The LA Times has an interesting article (subscription required) regarding the subject of blogging for dollars — and more specifically, companies like PayPerPost who pay bloggers to mention paying advertisers.

Discussion on the topic:

  • Jason Calacanis – thinks paying bloggers to post about certain companies is deceptive marketing
  • Center for Citizen Media – those bloggers that accept payment are polluting media ethics
  • One by One Media – compares pay for post to product placement in movies and television
  • Social Media – bloggers should disclose everything in each post

I 100% agree with Jason on the fact that what is described in this quote from the LA Times article is unethical (pay attention to the last sentence):

Blogger Colleen Caldwell rants and riffs about whatever strikes her fancy – a run-in with her child’s school principal, the rising price of Girl Scout thin mints, an upcoming movie that caught her eye.

“Has anyone out there read a book called ‘The Ultimate Gift’? I just heard that a movie is being made of the book (which sold 4 million copies),” she wrote in a recent post on her site, Simple Kind of Life.

The 30-year-old software analyst from Brooksville, Fla., went on to praise the inspirational message of the Fox Faith film, which opens today, about a trust fund baby who discovers the joy of giving. Caldwell noted that each member of the opening-weekend audience was being allowed to direct a dollar of the ticket price to a charity of the filmgoer’s choice.

One thing Caldwell didn’t mention: She was paid $12 to build buzz about the movie’s opening and the charitable campaign

I think marketers are cheating the system by not blogging themselves. If marketers want into the blogosphere — they should take the time to blog themselves or pay for banner ad impressions on blogs targeting their target markets. Blogging works BECAUSE it’s pure, honest & transparent — I hate seeing bloggers that don’t abide by those ethics. So, YES, I think blogging is getting ruined by advertisers paying for mentions in the actual content of posts.

  • Dan

    hehe welcome to the world of marketing 😛

    everyone knows that word of mouth spreads faster than wildfire, and today people are finally noticing some things companies do to get their name out there.

  • Drew Meyers

    word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is. Blogs are probably the quickest way to spread WOM — which is the reason marketers are jumping all over ways to get mentioned in blogs. It’s just a shame that marketers are being deceptive with their tactics.

  • Thanks for the link! What will be most interesting is how after FTC investigations and the inevitable scandal, this will all fall out.

    Maybe we’ll just stopping blogging about products and just be able to offer a post-ad that is clearly an ad, but pays more to the blogger than a “traditional” online ad.

  • Drew Meyers

    I’m not opposed to bloggers labeling their posts as advertisements. I think it should be right in the headline though. If bloggers aren’t doing that, how would I know if every post they write is paid for? If it is, why would I really want to read that blog? Blogging is personal – the blogs I find most interesting are those who have writers I can relate to.

  • I occasionally dabble with paid posting and make sure it’s 1) a product I believe in or think is cook, and 2) something I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have on my blog. However, I always categorize the post as a sponsored post and put a disclaimer on the bottom.

    However, I’m surprised that what hasn’t been discussed is the effect on copywriter fees. When PR/marketing firms or businesses are paying someone $5-20 to post, they’re basically paying a fee of $5-20 an hour.

    Yes, most bloggers aren’t professional copywriters. Yet paid posting is beginning to bring down the fees paid by businesses for professional bloggers/writers. Why pay a professional to write good copy when you can take your ad dollars, use a bunch of amateurs, and get more buzz for your product?

  • Whoops, excuse my typing. It’s “think is cool,”

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