An investigation found that contributing writers for reputable publications, such as Mashable, Inc, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Huffington Post, have taken payments in exchange for including brands in their articles.
"Many high-volume sites, including the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes, maintain networks of unpaid contributors who publish large amounts of material." And those unpaid contributors don't play by the same roles as journalists and aren't put under the same scrutiny that professional journalists are. But of course, a normal reader can't tell that.
"Some agencies pay him directly, he said, in amounts that can be as small as $50 or $175, but others pay him through an employee’s personal PayPal account in order to obfuscate the source of the funds."
This whole article is so disheartening to so many -- trusting readers, ethical journalists, and media relations professionals who are work in above-board practices for these brands.