A sponsored post is a post on a website or blog which is paid for by an advertiser. Sponsored posts are viewed by some people as a legitimate advertising method, while others believe that they can be somewhat misleading, and they can compromise the integrity of a website. A number of advertising companies offer sponsored post services which connect advertisers with willing authors, and some companies also reach out directly to websites which are read by their target audience.
When the owner of a website is ethical, he or she clearly identifies sponsored posts. The content of such posts varies; a sponsored post may, for example, review a product, or discuss a company's offerings. In other instances, website owners simply embed advertisements from sponsors in posts which are related to their products, differentiating such advertising from sidebar or banner ads elsewhere on the site, and sometimes charging a premium for it.
Some bloggers make sponsored posting into a very profitable venture, monetizing their blogs very effectively. Others may use it to create a small supplemental income which helps to pay for site maintenance and special projects. It is common to see sponsored posts combined with other forms of advertising; for advertisers, the advantage of sponsored posts is that they show up in site feeds, ensuring that they reach all viewers of a site, not just those who visit the main page.
Opposition to sponsored posts can also be found in the blogging community. Some people argue that when bloggers write paid content, it compromises the rest of the content on their sites; for example, an author who writes a sponsored post about diet pills might be reluctant to criticize the diet industry. Others simply find sponsored posts irritating, especially when they deviate radically from the rest of the blog's content, and some blogs certainly do lose readers by going overboard with sponsored posts. There are also ethical issues involved; for example, when a sponsored post is not identified, readers may not realize that the author has been paid or otherwise compensated to endorse a product.
The revenue from sponsored posts varies. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the website, the greater the profit, because advertisers will pay more to sites with more readers. Smaller websites may be offered free products or smaller incentives, with advertisers hoping to reach niche readerships with a minimal outlay of money or goods.