Bloomberg recently published an article titled, “How Facebook Helps Shady Advertisers Pollute the Internet.” (can be found HERE.) This article is obviously an effort to draw in readers who are interested in all the Facebook controversy going on right now. And it has undoubtedly worked quite well, so we can’t really fault them for that. The problem, however, is that the article isn’t news or reporting, but just a hit job. Not only that, the actual article barely touches on Facebook, but is focused on the Affiliate Marketing industry instead.
In the article, they talk about what performance marketing is, and why it is ‘evil.’ They make all the common criticisms about how this type of marketing draws in many ‘shady’ industries such as fat loss pills, get rich quick schemes, and many others. Of course, it is true that there are many people promoting these types of questionable products, but that is in no way everything the industry does.
One could walk into any pharmacy today and find entire sections dedicated to weight loss pills with little to no evidence that they work. Why isn’t Bloomberg writing an article about how Wallgreens and CVS are nothing but shady companies promoting questionable products? Because those companies aren’t such easy targets, of course.
The article only gives a passing mention to the fact that affiliate marketing is used to promote millions of products through Amazon, eBay, and countless other sites. Instead, they only focus on the negative, and how many marketers are making large amounts of money in the process.
Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a supposedly well-respected company like Bloomberg publishing such a poorly crafted article, but in many ways it is. One would have thought that Bloomberg would have gotten past the ‘affiliate marketing is the boogeyman’ ideas that were popular many years ago. Affiliate marketing is a multi-billion dollar industry, and is used by almost all major companies in one form or another. Shame on Bloomberg for publishing this hit piece. We expect better.