Reach Upwards is in an ethical quandary about people who offer him money to blog about their company, product or issue. Fortunately, for me, since I lack integrity, no one has ever offered me money to compromise my integrity.
This idea of advertisers buying spots on blogs is interesting from several different angles. Personally, I like the idea of independent people getting money for their blogs. Such a market helps distribute wealth and it provides bloggers with more resources for their activities.
The fact that bloggers are faced with ethical decisions about writing for money increases the overall awareness of the economic forces on the information around us.
Personally, I would love to find clever ways for people to "monetize" their web projects without a minimal impact on their integrity.
After reading Reach Upwards blog, I stumbled onto one such clever idea. The Site BananaNames.com is a clever idea. For a price, the company will write your name on a banana. Take a picture of the banana, then post the picture of the banana on their blog.
BTW, blogs aren't just influenced by money. Inbound links have a tremendous economic value. If you stick to the talking points of a particular political interest, you will get a large number of inbound links. This increases the influence of your blog. People who stray from the party line by talking about issues from multiple angles lose the precious inbound links.
On the issue of links as an economic concern, Newspapergrl is lamenting about link stinginess in local papers. The newspaper will report on a local business, but will rarely link to the local business--despite the fact that such a link would improve the story and help support the local economy. (NOTE, Newspapergrl has her name on a banana. That is where I found the NoaB site.)
Perhaps one of the greatest things about the blogging phenomena is that it has us thinking about the influences on the information around us. In just one short web session, I found discussions of blog advertising, link stinginess and entrepreneurs writing names on a banana for manna.