Some blogging issues have been on my mind since Stuart Robinson called our attention to As the Garden Grows. Although he lists that blogger as one to watch, he disapproves of her use of Pay Per Post, saying, "It’s not that I’m against sponsored posts but she whores her garden blog to topics about PayDay Loans, Coupons, vaccuum cleaners."
Well, that got my attention and sure enough, potential advertisers are urged to "Hire Me" for a minimum of $30 per post, plus a 10 percent service fee. (That seemed awfully cheap until I read on the Pay Per Post site that bloggers will promote products for a mere $5!) She also uses the services of Payu2blog.com.
Honestly, I’m a little shocked by all this, especially since Stuart writes that "hundreds" of garden bloggers are doing this now. Can that be true? Because the kind of blog I’d imagine taking pay for content would be more like this one featured by Pay Per Post.com as their Blog of the Day. You know, a blog that’s not working too hard to establish credibility. But readers, what do you guys think of this new development among us?
And I have a question for Stuart: Does this practice only bother you when it’s off-topic? I almost have the opposite reaction – that at least if it’s off-topic the pay-for-content nature of the article is obvious. It’s when gardenbloggers write about gardening that the motivation for the article isn’t clear, and that’s something I really want to know. In print, at least in reputable publications, there’s the disclaimer "Advertisement" or "Advertorial" at the top, disclaimers that should be in larger print if you ask me. When I see one I stop reading because I have no interest in advertising copy. So shouldn’t online articles carry similar warnings?
Speaking of going off-topic, I was recently offered "$260 immediately via PayPal" to install links to 5 different products on the home page of my Sustainable Gardening site. It took lots more emails to finally determine exactly what the advertisers would be selling and the answer is: INSURANCE. Remember, the links would have to be on my home page, so readers would see immediately that I’ve whored myself, as Stuart would say. I took a pass on that offer but was interested enough ($260 immediately!) to worry that trying to make money on the Wild Wild Web is a slippery, slippery slope.