© Media International Australia Editorial Board.Conventional 'normative' theories of public relations have often centred on relationship building, dialogic theory and two-way communication. Despite these theories dominating much of the academic literature, practitioners continue to seek control in relationships to produce 'value outcomes' and meet measurable objectives for the organisations they work for. Public relations workers' ability to influence the influencers has been framed as relationship development, and payment for editorial content or other influence has been seen as unethical. With the rise of social media, the so-called 'new' influencers are now bloggers and Instagrammers. Given that most social media influencers now wish to be compensated with payment or in-kind for any work related to brands, this article discusses the implications for ethical practice and public relations theory. The mask of relationship building in the social media age needs to be removed and the importance of payment to bloggers needs to be acknowledged for the theories of public relations to develop.