Part 2 of My Response to Xiaxue's Exposé

March 15, 2015

This is getting long-winded but some netizens are so ignorant they are making me rage so bad!!! I posted part one yesterday but in the last 12 hours, I suddenly see a rise in ignorant people coming up with more ridiculous statements that don't even make sense.

That's what I thought at first.

But I lost it the moment I read this:
"To be honest, I rather not know that it's a sponsored ad because when I know it's an advertisement. I don't trust their sponsored reviews since they are being paid to say good things." 

What is this!??!?!?! I'm so confused because this doesn't even make sense at all. Are you saying you'd rather be lied to? When an ad is masked, it is still PAID. It doesn't mean it's a genuine review that isn't paid - influencers are still paid to rave about the products, they just act as if they chanced upon the products and they are not paid for writing good stuff.

Let me give you three examples to give you a clearer picture.

EXAMPLE ONE - genuine review
This product is good but it does not stay on for long

EXAMPLE TWO - ad on blogger's post
[Ad] This product is very good and I love it very much!

EXAMPLE THREE - masked ad
I chanced upon this product which is very good and I love it very much!

Then you may ask, "Masked advertisements seems harmless enough so why is astroturfing illegal in some countries?" Ahhh, that's when my knowledge from being in a media school comes in. (My lecturers, I haven't failed you.)

Firstly, we have to look at why do companies want bloggers to mask their ads? Simply because consumers are starting to develop blind spots for advertisements. When TV commercials appear in between a show, viewers take the chance to go to the toilet. Ad blocker websites and plug-ins are developed to block advertisements on YouTube. You scroll pass advertisements on Facebook and skip blog advertorial posts .

So what's the shortcut to making your target audience see your advertisements? Pretend that they are not advertisements. However, this is extremely unethical. How?

As a consumer, when you know it's an advertisement for sure, you are more critical about what you read. It's the same when you view TV advertisements. You always find yourself wondering, "Oh, is this product really this excellent or is it because the celebrities are paid to rave about it? Aiya, advertisements all fake one la."

But when you aren't sure if it's an ad, you tend to believe the words from the blogger. Why so? If you are a frequent visitor of someone's blog, it's because you like him/her, therefore, s/he is your opinion leader. Or in layman's terms, the said blogger has a certain influence over you because you think the same way. Using this influence and your lack of knowledge that the post is actually an advertisement, the blogger can easily win you over with an advertisement.

This means that bloggers are essentially manipulating their readers. Although this is not illegal in Singapore yet, it is unethical. Readers should have the rights to know. Putting up masked advertisements is like saying you're not lying because you're just not telling a 100% truth - this is the kind of behaviour being condoned by people who are disagreeing for the sake of doing so.

You don't like Xiaxue, so be it. Nobody's asking you to like her and I'm sure she's not asking for your agreement with her Gushcloud post. Just because you don't like her doesn't mean you have to disagree every point brought up by her with your argument that hasn't been researched on. Without research, what do you know? Are you in the industry?

The same ignorant people also reduced my previous post to a minute issue of "another impressionable teen parroting whatever Xiaxue says". I have to refute that claim by saying that I am posting this not because I blindly follow what Xiaxue says. If Gushcloud can come up with an excellent explanation against Xiaxue's claim then I'll be more than glad to read it. But the way I see it now, they are only deleting comments, twisting words and avoiding the subject. Are they guilty?

I am passionate about the advertising industry, especially on social media platforms, and I want to be in this industry in the future. I hate to see unethical companies ruining the social media marketing industry that's rising just for monetary gains. This is not what advertising is about.

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