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Friday, October 25, 2013

The Dark Side of Pro Travel Blogging - BootsnAll throws cold water on sponsored blogging

source: BootsnAll

What are your favorite travel sites besides BootsnAll and why?

What travel blogger do you trust? Why?

In today's media driven world, most popular content is sponsored and therefore influenced, so much so that we are having a hard time figuring out what is real.

As for sponsored content - what does that mean?

Many popular travel bloggers are given free trips (often called press trips) or in some cases are even paid to go to a destination, hotel, hostel, etc.

The blogger will often use this disclaimer: "This trip/hotel/hostel/etc. was paid for by XXXXX, but the opinions are my own."

Really? I call Bull-shitake.

Let's think about this for a minute. If that blogger paid for that exact same trip with their own coin, would the content be the same?

Quite simply - No...it wouldn't.

I admit that I've been on a few sponsored trips in my life, and as the publisher of BootsnAll, I've also helped hundreds of writers go on these press trips. So my BS comment is directed at us as well.

Sponsored content isn't limited to bloggers. Case in point. Our friends at Afar.com have a BEAUTIFUL Australia Travel Guide. See it here.

After I watched the video and browsed the page, I was amazed as it was gorgeous and well produced.

Would you have guessed that this content is sponsored by Australian Tourism? Look closer. No negativity. No things to watch out for. It feels like marketing copy versus a Travel Guide.

I always think back to our other friends at Lonely Planet - their books are not sponsored and have a more balanced approach to travel, in our opinion.

Over the past 15 years, we've seen so many companies, bloggers, and folks come and go in the travel space, so we are naturally cautious before we recommend something to you.

I am not disparaging Afar or the independent travel blogger - this is the way it is today in travel. Sponsored content, free blogger trips. Influence that is bought. 

When deciding where to go and who to trust when making trip decisions, does this matter to you? Do you care how a recommendation came about?

Please fill out this questionnaire or email us back, letting us know your favorite travel resources (outside of BootsnAll) and if sponsored content impacts your trust of websites/blogs.

Feel free to tweet us your thoughts @BootsnAll or on your favorite social platform.

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