Pay to Blog what’s the big deal?

I was just over at tech crunch reading some of the broohah about some deal that fell through regarding performancing and payperpost and was kinda surpised at the level of snorting and derision being applied there. There is this guy named Ted, who like most people trying to get things off of the floor in life has managed to obtain $3 million dollars in funding for an idea, which he feels might just fly. So far he has managed to stir up a bit of controversy, with various high profile people like Matt Cutts coming out against the idea in general.

So ok, I can see why a search engine might have an issue with squillions of bloggers being paid to promote and talk about things using keyword rich anchor text to distort the search landscape but thats just tough I guess, they’ll find a way to deal with it, or mightn’t bother even, hardly the end of the world for mfa sites adsense now is it. Besides what with all this talk about mature algos and whatnot, I doubt it’ll make a huge difference anyways, a storm in a teacup even? Perhaps, or maybe some might see it as the thin end of a wedge. The lines get a little blurred when you think ahead and envisage a SERP full of results containing blogs that have been written on the basis of some monetary consideration. In those scenarios, where would the distinction between paid ads and paid ads masquerading as free serps be drawn? Should the search engine be held accountable for its editorial decisions?

Google or any other search engine for that matter wants their free SERPs to be full of stuff that is diverse and in some cases ‘untainted’ by the dirty grubby mits of commerce. Its probably why we haven’t yet seen paid inclusion rolled out yet, its full of issues pertaining to disclosure and ads. Y! for example once had a program that enabled you to appear in their results, provided you paid - it was soon dropped amid a wail of criticism.
A Washington Post article discussing word-of-mouth-marketing references a petition from Commercial Alert, an advertising and marketing watchdog group based in Portland Oregon and the response from the FTC associate director.

“The petition to us did raise a question about compliance with the FTC act,” said Mary K. Engle, FTC associate director for advertising practices. “We wanted to make clear . . . if you’re being paid, you should disclose that.”

So ok, no harm done then, if you are going to blog and get paid for your posts then you should disclose that somewhere – isn’t that what tinytext and footers are for :D.

I haven’t looked too intently at either ReviewMe or PayPerPost so have no idea whether or not they enforce disclosure in any toc’s. That said, the FTC is just an American governmental organisation with no jurasdiction or enforcement powers outide of the USA. The web is a big place full of other people from different countries and nome de plumes, and aliases. Gambling is still alive and kicking on the net even after a ban , some things just can’t be legislated away.

When people like Guy Kawasaki talk about how he made a paltry $3k adsense revenue from 2,436,117 page views then its hardly surprising when people not half as financially astute look for better earning opportunities. If you are one of these people who write about stuff daily on a topic close to your heart then goodluck to you if you can earn from it too.

The way I see it is that people will soon see through any posts that extol the virtues of some commercial lot of tosh. Try it yourself – try and get enthused on a daily basis for stuff that you don’t really believe in or want to talk about, see how long it takes people to switch off from what you are saying.

I think thats where reviewme could make a difference. I think they say to the bloggers, “here is so and so a company, they want you to write about them, they’ll pay you too, and you can say what you like as well” wheres the harm?

SE Reps to the back of the room please. :)

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5 thoughts on “Pay to Blog what’s the big deal?

  1. cctech

    I agree completely. A blogger is not being paid to “endorse” a product or anything. He/she can say: “This product suks! Stay away from it!”

    Motor Trend reviews automobiles which manufacturers provide for them. Their review may not be positive. That is the risk they manufacturer takes when making their product available. If anything, I would think it forces the manufacturer to make sure they got it right BEFORE sending the car to Motor Trend.

    Additionally, Motor Trend is paid because people buy the magazine and read the review (plus, no one at MT ever needs to catch a ride to work ;)).

  2. Paula Neal Mooney

    I know, right? What’s the big deal? I turn down assignments that I don’t believe in, like online casinos, but other stuff is fair game.

    I’ve written posts for both ReviewMe and PayPerPost, and they both do require the disclosure now. In fact, a couple of times I forget to disclose or didn’t make it clear enough and PayPerPost sure enough reject my posts till I fixed it.

    I say as long as you write with Holy Ghost integrity. Go for it. You should join…

  3. robwatts

    I did actually sign up for reviewme just to have a look around and look at the process. Unfortunately, as this blog is practically brand new, their system determined that I don’t have the traction/authority to be of any use to their advertisers. I will maybe check it out again sometime and yes, I also noticed that PPP also changed their tos to say that disclosure is now a must.

    I think both companies are still kinda feeling their feet with this one, its a relatively new concept (from a blog perspective) but yes, in terms of paid endorsements/reviews; its as old as them thar hills. In fact not too dissimilar to what cctech refers to in the print media really; if they release a stinker of a car then they can expect to get slated for it.

  4. Matt Keegan

    Some people simply waste their time objecting to every single change or adventure as pertaining to the internet.

    These cyber-cops are attempting to control the ‘net, but for their own good. PPP and other schemese like them make the web accessible for all in that people can monetize their sites.

    Personally, I think there are enough bullies out there without having to tell us how to blog!

    Rock on: http://www.thearticlewriter.com/blog

  5. robwatts Post author

    Hi Matt welcome and thanks for posting

    I agree, there are a large element of those types, who are more than happy to jump on bandwagons!

    In terms of monetisation, there’s plenty to go round for all too; thankfully the internet isn’t a static model either.

    Boo to the bullies ;)

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