Are all the Michael Borys posts undisclosed ads from 42 Enterntainment?


#1

Sure, it’s been obvious that the tone of every @Michael_Borys post sounds like an over-the-top marketing pitch, but neither he nor anyone else at Boing Boing has admitted as much.

Michael Borys is clearly Michael Borys of 42 Entertainment. His bio there matches that in a post he gave about himself.

This is what 42 Entertainment says about itself:

We’re shifting the line between marketing and entertainment.
As audiences become increasingly adept at filtering out traditional ads, they’ve also grown more tolerant of ad messages embedded within the story.

Audiences are primed for discovery.
The wired generation of today are social curators, cool hunters scouring the web and the world around them for new things to share. Information is today’s social currency. When you give people new things to discover, not only will they spread it through their networks but it becomes their own. Do this and your audience will come looking for you.

Connect through content
Audiences are becoming increasingly adept at filtering out traditional advertising.

Breed loyalty with authenticity
Let us help you push beyond standard product placement with unique creative solutions that truly offer added value.

We’ve all known that Michael Borys’s posts were product placement, but it’s nice to see the strategy so clearly laid out.

So if this is sponsored content, why isn’t it disclosed?

The Boing Boing Privacy Policy says

Advertorial: Any advertisements that are presented in an editorial format will be prominently marked as sponsored.

@beschizza reiterated that here:

Whenever we are paid to post something, it is marked ADVERTISEMENT (ads) or SPONSORED (native/words/content, etc).

He also seemed to share concerns of things that sound like advertorials:

Native advertising has made straight-up personal “I like this product” reportage look like bullshit. We have to be more conscious about how tone (and PR stock art) can make honest blogging seem unfortunately redolent of advertorial.

If it’s not directly sponsored, it still just feels shady. Why was Borys’s affiliation never mentioned? And, given that he’s a marketer, are we really expected to believe he actually owns any of the products he effusively praises, or believe any of the personal stories he tells about them?


All hail Lumio
#2

This is not sponsored content. Michael is my very good friend and I assure you he owns and or uses all the products he reviews. I very much enjoy his content on Boing Boing.


#3

Why does everything he post come up as posted by BoingBoing? That’s how the sponsored content comes up for articles that are paid for.

Plus, everything he writes really sounds like it’s coming straight from some PR department.


#4

Ok, I’m willing to believe that if you say so.

Since in almost every comment thread under his posts, people have talked about how they all sound like native advertising, and since I then saw that he works in a company that specializes in native advertising, do you see how I might have believed otherwise?

Maybe one small remedy would be to have author bio pages or even introduction posts, so that authors could put these kinds of things out in the open. It really did feel shady. I’m glad to see that it isn’t.

I can enjoy Michael’s over-the-top praise much more knowing it really isn’t paid for — which, again, many people seemed to believe it was.


#5

Really not compensated at all, or is this one of those things where affiliate revenue, commissions etc. don’t count but only outright payment for placing the text?


#6

All guest posts, until they associate a BBS account with their account in our CMS appear as BB in the BBS.


#7

Maybe once you’ve worked in native advertising long enough, it’s impossible to write genuine sounding praise for something - it just all comes out like ad copy?


#8

Does he buy the products that he reviews at list price using his own money, or are the products gifted to him in return for a review? Either is fair, but would be worth stating clearly which is the case. If nothing else, It’d be worth having a line or two in the reviews about the purchasing experience.


#9

Maybe you could let him know that he has fans on the BBS side of the world and maybe he should sign in, associate an account, and engage a little bit. Maybe if the things he posted didn’t seem like hit-and-run posts, we wouldn’t be so suspicious.

Edit: Also, an AMA style interview might help as well. His company certainly seems like it is all about taking advantage of naive readers. If that’s not it, what is it that they do to shift the line between entertainment and marketing?


#10

Michael has chosen every product he has written about from his collection or experiences. No sponsor has approached Boing Boing or Michael regarding reviewing these products for pay or any sort of sponsorship. Every post on Boing Boing that is Sponsored is clearly labeled as such. We are proud of our sponsors.


#11

some confusion on this point; I believe I have brought it up when we spoke about this before, but

Ed Piskor used to have his comics under his name and a unique avatar in the BBS listings, but now it’s the generic BB account, but

? he apparently did that?

anyway, you know I hate the lack of attribution when I browse, but this particularly seems contradictory.

further, could you not get the guests to spend a minute typing their name into an account and dragging and dropping an avatar in there, particularly if they are a recurring guest?


#12

Hello Chesterfield - I like your suggestion of engaging so here I am and I assume this may be just a start.

As my friend Jason Weisberger has told the readers, the posts that I’ve made are not sponsored ads. My life has been spent collecting strange items and products while my career has been spent trying to entertain in ways that are out of the ordinary. If you were with me in my office now, I would share the best of what I’ve discovered in my life and tell you how you could have it too. It’d probably be a lot like reading one of my posts.

Here’s a link to my work bio at 42 Entertainment - http://www.42entertainment.com/team/michael

Yes, 42E is an Entertainment/Marketing company but what I do at Boing Boing is in no way connected to it. This is very different because rather than being hired by a company to push a product that I may not care about, at Boing Boing I can talk about products that I truly love. Sure - sometimes I go off the deep end and overanalyze the design of things but that’s because of my design background and my love to tell stories.

I am a work-a-holic. I really don’t have the time to write full time at Boing Boing because I have more than a full time job at 42E. When my posts come up on Boing Boing - it’s because I’ve jammed them into my life.

For me, writing for Boing Boing is a great honor and outlet.

And that’s all I have for now Chesterfield.


#13

When you say “not sponsored” do you mean “nobody paid me for it” or “I went out and purchased the product, it was not given or loaned to me.”


#14

Welcome aboard, Michael.

I think you are imagining huge demands on your time, but it doesn’t have to be that way. I think Doctorow sets a pretty good standard. He posts something then usually checks the comment section, judiciously posts replies to certain comments (ie doesn’t start debating)
within a day or so and that’s about it.


#15

Hey there SamSam. What a day it’s been huh? I don’t know if you’ll appreciate this but I thought this would be a good day to reach out to you personally.

When I was a kid, my Uncle Terry was the coolest guy I knew. He had the most interesting stuff I’d ever seen and he made me want to have a cabinet of curiosities of my own. He would share with me how he did magic tricks, how he got his rare Nixon campaign pins and how to draw a cue-ball in pool. Because of his teachings, he gave me the bug to share meaningful items in my life in different ways.

As a Director of a creative company I make it a point to share at least one item, story or concept with my coworkers. It’s a habit that I adopted from one of my favorite teachers and Boing Boing lets me do that on a much larger scale.

You are right in that I am the Michael Borys from 42 Entertainment. Our company does a very good job of getting people’s butts in movie seats and more. We do live events, we make games – but most importantly, we tell stories.

What I do for Boing Boing is very different from what I do at 42E – I am, in my own way, sharing with you the most prized items in my life. And if you look closely, you’ll see that I’ve tried to add a personal touch while doing it. There’s nothing fake in what I have written – in fact, if you were in my office right now, I’d share cool stuff with you and tell you how to get it for yourself.

I’ll never waste your time writing about things I don’t like. I will also never write about a product that I don’t own or use. I generally write about people who have talents I don’t possess and yes - I am over the top with my compliments because – that is who I am. I am freaking jazzed about people with talent! I am freaking jazzed about products that change my life for the better!

The artists and companies I write about are not paying Boing Boing and they certainly aren’t paying me. That would be work – and I already do enough of that.

I really hope you have a good holiday season SamSam.


#16

We kind of hashed this out back in June. The rules for who gets attributed, if everything is operating as it should, are as follows:


This nickel could save your life
#17

I believe we have debunked the Borys Grand Conspiracy and can move on.