Can social media and paid media get along? That’s the question that social advertising platform Linqia is trying to answer, as it melds the realms of social media and marketing.

As a PR practitioner looking for ways to reach targeted audiences with  concise messaging, Linquia says that it can bridge the gap, but it’s the way they are doing so that is causing an outrage among professionals.

Through online outreach to community managers, Linqia introduces opportunities for niche communities to discuss products and services within the community, all while the managers receive compensation in return. This offering of paid placement of social content has lead to debate from all sides.

As a tool, Linqia aggregates lists of communities  from around the web and then catalogs their administrators allowing brands to connect and buy cost-per-performance advertising in relevant communities. The community manger controls the content, deciding what does and doesn’t meet the community.

For many practitioners red flags are going up almost immediately, the thought of community leaders whoring out their masses definitely brings up ethical questions. But that’s only what is to be said of the worse, if a responsible and trusted community leader used this tool to help inform and grow a community, would we be so doubtful? There’s still a lot to be learned about this new tool. Check out this article for another perspective on Linqia and let me know what you think.