Monday, October 30, 2006

PayPerPost on TechCrunch Again NONPAID

I'm being paid to write this! [Later edit: Well, here's the funny thing: I'm NOT--all of the opps were gone when I went to publish. But I will leave this post anyway.]

Big issues like disclosure on paid blogging sometimes make my head spin. This post will prove how much my head is spinning on the topic. In fact, the opportunity might be gone by the time I finish!

I see some of the points of the people who are against PayPerPost. Too much Libra in me, I guess. I see all sides. It's a new sort of business. There are controversies. Everyone is still trying to figure out how it works and what is right.

I honestly believe PayPerPost is trying to do the right thing with their Disclosure Policy addition. They believe in disclosing. They urge advertisers to ask for neutral ads. They are providing an EASY way for their bloggers to disclose. And yes, they give you choices of what to say and maybe those choices aren't perfect, but it's EASY to edit, and you are encouraged to do so. This is about what each blogger feels comfortable doing with their space.

As posties, we are talking about things we see online. We provide links so other people can see these sites and products, too. Sometimes we are just paid to write about our personal experience and link to a site. Honestly, sometimes some of those posts feel a little bit deceptive--when you don't actually talk about the product, but still link to it. However, the reader has the CHOICE of whether to click or not. They don't have to. Big deal. I, personally, don't really like the opportunities that say "no mention of PayPerPost". But I see how advertisers feel it is undercutting your credibility to say that. I am still writing my own opinions. I don't take opps for things I don't like.

People like movie reviewers have tremendous power of opinion. And guess what? They are getting paid to give their opinion. They don't say that every time they write something. It's understood. No one thinks it's a big deal that they get paid to talk about the movie.

I think in time, this will all sort itself out. I believe companies like PayPerPost arouse out of the imperfect nature of pay per click. Are we polluting the blogosphere? Maybe. Or maybe it is evolving. It's hard to say. The great thing about the internet is we all have a chance to participate. The truth is, people aren't stupid. They can figure it out.

Now, I'll disclose some more. This is a $10 opp. Yes, and I was paid to disclose. That could just show that PayPerPost cares enough about the issue to put their money where there mouth is. Yes, it's a good business decision, but they didn't have to take a step themselves. I'm being paid to write 100 words of my opinion. I'm currently at 441. Yes, it's rambly. But that is my style. And I truly am just trying to think the issue out and see different opinions. I'm not just doing this for the money or I would have stopped some 300+ words ago.

PayPerPost is all over my blog. I've never made a secret of it. I think people who want to read the blog but don't want the paid blog posts will just learn to skip them. Sometimes they are intertwined, but that is part of the fact that I really am writing my opinion on things as I see them. And yes, I've made about $350 for it. For a LOT of work. It really is a job. I'm being paid for my time and my opinion. I guess that's not the question.

Should I say on each post "I'm being paid to write this!" I've considered it. But then it feels like maybe I don't really mean what I'm writing. I DO! Maybe I should write "I'm being paid to write this, but I STILL MEAN IT!"

Should I say if I'm being paid to be positive? Well, I don't know. That seems like it might be the bigger issue. But it's an endorsement. It's a choice for the advertiser. Do they believe that all press is good press or do they just want testimonials? They should be able to make that choice. See, I can understand PayPerPost's detractors until I think of things from the Advertiser's perspective. Obviously, there is a market for this. There are new opps all the time. And it's giving "the little guy" a chance to make some money. And it's giving "little advertisers" a chance too. I've already considered advertising Kevin's site on PayPerPost. It makes sense.

Ok, I think this post reflects that it's still such a new issue. I haven't really come to a complete and total decision on the ethical ramifications and choices as it pertains to my own blog. Still working that out. I definitely believe in disclosure. But the question becomes "How much disclosure is necessary?" What do we all need to disclose? Have other methods of advertising faced this much scrutiny? Some proponents of PayPerPost say, "What's the big deal?" I think it is a big deal. We are still just all trying to figure out the best way to be honest about it and still have the blogger, the readers, and the advertiser benefit. Because that's what this all about. And I believe that's truly what PayPerPost wants. AND I was paid to say all this. AND it's still my honest opinion. But for the 30 minutes I ignored my kid to write it, I can buy him about 3 boxes of cereal. [Later edit: I can buy nothing from this (unless the opp magically returns) and I am still keeping it posted.]


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