PayPerPost Bashed by Leading Bloggers

After recently joining PayPerPost (PPP) myself, I did a little research and found some interesting conversations around the net. As we all know, making money is bad Bad BAD!!!! (Um, what are we all here for again??) So it's no wonder that some of the leading bloggers bashed PayPerPost when it launched.

This makes for a great discussion for a number of reasons: 1) It questions our intentions or motivation behind blogging, 2) It brings up some great ideas about monetizing a blog, and 3) It gives us an opportunity to really examine our opinions... and determine which side we belong on and how we really feel about it all.

Warning: This post contains plenty of facts... and lots of opinion 😉

My first stop in the journey through all of the conversations about PPP was Polluting the Blogosphere on BusinessWeek. Before I even started reading the article, an advertisement slid onto the screen (covering the article). I'm not sure if there were popups (I have multiple blockers installed) but there was some clicking and flashing of the page before all settled down. I counted six advertisements on the page at first look - all large images and flashing banners that surrounded the article and forced me to scroll below the fold to actually read it.

The major point of the article is a complaint that bloggers dont have to disclose the fact that they are getting paid for a particular review or blog post. The author feels that it's unethical to 'fool' readers into believing you actually love a certain product or service... when in fact you simply got paid to write about it.

  • While I understand that some bloggers might take the PPP opportunity a little far, and put anything and everything on their blog, those are not the types of bloggers that pull enough weight in the blogosphere to worry about anyway. Those of us who are passionate about our blogs, and love our readers, will pick and choose the opportunities that come through PPP and work it in with integrity.

Rafe Needleman comments on this article at How to Kill Blogs: PayPerPost on CNET News. There are two large image ads and 10 text link ads on this page, by the way. Rafe says, "This is a bad, bad, bad thing" and "I am adding this service to my list of awful ideas that subvert the social contract."

He does make a good point with this comment: "when I read a blog, I want to know that the opinions I'm reading actually come from the writer's heart and head, not directly from some influence-pusher's marketing budget." Of course, I'd like to believe everything that I read as well. But I know for a fact that using that $22 tube of mascara that was advertised during Sex and the City last night is never going to make my eyelashes look like that.

Like I said, he does make a good point there - but I doubt many of us are reading flaky blogs that promote crap. If we are, we arent for long. Blog readers follow good writers, people who are on top of their industry and people that they like. There is a definitive line between these two classes of bloggers, and readers are not as dumb as some people make them out to be.

My next stop: offers to sell your soul on TechCrunch. Here I found 7 sponsor ads, plus an Adsense skyscraper. Fortunately they werent as intrusive on the article as BusinessWeek. The author makes the statement in the article though that, "TechCrunch does not accept payment for posts."

Interesting... I doubt those advertisers would sponsor blank pages. 😛

I know, I know - he is making the point that his opinion is his own and that his content is never swayed by the buck. Which I assume means that he never chooses a topic based on its popularity, or discusses controversial topics specifically to draw traffic in... to please those sponsors.

His comment that "Ted Murphy is not the devil. I don’t know if I’m convinced" is along the same lines as those made by Rafe. The major concern being that PPP questions the integrity of bloggers, and will make readers wary. In the comments on that article, one wrote that he felt it would hurt a company's brand to pay people to talk about them...

But the truth is, bloggers are talking about people, companies and products all day every day. Paid or not, blogs are full of opinions and reviews and recommendations - whether direct or indirect.

By carefully choosing the opportunities offered at PPP, and including the links in original content on your blog in the same style you would normally write, you create a great opportunity for both yourself and the advertiser.

Of course, that's just my opinion and the way that I view this opportunity. Moving on...

ProBlogger (aka Darren Rowse) gives his first impressions of PayPerPost on his blog, which I cant read the beginning of at all because there is a Google Adsense ad hovering over the text for some reason. Scrolling down a bit I read more about Darren's warning bells, feeling uneasy and recommending caution. His only major complaint though is about the lack of disclosure:

Ok - I should say that I don’t mind the idea of sponsored posts or being paid to write things about a company - but I’d want to ensure that that type of post was transparent and that the post added some value to the reader’s experience.

I certainly cant disagree with that - well said, Darren!

The comments left on this article were particularly interesting. One brought up 'paid reviewers at Amazon' while another asked 'whats the difference between this and including hidden affiliate links in blog posts'. One of the commenters states:

Take product review sites as an a example — many don’t make it clear that in writing the “review” the blogger is lining themselves up for a payment — the only difference to my mind with payperpost is that you’re getting paid regardless of if a purchase is made.

It's hard to argue with that...

My next stop was Robert Scoble, and his post titled PayPerPost - Please Crash & Burn where he says "I don't care if Ted comes across as a bloody saint. I hope this nasty, cynical, ugly idea crashes and burns swiftly." He also says, "His email to me said he just was curious to know what I thought of the idea. He had to know I wasn't going to like it. He just figures that among my many wonderful readers are a few slimeballs who might take him up on his call to prostitution"... but never says exactly why he dislikes Ted Murphy or PayPerPost.

The comments were especially interesting though, including responses from Ted Murphy himself. In fact, he put up an offer on PPP paying bloggers $100 to blog about Scoble's blog post!

I have created an opportunity on PayPerPost for $100 to blog about this very post.

It’s easy to turn down $5. How about $100 to blog about something you were already going to?

The fact that you read all the way down to this comment proves you are at least somewhat interested in the subject. If you blog about this and you make $100 for it, disclosure or not, does that make you a sell out? Does it make your blog less relevant?

Or does it make you the same person you were, writing the same blog people still read, just $100 richer? Love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

HeHe - good point 😛 Moving right along....

On PostBubble, Aneil posts Pay Per Post isnt evil, It's a failure and says, "Wow, I know a lot of people are trying to monetize blogging but does it really make sense to get paid to do a positive writeup on something?"

No, it doesnt make sense at all Aneil. That's why Affiliate Marketing is such a failure as a business model and all of us Super Affiliates are broke. 🙄

Scott Karp has a great article at Publishing 2.0 titled PayPerPost Will Taint Us All claiming "the taint is everywhere!" It's actually very thought-provoking and raises some good points. Specifically about whether anyone anywhere will ever be able to have an opinion again without being accused of being compensated for it.

However, I dont think PPP is the source of the 'taint' or even playing a major role in it. For that, we can blame ourselves.

Jason Calacanis of Weblogs Inc writes PayPerPost: Stupid & Evil, but like Scoble he gives no reasoning behind his opinion. Just an opinion. It is a short post at just 83 words, and includes a live link to PayPerPost. Should we assume he earned $10.50 for meeting the criteria for a paid post - which is 50+ words and a live link? 😀

(I'm being facetious, yes)

Finally, an objective post by Mark Woodman on InkBlots: Paid to Blog - Mountain or Molehill? He makes some great points about media and advertising in general and also about how PPP doesnt affect the Blogosphere as a whole. Of course he also states that his reputation is worth too much to him to get paid for a post, or even a related link within a post - which is fair enough.

I'll finish 'the rounds' there, but with one last link to The PayPerPost Mess at the BlogHerald - the comments there make some good points that are worth reading, in my opinion.

All said and done, the major complaint seems to be about disclosure - or more accurately, lack of it. I would be curious to know how you feel about this... and how you feel this compares to promoting affiliate products, cloaking affiliate links, and taking on paid sponsors. Not just as a blogger yourself (if you are) - but also as a reader. Try to view it from both perspectives. I'd love to hear your opinion!

I'll give you mine - and some food for thought...

In a recent magazine interview (Business 2.0), Dooce commented about the pressure she was under to post daily since she had taken on sponsors for her popular blog. Stephanie Quilao, author of Back in Skinny Jeans, made similar comments in her guest appearance at ProBlogger (see post), where she asks:

My question therefore is, how do I prevent all the new attention and pressure from adversely affect my writing? A blogger is nothing without the writing, and I want to keep the integrity of my authenticity and passion in tact.

Sponsors, tip jars, Adsense, or not... all bloggers face the same issues: to build trust and credibility, and to claim a name for themselves in the Blogosphere. Are Heather and Stephanie sell-outs because they took on sponsors or monetized their content? Or did they do what they had to do to prevent ditching their creative work to pursue a mundane job in the 'real world'?

They love to write. They're exceptional writers too, if you ask me. Stephanie even states that her Tip Jar was a great source of revenue - which proves that her regular readers were eager to support her.

From the publishing standpoint, PayPerPost is a great deal. As I mentioned earlier, you have to choose your opportunities carefully and work them in strategically. My opinion on disclosure is that it depends on the individual post and the advertisers requirements. If it's a perfect match for a topic I am covering anyway, I dont see the text link I include any differently than other resources I link to within my posts. If it's on the more promotional side - a disclosure could be beneficial, for sure.

With each "paid post", you are adding 100% unique content to your domain (its part of the requirements). Obviously this benefits you in the long run, just like any other page of content you add to your domain. And there are no rules stating that you cant still include Adsense, sponsor links or links to other Affiliate Programs on the same page.

And sometimes, if you have a little dose of writer's block... viewing the opps at PPP could spark a great topic to write about 😉

From the advertising standpoint, PayPerPost is a very smart idea. In everything that I have read about Web 2.0 and Social Networking, personal recommendations and text links within content areas (vs sidebars or resource pages) is what converts best. The advertisers are paying for exactly that.

Not to mention that it's a well known fact that text links within content areas carry more weight than text links on links pages or in sidebars when it comes to SEO...

I'm going to give PayPerPost a whirl, and as mentioned in a previous post I will let you know how things pan out in the long run. At the moment I am enjoying getting to know the other 'Posties'... and was even invited to exchange links with all of them. That's 73 new inbound links to my blog at last count.

Now that you've read all the way down this far, taken in the entire article complete with resources, thoughts and opinions... would you be incredibly pissed off to know that PPP added $10.51 to my account for including an image for their related Photoshop Challenge? It's the mock-up of the BusinessWeek cover above. Yes, I Get Paid to Blog. Let me know - and if 'yes', give some details.

This post is a good example. It's unique. Informative. Interesting (hey - you read it). Resourceful. The topic is hot and controversial (yup, all the big boys are blogging about it too). And I managed to pull all of that off... and slip in a paid link to boot. A paid link that didnt reach out and pinch you. Force you to buy something. Flash in your face. Just a related link to something of interest that you are welcome to check out.

What's so evil about that? Do you really believe that I wrote ALL of this for a measely 10 bucks and change? Or do you think it's a topic I covered because it's Internet Marketing related and worth talking about? Do you think that I shouldnt include a link to the related challenge, just because it's a paid link - or do you consider it a resource that adds value to the overall topic at hand?

And one last question: If you knew that I might be earning an extra $1,000/month by including sponsored links (ethically) - while also adding fresh unique content to my blog that has other long term benefits - would you stop reading ClickNewz on that basis alone?

Let me know below 😉

P.S. If you choose to join PayPerPost, they will ask you who referred you. You can use my email address in that field: lynn@clicknewz .com

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Dan Reinhold says

    Dang, I love your style, Lynny!

    Especially the casual mention of the blatant and sometimes intrusive ads on the bashers' own sites!!

    I've known you long enough to know for sure that in many ways you're one of the most level headed and credible people I know.
    You tell it the way you see it.

    It's astounding, not to mention overwhelmingly hypocritical, that those who are making money because they've chosen to make money should criticize those who offer to pay money.

    If you never provide endorsements or reviews of any product or service, you can never even cover the expenses you incur in operating a blog. If you're honest in your assessments and intentions, what is the problem??

    Cyber-Marxism just don't pay the bills. 8(

  2. Lynn -- that was a fantastic article. I covered the topic ("Consumer Generated Avertising Revolution has begun!") with less detail than you awhile back, it got dugg, and the comments on that digg support your premise.

    Many marketplaces get maligned early because they allow the market to work without trying to be morality police. I would note that my thinking has evolved a bit since first reading those elite blogger complaints. At first, I thought their support was critical to such a blogger-centric marketplace. However, if you picture a world where PayPerPost gets as big as eBay, the core participants are mainstream bloggers like you and me.

    The elites have a role in that marketplace, but the mainstream controls the market norms. Early on, big elite retailers thought eBay auctions were an unsavory niche market, but small mainstream buyers and sellers exploded that marketplace -- creating thousands of new businesses around eBay that threaten the elite retailers to this day. Along the way, the elites who "got eBay" the quickest gained position on their naysayer peers.

    If the mainstream bloggers continue to drive PPP, it will change the world (and the power balance) for consumer generated content creators for years to come...

  3. "And one last question: If you knew that I might be earning an extra $1,000/month by including sponsored links (ethically) - while also adding fresh unique content to my blog that has other long term benefits - would you stop reading ClickNewz on that basis alone?"

    WHAAAT?? You'd stoop to THAT level? heh heh I know I WOULD! LOLOL

    I don't understand why people have an objection to making money online if done in a legitimate way. As an affiliate marketer myself, I'm gonna use what legitimate ways I can to promote the products and services that I can comfortably recommend.

    It's what online marketing is all about ... finding unique and different ways to promote on the Internet. PayPerPost is just another avenue to get one's products and services promoted.

    Thanks for the post, Lynn! 🙂

    Rick Wilson aka CorpRebel

  4. I agree it's rather ironic for people who are talking advertising dollars from other sources to complain about this being the end of the blogosphere. It could very well be the end of some of the "A" list blogs being paid hundreds of dollars because advertisers might realize they have an alternative but it's not going to hurt the blogosphere in the end.

    Only one correction I would offer is that Shel Israel is the listed author of the post not Scoble.

  5. Hi Lynn,

    Great post. I would like to answer your question of if I would still read if you get paid for certain posts.

    My answer is simple: you are credible, and I trust you, so I am okay with it. If someone is willing to pay you, go for it, because you back it up with a straightforward style that I like.

    That being said, as with anything, there are always... ALWAYS.... going to be some bad apples that will spoil the bunch. Some washed up spammer may see this as a way to get back into the money-making side of things and use this new method to maliciously dupe readers into making he/she money. Well, that's life I guess. I just won't read sites of those people.

    But you, and your couple sites that I follow (midnight marketing snack, SSWT forum, and this one) will not be followed any less I can assure you as long as you keep writing solid content. And, I agree on the whole writer's block thing. Not a bad way to stir up the proverbial pot (in your own head) to find suitable reading for your subscribers.

    ...My two cents..... (but worth less)

  6. It was worth much more to me 😉

    Thank you, Bryan!

  7. I have noticed that some of those who are "defending" PPP do so by showing the "negatives" of other peoples monetization efforts, rather than the "positives" that PPP has to offer.

    Case in point being your notes on some of the blogs above; "I cant read the beginning of at all because there is a Google Adsense ad", "two large image ads and 10 text link ads on this page, by the way".

    Kind of smacks of desperation, do you think?

  8. Trite and facetious maybe, but not desperate. My blog post here was specifically meant to comment on the outrageous posts made by the A-Listers.

    My point is... that they didnt make a very good point.

    I have made other posts elsewhere about the benefits of PayPerPost and the positive aspects of this service for both bloggers and advertisers.

    Lynn Terry

  9. Great article Lynn. I dugg it!

    You've captured a great round of various impressions from many corners of the internet.

    I was just finishing a Neal Stephenson book called the Diamond Age (I've read it a few times along with all of his books.)

    One funny section reminded me of this situation. In the book he talks about how the 'Old Internet Money' was very protective of their wealth earned generations earlier.

    It would seem that the Nuvo Internet money of today is getting hit a bit by the old guard. 🙂

  10. Lynn, I understand. Their point is not well made, as they are griping abut a system of monetization which is, in essence, very similar to any other form of monetization.

    However, what I have directly experienced is having my personal monetization efforts (on my sites, not my blog) knocked down by someone who could do nothing more than say "you use adsense, will you remove it"...without realising that we are talking about bloggers credibility and integrity with regards to PPP, not my white hat websites...

  11. It's just plain simple expectations. Some people expect blogs to be just personal writings without any hint of monetary uses, while others expect blogs to at least provide relevant, useful content despite the ads.

    Good thing they're only posting opinions. But goodness, what opinions!

  12. supermom_in_ny says

    I have to say...I love this article. It is very thorough and demonstrates the hypocrisy of the A-listers.

    In the end, I fear that their anxiety about PayPerPost boils down to one thing:
    The Benjamins!

  13. Well I've got another good one for you then... 😉


  14. Great great post! I have nothing to add, just wanted to give you props.

  15. This really is a great article and provides a very valid view of the PPP option. I can certainly understand why some people would jump on the opportunity. I tried another PPP group some time back just so I could write a review on it. I made a quick $200 in two days - it was great.

    It's been some time back, so perhaps PPP groups have gained a better reputation since then.

    I'll be open minded and give it a fresh new chance and a brand new review.

    I'll be sure to enlist under you Lynn - and let you know my honest opinion from the inside of this one.

    The other one made me feel like a blogging poll dancer in Indy on race weekend.

  16. I look forward to seeing you 'on the inside' and hearing your thoughts about it! 😉

Get My Internet Business & Smart Marketing Diaries - Free!