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The Media Industry's Cash Crunch Makes Pay-to-Play Look Much More Tempting

In the fight for media survival, none of us is immune from temptation, and few revenue sources are beyond consideration, if not actual adoption.

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Although such paid online sponsorships are still controversial, the horse has long since left the barn: Izea, an online marketing company that created PayPerPost, serves 25,000 advertisers and 265,000 bloggers in its network, paying them an average of $34 a post. As Richard Cleland, an assistant director at the Federal Trade Commission, assured the New York Times , "Consumers have a right to know when they're being pitched a product," -- so much so that the FTC is now considering mandatory disclosure of such blogger activities under truth-in-advertising guidelines.

One final thought: if, like so many others, you are currently 'consuming' most of your media diet at low-or-no cost, while operating under the notorious Internet dictum that "Information wants to be free," should you really be quick to criticize the beleagured poor publisher of The Washington Post for sponsoring salons in hopes of keeping the doors open and the news flowing? Where do we -- and where should we - now draw the line? What do you think? Write in and tell me your thoughts on the ethics of pay-to-play journalism in a time of collapsing capitalism, fierce technological change and a "lost revenue model."

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor is the author of " Shock Jocks: Hate Speech and Talk Radio " (AlterNet Books, 2008). O'Connor also writes the Media Is A Plural blog.

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