Is Goodreads editorial content advertising?
January 7, 2017 5:06 PM   Subscribe

I use Goodreads and occasionally enjoy what purports to be editorial content from the site itself: for example, this list of anticipated 2017 books, monthly round-ups of notable new releases in various genres, newsletters, year-end best-ofs, etc. None of this stuff is expressly labeled as advertorial, but given the Amazon-owned site's obviously extensive relationships with publishers and sellers, I feel like a lot of it might in fact be "sponsored content," and I'm curious to what extent I'm being marketed-to. Does anyone know?
posted by eugenen to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know for sure, but I'm curious where you'd draw the line. Book review blogs and book review sections of major newspapers and magazines get free review copies pushed at them and also receive promotional materials from publishers that do influence reporter awareness and selections for end-of-year lists, 'best' lists, vacation reading lists, etc, as well as author interviews and literary features. it's not usually pay-to-play, and editors usually retain editorial control to accept or reject the notion of reviewing. I don't know the story at GoodReads. But if it were graft and the hype machine instead of pay-to-play, and that bothered you, it will also bother you that that's the normal system of book reviewing and feature writing everywhere.

At the same time, there's reason to wonder about GoodReads. There's this post about its use of "native ads" - that's ads designed to look like other general content - but not on the blog. They facilitate author giveaways as a way of promoting books. It looks like the Listopia lists are author-gamed a little.

I can't find anything that specifically invites authors to view the blog as part of an ad campaign. But of course, there could be and probably are handshake deals based on some degree of publisher influence. Maybe write and ask them?
posted by Miko at 7:37 PM on January 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have a copy of Goodreads' media kit and these are not listed promotional opportunities. I also know someone who worked there in the pre-amazon days and at that time for sure these were completely editorial selections. I do not like or trust amazon but my guess is that most is fairly genuine, if influenced by receiving early review copied and other buzz.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 9:05 PM on January 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

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