Everyday we print sponsored posts. They are content that small business owners pay for to let you know about their businesses. While the term is an invention of the Internet age, the concept has been in practice for awhile. In the old print model there was a quid quo pro: advertisers would buy an expensive glossy ad and in return the ad team would prevail upon the editorial team to cover the advertisers. It is a little more sneaky, we think, than letting readers know straight up that a story is paid for — that is, sponsored — by the advertiser. We like it better this way.
Still, we have been criticized for not marking posts more clearly as “sponsored.” Readers have commented that they have felt duped into reading what is paid advertising.
To make it clear, here is our policy going forward: We tag posts as sponsored at the top and, in the case of a column, indicated in italics at the end of the story if it is sponsored.
We ask you, dear reader, to please not disregard content merely because it is sponsored. Our regular contributors are experts in their fields and knowledgable about the subjects they address. We collaborate with our advertisers to make sure covered topics are of interest to our readers.
Sponsored posts are the best ways for advertisers to get the word out about their businesses, and publishing them is one of the ways we pay the bills at the Baltimore Fishbowl. They are a necessity of the new era. We will do our best to integrate them into our editorial content in a way that is satisfying to both the reader and the advertiser. As allows, feel free to be candid with your thoughts about how we can improve.