Recently MTL Blog got caught using an non-declared organic content ad masquerading as real content, which you can read up on here. This is a paid placement masquerading as normal content. This was brough to light thanks to a mention on Twitter during the #askmtlblog smack down, which was triggered by the in depth article from Fagstein that asks 40 questions and digs up some information.
So CBC also did some follow up on it and sheds some light on the Keurig product placement and charging for coverage issues highlighted here and here. You will need to fast forward to the 8:18 mark for the story to start.
Shortly after their call the Keurig ad went from
to THIS (note the teeny tiny orange sponsored content label)
MTL Blog uses the”they forgot” excuse very often. Take a look at the headache a local blogger had to go through when they called out MTL Blog on stealing their content in not just 1 spot but 2!
A greater issue with this sponsored content post is that it shows the tag in one post in the top 10 list but does not show the entire list as sponsored. The lists’ integrity (if you can call it that) is in question since it is not a real top anything since one of the posts is paid for. The entire post in the life section should be tagged as sponsored content. Instead it isn’t and that leads readers into starting to read this post and not know that a portion is an advertisement.
So recently Marois & Moi did a write up on MTL Blog’s rate card and fee to cover events. This was originally leaked on Fuck No Montreal back in April and we did a write up last week.
Now it’s clear that MTL Blog charges to cover events as they have an inquire within rate card with no prices on their site.
Here is the leaked email on Fuck No Montreal
As well, they flat out admit it in an interview posted on Canadalandshow where they say “Lapointe sees MTLBlog as a ‘mixed’ media-brand. The young company has been exploring native advertising, with resulting stories stamped ‘sponsored content’ on the site.”
Although a comment on the Marois and Moi article caught our eye.
The comment reads “I’m a bar owner and I occasionally use MTL Blog’s services to cover my events. They do a great job! I guess you have to be in this business to understand that finding a professional photographer that’ll shoot your event, edit the pictures, send them to you the morning after and share them on a popular cultural blog for under 150$ is a no brainer. Stop complaining and get a life.”
We did some digging and found that the name on this comment is tied to a local bar, Nacho Libre, and MTL Blog has covered it multiple times like they do with other bars. You can even see the MTL Blog water mark on the picture. Because MTL Blog would hate it for someone to steal their picture. You know, like they have to many local bloggers
Although something about these pics and the statement admitting they charge seemed off. It’s not marked as sponsored content. MTL Blog will mark some items as sponsored – it shows up on the home page and on the post in an orange highlight.
The posts done on Nacho Libre are not marked sponsored and it implies it is organic. This is a deceptive practice because readers will assume it is a non-paid advertisement. When people know they are being sold something they react differently. Now this is not an uncommon practice. Food bloggers get invited to openings and give reviews that are a form of advertising but some will state that it is a media event. Often if you state you have sponsored content, (which MTL Blog clearly has as seen in screenshots above) readers can make the conscious decision to filter paid content from organic content.
Although since MTL Blog’s Nacho Libre coverage of events is not labeled paid content, then people think this is an organic coverage and is news, albeit social news, and not to be confused with real grownup news with real reporters tackling real issues (but that’s another issue)
So for those reading events on MTL Blog do be aware that you may be marketed to even if it seems like normal party coverage. As well, we should note that Nacho Libre has another bar opening called Brutus and MTL Blog has been writing hype articles on upcoming bacon focused items. The posts are not labeled sponsored but you can tell that they are building up hype the same way that PR and marketing companies do, although when you leverage a seemingly neutral source for content that’s when you blur the line and are tricking people/lying to them.