I had an interesting conversation on Twitter last week. Someone made a sarcastic comment/question about a cover of a book I tweeted about.
I thought it was just sarcasm, so I replied something to the effect of: "I don't know. You'll have to read the book to find out."
"You sure do know," the person replied. "It's your book after all."
"No, it's not. I'm simply the marketer."
"You've endorsed it, so you should know."
Hold up a minute. I've tweeted about hundreds of books over the years. And I'm currently probably featuring dozens right now, on any given day or week, if not more.
Am I actually endorsing each of those books?
My answer is no.
Do I take the time to vet each and every book that comes on the site?
Do I recommend each and every book featured?
No. You be the judge if you want to check it out or not.
I was curious what the public in general thought about this marketing/endorsement issue, so I put a poll out on Twitter. Check it out below.
Being paid to tweet about a product: does it mean an automatic endorsement, or is it simply a paid ad?— Mark Lee (@MasqCrew) November 9, 2016
As you can tell, the majority of people see paid-for-tweets as simply that, paid advertising. And that's what I think of them.
I do not vet books before putting them on the site.
In fact, there was a book a few years ago that I felt very uncomfortable with. From what I could tell it was a conspiracy theory slash the-government-is-evil kind of book. I featured it anyway ... because I was paid to do so, and the thought has never entered my mind that I personally would be associated with the books presented.
Thankfully the book was pulled from Amazon a short time later.
When you see an ad in a newspaper, magazine, or on TV, do you associate the ad with the advertiser or the one advertising? My guess is that most people wouldn't know who was paid to show the ad when they were talking about the ad later.
"Did you see that commercial on channel 5 last night? What nerve that station has!"
I don't see that kind of comment happening very often. Especially since an ad might show up in multiple places.
I'm not saying that a marketing firm couldn't get in trouble for who they choose to take payment from. But it's certainly not a common occurrence.
So, for the record, I do not endorse the books on this site. I simply present what the authors tell me to present. You be the judge.
It's different if I am personally reviewing a book. That's when I might consider it an endorsement. Of course, I've never charged for a book review. So, it wouldn't be a paid endorsement.
But what if I didn't really like the book or I had several negative things to say about it? Is it an endorsement then? I would say no.
So, think twice before you assume that the person advertising something is personally behind it. It most likely isn't the case, not if they are getting paid.
If a book blogger only presents reviews of the books they like, then those are most likely endorsements.
But even such a book blogger might have a guest post or feature a book as a favor, and although they might be endorsements, I personally wouldn't jump to that conclusion.
Be careful where your opinion takes you. You might be mistaken.
What do you think of this marketing/endorsement issue?