Advertising and the internet have always been two partners that exist in a tension filled environment. From the days of pop up ads to the sponsor posts in social media to the precious few seconds before a streaming video just about every corner of a web page is subject to some sort of potential money making advertisement. Of course, there is a very big difference between knowing something is an ad and having something appear like it is an official recommendation.
The latest form of marketing under fire comes from the realm of Twitter. The popular ultra-short social networking tool has been placing sponsored accounts on the pages of celebrities to make it appear that the person in question follows the activity of a specific brand or company. The big deal is that celebrity endorsements are big business, and those folks actually pay attention to what shows up on their accounts. Of course, the famous folks might actually have people that monitor that for them.
Still, when a brand pops up as being followed by a certain personality, fans of that actor, singer, or whatever are more likely to follow along with the interest. By following along, the sponsored account builds some marketing power by increasing the potential reach of campaigns. Tom Rothman says users are now left to wonder if Twitter has overstepped some ethical boundaries or is merely capitalizing on famous users to generate revenue.