This morning, I watched a YouTube video and the “influencer” (The term for an actor on a streaming video. Apparently, he cannot be called a “tractor expert” because that would be too obvious. Also, I hate the word influencer because it sounds like YouTube people are better than us. It was a privilege to be influenced.) was describing how he fixed a broken water pump. I cannot own a tractor because l do not live in a house that can fit/use such an enormous machine, but I still find these videos interesting.
Halfway through the video, the influencer (I still hate that word) embedded a promotion. The idea is when a familiar person is describing the product; the sales pitch will be more effective. In this video, the influencer (I still, still hate that word) plugged the website hosting company Squarespace. The sales pitch had the usual benefits, features, low introductory prices, and a cost reduction for mentioning the influencer’s (I still, still, still hate that word) name at the time of purchase.
I am sure my blog readers see such advertisements often, but what does this have to do with writing? Of course, some reading formats such as magazines, newspapers, comic books, or websites have advertisements or website links, but what about books?
I recall reading books in the ‘70s with center sections loaded with advertisements. These were the same campy type you would (and still do) see in the back of comic books. “Call us to receive a free catalog.” “Send $9.99 to receive your spy glasses.” So I did some research, and in the ’50-70s, they did this type of advertising in inexpensive books to offset the printing cost. The term Dime Novels describes them.
By the ‘80s, this kind of advertising had fallen out of favor, and I doubt you can find a modern book with it. What about a “paid promotion?” Meaning that they pay an author to include a topic. “Our hero was in a bind because he needed a quick way to get the word out. Fortunately, he knew about Squarespace and quickly developed an excellent website.”
I suppose companies can pay super-famous authors to embed promotions, but from reading famous books, I have never read a blatant plug. Instead, authors use the brands they know, “She jumped into her Ford pickup truck.” Unfortunately, the Ford Motor Company would not pay the author a dime for mentioning them. Bummer.
What about a blog? I have read many blogs and never encountered an embedded promotion. There are advertisements on blog sites, and perhaps famous bloggers might get paid to plug something, but the rest of us only receive likes and insightful comments.
Oddly, advertising has not penetrated books. One would think that a famous book such as Harry Potter would have an advertisement or sponsor’s content on every page. I can hear “girrrr” from my blog readers. Yeah, I would also hate a book full of plugs.
Reading is a solitary activity that requires patience and deep concentration. One needs focus to enjoy the medium. Well, I could be part of a new revolution!
My website company is Web Hosting Pad, and perhaps they will sponsor me if I embed a plug in this blog. “Did you know that Web Hosting Pad has the best prices? And their customer support is outstanding!” Nice job!
Hey Web Hosting Pad, I did my part! Can I please have a free year of service?
You’re the best -Bill
March 29, 2023
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