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April 9, 2013, 2:23 p.m.
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   April 9, 2013

Skift notes a BBC program that looks at pay-for-play in the travel-blogging world. But Skift’s Jason Clampet is worried less by the journalism ethics issues than by the illusion of effectiveness:

The problem stems not from freebies, per se. It stems from the disconnect between how travel bloggers position themselves as influencers of consumers.

They are not.

Their audience is a fraction of a sliver of a minuscule, but they make lots of noise.

On a good day, travel bloggers are marketers, and their audience is an echo chamber of equal-minded travel bloggers. Many of them would like to be labeled journalists but don’t abide by standards of disclosure, or put the consumer first when they’re happily hashtagging about the destination footing their bill. The question of who do they serve — the client or a consumer — most often comes down on the side of the client.

If they want to be marketers, that’s fine. But don’t expect to be treated as a critic or a journalist when your master is anything other than the consumer.

The bloggers-meet-travel-industry-reps speed-dating event in Berlin is kind of amazing.

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