PimpYourPosts with PayPerPost

Filed as Uncategorized on October 4, 2006 6:46 am

eGonzo Weekly by Martin Neumann

Now when it comes to making money online I’m no naysayer on every new idea that comes to the surface. I’m not one of those “Oh, man … the blogosphere should be free of the evil money.” Bah! Let’s get over it: You want to make money, I want to make money … heck, we all want to make money.

Fine. So we got that out of the way. We’re here to write and blog AND make money. The problem is that we’re still trying to figure out a way to make it all work.

But there’s one exception to my “lets all make money” rule: PayPerPost.


A few months ago when PayPerPost launched it attracted quite a bit of attention – lots of it negative.

This week they have “won” $3 million in venture capital and here we go again.

Personally, I don’t like PayPerPost.

Two things get me with PayPerPost. The fact that you don’t have to disclose and the fact that the advertiser can request a positive write up.

Yes, they argue that most advertisers don’t ask for it and ask for a neutral post. A neutral post! Boring! … “Product A is okay I guess but then maybe it’s not. It has these features blah, blah … but I’m not really sure. I’m being neutral on this one – End of Post.” Dear PayPerPost: Now pay me my $5.

That, sorry to say, is bullshit blogging. And then what of those who glowingly praise a product or service just for the money – ie: pimping their posts.

And I’m not the only one questioning this …

“…you will never read unbiased reviews when they are written by financially desperate bloggers. And how are we to know who’s strapped for cash, and whoring their blog space to make a few bob?” (via The Brown Stuff)

Now there’s this guy, Peter Wright, who has recently joined the company and who seems to have taken on the job of fighting the big fight for PayPerPost (me thinks part of the 3 mill should go to a pr firm to get err … better pr).

He’s the one that said we “WON” $3million in funding. Won! And here I thought that VC’s were more business orientated rather than a mere lottery machine. I may be wrong on that count though. If so, then hello Mr Bubble.

And now there’s already a spoof blog on PayPerPost by a bloger named: Paid Blogger.

Mr Paid Blogger says in his welcoming post “This blog was made to make money from PayPerPost.com. They pay me to blog about what their advertisers need blogged, so I’m going to make a sweet bunch of moola just writing about things offered in their system.Enjoy! And thanks for reading.”

Enjoy and thanks for reading. That is the crux of the whole matter. What am I reading? Am I reading the thoughts and opinions of an individual blogger or one that is being paid for his views?

I might as well just subscribe to the rss feeds of my favourite corporate press release departments. At least I know where they’re coming from.

I’m sorry if I’m a bit dated, but a bit of transparency would be nice when I give up my time and attention to read a blog. It also goes a long way to building credibility – but only if you want credibility.

Now don’t get me wrong … I’m no naive schmuck. I know fully well that such non-transarency exists in ALL forms of media, but heck why can’t blogging be different?

Credibility, integrity, compromised, selling your soul have been brought up in comments across the b’sphere ever since PayPerPost launched. The sad fact is that in the “real world” blogging does have a credibility issue. Lets not beat around the bush on this. Many snicker at this “citizen journalism” thing going on and see it as one giant cesspool.

Sadly, PayPerPost will only perpetuate this thinking.

Jim Kukral of Revenews…

So what happens when a “real” blogger uses this system? Without disclosure, it kills the blog, dead. And even with disclosure of an “ad”, they’re asking you to do the ulitmate no-no in blog advertising, which is to write the ad as if it is a blog entry. Not below the entry, not floating in the entry, but it IS the entry, disclosed or not.

That pull out quote from Jim sums it up for me in a nutshell.

Then there was TechCrunch’s PayPerPost.com offers to sell your soul

“There does not appear to be any requirement that the payment for coverage be disclosed. There is a requirement that PayPerPost.com must approve your post before you are paid. Wow.”

and in the comments the author writes:

“disclosure of financial interests related to what you write about seems to me an important first step in maintaining credibility.”

Spot on!

And this from a real life advertiser using PayPerPost commenting at TechCrunch…

“Trying to contact bloggers directly for ads is a huge waste of time, too much back and forth, since they are not professionals, and they have no clue what the value of their ad inventory really is, and they don’t even know how to write an invoice.”

Charming! Would like to know who this company is that thinks so little of bloggers. But if he’s right, then maybe serious bloggers should knuckle down and learn the art of advertising so that they can get their due rewards and not sell their credibility for $5 or so a pop.

Robert “The Scobleizer” Scoble doesn’t seem to hold much hope for PayPerPost and in fact see’s it in a different light – gaming Google.

My one main question I want to ask ALL bloggers. If you are using PayPerPost why don’t you fully disclose this on your sidebar or even footer? It will only take a few lines, something like: “disclosure: some posts in [your blog] are being paid for by PayPerPost.”

I don’t think that’s too much to ask or is it?

Martin Neumann blogs at The Blog Columnist

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  1. By Darren McLaughlin posted on October 4, 2006 at 6:52 am
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    This is a “non-issue” for most bloggers. What some dumpy company does doesn’t affect what I’m doing.

    Building integrity with readers is the key to long-term blogging success (and blogging revenue).

  2. By Martin Neumann posted on October 4, 2006 at 7:09 am
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    Darren – yeah, you’re spot on. But it does (or can) leave readers with second thoughts about reading a blog wondering “what if”.

    Thus, it can make building integrity for those that want it (say, you and me) that much harder.

    BTW, if you were to use PayPerPost would you disclose it?

  3. By Jim Kukral posted on October 4, 2006 at 10:00 am
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    The problem is, when big money gets thrown at ideas like this the perception about bloggers takes a hit to the negative side.

    It’s not going to hurt blogging I don’t think, it’s just not a good think I don’t think.

  4. By Danielle posted on October 4, 2006 at 2:25 pm
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    I have only three points to make:

    #1 – The word “won” has more than one dictionary meaning. Often in the sales business, you would describe acquiring a new project as “winning a new account”. It’s something you have worked toward and gained. So to criticize someone for using the word when your only knowledge of it is based on one of the multiple definitions is just in poor taste, and frankly makes you look ignorant.

    #2 – The “spoof” blog that you mentioned is not an approved PayPerPost blog. It states clearly in their Terms of Service that blogs created solely to gain profit will not be accepted. Also, there are several requirements on blog age and content that the creator of the spoof blog obviously didn’t read.

    #3 – Although I have done my research on PayPerPost, I am NOT a PayPerPost blogger. Please don’t discount this as a biased comment. I am just trying to make the following point: Before you post a debatable topic on a blog with such high traffic, you should DO YOUR RESEARCH on both sides or you’ll end up sounding extremely uneducated like this guy.

  5. LonelyBloggers » Blog Archive » Looking for blog traffic in all the wrong places » Welcome to LonelyBloggers.com -- 100% FREE Internet Personals!October 4, 2006 at 3:22 pm
  6. By Peter Wright posted on October 4, 2006 at 3:56 pm
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    Blog – web log. You guys are all inferring that in some way PayPerPost is tainting what is in effect a hobby for the vast majority of bloggers. There are 55 million blogs out there, and only a teeny tiny fraction of them believe that what they are doing is ‘journalism’. The general public, the blog readers, are well aware of what those sites are and trust them. PayPerPosts model does nothing to those. It’s all about enabling the other 49 million 900 thousand bloggers to actually put their online blogs to good use (bringing money into the household). What’s wrong with that?

    As someone else has said on this very discussion on numerous other boards “Since when did Blogging ever have credibility”.

    Jim Kukral is paid to blog, or makes money by virtue of the attention his blog attracts but he’s holier than the PayPerPost model? What about TechCrunch? Engadget? All paid to blog, but no-one questions their ethics despite them never stating that they had any (well, TechCrunch did recently).

    Disclosure is an important issue and it’s one that PayperPost have been watching and listening to and thinking very hard about. But if we’re going to disclose then shouldn’t the top 0.01% as well? Where did that product X Scoble mentioned this week come from? Did Engadget pay for their toys? etc etc.

    Perhaps all that PayPerPost have done here is what was needed – to kick a disorganized, unregulated, amateur pursuit in the pants so hard that we’ll come out the other end with ‘professional news and views sites’ which are not blogs per se, and blogs as we currently know them. At the moment the blogosphere is very far from Fleet Street and try to pretend that it is is wrong.

  7. By Loren Feldman posted on October 4, 2006 at 5:28 pm
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    I don’t think it’s a big deal really. Maybe not for everyone, but no big deal. If they want to pay and people want to do it why not? It’s capitalism, and besides at this point I don’t trust anyone not msm and certainly not some dopey blogger. Myself or Neumann included ; )

  8. By Martin posted on October 4, 2006 at 5:44 pm
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    Jim – I guess that’s what it’s all about – perception.

    Loren – Trust no one, eh! :) Maybe I’m an idealist (on my good days) but I thought maybe blogging could be different, more open, less like MSM.

    And don’t get me wrong, I’m as capitalist as they come.

    I don’t really mind people doing it, it’s just why not disclose it? Because we’re not talking about ads in the sidebar or a banner mid way through a post – we’re in effect talking about an advertorial.

    BTW, how was the party? Where’s the pics? Where’s Mr Char?

  9. By Loren Feldman posted on October 4, 2006 at 6:19 pm
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    go to my site

  10. By Martin posted on October 4, 2006 at 6:46 pm
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    Ah … “exhaustion”.

    Yeah, I’ve contracted exhaustion after partying heartily but never ended up in hospital. Is he really alright?

  11. By Martin Neumann posted on October 4, 2006 at 10:21 pm
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    Danielle – This is a column … an opinion piece.

    #1. Yep, I’m ignorant, I agree. For the everyday person “won” is what it means. Take a look at the just recent vc funding for b5media. Notice they have not used the word “won”. But it’s all semantics anyway.

    #2. I never said that the spoof blog was trying to make money with PPP. Do you understand the term “spoof”? It’s taking a go at PPP. Obviously, if PPP allowed this blog in their whole system is flawed.

    #3. This is a column … an opinion piece. We are allowed to have opinions aren’t we. Just like your opinion about me/this post right here.

    BTW, Danielle – if you were to use PPP would you disclose this to your readers?

  12. By Martin Neumann posted on October 4, 2006 at 10:30 pm
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    Peter – I guess you could whittle down my argument to one thing: disclosure. I think that’s the one sticking point for me.

    And not just with PPP but as you said with everybody – starting from the top.

    I’m encouraged that you’re thinking hard about the disclosure issue.

  13. By Jim Kukral posted on October 4, 2006 at 10:47 pm
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    Update: I’ve got 7 questions for Ted Murphy, founder of PPP here.

    http://www.revenews.com/jimkukral/archives/002352.html

    “Jim Kukral is paid to blog, or makes money by virtue of the attention his blog attracts but he’s holier than the PayPerPost model?”

    Peter, c’mon, no one here is buying this argument. Simply put, there IS a difference between writing content DIRECTLY AND INDISPUTABLY just because someone is paying you to do it in a specific way versus blogging about something that you recommend.

    Flat out, without the disclosure rule in place, PPP could be a breeding ground for illigitimate webmasters wanting to earn a quick buck, and furthermore, can/will ruin the reputation of bloggers who do in fact rely on REAL recommendations to build credibility and trust.

    “Disclosure is an important issue and it’s one that PayperPost have been watching and listening to and thinking very hard about. But if we’re going to disclose then shouldn’t the top 0.01% as well?”

    The top 0.01% aren’t distributing a methodology/system on how to do what they do. You’re comparing two different things.

    “Perhaps all that PayPerPost have done here is what was needed – to kick a disorganized, unregulated, amateur pursuit in the pants so hard that we’ll come out the other end with ‘professional news and views sites’ which are not blogs per se, and blogs as we currently know them. At the moment the blogosphere is very far from Fleet Street and try to pretend that it is is wrong. ”

    Or perhaps we’re all dumb enough to keep feeding the flame and making PPP rich along the way? I’ve considered it as others have I”m sure. Spin it any way you wish, but to me, there is absolutely no upside to non-disclosure from either end. The blogger who participates in this will never build an audience, and the advertiser will probably never see an roi long term.

    Full disclosure: I founded and own a blog advertising cpa network. We’ll never ask anyone to write something for money though, or not to disclose that an ad is an ad/sponsor.

  14. By Martin Neumann posted on October 4, 2006 at 11:22 pm
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    Jim – those are a great set of questions that go straight to the heart of the matter and I look forward to Ted’s response.

    Once again, for me, it all comes down to disclosure. If PPP changed their terms and demanded that bloggers disclose then that would make it a much better proposition.

    And the more I think about it the more I think Scoble is right about gaming Google. Maybe this all just comes down to getting extra google juice.

  15. By DrumsNWhistles posted on October 5, 2006 at 1:14 am
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    Arg. So much negativity on this. I responded to all of the criticism here earlier in the week.

    For the record, I either tag or disclaim any PPP posts when I post them. I don’t see where adding something to my sidebar would matter or even get the same attention as a tag or in-post disclaimer, since metrics show that sidebar links are rarely clicked.

    At three posts per day with an average payment of $5.50, I’m not going to get rich. I’m maybe going to pay for my web host. Or if I’m really lucky, that new camera lens I want. But I won’t be giving up my day job or night job anytime soon.

    I don’t understand why there’s such pushback to an opportunity to make a few bucks where I choose the content, the tone and the topic. If it isn’t interesting to me, I don’t bother with it. You won’t see me posting links to sites that I wouldn’t bother with myself, but if I were using the Adsense model I’d certainly have links to sites that I wouldn’t bother with myself, which I find more bothersome than the PPP model.

    DnW

  16. By Tunky posted on October 5, 2006 at 10:38 am
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    I could not agree more! I want to make money too, sure thing. Nothing shameful about it. But my words are MY words, no one will ever pay for me to think or write differently. I want to read genuine blogs, not what someone has paid someone to say.

  17. By Jim Kukral posted on October 5, 2006 at 9:37 pm
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  18. By Martin posted on October 6, 2006 at 7:19 am
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    Tunky – I think you get exactly where I’m coming from. Kudos to you for having some integrity.

    Jim – Interesting responses to your questions. I’m heading over to read then more thoroughly and comment. I suggest those with a keen interest in this debate head on over.

  19. PayPerPost Regains Its Integrity (Requries Disclosure) at The Blog HeraldDecember 18, 2006 at 1:18 pm