Over ten years ago when blogging was in its infancy, we wrote a story about how to approach bloggers. We have followed some of the tactics and foibles connected with approaching influencers online, and recently saw this post on Gawker about how companies are still trying to bribe bloggers into promoting specific products or brands.

It is interesting to see how these marketers are trying to get around the "pay for play" aspect of disguising advertising as earned media. Avoiding blatant promotion and instead writing a blog post that links back to a brand or product is still paid advertising. Itís no different than a publisher posting paid content ads on a website.

Brand managers need to wake up and realize that protecting and enhancing your reputation is your duty. Trying to get media attention or build your SEO through bribery or coercion will not end well. It may blow up in your face, as we have reported above.

In this case, it was the company promoting the practice of product placement in blogs that was exposed, despite the fact that the blogger attempted to find out who that companyís clients were. If he had in fact found out, then they would have been named as well, resulting in the kind of publicity nobody wants. Ultimately, if authenticity and credibility is the objective, it pays to earn your media instead of trying to buy it.