The Best Digital Marketing On The Web

August 27, 2010

(This is NOT a sponsored post. I did not receive any kind of payment for this.)

Did you know that OnlineSchools.org is currently doing some of the most creative, innovative, and spreadable digital marketing on the web right now?

On July 13, 2010 I received this email:

from Vivian Harcourt
date Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 2:03 PM
subject Content contribution.

Vivian Here,

I’m with a company that makes and distributes infographics. I was wondering if you’d be interested in posting our infographics and we’ll pay you $10 for each infographic you post.

Here are some of the works we’ve done with other blogs:
http://mashable.com/2010/05/10/ipod-revolution-infographic/
http://www.neatorama.com/spotlight/2010/05/14/cats-vs-dogs/
http://www.urlesque.com/2010/06/01/history-rickrolling-infographic/

I could send you 3 a week. We’ll provide you content as well as pay you. All you would have to do is link us when you have uploaded, and provide us with your paypal and we submit payment.

What do you think?

Much Appreciated,
Vivian

Hrm? A little suspicious, isn’t it? I don’t receive many soliciting emails for my blog, and more importantly I never reply because I don’t do advertising. This one was intriguing, though.

It turns out that this was a solicitation for a very special kind of banner add. One that would appear as a compelling piece of content, presented directly inline with your original blog content, but would link back to the advertiser’s site – OnlineSchools.org. Advertising disguised as content.

I visited the links and immediately recognized the work. You probably will, too. These fun and well-designed infographics have been popping up all over some of the most popular sites on the web.

What do you think? Is this a smart strategy for earning a lot of impressions and clicks for a very low cost? Or is this a shameful bait and switch by the publisher on its readers? Or both?

Mashable, iPod Revolution, May 5, 2010

Urlesque, Rickroll, June 1, 2010

Buzzfeed, History of Memes, August 26, 2010

And I’m sure you’ve seen others like this.

So what do you think? Is this a clever new kind of online advertising? Should we all be trying strategies like this? Is it unethical for publishers to use these graphics without explicitly labeling them as sponsored content?

Let me hear it in the comments.

About these ads

8 Responses to “The Best Digital Marketing On The Web”


  1. According to the new FTC rulings, without clear disclosure, is against the law.

  2. Dan Thornton Says:

    Aside from the fact the huge rise in infographics is a real pain when I regular surf on bad wifi connections, this explains why so many of the things are appearing in my RSS feeds.

    Personally, I have no problem with someone sponsoring a piece of content on a blog etc, but it’s essential for there to be disclosure, which I don’t recall ever seeing with these inforgraphics. Either they’ve never offered payment before (seems unlikely), or there’s never been any disclosure.

    It’s very similar to the previous trend for blog ranking buttons etc, all with a followed link back to a site. None of which I’m against, as it’s definitely a smart strategy, but I’m completely against if there’s no clear disclosure…

  3. tipo Says:

    It’s shameful and smart, but demonstrates how you can effectively advertise on the web at a very low cost.

    Another example of a mom and pop website like onlinschools.org is starcostumes.com. The costume market is quite competitive on the web, especially when it comes to search. Starcostumes.com hires writers to submit guest posts to horror blogs across the web. Bloggers get paid $X if their post goes up and includes starcostumes.com in their bio. Here are examples: http://bit.ly/c1348B.

    Clearly digital strategy is not reserved for only digital strategists. ;)

  4. Gerald Says:

    Interesting. That explains the inflation of these things over the last couple of months. Crazy shit that is.

  5. Sean Says:

    Dude!

    I am so so so glad you posted this. The woman who contacted me was downright rude and ignorant when I informed them I don’t do pay to post. I offered to post any info graphics of value to my blog, Twitter or tumblr account. But that I would do so based on the value to my readers and would never, ever take compensation. But to go ahead and send me graphics.

    The woman was frankly ignorant. And quite rude. She didn’t understand why I would not want to be paid to post. And wasn’t sure if I should be posting things to my Twitter or tumblr accounts. Lol.

    Outreach strategies can totally work. But not when left to novices.

  6. S2N Design Says:

    We just don’t think it’s very smart. People know when they have been deceived, and they do not appreciate it.

  7. Matt Daniels Says:

    For such a clever marketing idea, I’m surprised by how shitty their landing page is. And are the just trying to improve their Google ranking with the incoming links? I can’t imagine $10+labor is worth the few click-throughs via the infographic.


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