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Update: This Is Not A Sponsored Conversation

By Chuckmonster on Thursday, 15th October 2009 4:41am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 6


A few months ago, I posted a feature article - This Is Not A Sponsored Conversation - about some of the more unsavory by products of social media marketing. Specifically, I made a case that bloggers/tweeters should disclose when they are being paid (cash, comps, gifts or access) to post to their followers.

Earlier this afternoon, I was poking through my RSS feeds and clicked through to a story on Techcrunch about MySpace hiring some new people. One of my friends and a slew of his co-workers recently got hired to fix MySpace, so I figured I'd see this new round of hires featured more of that crew.

I never bothered to read the article. Here's why:

Sponsored Tweets

Check out the advertisement: "Sponsor Tweets from Holly Madison and other Celebrities" from SponsoredTweets.com. Clicking through I see that booking a tweet from Holly to her 222,960 followers costs $2,500 bucks. Holly probably never approves them, probably never even sees them, and definitely does not sit there on her iPhone typing in your tweet.

It kinda made me wonder how much it would cost to get Bellagio to send out a paper mailing to its mailing list with the Bellagio logo/brand and return address, but have the content be the review of Bellagio that I'm working on right now, including photos of the wallpaper peeling off and the threadbare furniture. $2,500? $25k? $250k? $2.5M? It doesn't really matter though, they'd never do it.

Starting on December 1st, the Federal Trade Commission will begin enforcing the new rules that require bloggers and twitterers (including Holly Madison AND VegasTripping) to disclose whenever we are paid to post, either by cash, comp, gift or access.

I'm really really really glad that the FTC has ruled on this. It will be difficult to enforce on a large scale, but WE - the bleeding edge members of the online Vegas freak community and early adopters of technology - must fearlessly call bullshit when we read posts or tweets that we think might be sponsored.

Those who choose to lie to their readers/followers and not disclose that their opinions have been paid for by the company they have an opinion about, deserve nothing short of a swift kick in the nuts. Or the tits.



Comments & Discussion:

Hum... Maybe Wynn Resorts can start paying me in Free Room nights, to keep being their cheerleader. I'm their biggest fan. :)

I find the FTC thing kind of silly: nobody's keeping paper records of anything, no other country is doing this, and Joe Average isn't going to know anything. Like, what if something was free and they DIDN'T expect marketing in exchange for it? I can't see everyone who ever gets a comped room disclosing their room was free every time they mention their Vegas vacation.

This whole thing has been much ado about nothing and I really wonder who loses sleep at night worrying about the trustworthyness of complete strangers on the internet and if "social networking" can be bought like anything else (yes.)

I know I'm jumping the gun on your review here, but thank you for doing it in advance.

I remember when I was all of 21 falling in love with Vegas and always wanting to stay at Bellagio cause it seemed the creme de la creme of Vegas. My first stay (I won't spill the beans rather than to say spa tower room with quarter sized fresh blood stain on sheets) proved to be the first in my many experiences culminating in a stay in a Penthouse suite (fail compared to Wynn's anything) that was at best lackluster and boring.

Who's to blame? MGM, well duh. The consumer, i'd say has another 50 percent cut here. The popularity and lowering rates at Bellagio have made it a haven for the young abusive set and the traveler who could give a shit about a piece of furniture not made of veneered particle board. Top it off with a spendthrift company who says "it's good, so leave it." and you have a falling star being propped up on image alone.

That said I still love Bellagio, there is something romantic about her air, appearance and outward mood. It's just wrapping up the savable but decaying guts of a grand hotel. MGM should learn something from Wynn. With the help of his Steveness' ideas, Bellagio could become and surpass it's former glory.

(off soapbox)

you pretty much nailed the ideas i'm approaching in the Bellagio review. i honestly don't know how bellagio can command upwards of $400/night for those rooms... they're small, the windows are puny, the decor is out of touch and the furnishings are beat down. the property itself still oozes luxury, the rooms ooze "shoulda stayed at TI" or Wynn, or Venetian, or a Go Room for that matter.

it's time someone spoke up about it, that's for sure. as a designer/architect, I wish I had the chance to show someone at MGM what just a LITTLE bit of money would do to that place. the bones of the room are great, the skin is shot.

I was rather surprised that Holly Madison was listed as a sponsored tweeter, if only because I hadn't seen anything that resembled a sponsored tweet. So after a quick look, I found one:


If that's how sponsored tweets are going to be handled, I'm cool with it.

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