Should I Write Sponsored Posts?

I’ve had quite a few offers lately from people who would like to sponsor articles on this blog. The basic understanding being, they pay me to write about a particular topic, or include a link to their product. It’s not an unusual situation in web publishing, but I know a lot of people have strong opinions on the ethics of this practice.

I’m not a big fan of blogs that post a “Message from our Sponsor” every week, with a blatantly promotional article full of links back to the sponsor’s website. I see this as a kind of intrusive advertising, that only takes readers’ time and offers nothing in return.

However, I do see benefits in writing a sponsored post which is of genuine interest to the blog’s target audience – in this case, Android developers. For example, say a mobile advertising company such as AdMob were to contact me, and offer to pay me in exchange for writing an article about their company. Obviously the company itself is of interest to this blog’s readers. In this situation, I think it would be appropriate to write the article, and accept payment for the time I spent researching and writing the post.

However – I don’t believe in “guaranteeing” a positive post in exchange for payment. If I can endorse a product in good faith, then I’m happy to accept payment to write about this product. In the post, I would simply write my own thoughts, both the good and the bad. But if I can’t endorse that product in good faith, I couldn’t write something positive about it, just because I was paid to do so. Besides the ethical issues, it would simply be difficult to write a good quality article if I’m making up half the stuff on the spot. It just doesn’t make sense.

Basically, I could only ever accept payment for writing an honest article. Not simply re-posting some marketing jargon from an advertising agency.

Those are my views on the matter. But having said that, I’ve decided to ask you readers – do you think I should write sponsored posts? Since you’re the people who will be reading these articles, what are your thoughts? Are you happy to read good quality sponsored articles? (Of course, any sponsored articles would be fully disclosed as such.)

Or would you prefer that I keep completely independent and write only about what interests me directly?

Please leave a comment or shoot me an email with your thoughts.