Jason Calacanis claims to have discovered that for $300 to $400, you can buy an editorial on Fark.com, one of the most popular blogs. In an email exchange with Jason, a sales person Gogi (who Drew, who runs Fark explains is a 3rd party ad sales rep) writes:
Just as we're trying to prove how "pure" bloggers are, it appears that maybe one of our own has "sold out". As Jason points out, it wouldn't have been bad if the purchased editorials were marked as advertising. I agree with Jason, that people probably would have happily clicked on them if they looked interesting. What sucks is that they didn't disclose this before.GogiHowever, if you look at any news source, they are influenced by PR agencies, wine & dine’s and similar events. Take a look at the Graydon Carter as example #1. I challenge you to find a pure editorial voice in news today.
Also, its not news, its Fark.com. ;-) We run stories that we know are false, run satire, try not to let our personal political views affect the content and often include adult-natured items in the daily roundup. We don’t hold ourselves to the same standards as the NYT, and I would urge you not to either.
Drew Curtis posts a comment on Jason's blog explaining that Gogi doesn't represent Fark. He says, "I am personally not interested in compromising the quality of the site, hence no pop-up ads or take-overs." but doesn't really deny the editorial sponsorship issue directly and Jason says he is not convinced until he hears from Gogi.
It's unclear at this point, whether Fark really is selling editorials and how much influence this Gogi guy has, but 1) the email from Gogi is pretty bad and 2) it would be nice for Drew to explain his policy. Some of the Fark readers commenting on Jason's blog says to cut Drew some slack...