Pixels of Separation. There are a few Skype glitches, so apologies for the audio quality, but it’s well worth the listen. Enjoy the conversation…

Here it is: Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast – Episode #134 – Host: Mitch Joel.

Please join the conversation by sending in questions, feedback and ways to improve Six Pixels Of Separation. Please let me know what you think or leave an audio comment at: +1 206-666-6056.

Download the Podcast here: Six Pixels Of Separation – The Twist Image Podcast – Episode #134 – Host: Mitch Joel.


  1. Great interview Mitch and nice to hear Chris’ thoughts on the whole situation.
    The sad thing with everything is the negativity of it all and people’s failure to learn and understand the business side of things and instead mobbing against you and the lil fiasco. You’re always helping people and companies move in a positive direction but the mob didn’t want to help themselves in the first place. People should get a grip.
    Kudos to both of you for this interview.

  2. My immediate takeaways from this conversation:
    1. Trust is non-transferable.
    2. Kmart was the right brand for the Dad-o-matic environment.
    3. Kmart was a terrible brand for the Chris Brogan personal brand.
    4. Companies that want to play with pay-per-post should have some social media skin in the game already, otherwise it is just advertorial (i.e. imagine if this was Dell and not Kmart).
    5. Chris was transparent from the opening line, so it’s weird why the focus is on that instead of the program and whether or not it was good/effective.
    6. When something like this doesn’t work, the Blogger is the one who has to be the most careful as it affects their personal brand more than the corporate brand that they are being paid to Blog about.
    Overall, I did not lob any questions at Chris and he answered everything very candidly. I hope that as this story unfolds today that people are directed to this audio conversation and take a listen before hitting their own publishing buttons.

  3. I appreciate your take on the situation and couldn’t agree more. As I said in the comments on Chris’s blog post:
    Influence and trust are earned on a person-by-person basis. Putting a price on that strikes me as cynical. Just think of the dollars Oprah could command for her book club and favourite things antics? She’d still be communicating, she’d still be making connections and there would be disclosure, but most people wouldn’t trust her recommendations as much.

  4. Mitch, thanks for asking the tough questions of Chris esp. regarding the @ replies all over Twitter. Honestly, the rest of this interview needs to happen with @TedMurphy from IZEA. I think his interest is in the Twitter stream for K-Mart advertising. Truly, Ted already knows how to do advertising in blogs. Please note, today he just started another campaign. This time, for #Sears. So, from my perspective, it’s about advertising @ Twitter. Hope you get that interview too!

  5. The biggest surprise to me out of all of this, which this podcast helped to spur me to check, is that TEN FREAKING DAYS elapsed between the posting of the Dad-O-Matic post (Dec. 2) and the rumblings of discontent (Dec. 12?) I think that if I were in Chris’s shoes, I would have been VERY surprised by the time delay between action and reaction (actually, I’d have been floored with shock, but that’s me).
    This incident hasn’t change my view of Chris Brogan in any way except to make me think he’s ever smarter than many people give him credit for being, despite how this incident seems to have caused some hubbub. However, any publicity can be good publicity, to paraphrase a more famous phrase.
    The bigger story is not the individual incident, it’s the ongoing question of sponsored posts and, at a higher level, the relationships between people who engage in online content creation/publishing and individuals or organizations who want to pay to tap into audience attention to promote something.
    I suggest that we should look to op-ed columns, syndicated columnists, and other commentators as potential models to consider, not journalists or reporters.
    Facts are indispensable, but content creators and columnists gain audiences and material compensation via interpretation and opinion about facts. They are encouraged to show a personality and look like a human being. Reporters/journalists don’t always get those some opportunities.

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