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Author Topic: Blog post: PayPerPost is a great new way to lose your credibility as a blogger  (Read 3253 times)

mouser

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Interesting post about an issue we have discussed before here, companies paying people to write positive reviews.

This is of course a problem in all writing and review sites.  Everyone please remember as always to disclose any financial or reciprocal relationship you might have that is in any way related to any software or service you review or recommend!


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PayPerPost is a great new way to lose your credibility as a blogger - the service will pay you to write reviews of new products and services. Advertisers post “opportunities” on the site - they can specify whether the post should have pictures, and even request a positive review. That last part really crosses the line, and it’s sure to destroy any credibility you have as a writer. PayPerPost will pay more if you have a high-trafficked blog, but anyone who has spent time building up an audience would be crazy to take part.

Ted Murphy, the founder of PayPerPost, has actually been at this for a while - his BlogStar Network used to contact bloggers via email and pay them $5 to $10 per post. Positive reviews were encouraged. He sees the new system as a way to streamline the process.

PayPerPost is a terrible, terrible idea and totally unethical. But I know this stuff has been going on for a long time. Every so often, you’ll see a spate of blog comments around the blogosphere that promote certain brands - they call them “buzz” campaigns. Paying for posts is a natural evolution. And while no serious content creators will take them up on the offer, I’m deeply concerned they’ll tap into the long-tail of unethical bloggers, polluting the Google results and fooling unsuspecting readers.


mouser

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techcrunch jumps on with some cleats as well:
http://www.techcrunc...rs-to-buy-your-soul/

and links additionally to:
http://jeremiahthewe...ogger-mercenary.html
http://www.businessw...t/06_28/b3992034.htm



again:
DonationCoder.com is based on the idea of people talking about software they love.  and we also welcome authors to talk about their work.  so there is nothing wrong with lavishing praise on programs you like.  but you MUST, absolutely *MUST* make clear any relation or appearance of conflict of interest that you might have with a company whose software you are writing about.  And we welcome authors telling us about their software and how great it is, they just have to make clear they are talking about their own work.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2006, 07:11:22 PM by mouser »

housetier

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Yes HONESTY is very important. Do what you have to do, but be honest about it.

mouser

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interesting blog defending payperpost:

http://www.prbloggin...like-mike-arrington/

housetier

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Somehow that blogpost wasn't really persuasive... To me it sounded like "don't listen to that guy, because he is a dork" repeated several times. Maybe I was too sceptical in mind to listen to Mr. Krug's "reasoning".

But calling names in a non-humorous way disqualifies the speaker. It is so very easy to start a flame war; it's a good way to get attention. But it is also a cheap way. But maybe I am prejudiced and don't want to see his points beyond the ranting...

Point is:
Professional blogger or not, paid blogger or not: Name-calling does not carry much weight.

JavaJones

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The guy basically says that as long as there is full disclosure, pay-per-post is fine. I tend to agree. As long as your readers know you are being paid for a post they can make up their own minds about whether to trust your opinion, keep reading your blog, etc. The thing is can you really trust the average blogger to disclose? Well, even without explicit pay-per-post schemes like the one in discussion there is always the risk of people doing and saying things because of some "unsavory" influence. You just have to keep that in mind when reading *anything*. You hopefully get to know a particular blogger and grow to trust them over time if they earn it. Those are the kinds of people you would expect to be forthright about pay-per-post. But whether or not that's involved it's always a matter of just finding trustworthy people - pay-per-post doesn't necessarily change that dynamic.

- Oshyan

mouser

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JavaJones - my feelings exactly.

Disclosure is the solution in this case surely.

if you have someone that absolutely loves some soda, and raves about it on their blog every day for years, and then gets a free case of the soda one day, you wouldn't all of a sudden say: "oh they don't really like it, they just said all that for the free soda."

This is one of those things where some standard disclosure policy would be nice.


Like imagine a little button that could be added to a bloggers web page, like html complicance button, that says like Blogger Ethics Complaince button.  And basically it signified that the blogger has committed to disclose any possible conflicts of interest within each post, at the time of each post.  And maybe signified some other ethical commitments? i.e. not to copy and paste without giving credit to original author, not to have affiliate links without disclosing what they are, etc.

I'll bet such buttons/ideas already exist.. but if not, how about one of the graphic artists here put something together and we can make a page describing the idea, that people can put on their web pages and link to.

JavaJones

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That's an excellent idea mouser!

- Oshyan

mouser

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since we all, including me, came down hard on payperpost, i think something needs to be said sort of in the favor of such things - sort of.

i am very sympathetic to the problems involved in getting out the word about a good product.

it seems to me we live in an internet age where getting recognized and getting the word out about something is totally irrational.  most of the time it seems like luck, connections, and money play the dominant role.

if you have good connections in high places, people will post about your software or service because they know you, and because you asked them to.

if you have money to burn, you can advertise your way into peoples awareness.

if you get lucky, someone will mention your site and you could get slashdotted or on dig, etc.  if you happen to catch people's eye on a given day.. everyone will check out your stuff.  if not, it sinks into oblivion.  scary.

anyway, so while the idea of paying for someone to write good things about a crappy product sounds really evil to me, i can see someone who has made a really good product just saying, hey i'm willing to pay someone for their time to come CHECK OUT AND TRY my product.  to me, that is something that makes some sense, you are basically saying "hey i have something great but no one is bothering to try it - i'm willing to put up some money to pay for your time so that you at least give it a try."  of course with payperpost they are being paid to write good stuff, so there is a strong motivation to slant any opinions to the positive side.  so it seems very prone to abuse.  but still with some disclosure i'm just saying i can see how it wouldnt always be unethical.

JavaJones

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Yep, agree with ya mouser. :D

Btw, where'd you get this smiley set? The default SMF one kind of sucks. :P

- Oshyan
« Last Edit: July 03, 2006, 05:43:02 PM by JavaJones »

mouser

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i think these smileys are mostly from some smf mod pack of smilies plus some other found ones..
i will send you a zip with them.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2006, 06:54:04 PM by mouser »

JavaJones

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Would you mind zipping up your basic smiley set and sending to me? I'd much appreciate it. I know I could find some better sets out there but I like these and they're right here. :D

Thanks!

- Oshyan