Eeeeks. Where I come from we call this PR and smile about it. And yes, I still sleep at night.
In truth, Gonzo Marketing covers the "how blogs might make money" thing in detail. I don't think taking money from sponsors would ruin the integrity of blogs. The company we keep here in Blogaria keeps us honest enough, whether we like it or not. We sniff out coverups as fast as any conspiracy theorist. And, generally speaking, the types of sponsors we should go after should be complementary to our blogging, but not necessarily related to our blog's theme (of which, mine has no theme except death, loss, and love, so unless we're talking casket manufacturers or Fanny Farmer, I guess there's not many businesses directly related to my blog).
On the sponsors/corporate side, there's so much to gain from standing up for the great writing and significant conversations going on here it almost makes me insane that more businesses aren't doing it. There is perceived risk too. The risk of sponsoring a blog that comes out and complains about the product of the sponsorer, or, worse, falls in love with the sponsorer's fiercest competitor. But that risk is not really risky at all. Once the first wave of sponsors jumps on, they will necessarily become less paranoid about these eventualities. We're the Howard Sterns of the net. THAT we are talking among ourselves, for our sponsors, will be ultimately more important than our current pet peve or gripe of the day.
I think, small companies will be the ones to jump in with us first. They have the most to gain from bloggers. If I owned and SMB right now, I'd be looking at blogs. Bloggers are mostly suspicious of big brands. Either that, or we're already zealots with firm opinions. But the lesser knowns--that small online specialty food or gifts company, that family owned business who knits covers for golf clubs, whatever--should swoop in here with us little guys ASAP and help us turn the mofo upside down.
Either that or fuck business PERIOD. We bloggers pledge to one another. We each decide on a blog WE'RE going to sponsor every month. Every blogger adopts a code of support... like a co-op or something... and I say, I'm adopting Marek this month for $10 (or 13.52 to be exact--all the money I had in my paypal account), and next month I sponsor Tom, and so on. If each of us could support one blogger at $5 or $10 or $20 a month, we'd all end up somewhat happy, no? Am I totally wacked here?
Too tired to think about it more tonight. Later, though. Let me go find my copy of Gonzo first.