According to a Tuesday report from The Outline, news outlets such as Forbes, Fast Company, and the Huffington Post have taken payment from companies in exchange for positive coverage.
Outline reporter Jon Christian claimed that brands have constructed elaborate payment schemes in exchange for positive coverage in popular news outlets such as Mashable, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur.
People involved with the payoffs are extremely reluctant to discuss them, but four contributing writers to prominent publications including Mashable, Inc, Business Insider, and Entrepreneur told me they have personally accepted payments in exchange for weaving promotional references to brands into their work on those sites. Two of the writers acknowledged they have taken part in the scheme for years, on behalf of many brands. Mario Ruiz, a spokesperson for Business Insider, said in an email that “Business Insider has a strict policy that prohibits any of our writers, whether full-time staffers or contributors, from accepting payment of any kind in exchange for coverage.”
According to the report, outlets such as the Huffington Post and Forbes are susceptible to content in which authors have received payment because both sites maintain a roster of contributors who are free to publish material on their own.