Gaming Google

Ahh, PayPerPost gathers $3 million from the VCs. I see a lot of heat and fury on the blogs and on Digg about this, but I don’t see anyone asking “why?”

Why would any advertiser pay for a post this way?

It can’t be for the credibility that bloggers have. As someone said over on Digg: “when did bloggers have credibility anyway?” Certainly not when they post something and take money for it and don’t disclose it. And, if they are disclosing that they are pimping their posts for cash, doesn’t their credibility go out the window?

I had dinner with Leo Laporte last week and we talked about just this. He listed to me a whole raft of things he wouldn’t do for money. Why? He values his listeners and readers as more important than any money he’d make. Certainly he’d never take money for advertising without disclosing that he (or others in his network) are getting paid. I think that’s a great stance to take.

Will PayPerPost lead directly to sales? Now that the blogosphere is being bought off, I sure won’t buy something just based on one blogger the way I might have if, say, Dave Winer said he liked a product. I know Dave isn’t bought off, though, so will probably still listen to him when he finds a killer product. I don’t think PayPerPost will lead to many direct sales. I might be wrong, but if I were an advertiser that isn’t why I would be paying bloggers to post.

So, why do it? If I still ran a camera store in Silicon Valley, here’s why I’d pay bloggers to post about my camera store: to game Google.

See, the more inbound links I can get from bloggers, the higher on Google I will go.

But, here’s the rub. If this starts effecting the relevancy of Google (and it will, especially now that there’s some serious money) Google will find a way to remove those listings from the index (or devalue them). So, will PayPerPost advertisers get their money’s worth?

For the record, if I ever take money from anyone for anything I will disclose it on my blog (like, my ScobleShow is sponsored by Seagate). At PodTech if we take money to make a post it goes on the Corporate Channel.

I should disclose that Seagate is giving Podtech and me a serious pile of money (far more than I could make over on PayPerPost) and they haven’t asked me to do anything that I wouldn’t disclose, and disclose fully. That’s the kind of advertiser I like. But then they aren’t trying to game Google either through my sponsorship. In fact, they haven’t even asked me to blog anything about them. Which, makes me want to blog about them even more.

62 thoughts on “Gaming Google

  1. I agree that disclosure of sponsorship helps the reader . Money is a powerful influence and when someone is getting more remuneration from promoting one product versus another, the temptation is to portray the more lucrative product in a more positive light.

    Even with hard facts, everything has two sides and you can distort someone’s perception of a product depending on what you focus on.

  2. I agree that disclosure of sponsorship helps the reader . Money is a powerful influence and when someone is getting more remuneration from promoting one product versus another, the temptation is to portray the more lucrative product in a more positive light.

    Even with hard facts, everything has two sides and you can distort someone’s perception of a product depending on what you focus on.

  3. Kamal: awesome analysis of the win-win-win PPP is developing. Admittedly they are young, but they see the mix as you do (with maybe different %) — PPP must deliver value to publishers, audiences and advertisers. In researching the business, I found at least the following benefits for each:
    - Publisher: diverse blog topic ideas, exposure to new businesses, money for the hear and now, money as an incentive for more disciplined blogging, a vibrant blogger community (the posties) that shares best practices
    - Audiences: diverse blog topic ideas, a long-term blog improvement as publishers learn best practices and have incentive to get better, better aesthetics as publishers no longer need banners/skycrapers/AdSense to fund their blogging “habit”
    - Advertisers: branding, direct marketing and some search engine benefit, efficiency versus trying to gain these benefits via blogs manually, product feedback from unhappy customers and public conversations with their happiest customers

    The internet as a whole is the one that will benefit the most as a CGM revenue model drives more people to blog/photo/video/cast (unless you don’t believe everyone is worthy of contributing), bringing more knowledge, experiences, perspectives and opinions to the world at large. That “change the world” stuff is how paid-search enabled all the other amazing free things Google/Yahoo/MSN provide — it could happen with PPP’s Consumer Generated Advertising as well…

    Josh: how’s it going big guy! I love the example Stowe provides because it proves that point that bloggers are in control — choosing the opps they feel fit their style/tone/ethics, including ones that cover their expenses without requiring any specific opinion. I’m seeing a lot of bloggers “test” PPP on that front to see if they really get paid for sharing true opinions — and realizing it’s the real deal. PPP is an open marketplace giving bloggers that control and blogger/advertiser ranking to encourage quality over shilling — not a governmental hammer defining what is right or wrong in the blogosphere.

    I can see a definite improvement in tone since PPP’s initial launch — including people actually trying and sharing results before forming extreme opinions. I know PPP is listening and appreciates continued input to make their CGA marketplace a long-term win-win-win. Great commentary all around!

  4. Kamal: awesome analysis of the win-win-win PPP is developing. Admittedly they are young, but they see the mix as you do (with maybe different %) — PPP must deliver value to publishers, audiences and advertisers. In researching the business, I found at least the following benefits for each:
    - Publisher: diverse blog topic ideas, exposure to new businesses, money for the hear and now, money as an incentive for more disciplined blogging, a vibrant blogger community (the posties) that shares best practices
    - Audiences: diverse blog topic ideas, a long-term blog improvement as publishers learn best practices and have incentive to get better, better aesthetics as publishers no longer need banners/skycrapers/AdSense to fund their blogging “habit”
    - Advertisers: branding, direct marketing and some search engine benefit, efficiency versus trying to gain these benefits via blogs manually, product feedback from unhappy customers and public conversations with their happiest customers

    The internet as a whole is the one that will benefit the most as a CGM revenue model drives more people to blog/photo/video/cast (unless you don’t believe everyone is worthy of contributing), bringing more knowledge, experiences, perspectives and opinions to the world at large. That “change the world” stuff is how paid-search enabled all the other amazing free things Google/Yahoo/MSN provide — it could happen with PPP’s Consumer Generated Advertising as well…

    Josh: how’s it going big guy! I love the example Stowe provides because it proves that point that bloggers are in control — choosing the opps they feel fit their style/tone/ethics, including ones that cover their expenses without requiring any specific opinion. I’m seeing a lot of bloggers “test” PPP on that front to see if they really get paid for sharing true opinions — and realizing it’s the real deal. PPP is an open marketplace giving bloggers that control and blogger/advertiser ranking to encourage quality over shilling — not a governmental hammer defining what is right or wrong in the blogosphere.

    I can see a definite improvement in tone since PPP’s initial launch — including people actually trying and sharing results before forming extreme opinions. I know PPP is listening and appreciates continued input to make their CGA marketplace a long-term win-win-win. Great commentary all around!

  5. Scoble, while you can try to be a noble as you want regarding your advertisers, at the end of the day if they are satisfied with the results they will ask for satisfaction. Last I checked, Seagate is not a 501-c3. So, they want a return on all that money they’ve given you. So, don’t pretend you don’t have a master.

  6. Scoble, while you can try to be a noble as you want regarding your advertisers, at the end of the day if they are satisfied with the results they will ask for satisfaction. Last I checked, Seagate is not a 501-c3. So, they want a return on all that money they’ve given you. So, don’t pretend you don’t have a master.

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