By: David Polinchock
You just have to love this! And what do you think companies will be lining up to sponsor this crap? PayPerPost.com systematically enables marketers to pay consumers for writing positive comments about products in blogs. Folks, seriously, if this is the best you can do, you're in serious trouble! This isn't anything new. If you pay someone to say nice things about you, it's advertising, pure & simple. Yet, because it's about blogs, one of advertisings latest darlings, it gets press and I bet he got a bunch of calls when the article came out.
For all of the talk about how it's about creating a relationship with the audience, why doesn't anyone ever look at stuff like this and just say "Lying is never a good way to start a relationship with my audience." And, you're not building buzz if you paying people to write about you. That's just paid placement and folks, we've been doing that a loooong time! The key here is whether or not it's transparent. If I know it's a shill, then I'm usually pretty cool with it. But if you're pretending or not telling me, then that's when the trouble starts.
One of the things that really worries me about stuff like this is how quickly the advertising industry likes to kill new things by turning them into advertising vehicles. When are we going to realize how much we turn people off with our constant barrage of stuff? I think that we're starting to see some reaction to the over-messaging on places like myspace and when youtube starts running a 15-second commercial before every video -- as you know they're going to do -- what do you want to bet that their traffic will fall off considerably.
I've been re-reading Pattern Recognition: by William Gibson and there's a character in the book who makes her living talking to people about products. I shudder to think that we're creating a world where my daughter might not ever know if someone is talking to her because of her or just to shill her a product.
Maybe I'll be proven wrong with this one and it'll be hot this week and forgotten next. We can only hope!
Over the course of one month, Lynn Terry watched her PayPal account balloon to nearly $500 for simply blogging.
"It's the easiest money I've ever made," Ms. Terry said. But to earn it, she couldn't just write about her life as a single mother of two living in Tennessee. She had to essentially shill for advertisers, from Epson inkjet printers to the software product Camtasia.
In that month, Ms. Terry took 55 "opps" (opportunities) for an average of $8 each via the website PayPerPost.com, defined by its 30-year-old founder and CEO, Ted Murphy, as the "consumer-generated advertising network." By Ms. Terry's math, if she expanded to five active blogs and took the maximum three opps per day, her monthly take would jump to nearly $3,600, or $43,200 a year. "That's a full-time income," she added enthusiastically.
Thankfully, Ad Age also includes the other side of the coin in their article too:
"This could undermine the entire social fabric of social networks," said Patrick Rooney, president of Expand Communications, a word-of-mouth-marketing firm in Chicago, whose clients include Sony Ericsson and Sergeant's Pet Care Products. "While people are reading blogs, will they begin to question the truth about what is written?" Mr. Rooney plans to advise his clients against using PayPerPost. "Paying for reviews will certainly come back to bite you in the butt because it will get out that you did."