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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Will Perez Hilton’s sponsored blogging make you more suspicious of other bloggers’ motives in discussing movies?

I got an ache in the pit of my stomach when I read this at SFGate:

Later this summer, a major movie studio will pay celebrity blogger Perez Hilton to tweet – comment on the micro-blogging service Twitter – for a week about a forthcoming movie (which Hilton’s ad seller declined to name). This month on his popular perezhilton.com, Hilton appeared as himself in a video advertisement chatting up a fictional character in the new film “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.”

Such an arrangement could be worth “six figures,” said Henry Copeland, president and founder of Blogads.com, which sells advertising for 2,000 blogs, including top sites like DailyKos.com and MichelleMalkin.com.

Now, Perez Hilton isn’t exactly a respected film critic — which is probably precisely why the studios chose him for such endeavors — so it’s not as if he’s devaluing criticism or actual film journalism by agreeing to engage in such stunts. (I wonder if Hilton will reveal which of his tweets have been paid for by an advertiser, as the FTC is considering requiring bloggers to do…) But still, this makes me very uncomfortable. Hilton’s readers probably won’t care if he’s been paid to promote something, even if they don’t know which of his content is paid and which isn’t, but I suspect this may make readers of other film-related sites wonder if their favorite bloggers are being paid to wax enthusiastic about a new movie or TV show.

Will Perez Hilton’s sponsored blogging make you more suspicious of other bloggers’ motives in discussing movies?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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  • Zed

    It won’t “make” me suspicious, since I’m already suspicious. Everyone has got some kind of bias going, caused by something or other.

    Also, given that the use of shills is a time-honoured tradition, I’m not surprised when it shows up somewhere new. (note that chat-room shills have been doing this sort of thing towards videogames for a couple years now)

  • Saladinho

    You know what? If they do a good enough job of convincing you they believe in what they’re selling, then more power to them.

    It’s up to the readers to decide how valuable said blogger’s opinion is.

    Fo example: You’ve written so well about the new Wolverine and Star Trek films, that even if I disagree about the final verdict, I just don’t believe you’re being paid to advetise them.

    And hell, if you are, you should get paid double. ;P

  • Marshall

    I thought Perez Hilton was a celebrity gossip personality, not a film critic. I would be more disturbed if you or some other actual critic did such a thing, but this is Perez Hilton we’re talking about here – he crudly photoshops photo’s of celebs as part of his blog.

  • Victor Plenty

    Perez Hilton isn’t a blogger, but a bad parody of a blogger, just as The Onion is a good parody of a mainstream news source. He isn’t even a celebrity gossip maven, but only a bad parody of a celebrity gossip maven. I don’t know whether his parody is conscious or unconscious, and I can’t think of a reason to care.

    This was my opinion before the whole beauty pageant controversy. Nobody came out of that mess looking better than they went in, but I was amazed to see so many people declare their hate for Perez Hilton. Why bother? There’s nothing there worth the effort to hate.

    In sum, I’ve never even trusted the man to be genuinely fake and shallow. Why should anything he does or says affect my opinion of anything or anyone else in the world?

  • AJP

    The larger question here is why Perez Hilton is considered a “celebrity” to begin with.

  • I’m curious why you think this is different than radio hosts reading live ads? Is it because twitter makes the ad harder to detect?

  • RogerBW

    MaryAnn is obviously being sponsored by the Librul Media Conspiracy…

    Meh. Twitter-size comments are only good for generating product awareness anyway. It’s pretty obvious when an actual review is really an advertisement.

  • mortadella

    Who’s Perez Hilton anyway?

    He must be related to that blonde, Q-tip of a girl who prides herself on being a simpleton and purposely speaks like a zonked-out stripper because, I dunno, stupid is apparently sexy?

    Do any of us need to give attention to the Hilton clan in recession times? I don’t think so. I’m also getting pissed at the ill-timing of programs that focus on the rich, like that horrible Desperate Housewife reality show and Royal Pains.

  • Victor Plenty

    The hell of it is, “Perez Hilton” isn’t even his real name.

    That’s right, he’s famous for faking the name of a person who’s infamously famous for being famous, not for being actually related to her.

    Curse you, mortadella! Curse you for making me do research on Perez Hilton! Why couldn’t you waste your own damn time going to Wikipedia?

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