Paid Blog Posts

December 9th, 2006 by Chris

Andrew at WebPublishingBlog has come out strongly against Pay for Post services, so have many others in this industry. I’m not one of them.

One thing Rush Limbaugh does with his endorsements on his radio show is only accept sponsors that he actually recommends. He’ll find a product he likes, and go and ask them to sponsor.

Likewise, with these services, if they got large and had a huge library what would be wrong with getting paid to write something you’d write anyways? For instance Andrew’s post immediately prior to the one linked above is more or less a recommendation for that Elite Retreat, something myself and others think is hokey. If Elite Retreat was an advertiser with these services, Andrew could have gotten paid to write what he was going to write anyways.

As such I do not see using them as being wrong or selling out, certainly I do not see them as being the death of blogs. Rather the more important issue to discuss is that each blogger individual will have to decide if they are going to lie to their readers. You can get paid for posts and not be lying, you can get paid for posts and lie through your teeth. I see no problems with getting paid to write a post if you agree with what you’re writing, it is no different than writing a product review and including an affiliate link.

Lets be honest here, affiliate programs and advertising are not new, and bloggers or other content providers have long used them to monetize their sites. If a blogger finds a lucrative affiliate program, such as maybe a web host that pays $100 per account signup, and then recommends that host, even if they do not use that host, then they are being dishonest, and they are doing it all without the help of a Pay for Post company.

What about those that are not paying for a good review, just a review? How is this any different than reviewers for practically every thing out there that gets reviewed getting freebies? Car reviewers get free cars for a week, book reviewers get free books, game reviewers get free games, hardware reviewers get free hardware. It isn’t money exactly, but those freebies certainly have value. I’ve accepted free services, software, or preferential treatment to write reviews here and on SitePoint. I know Andrew has too, even if he doesn’t realize it. People have buttered him up for blog mentions.

The issue here is not about being paid to post, it is about honesty. Bloggers and writers in general can get paid to write something and still write honestly, they are not mutually exclusive. So it isn’t automatically bad to use one of these services, rather it is bad to be dishonest in your writing.

I do not have a problem with these services, and I may use them myself, but one thing I will never do is write dishonestly, including recommending a product I do not like or even worse, haven’t even used.

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