Sponsored Posts Lack Editorial Integrity


Sponsored post on ablogtowatch.com

A watchmaker recently contacted me to purchase a sponsored post. As if. How can I call this website The Truth About Watches and publish sponsored posts like UNDONE Celebrates Classic Aviator Watch with Aero Collection, found on ablogtowatch.com? Check this out . . .

Undone Aero Scientific Commando

Both the Aero Scientific and Aero Commando dials are beautiful interpretations of classic air navigation timepieces, as well as designed to be highly legible.

The Aero Scientific, for example, used high-contrast blued hands against a well-proportioned cream dial.

The Aero Commando intelligently uses brushed steel hands against a textured black dial. UNDONE’s designers carefully studied the most popular and attractive tones and colors admired by classic aviator watch collectors.

UNDONE sponsored post watch image

With that in mind, they curated what the UNDONE creative team has found fashionably incorporates so much of what fans of the tool watch genre admire.

I’m sure ABTW’s Ariel Adams justifies publishing this self-serving PR tripe by telling himself that hey, it’s labeled a sponsored post. The readers know to read it with a grain of salt. And then he kicks back and counts the money.

What happens when UNDONE sends ablogtowatch.com the Aero Commander for review – assuming that the sponsored post doesn’t eliminate that option?

ABTW UNDONE sponsored post and review

Equally, how does Adams’ acolytes review any UNDONE watch with even a scintilla of objectivity, after having surrendered the website to the manufacturer – typeface, layout and all – multiple times?

Ariel Adams, Editor of ABlogtoWatch

Adams is aware that sponsored posts are a betrayal of his readers’ trust. So he publishes the following disclaimer under them:

Sponsored Posts are a form of advertising that allows sponsors to share useful news, messages, and offers to aBlogtoWatch readers in a way traditional display advertising is often not best suited to.

All Sponsored Posts are subject to editorial guidelines with the intent that they offer readers useful news, promotions, or stories. The viewpoints and opinions expressed in Sponsored Posts are those of the advertiser and not necessarily those of aBlogtoWatch or its writers.

Never mind ending his opening sentence with a preposition (something up with which I will not put). The statement that sponsored posts are “subject to editorial guidelines” tells us that Mr. Adams’ editorial guidelines have nothing to do with honesty, integrity or objectivity.

UNDONE sponsored post watch

Lest we forget, one year ago Mr. Adams’ “reviewed” an UNDONE dive watch that he created with UNDONE. A co-production practice that HoDinkee uses to fill their corporate coffers with cash. Obliterating any pretense that there’s a “Chinese wall” between editorial and advertising.

Imagine a Car & Driver special edition Toyota. I pick that car model as an example because I’ve handled UNDONE watches. They’re downmarket quartz-powered pieces, made in The People’s Republic of China.

UNDONE Type XX on wrist

As our review of UNDONE’s Urban TYPE XX Chronograph – purchased with cash money – reveals, we’re happy to give credit where credit’s due.

But TTAW is not prepared to surrender our readers – your time and trust – to a manufacturer, no matter how much money’s on the table. Which is exactly what I told the potential advertiser.


  1. At least the staff got to keep their names unsullied with the old media advertorials. It was a black mark on the publication as a whole, but nobody had to publicly sign off on it.

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