You might have noticed that we have a new page listed at the top called “blog advertising”. Yes, we do accept advertising or sponsored posts, and we have set up very specific guidelines to avoid potential conflicts of interest, including transparency, relevance and freedom to say “this website simply does not deliver”.
In preparing to accept advertising, I did some research on what others are doing. Tim Nash recently made a similar decision to mine, and given that he is a well-respected contributor at Webdigity, one of the more interesting forums around, I asked him if he would be willing to be a guest blogger and share his thoughts on paid blog posts. What follows is his commentary…
I’m a blogger not a journalist!
Once upon a time I started a website it had a single page about me, these days I run several websites participate on 2 blogs regularly and guest blog on numerous others. I spend 60 hours a week working on the web one way or another. Why am I telling you this? Well in all those hours across all those sites I see reviews and I meet people and products and I think cool I will write about that, 90% of the time I don’t but occasionally I get beyond the first few lines. So when some one turns up and offers you a few dollars to write a review about their site or product are you going to say no?
I consider myself to be an ethical blogger in that I always declare when a post is paid for I only accept “jobs” where they are after my honest review. In many ways I consider myself simply being given a nudge out of the door of course I can already hear the screams from the anti paid per post lobby.
“The PayPerPost model brings up memories of payola in the music industry, something the FCC and state attorney generals are still trying to eliminate or control. Given the distributed and unlicensed nature of the blogosphere, controlling payoffs to bloggers will be exponentially more difficult.”
Tech Crunch – http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/10/12/the-payperpost-virus-spreads/
This is one of the biggest arguments against pay per post — are you being bribed and if so does it matter? If a journalist on a big paper was found to be on the pay of a company how would we react, outrage, anger certainly the end of their career, but why?
It’s down to trust and authority we believe our newspapers to be independent of such things this is of course not true but perception is everything. The journalist may never write a positive review about the company but we perceive our trust has been breached we have been let down.
But I’m a blogger! I write in my spare time and if some one says here some money to write about xxx then sure I will write about it. If you don’t like it don’t read it! The problem comes when the personal integrity of the blogger is breached which is summed up nicely by Stuntdubl
“If everybody writes positive reviews of CRAP – it’s a surefire way for the whole idea to suck. It’s not a surprise that people will accept money to write reviews or analysis – the big question will be HOW MUCH it costs for a review. “
Here it is laid out on a plate If I accept $30 for an impartial review that’s cool what if I’m given $500 or $1000 can I really remain impartial when offered larger sums of money; I’ll let you know
Advice for Bloggers
So here some advice if you’re going to try Pay per post or similar.
- Set up a disclaimer page discuss which services you use
- Offer a way to view the site without PPP
- Make PPP very clear and obvious (I use the tag PPP plus disclaimer)
- Try to make your posts interesting and on topic, just because its paid for doesn’t mean it can’t be part of your normal blogging cycle.
A final cautioning word of warning, some search engines believe Paid links should not be allowed and to steps to prevent these links and pages appearing in the index Grey Wolf has a great post on this; so is paid per post worth it?
Tim Nash is a reputation management consultant, co-founder and primary consultant for Venture Skills, a “New media” IT company which specialises in search engine optimisation, reputation management, and technical side of online marketing. When not working at Venture Skills, posting site reviews on forums he can be found teaching at a local university where he lecturers in Search Engine Optimisation and Information Retrieval.