PayPerPost Pays Bloggers To Be Shills


John Fine of Businessweek reports today on the launch of PayPerPost, which describes itself to advertisers as:

an automated system that allows you to promote your Web site, product, service or company through the PayPerPost network of bloggers. Advertise on blogs to create buzz, build traffic, gain link backs for search engine ranking, syndicate content and much more. You provide the topic, our network of bloggers create the stories and post them on their individual blogs.

PayPerPost concurrently pitches itself to bloggers: 

Get Paid to Blog. You’ve been writing about Web sites, products, services and companies you love for years and you have yet to benefit from all the sales and traffic you have helped generate. That’s about to change. With PayPerPost™ advertisers are willing to pay you to post on topics. Search through a list of topics, make a blog posting, get your content approved, and get paid. It’s that simple.

It seems that PayPerPost’s policy of disclosure of paid endorsement by bloggers and advertisers is optional, and that’s a MAJOR problem. Moreover, the company’s use of the word "advertise" is misleading. Advertising is paid media placement, whereby the sponsor’s presence is notated as just that: paid. There are national laws around that, let alone expected standards of trust in our society. PayPerPost’s practice appears to be only pay for endorsement, not advertising at all. My colleague Pete Blackshaw provides an excellent analysis around this issue here.

As for PayPerPost’s viability, I bet its survival will depend on a swift, loud and robust policy of disclosure, similar to BzzAgent. If it doesn’t, my optimistic outlook is that the social mediasphere will do what it often does so well: rally and stampede the perpetrator. The stampede actually could be underway, as demonstrated in this Blogpulse conversation tracker here, and this blog citation chart here. After PayPerPost, the blogosphere should direct its attention to Green Tentacle.

By the way, I work for a company that measures and analyzes the social mediasphere, and this opinion is my own, and I was not paid to post it.

Published by Max Kalehoff

Father, sailor and marketing executive.

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