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Say No to Paid Blog Posts from ReviewMe and PayPerPost?

December 12, 2006 by  

ReviewMe and PayPerPost are services that pays bloggers to write about advertiser’s product. ReviewMe is backed by Text Link Ads, which is also one of Sabahan.com’s sponsors.

ReviewMe pays between $30 to $1,000 per post depends on the importance of a blog which is based on Alexa, Technorati and other statistics.

While I feel it’s OK for commercial blogs to use this service to make extra bucks, I do feel that caution must be exercised in personal blogs where your readers expect some level of subjectivity on certain issues.

In that sense, if you feel that you what to join the boat anyway, ReviewMe is probably a better choice. This is because, bloggers must disclose that the review is a paid advertisement and we can freely write positive or negative reviews and give our honest opinion without fear of not being paid. The only requirement is that the review must be a minimum of 200 words.

Andrew Johnson of Web Publishing Blog has an opinion on this matter.

 

So what makes a paid blog post “worse” than a banner ad? The problem is the ad is the content. When I write a post I feel I am sending a message that it might just be worth your time reading this. A paid blog post is more like an infomercial than a “brought to you by.”

Here is another thing I think is bad — I know these things don’t pay a lot of money. $5, $10, $100 makes me ask myself — is this guy serious about making money? If I saw paid blog posts going for $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 I would be writing something very different .

 

Some bloggers argue that isn’t this the same as placing Google AdSense ads in your blog or website? We are endorsing something we never used – as long as we get paid – and that’s not different from using the paid per post service.

My answer to that, AdSense ads and pay per post service are different since AdSense ads typically appears as advertisement while pay per posts become part of your content. So is that good or bad? Well it depends on your blog type and how you think your audience will response. Some blogs such as Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger.net would definiely suffer more harm than good if he decide to include paid posts in his blog.

Another issue that concern bloggers is that blogs that participate in pay per post services will be penalized by the search engines. I initially believe there’s probably some truth in this statement but was quite surprise to find that most search engines do not really bother.

This question was answered buy SEOMoz.org in their blog when they asked a panel representing Yahoo!, Google, Ask.com and MSN this question:

“how do the engines feel about pay-per-post services on blogs, where advertisers can buy links and product reviews?”

Here’s their reply:

Tim answered first and said that Yahoo! wouldn’t try to pick one post out of twenty or fifty on every blog that might be running advertorials or paid reviews just to stop link value from that particular post. If the engine looked at the site and saw that in general, the outgoing links were of high quality, there would be no discount of link value for paid blog material.

Adam from Google agreed, but said little in particular.

Vivek from Ask was quick to note that if the link were off-topic, Ask would be likely not to give that link much weight, but I pointed out that most advertisers would buy links from highly relevant blogs, not just for the search engine value, but because they wanted the qualified, relevant traffic from click-throughs as well as branding.

Eytan from MSN agreed but didn’t expand and when Tim Converse from Yahoo! jumped back in to say that it really wasn’t worth an engine’s time to going picking out paid links with that granularity, all the other panelists were vigorously head-nodding and verbally agreeing.

Why am I shocked? Not because I thought SEs really would or could discount pay-per-post on an individual level, but because I’ve never heard that level of straight-forwardness about a near-grey-hat subject like that before. Kudos to all of you – more direct answers like that will continue to earn the respect and admiration of attendees and industry professionals. Consider me impressed (and thankful).

 

Well I believe this favourable consensus could definitely change in the future when people find ways to abuse the pay per post system in a large scale.

Will I use this service in this blog? To be honest I do not feel as excited as LiewCF about pay per post service at the moment.

However if along the way, I have a strong opinion – good or bad – about certain product or service and I feel that a review would benefit my readers, I might give pay per post a try.

 

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16 Comments »

Comment by Edrei
2006-12-12 14:29:55

I’ve been saying no for a long time. Not to the service itself, but to the blogs that put it up. And here is the reason why.

1. Once the blog makes money it’s commercial.
2. Once it’s commercial, the expectation from the reader changes.
3. If you can’t produce content that’s attractive to the readers due to the expectation changes, how can you attract your audience?
4. If you don’t have an audience you aren’t going to make that much from ads.
5. If you don’t know your audience how can you have targeted ads?
6. Writers who have no ads on their blogs make significant amounts of money.

 
Comment by Gaman
2006-12-12 14:47:39

Edrei, can you elaborate more on point 2, 3 and 6? Perhaps you could give specific examples for those readers who are curious or unclear of what you mean.

Anyway, it comes back to my point that it all depends on your blog type and what your readers expect from you.

 
Comment by sunda it
2006-12-12 15:30:42

Do you think Google will pay if we review their Adsense/Adwords through this service? He.. he.. ;-)

 
Comment by Gaman
2006-12-12 15:42:51

No. You’ll be contacted by participating advertisers only to review their product.

 
Comment by sunda it
2006-12-12 16:15:48

These sevices is seem like exciting for this moment, but in future we don’t know. What I can see is, they need a strong feedback or testimony from the end user to make this service survive. No matter how good we review the poduct/service if there is no satisfaction prove from the end user, this service will not going to anywhere. Always consumer first ;-)

 
Comment by Edrei
2006-12-12 17:05:07

Most bloggers originally start with their own content, then ad in ads to compliment that. When things start to get serious about the earning money off the blog, it relies on the credibility of the blogger to sell the product. However, credibility is again based on what the blogger originally puts out in the first place, its own original content, free from any sort of commercial fee.

It’s a vicious cycle. If you don’t generate readers you don’t profit from the ads. If you smoosh the blog with ads, you will lose your readers.

As for point 6. Dave Winer made a podcast about this recently. It should explain the future of ads.

 
Comment by sewjin
2006-12-12 17:47:04

this reviewme/payperpost thing is far far worse than the conventional google adsense. come la let’s make campaign. “Tak Nak Ads”

 
Comment by Gaman
2006-12-12 18:27:44

Edrei: Yes it’s common sense to know how more readers will make you profitable. But if you have thousands of regular readers already, you usually have little to worry scaring them away if you can strike a balance between advertising and content. It can be surprising how some readers can be forgiving if you continue to serve them with content they like.

 
Comment by IngaOz Subscribed to comments via email
2007-06-03 20:03:18

I do not agree for all. Some of your points are ok, really – you actually Can get good reviews as well as good (interested) bloggers can earn some additional money to pay at least hosting fees.

Comment by Gaman
2007-06-04 16:46:57

I think you misunderstood me. I didn’t say you can’t get good review :)

 
 
Comment by IngaOz Subscribed to comments via email
2007-06-05 07:50:09

Oh, I re-read your post once again and yes, there was small misunderstanding from my part, I am sorry and I have edited that sentence on my blog already a bit. Thanks!

 
Comment by ajacx
2008-01-14 01:08:05

i also use that service..but i have no choice?

 
Comment by Kristen Subscribed to comments via email
2008-01-30 10:47:09

Let’s think about this as if we were talking about TV.

#1 If you’re trying to satisfy your readers, viewers, etc., then be honest with them. Say, “Hey everyone! This is a sponsored review.” If they want to see it, they can. If they want to skip it, they can. Don’t try to sneak it in. People are smart enough to recognize such methods, and they don’t take kindly to being treated like idiots.

#2 Don’t let your blog post be 90% sponsored reviews. That’s like running an informercial. Who on earth would Tivo an informercial? But let’s say you have a television show, and during that show you have 90% good content and 10% “and now a word about our sponsor’s products.” People are very willing to Tivo that show as long as they are confident that they will get 90% real content.

#3 If your blog isn’t a professional blog, and you don’t actually care what your readers think (such as if you’re writing in an online diary), then feel free to post whatever you want, however you want. Just make sure that you are sticking to your own sense of integrity, so you don’t end up feeling like a sell-out.

Happy day!
Kristen
http://www.kristensguide.com

 
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