Is Forrester advocating for blogger payola?

A report released this week by Forrester raises the creepy echo of pay-for-play scandals of yore, recommending that companies exchange goods, gift cards or the like for blog coverage as part of "sponsored conversations."

The report detailing how companies can "Add Sponsored Conversations To Your Toolbox" drew the attention of Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb, who started his blog post by stating that he "respectfully disagree[s]" with the analyst firm's findings, but has words such as "dangerous" and "unsavory" in play by the end of the next sentence.

Codes of ethics followed by most professional journalists reject transactions that involve exchanging gifts of more than trivial value for coverage. The boundaries are less clear for bloggers; some argue that disclosing the arrangement to readers makes it acceptable behavior, but others prefer to avoid the practice.

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