This post is honor of the hundred bucks I saved buying gear from the Wyoming-based outdoors outlet. The retailer has partnered with a publisher of tips-related Web sites to amass a large trove of hiking tips. It even as a “tip of the day” RSS feed.
There’s nothing sneaky/spambloggy about the site (link: hiking.lifetips.com): it’s a raw display of “use content to drive sales” capitalism. Mentions of brand names include links to products in the company’s catalog. Sierra Trading Post is prominently listed as the site’s sponsor.
Of course those of us in the Old Media are rightfully appalled and such blending of content and commerce — our way of thinking is that money taints everything it touches (which is true, but try to buy a beer without it.)
In the New Media way of thinking, the viewer is expected to apply necessary grains of salt when approaching sites such as hiking.lifetips.com, which has a raft of handy ideas swimming in a sea of crass commercialism (which is not so different from real life, come to think of it). What’s going to happen is a circle: in the old days newspapers did the bidding of their advertisers until they became successful enough that they could tell advertisers to bug off. Someday Internet content will do the same, I suppose. Till then, don’t leave home without your bullshit detector.