The Next Web’s Simon Owens tries to put the recent ScienceBlogs / PepsiCo quagmire into the larger context of the long, proud history bloggers have of biting the hand that feeds. He looks into the uneasy relationship bloggers have always had with those who advertise in their space, as well as the risks bloggers face in giving up control over ad placement by joining larger networks like ScienceBlogs. In the end, he implies, it’s really just another installment in the ongoing horse race between editorial independence and financial viability.
It has always been the accepted practice that there should be an unassailable wall between the editorial side of a publication and the advertising side, lest reporters be accused of bias for financial reasons. But the idea of bloggers attacking or commenting on their own advertising can also create an aura of independence. After all, what better way to prove you’re not beholden to the hand that feeds you than opening your mouth wide and clamping your incisors down on it. Whether that same hand will continue to feed you afterward is another issue entirely.