Critics vs Bloggers (Again), with an Evil Twist

There’s yet another article making the rounds on the differences between professional food critics and bloggers. It mostly trots out the same old arguments; ones that we still haven’t been able to find a solution for, and mostly skewers bloggers for all of the same old things we’ve been skewering bloggers for all along (visiting too early, not being informed about the cuisine, not doing research, not writing well in the first place, being shills for the restaurant in exchange for free food), but there’s a new allegation I haven’t seen before…

Quite a few publicists double as bloggers to raise the profile of their clients.

Uhh… I am boggled by how seriously uncool this is. I mean, this is a huge conflict of interest, and makes all publicists and bloggers look suspect. How is a reader (and potential customer) supposed to know the difference between a fair and unbiased opinion and a blog post by someone who is not just getting paid to write about the business, but who is getting paid to promote the business to other writers? I can’t believe that people are allowed to get away with this.

If I was approached by a publicist who did this,  I’d refuse to work with them.

The question is, do I have to start checking out every PR company that approaches me to find out how ethical they are? Or is the hassle of that why they’re allowed to get away with it in the first place?

Not cool, folks, really not cool.