There has been a discussion going on for some time now as to whether or not it is proper for bloggers and social network members should be paid by either 3rd parties or the owners of the networks.
This first really came to a head when Jason Calacanis over at the revamped Netscape.com raided digg.com for its top posters with what basically amounted to a job offer – come post for us and get paid for your time (you can read more about this here, here, here and here).
This was followed shortly with multiple discussions concerning the paying of bloggers to be nothing more than advertising hacks by companies like PayPerPost.com (here and here) and newcomer reviewME.com; which set to go live within a month – and is owned by Text-Link-Ads.com – Disclaimer: I am currently trying to use their ad service but I will never use this new offering from them.
Then I find out the other day that preCharge Forums; a division of preCharge Risk Management Solutions, is paying folks to post in their forum network – this came from a close RL friend of mine who is a admin of the forums.
Is this really any different than those of us that try an eek out some extra cash by joining an advertising network and place their ads on our blog pages?
The Netscape model I have no real problem with; after all the A-List bloggers have for the longest time tried to get across the idea that blogging can be a profession equal to that of a reporter for a mainstream media outlet. If this is really the case then why shouldn’t folks that want to earn a living doing this take up Netscape’s offer.
However the Netscape model is primarily trying; from what I can tell anyway, to situate themselves as an authoritative site of news and information within the blogsphere and paying good money to do so.
The problem with that though is that neither Netscape, digg or others like them are originators of original content. They really are no different than the old link exchanges that were all the rage at one time. So paying someone to do nothing more than post links on the hope of bringing in ad revenue from the incoming traffic seems just a little more than stupid; not to mention it lowers the general surfer opinion of what true blogging is.
It would be different if they were producing original content and increasing the value of the blogsphere; not that the blogging world doesn’t have its own problems with sites ripping off content and passing it as their own along with massive blocks of Google AdSense.
If original content is important to a blogs reputation how valid is that content when you are being paid to post it? What is the difference between being paid via the sidebar ads from ad networks and being paid by an company to write about a product?
Some will say nothing really as long as you have a disclaimer stating that the content is really a paid for advertisement – after all the mainstream media has been doing the same thing forever. Not to mention the number of sites out there that craft their AdSense to look like part of a post.
To me there is a big difference; with or without a disclaimer, and it has to do with the integrity and reputation that you want to represent within your blog. After all if you are nothing more than a paid shill what honest value does your opinions bring to the table – none!
With the sidebar ads; that are clearly marked as advertising, you are clearly stating that this is an income producing blog but not to the point that the content is being over shadowed. Sure I would love nothing more than not having to worry about whether the ads are working, or that they are in step with the blog content, or that I’m not over doing it and irritating my reader(s) .
But I’m not a rich man; nor am I an A-List blogger who can make a six figure living from writing. I am just a old fart that likes to express his opinion and pass along what I think is interesting news and information. However this does cost money so I am left looking at all my alternatives to try and make a few dollars to cover cost and maybe take the wife out to dinner once in awhile.
The question is though – does my current and future reputation have a price sticker on it?
I would hope not as I know I will never go the route of PayPerPost.com; I would close down first, and as tempting as it might be to take a Netscape job I would get bored before they sent the first paycheck.
So I guess that means you’ll have to put up with sidebar ads and I’ll be able to keep on writing original content for my reader(s) with no-one looking over my shoulder.
There will be no price stickers on my content
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