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Paid Blog Posts?  (View post)

Seth Finkelstein [PersonRank 10]

Friday, November 10, 2006
12 years ago10,692 views

Have you seen my post:

"Search Engine Optimization And The Commodification of Social Relationships"

sethf.com/infothought/blog/arc ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Interesting article Seth.

Iolaire McFadden [PersonRank 6]

12 years ago #

I decided yesterday to sign up for the service, with the goal of posting the reviews on Goodiesblog.com which I have been neglecting for some time. To me is seems quite ok to change from asking for free stuff, to letting someone ask me to review free stuff for a little $.

Which in a way indicates my hope that the service will be used more for reviewing stuff, not just reviewing websites and services.

Philipp, did you opt not to have that post be a review of the service? I see if you review the service they pay you $25!

I hope that if I get writing again, I'll take the time to review various promotional items I have around my desk from a year of visiting various events – like lots of free tissue from Japan – which seems rather odd considering your not supposed to blow your nose in Japan.

Ryan [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

question to patrick::

can you nofollow the links in the review?

cuz if I can say "the following is a paid review:" then nofollow any links, I'm in.

NateDawg [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I would have to agree with Ryan, nofollow links seem to define a clearer line in the sand for me. (on the Good side)

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Philipp, did you opt not to have that post be
> a review of the service? I see if you review
> the service they pay you $25!

I don't want that and didn't sign up...

Ryan [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

/me runs to review the service.

Ed Barton [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I think income and evil/good need to be on separate axes. Just because something provides a lot of income doesn't make it evil (even though it generally is)

As for the example in question, the reviews have to be allowed to say anything, good or evil, or they are meaningless. As for stating that you're getting paid, that's a big more of a gray area. I'd rule that you should state that you're getting paid, but not in every entry. Once at the beginning of the series, and then once every 10 or so reviews is adequate (as a "sidenote", not as a "disclosure")

Patrick Gavin [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Hey Guys, if you want to "no follow" the links in your review you can, it's your blog :) We don't have any such rules and if you have to link or how you link when you do a review. Thx!

Ryan [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Disagree Ed.. I think you should disclose every review.

especially if you randomly review other stuff that you're not paid to do (like philip or matt cutts)

otherwise, it's a dis-service to your readers.

the other solution, would be to post a 1 time announcement stating that you are only going to review products that you'd reccomend even if you weren't getting paid..

engtech [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I posted my thoughts on reviewme.com at engtech.wordpress.com/2006/11/ ...

I appreciate the feedback you gave them to make the service "less evil." Your input made it into something I feel comfortable supporting.

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Yes, but fewer are the people who are doing things (including blogging) without any back thinking of getting paid NOW or in the future for their time, ideas, writing and analysis.

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

As for the rel=nofollow, I think they should have 2 options where you get paid less if you have nofollow and get paid a monthly fee with a follow.
What do you think ?

Caydel [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I also have reviewed ReviewMe at infohatter.com/blog/reviewme-l ... , as also noted in engtech's post...

I would place ReviewMe.com more in the green section of the graph in this post – if bloggers truly write their honest opinion, even if ti is negative, that holds a lot of basis for ethics.

One thing I would like to know, and maybe you can answer this, Patrick – how do you determine the readership of the RSS feed for a blog in your statistics? My Feedburner shows my typically 90-100 or more on some occasions – how can you check this externally?

Elias Kai [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

what if the review was delete it after the payment or after one month, it is unclear how long the reviews should be there ?

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Caybdal, you can Hijack Feedburner status of any blog

feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/aaaaaa

where aaaa represents the feed name

details by amit is here

labnol.blogspot.com/2006/06/fe ...

engtech [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

[put at-character here]Caydel

I think what is more likely to happen is that if you have nothing good to say about a product, you'll decline reviewing it rather than write a bad review.

Very negative reviews will always be a bad "portfolio" for reviewers (who don't already have super-high traffic/rankings.)

This is my fav example of word-of-mouth-marketing gone bad:
joelonsoftware.com/items/2006/ ...

Cristian Mezei [PersonRank 5]

12 years ago #

It's all about business Philipp. You know that.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Cristian : its not always about business. If one follows the Cluetrain Manifesto, then it reads something like this ..

"your welcome into our world, (blogosphere), don't worry, you can still make money. That is, as long as it's not the only thing on your mind"

Greg Lampton [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

This whole subject is disconcerting for me. It looks, to me, like there is a more ominous division taking place among bloggers. It no doubt has been this way for some time, but one is clearly putting themselves into the position of a professional blogger. Which immediately brings the creditability factor into play. Michael Jordan might be one of those examples, if Kellogg pays him to be on the front of the Wheaties box, what is it they are selling? It most likely isn't the Wheaties, at least at first, its that Mr. Jordan eats and loves Wheaties for breakfast all the time. Whereas, it may be probable he hasn't eaten them since childhood if then prior, to getting paid for his image with a smile. So, even as most adults in the country (likely the world) are fairly certain he is getting paid for his indorsement of the product, (when they might in fact be wrong) never-the-less, the kids that would want to fly through the air on a court, as Mr. Jordan almost appears to do, well they may not. Mr. Jordan, I pretty sure, knows this.

So, I'm not saying that unsuspecting kids are a concern here, no rather, people like me. This whole blogging experience is as new to me as anything a 1st or 2nd graderever faces. I've worked hard (very hard) trying to discern who I can trust. At my age in life I've learned a fewtthings, and one is that when individuals or groups give forth an opinion they're getting paid for it, or they are promoting some type of cause, to liesten carefully what they say and don't say, think twice about who you think they are. We need go no farther than the adds on TV, on radio, in print, and on Blogs, during this past election.

If one has to ask this ethical question, then that should be their 1st clue. Being ethical is not about being technical, it is not hiding a "Buyer beware" strategy. Being ethical is not some johnny-come-lately political correctness fad, used to help get oneself in the wallet of another. Be honest about it, people understand making a living, they don't understand betrayal through acts of omission or co-mission through deceit or manipulation from someone they've trusted, i.e. the results of our last election.

And Ed, it seems to that all you're attempting to do here is "side slip" an issue. I am certain that you, like any blog reader, wants the truth as it is (absolute) and not something whitewashed (relative). For the record I am not challenging any one's character or integrity.

Have a good day,
Greg

Sam Davyson [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

This is on the face of it a very neat idea. People want to get reviews. Bloggers want to review. And Patrick wants to be the middle man – and take a small cut. Everyone gets what they want...

Not quite. Not blog readers.

And I am mainly a blog reader – so I am against paid posts unless they are very clearly marked. Blogs are supposed to be the antidote to big media. Setting up the small guy on the same level as the big guy. Allowing ideas to spread across the blogosphere because of their merit. And only because of their merit. If big companies can buy a bunch of blog reviews and make waves in the blogsphere then this ruins the whole thing.

Luckily you would have to get reviews of the really big blogs to make a name for yourself. I don't think the big name bloggers can be nobled. Not the ones I read anyway. Thankfully Philipp has made his stance clear above. He cant be bought for $25. Good. I hope others can say no too.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

"Get your service or Web site reviewed by bloggers, gaining your site traffic, invaluable feedback, and word of mouth buzz."

The service sounds tempting, you may think you can choose what to review. But in the end, the products will turn out to be bad and you'll review them only for the money.

I think a better site where you can promote a start-up is digg. If you have something cool/unique, write a demo and a small intro and submit to digg. You'll get more traffic and also bloggers to write about your product. All for free.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Hey Sam, some of the big name bloggers play the same game .. in a different way.

E.g Mike' A caught removing a conflict of interest statement from his blog to help a colleague and is black balling his colleague's competitors.

valleywag.com/tech/techcrunch/ ...

so wft is that about eh ?? Likewise the walmartRV story which was tracked here..

bloggersblog.com/cgi-bin/blogg ...

Seth F nails it well "Conversation!, bloggers are just so gosh darn smart and clever and real that they can't be taken. But successful exploitations which do not fit this storyline will of course not be fodder for more delusion"

In fact Kevin Sites was paid to blog for NBC during his stunt in Iraq and then caught snapped up post fact ("Wardog301" post) – by Yahoo for their RedZone...

It's a matter of delusion.. not on the part of the blog author, rather on the part of blogoshpere!!

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

FYI only.. loudlunch.com

micropersuasion.com/2006/11/lo ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Greg, I definitely agree with the Michael Jordan on Kellogs being completely dishonest... 'cause as soon as he's opening his mouth he's required to lie about the product and say positive things only. As soon as you grow up, you try to ignore these messages as best as you can. Bill Hicks had stronger words for this in reference to Jay Leno... blogoscoped.com/files/artistic ... [MP3 from Rants in E-Minor]
Wonder what you think about the "you are actually allowed to say anything you want" option though.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

===>"Wonder what you think about the "you are actually allowed to say anything you want" option though."

The more you say negative things about a product(s), they less you will get assignments and therefore make less money!! :)-

pokemo [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

It is mentioned in InformationWeek as well...
informationweek.com/news/showA ...

Katinka Hesselink [PersonRank 2]

12 years ago #

This is totally out of my niche, so I haven't really thought about it.

I would love to get free books in my niche to review, but whether it would be ethical to also get money FROM the producer/publisher – I don't know. Newspaper reviews are a bit different: a journalist gets a free product and gets payed for reviewing it. The only difference is: he gets payed by a (relatively) independent entity: the newspaper, not the producer of the product.
I think it's clear that we are seeing the professionalisation of the blogosphere. We can't really expect it to stay a mere hobby for the biggest players.

Publishers and manufacturers are going to keep trying to find ways to promote their products – this attempt is not that bad, especially as people are free to write a negative review. That's the main test of authenticity, in my opinion. For the producer even negative publicity should be worth some money, as even bad PR is PR. A negative review does make a product better known.

As an aside: I don't think 25 to 30 dollars per review is a reasonable amount if people are trying to live off this.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Weird, the InformationWeek article talks of up to $250 per review paid to the blogger, but ReviewMe states: "You will be paid $20.00 to $200.00 for each completed review that you post on your site."

Ian Delaney [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

I think the $25-$30 is a bit of an international leveller. There are plenty of places in the world where that's a reasonable amount of money for the work.

The same thing is happening in Second Life, where a lot of the 'craftspeople' come from developing nations and are able to earn a reasonable living.

Say No to Crack [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

The argument that some folks have is "Hey, I use and like the product anyway, so why not write about it?". Unfortunately, the reality is that 90% of the reviewers probably don't even recognize the products name

Roger Browne [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

For a few months, I maintained a blog where I posted reviews of products that I bought and used myself. I didn't find it interesting enough to keep going, but I may take it up again some time.

I posted both good and bad reviews freely, because I had no money depending on the reviews:
x-penditure.com/

Also Philipp has his "bad customer service" blog (in German) where I presume there are only bad reports. Again, he can do this because there is no money depending on the reviews:
schlechtbedient.de/

Cristian Mezei [PersonRank 5]

12 years ago #

Philipp,

Unconfirmed Rumor: Wordpress.com are deleting blogs that are using services like Payperpost and Reviewme.

Reason: Violation of TOS.

Is that a bad thing ? Or a good thing ? Is that a violation of writing freedom ? Or is that a whitehat measure of keeping blogging accurate and correct ?

I want to go with the second one.

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

From the TOS:

<<the Content is not spam, and does not contain unethical or unwanted commercial content designed to drive traffic to third party sites or boost the search engine rankings of third party sites, or to further unlawful acts (such as phishing) or mislead recipients as to the source of the material (such as spoofing);>>

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

From the TOS also :

"By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog"

So there is a conflict of interest when it comes to payperpost or reviewme type of posts. All in all, its interesting to see wordpress is doing this!!

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

> Also Philipp has his "bad customer service" blog
> (in German) where I presume there are only bad reports

Exactly, SchlechtBedient.de only has negative reviews, more directed at service – restaurant, support hotlines, product orders. (At the time I also wanted to register GutBedient.de for potential use, by the way, but it was taken...)

> Unconfirmed Rumor: Wordpress.com are deleting blogs
> that are using services like Payperpost and Reviewme.

If that's their philosophy, then they should also delete blogs with affiliate links. When you review a product, say an Amazon book, and you include an affiliate link then you're also getting paid via this review (at least when someone buys something). But I don't believe this is the case... unless I see some proof.

Toni Schneider [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

More info from the wordpress.com FAQ: faq.wordpress.com/2005/12/08/a ...

Ionut Alex. Chitu [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I've just discovered this waxy post from 2005: waxy.org/archive/2005/03/30/wo ... . Wow! Just wow!

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

More chatter on the wire – "Is Wordpress the Blog Police?"
blogs.ittoolbox.com/linux/worl ...

Matt Mullenweg [PersonRank 0]

12 years ago #

Oh I've definitely made mistakes before. Why am I so quick to discourage people from going down similar paths? It's called learning from experience. I doubt it will be long before Google starts crawling PPP and penalizing sites that link to the people who buy "posts" there, as well as the sites themselves.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

==>"I doubt it will be long before Google starts crawling PPP and penalizing sites that link to the people who buy "posts""

Interesting Matt, are you suggesting that Google tweak their Algo Farm to differentiate between posts that are paid for and those that are not ?? . As such, the index farm gets fuzzy in Googles turf and SERP not with WP!!

In so much, if that is possible (As mentioned by you), there can never be a method which recognizes "alternative procurement" , that is under the table dealing and wheeling between two people

What's left is pure intergrity , which bring me back to the question, why are you banning sites from PPP and reviewme or for that matter of fact, it could be loudlunch too. Whats in it for you to ban them ?? You are not getting paid to ban them correct, neither are you creating the content. Yet, you are cutting a line thru that value pipeline.

Just asking.. your opionion

Cristian Mezei [PersonRank 5]

12 years ago #

Wordpress.com hasen't confirmed this yet for me, so I just spread a thin rumor here on Philipp's blog.

Don't knock my door off, for beeing a whitehat. :-)

Tadeusz Szewczyk [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Although I disike most advertising, which is a reason why I prefer SEO over paid ads, I am undecided in this case.

I reviewed software for Google Blogoscoped once

blogoscoped.com/archive/2006-0 ...

where one of the programs was given to me for free by the vendor. I mentioned that at the beginning so my bias could be seen by the reader.

In many cases nowadays people get paid or review for friends without disclosing it, even the press itsself does it despite more or less strict laws.
Besides, you should remember that every publication on- or off line is biased, only the comparison of several sources allows you to see more or less the whole story.
So bearing that in mind it is even better if a service like that forces you to disclose that. It raises the standard.

Two weeks ago I decided to become a contributing writer ad fadtastic (fadtastic.net/), a "A List Apart"-like web standards publication. Until now I couldn't write anything yet, I just read the articles, which were very sophisticated.

Yesterday I read their paid review of ReviewMe and was a little surprised at the low quality of the article, it sounded like an ad itself.

So that is basically the problem, the minute you get paid "by the subject of your article" you loose the ability of writing an unbiased review.

So who am I to judge others? Of course I would (and probably will) do that myself. You get paid for writing, thats almost becoming a journalist. But it will become difficult to distunguish who you can trust and to what amount.

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Cristian, Wordpress FAQ has been updated and specically reads

"Adsense, Yahoo, Chitika and other ads are not permitted to be added by users. Adverts that may be inserted when using an external blogging program will be blocked.

PayPerPost is not permitted.

Multiple affiliate links are also not permitted "

.."nuff said!!

Frederic Wenzel [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Your graphic has a little flaw: By putting evil and money on the same "direction" you are not leaving much space for interpretation.

You should have the "evil" scale vertically and the money scale horizontally, so you have an actual opportunity to put points in there that make money but are not too evil.

I assume this is what you wanted to express in the first place :)

/pd [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

I think Mark Evans, a professional journalist said it best , a long time ago!!

"a healthy conversation that needs to happen"

evans.blogware.com/blog/_archi ...

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Frederic, admittedly my graphic was oversimplified (a lot!). But the thing is that usually the "annoying" stuff pays better. An animated banner of size X will pay better than a static banner of size X. An ad embedded right into the post body will pay better than an ad in its own sidebar. An "advertorial" will pay better than a normal ad. A normal link has a higher market value than a nofollowed link (not to say that not nofollowing is evil, that's another discussion, but you know what I mean). And from what it looks like, pay-per-post models also pay out higher than other ad models (they come with another, possibly bigger price to pay for the blogger, obviously!).

Frederic Wenzel [PersonRank 1]

12 years ago #

Philipp, agreed. I like your graphic as a "discussion teaser" and straw man to pick apart.

Philipp Lenssen [PersonRank 10]

12 years ago #

Another axis is "relevance (for the reader)"... an important one at that!

For example, an untargeted ad is very irrelevant to the reader, whereas an Amazon affiliate link added to a book review may be very relevant... independent of whether or not you think it's ethical to use affiliate links in blog posts.

Sam said something very interesting above:

> This is on the face of it a very neat idea. People want
> to get reviews. Bloggers want to review. And
> Patrick wants to be the middle man – and take
> a small cut. Everyone gets what they want...
>
> Not quite. Not blog readers

This thread is locked as it's old... but you can create a new thread in the forum. 

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