I took a Sociology of Advertising class in college that reinforced much of what I suspected - psychology was being employed hardcore to get me buying shit I didn't need - and in the end taught me what I needed most to learn: the advertising industry would eat my soul, and I was not okay with that. [Aside: If you happen to be in advertising or someone you love & care about is, please do not think I believe ad agents to be soulless; I was just too sensitive & idealistic to stay there. The person you are/know is clearly stronger than I.]
Even though I scurried away from all things advertising in college, I am still endlessly fascinated by the manipulation - and that is not always a dirty word - involved. It is a necessary element of a capitalistic society; I believe we the people need to be constantly aware of what is being offered us and how it is being offered. There is nothing wrong with succumbing to the Free with Purchase tactic as long as you realize it's a tactic! And wanting a particular fragrance for my husband because a certain someone pretends to love it is also not wrong.
All of this to say (besides too sensitive & idealistic, I think it's fair to say I am also too verbose for the ad world), I appreciate an effective advertisement but I want to be told when it's an advertisement (paid for, perhaps not completely forthcoming) and when it's an honest opinion with flaws & negatives revealed. And "paid for" doesn't necessarily mean free sample - most companies are willing to let a reviewer discuss the downside of their products; it's the sponsors who pay cash monies to bloggers in return for outright glowing endorsements - and again, that is their prerogative to do so but I want to know what's behind the posted scenes.
I agreed to post an AdSense badge in my sidebar because money can be nice, though I did specify what products & companies I did not want showing up there. This significantly decreases potential hits and thus potential lattes, but it helps me sleep at night knowing I haven't unwittingly steered someone toward The Store That Shall Not Be Named or other places & things that I wouldn't willingly steer you toward. So please do the favor of letting me know if you really are that thrilled about your Suzanne Somers Hand Mixer, or if she paid you to say so.
Yes the badge was free, but I got no other swag from them