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. “In fact, they haven’t even asked me to blog anything about them. Which, makes me want to blog about them even more.”

    Robert, a word of advice:

    Don’t.

    Although you’re in a startup, please think along the lines of a ‘Chinese Wall’ between reporting and advertising. Ideally, you wouldn’t even know who the advertisers are, but I know that’s unrealistic.

    Ironically, that kind of separation is one of the advantages that using an ad-network gives you.

  2. “In fact, they haven’t even asked me to blog anything about them. Which, makes me want to blog about them even more.”

    Robert, a word of advice:

    Don’t.

    Although you’re in a startup, please think along the lines of a ‘Chinese Wall’ between reporting and advertising. Ideally, you wouldn’t even know who the advertisers are, but I know that’s unrealistic.

    Ironically, that kind of separation is one of the advantages that using an ad-network gives you.

  3. Robert, I checked the payperpost.com today. I have to agree with you on a lot.

    They have a badly designed mechanism. I think they need a creative game-theorist in their team. Sooner than later.

    Their mechanism is designed keeping only the advertiser interest in mind. It is natural that serious bloggers would resist their system, at least initially.

    I think the idea of payperpost seems as crazy as initial idea of GoTo, that is pay for being recommended by a search engine as a relevant website on a user query, a.k.a. payperclick. There is a fine line between crazyness and super creativity. Now we all know payperclick could create a $125B company.

    Do not underestimate the importance of the game-theoretic mechanism. A mechanism describes how the interaction between the economic interests of various agents create value for each other. GoTo, which later became Overture and now owned by Yahoo, originally had the $125B idea, but then besides having many other execution problems, GoTo’s auction mechanism ignored the interest of one very important set of entities, and i.e., search users. GoTo acted as a weaker competition to Google and helped Google to create $125B(this satisfies myth #10 in the post recently linked by you in “10 geek business myths”.)

    Now there are three entities for payperpost system too. Advertisers, bloggers and the readers. payperpost system is pimping only the advertisers. What a game-theorsit would do is to realize that the value proposition for all three sides must be analyzed. Payperpost must figure out how this system benefits the end readers. I think that will already be 50% of the job. Next they need to figure out how it benefit the bloggers — not only monetarily, but also how a blogger could express his/her creative viewpoint freely. This will be another 49% of the job. The last 1% is to figure out how payperpost benefits the advertisers. They have focused on this 1% only, i.e., advertisers. They have ignore the 50%, i.e., end users. Out of the 49% they got only 9% right.

    So all in all, they have only 10% going right. Which is a good number to succeed if they do not get any early competition. Otherwise somebody with 99% correct mechanism would come and beat them in their own game.

    (Disclaimer: The numbers used are for explanation purpose only.)

  4. Robert, I checked the payperpost.com today. I have to agree with you on a lot.

    They have a badly designed mechanism. I think they need a creative game-theorist in their team. Sooner than later.

    Their mechanism is designed keeping only the advertiser interest in mind. It is natural that serious bloggers would resist their system, at least initially.

    I think the idea of payperpost seems as crazy as initial idea of GoTo, that is pay for being recommended by a search engine as a relevant website on a user query, a.k.a. payperclick. There is a fine line between crazyness and super creativity. Now we all know payperclick could create a $125B company.

    Do not underestimate the importance of the game-theoretic mechanism. A mechanism describes how the interaction between the economic interests of various agents create value for each other. GoTo, which later became Overture and now owned by Yahoo, originally had the $125B idea, but then besides having many other execution problems, GoTo’s auction mechanism ignored the interest of one very important set of entities, and i.e., search users. GoTo acted as a weaker competition to Google and helped Google to create $125B(this satisfies myth #10 in the post recently linked by you in “10 geek business myths”.)

    Now there are three entities for payperpost system too. Advertisers, bloggers and the readers. payperpost system is pimping only the advertisers. What a game-theorsit would do is to realize that the value proposition for all three sides must be analyzed. Payperpost must figure out how this system benefits the end readers. I think that will already be 50% of the job. Next they need to figure out how it benefit the bloggers — not only monetarily, but also how a blogger could express his/her creative viewpoint freely. This will be another 49% of the job. The last 1% is to figure out how payperpost benefits the advertisers. They have focused on this 1% only, i.e., advertisers. They have ignore the 50%, i.e., end users. Out of the 49% they got only 9% right.

    So all in all, they have only 10% going right. Which is a good number to succeed if they do not get any early competition. Otherwise somebody with 99% correct mechanism would come and beat them in their own game.

    (Disclaimer: The numbers used are for explanation purpose only.)

  5. If gaming Google is usually counteracted, then has textadlinks been effective in gaming google? or have counter-measures been applied.

  6. If gaming Google is usually counteracted, then has textadlinks been effective in gaming google? or have counter-measures been applied.

  7. Robert,

    When Pay Per Post announced its service, I noted that they appear to be marketing the ads for their link value for SEO purposes, which can get you penalized in Google. PPP’s pitch to advertisers notes that they “have the ability to require a dynamic tracking link for determining traffic or a regular link that will help you build search engine ranking.” More at BlogProfit.

  8. Robert,

    When Pay Per Post announced its service, I noted that they appear to be marketing the ads for their link value for SEO purposes, which can get you penalized in Google. PPP’s pitch to advertisers notes that they “have the ability to require a dynamic tracking link for determining traffic or a regular link that will help you build search engine ranking.” More at BlogProfit.

  9. How does Google know what is a “PayPerPost” type recommendation, and what is a “Dave Winer” type recommendation?

    If the bloggers don’t disclose they are being compensated, they how does the search engines know to discount a recommendation from a blog? Some recommendations are good (Like your Dave Winer example). Others are paid.

    If the search engines can’t distinguish this, then how do we keep the non-sponsored blogs from being penalised?

  10. How does Google know what is a “PayPerPost” type recommendation, and what is a “Dave Winer” type recommendation?

    If the bloggers don’t disclose they are being compensated, they how does the search engines know to discount a recommendation from a blog? Some recommendations are good (Like your Dave Winer example). Others are paid.

    If the search engines can’t distinguish this, then how do we keep the non-sponsored blogs from being penalised?

  11. I shall despair of this blogoshphere of being ever preserved from a state of inferiority and consequently falling into a very low class.

    Why we, the most-majestic A-Listers are paid off too and get tons of freebies, but we, yes we, have integrity, we are Class, the Blueblood Royals. Besmirch those evil-commoners playing the same games, how dare they, being the lowly inferiors that they are, they, surely can’t handle it, it shalt but corrupt the system. Grant not these peasants any mite of quarter.

    I cannot conclude without mentioning how sensibly I feel the dismemberment of the blogosphere and that I should be miserable indeed. I did not also know that knavery seems to be so much the striking feature of its inhabitants that it may not in the end be an evil that they will become aliens to themselves.

    (PS – Apologies to George Part 3)

  12. I shall despair of this blogoshphere of being ever preserved from a state of inferiority and consequently falling into a very low class.

    Why we, the most-majestic A-Listers are paid off too and get tons of freebies, but we, yes we, have integrity, we are Class, the Blueblood Royals. Besmirch those evil-commoners playing the same games, how dare they, being the lowly inferiors that they are, they, surely can’t handle it, it shalt but corrupt the system. Grant not these peasants any mite of quarter.

    I cannot conclude without mentioning how sensibly I feel the dismemberment of the blogosphere and that I should be miserable indeed. I did not also know that knavery seems to be so much the striking feature of its inhabitants that it may not in the end be an evil that they will become aliens to themselves.

    (PS – Apologies to George Part 3)

  13. Come on Robert. You did not explicitly said “only”. But that’s what your post imply. You said these payperpost posts won’t lead to sale but as an advertiser you would pay because it games the google pagerank system.

    My point is, organically itself, payperpost system, if executed properly has a lot of value. Companies essentially employing bloggers, who could bring out many more angles to think about a product positively that the company itself could think about.

    Every company wants to know how the common people are viewing their product. What could be a better way to position the product than employing those common people to position it? These people will find out the reasons, and give each of them proper weightage, for people to buy the products.

    For an example, how important it is for the people for Zune to have wi-fi. I published a paper about it at the beginning of this year. But it is various blogs and forums which give the feature its proper weightage?
    These blogs talk about what Zune is. But they also talk about what Zune could be. For common folks, in the very beginning, i.e., the first person who walks out with a Zune has not much use of wi-fi. But these blogs explain to folks that if Zune crosses the critical mass then this feature could be highly valuable. It is a chicken and egg problem for this feature. If this feature picks up then it attracts a lot more users because of its network effect. But for it to succeed a lot more people must be attracted first.

    An advertisement campaign can’t easily solve this chicken and egg problem. It requires a ton of people on various blogs and forums. It requires people to start talking about it. It requires a networking effect in marketing itself which to Zune team credit, has done quite beautifully. But payperpost system may allow other companies, who may have less creative minds than what Zune team has, to employ the same network marketing strategy through small payments.

  14. Come on Robert. You did not explicitly said “only”. But that’s what your post imply. You said these payperpost posts won’t lead to sale but as an advertiser you would pay because it games the google pagerank system.

    My point is, organically itself, payperpost system, if executed properly has a lot of value. Companies essentially employing bloggers, who could bring out many more angles to think about a product positively that the company itself could think about.

    Every company wants to know how the common people are viewing their product. What could be a better way to position the product than employing those common people to position it? These people will find out the reasons, and give each of them proper weightage, for people to buy the products.

    For an example, how important it is for the people for Zune to have wi-fi. I published a paper about it at the beginning of this year. But it is various blogs and forums which give the feature its proper weightage?
    These blogs talk about what Zune is. But they also talk about what Zune could be. For common folks, in the very beginning, i.e., the first person who walks out with a Zune has not much use of wi-fi. But these blogs explain to folks that if Zune crosses the critical mass then this feature could be highly valuable. It is a chicken and egg problem for this feature. If this feature picks up then it attracts a lot more users because of its network effect. But for it to succeed a lot more people must be attracted first.

    An advertisement campaign can’t easily solve this chicken and egg problem. It requires a ton of people on various blogs and forums. It requires people to start talking about it. It requires a networking effect in marketing itself which to Zune team credit, has done quite beautifully. But payperpost system may allow other companies, who may have less creative minds than what Zune team has, to employ the same network marketing strategy through small payments.

  15. A hard and fast PPP rule is this: You cannot post more than three PPP items per day and you may not post consecutive PPP posts. The whole point of the exercise is to blog about stuff that’s relevant to your blog and to your readers in context.

    Here’s an example: I am in the market for a new lens for my Nikon D70. The folks who read my blog like my pictures. They hope I’ll take more; at least, that’s what they tell me. I want to take more and I want to be more creative. So I’m evaluating lenses.

    PPP has an opportunity for me to link up with a place I’m actually already USING to evaluate lenses. So I’ll get a few bucks for linking up in my blog post about lens choices — a post I probably would’ve written anyway.

    Honestly, I’m far more annoyed by the stinkin’ splogs and spammers who waste my time every day with their crap than I am at the possibility of reading a friends’ blog post that links me to something interesting where they were paid a small amount to do it.

    For me — using PPP means that I have a way to earn the money to get that lens. I’ve got a kid aiming at college next year, so camera lenses are not top on the list of budget items. That’s the point of doing it and that was disclosed before I wrote my first post.

  16. A hard and fast PPP rule is this: You cannot post more than three PPP items per day and you may not post consecutive PPP posts. The whole point of the exercise is to blog about stuff that’s relevant to your blog and to your readers in context.

    Here’s an example: I am in the market for a new lens for my Nikon D70. The folks who read my blog like my pictures. They hope I’ll take more; at least, that’s what they tell me. I want to take more and I want to be more creative. So I’m evaluating lenses.

    PPP has an opportunity for me to link up with a place I’m actually already USING to evaluate lenses. So I’ll get a few bucks for linking up in my blog post about lens choices — a post I probably would’ve written anyway.

    Honestly, I’m far more annoyed by the stinkin’ splogs and spammers who waste my time every day with their crap than I am at the possibility of reading a friends’ blog post that links me to something interesting where they were paid a small amount to do it.

    For me — using PPP means that I have a way to earn the money to get that lens. I’ve got a kid aiming at college next year, so camera lenses are not top on the list of budget items. That’s the point of doing it and that was disclosed before I wrote my first post.

  17. >>I was trying to refute your point that “payperpost” is good for only gaming google.

    I didn’t say “only.” But it sure is a biggie. If I were an advertiser the increased Google Juice alone would be worth paying $2.50 to $5 for. Do you have any idea how many companies pay for SEO? Major dollars. Just go to a Search Engine Watch conference and see the bucks being through around there. It’s huge. That’s why these guys got venture funding.

  18. >>I was trying to refute your point that “payperpost” is good for only gaming google.

    I didn’t say “only.” But it sure is a biggie. If I were an advertiser the increased Google Juice alone would be worth paying $2.50 to $5 for. Do you have any idea how many companies pay for SEO? Major dollars. Just go to a Search Engine Watch conference and see the bucks being through around there. It’s huge. That’s why these guys got venture funding.

  19. Drums: I hear there is no requirement you must disclose to get payment. I doubt everyone will disclose the way you do. And, if I were just blogging for the money, I’d do just a blog of just PayPerPost items — which would help all of their Google rank (not everyone is only gonna blog stuff they care about, there are a lot of capitalists out there who’ll blog anything as long as they get paid). I can bang out a post in a minute or two. So, $2.50 can come up to a decent hourly wage if you type fast.

  20. Drums: I hear there is no requirement you must disclose to get payment. I doubt everyone will disclose the way you do. And, if I were just blogging for the money, I’d do just a blog of just PayPerPost items — which would help all of their Google rank (not everyone is only gonna blog stuff they care about, there are a lot of capitalists out there who’ll blog anything as long as they get paid). I can bang out a post in a minute or two. So, $2.50 can come up to a decent hourly wage if you type fast.

  21. I am in agreement with you about a lot of things, but on this, we differ.

    First, why do you assume nondisclosure? I disclosed what I wrote for payperpost and it was fine. I even tag those posts with payperpost.

    Second, how do you figure I’m being bought off? I go through a list, decide what I will write about and write it with my voice, my own opinion and my own take on it.

    I wrote reviews of Google Calendar, PBWiki, Flock, and others the same way. My voice is no different on the PPP posts as it was on those.

    You are thinking as an A-list blogger. I’m a little piddly-assed-not-even-a-drop-in-the-bucket-of-life blogger. Even so, $2.50 is hardly enough to convince me to write a favorable opinion of something I hate. On the other hand, $2.50 is definitely more than any of the sites named above gave me for my goodwill.

    Think of this in different terms. This is not Google-gaming any more than you google-game with SEO efforts. How is this different than any of the sites that get the cool newest gadgets to play with and review? Hey — If someone sent me fun gadgets to blog about I’d certainly blog about them, but I wouldn’t change what I wrote because they sent them to me.

    Don’t be so quick to assume that we’re sheep who can be purchased for $5/head.

  22. I am in agreement with you about a lot of things, but on this, we differ.

    First, why do you assume nondisclosure? I disclosed what I wrote for payperpost and it was fine. I even tag those posts with payperpost.

    Second, how do you figure I’m being bought off? I go through a list, decide what I will write about and write it with my voice, my own opinion and my own take on it.

    I wrote reviews of Google Calendar, PBWiki, Flock, and others the same way. My voice is no different on the PPP posts as it was on those.

    You are thinking as an A-list blogger. I’m a little piddly-assed-not-even-a-drop-in-the-bucket-of-life blogger. Even so, $2.50 is hardly enough to convince me to write a favorable opinion of something I hate. On the other hand, $2.50 is definitely more than any of the sites named above gave me for my goodwill.

    Think of this in different terms. This is not Google-gaming any more than you google-game with SEO efforts. How is this different than any of the sites that get the cool newest gadgets to play with and review? Hey — If someone sent me fun gadgets to blog about I’d certainly blog about them, but I wouldn’t change what I wrote because they sent them to me.

    Don’t be so quick to assume that we’re sheep who can be purchased for $5/head.

  23. Agreed Robert. A paid opinion is a conflict of interest, which must be made clear to the audience. Even when I write something which may have implication for Microsoft, I try my best to keep in mind to inform the reader that I am one proud Microsoftie.

    I was trying to refute your point that “payperpost” is good for only gaming google.

    Of course an independent opinion is more valuable. But it is quite rare too. Why? Because expressing a well thought out opinion requires skill and effort. In principle, when a company hire researchers to study a product, the company is paying for the labor. Not really for writing praise. The researcher must make clear his/her conflict of interest for the reader to decide whether the opinion is genuine or in hind sight, the researcher has reasons to be more considerate of the sponsor.

    Sometime back, I defined a new area of economic studies. One of the two aspects of it was atomicity or miniaturiazation. Pay per click is one form of miniaturization. Peer 2 peer is another. Pay per song is yet another one.

    Sponship for expressing opnion, which was mainly reserved for researchers and professors, by this miniaturization phenomenon, called “payperpost”, is also available to bloggers. They will be paid for the most atomic unit of their work. If this atomicity due to the huge power of the internet has changed the game at other places, why won’t it change the game here? The idea of payperpost seems reasonable but the execution will tell us how it benefits and extend blogging.

  24. Agreed Robert. A paid opinion is a conflict of interest, which must be made clear to the audience. Even when I write something which may have implication for Microsoft, I try my best to keep in mind to inform the reader that I am one proud Microsoftie.

    I was trying to refute your point that “payperpost” is good for only gaming google.

    Of course an independent opinion is more valuable. But it is quite rare too. Why? Because expressing a well thought out opinion requires skill and effort. In principle, when a company hire researchers to study a product, the company is paying for the labor. Not really for writing praise. The researcher must make clear his/her conflict of interest for the reader to decide whether the opinion is genuine or in hind sight, the researcher has reasons to be more considerate of the sponsor.

    Sometime back, I defined a new area of economic studies. One of the two aspects of it was atomicity or miniaturiazation. Pay per click is one form of miniaturization. Peer 2 peer is another. Pay per song is yet another one.

    Sponship for expressing opnion, which was mainly reserved for researchers and professors, by this miniaturization phenomenon, called “payperpost”, is also available to bloggers. They will be paid for the most atomic unit of their work. If this atomicity due to the huge power of the internet has changed the game at other places, why won’t it change the game here? The idea of payperpost seems reasonable but the execution will tell us how it benefits and extend blogging.

  25. Kamal: >>Companies even hire researchers to study a topic and give opinion for an example on the total cost of ownership.

    Yes, and that’s a great example. Doesn’t it make the research less interesting/credible/authoritative when you find out that Microsoft sponsored a study that found that, say, Linux sucks? It does it my mind. Anyone who uses that research without looking at other sources seems unprofessional in my mind (and willing to get ripped off).

    On the other hand, if they are upfront that Microsoft or other companies sponsored that research, then I can use it as ONE of my many sources because I know the bias implied therein. I really hate it when I find out after publishing that something is potntially biased by a payment. If they are up front with me, then it’s fine, in my mind.

  26. Kamal: >>Companies even hire researchers to study a topic and give opinion for an example on the total cost of ownership.

    Yes, and that’s a great example. Doesn’t it make the research less interesting/credible/authoritative when you find out that Microsoft sponsored a study that found that, say, Linux sucks? It does it my mind. Anyone who uses that research without looking at other sources seems unprofessional in my mind (and willing to get ripped off).

    On the other hand, if they are upfront that Microsoft or other companies sponsored that research, then I can use it as ONE of my many sources because I know the bias implied therein. I really hate it when I find out after publishing that something is potntially biased by a payment. If they are up front with me, then it’s fine, in my mind.

  27. LayZ: >>Wait, wouldn’t this go against your meme that more corporations should blog?

    No. Cause if I go to a Sun Microsystems’ blog, that’s exactly what I’m expecting to see there.

    But if I go to, say, a personal blog, that’s different. It comes back to integrity. Is the blog what it appears to be.

    >Does this also mean will never see PodTech blog on the PodTech site, updated by PodTech employees that are being paid to blog?

    No, when you come here you know I’m an employee of PodTech. So, if I write about PodTech, my blog has integrity. It is what it appears to be. And I disclose that, so you know that if I write something nice about PodTech it might be because I really believe that, or it might be because I’m getting a paycheck there too.

    >So, if a corporation is paying an employee to blog (cough cough) does this mean you will no longer patronize them?

    No, that’s not what I said. It makes sense that you’d misrepresent what I did say that way, though, based on your past writings here. But, what I did say is that if an employee is paid to blog and DOES NOT DISCLOSE that fact, then, yes, I will no longer patronize them.

  28. LayZ: >>Wait, wouldn’t this go against your meme that more corporations should blog?

    No. Cause if I go to a Sun Microsystems’ blog, that’s exactly what I’m expecting to see there.

    But if I go to, say, a personal blog, that’s different. It comes back to integrity. Is the blog what it appears to be.

    >Does this also mean will never see PodTech blog on the PodTech site, updated by PodTech employees that are being paid to blog?

    No, when you come here you know I’m an employee of PodTech. So, if I write about PodTech, my blog has integrity. It is what it appears to be. And I disclose that, so you know that if I write something nice about PodTech it might be because I really believe that, or it might be because I’m getting a paycheck there too.

    >So, if a corporation is paying an employee to blog (cough cough) does this mean you will no longer patronize them?

    No, that’s not what I said. It makes sense that you’d misrepresent what I did say that way, though, based on your past writings here. But, what I did say is that if an employee is paid to blog and DOES NOT DISCLOSE that fact, then, yes, I will no longer patronize them.

  29. >Of course bloggers have credibility. Afterall, they are journalists, right?

    Bloggers aren’t journalists. They CAN be journalists. But, they are two sets of people, some of whom overlap. And even then, it varies from post to post.

    If I see a building burning out my Window and I report that, I’m a journalist. If I just say “Podtech sucks” then I’m giving my opinion. That makes me an opinion writer, but not a journalist. Got it? Why do you keep bringing this up?

  30. >Of course bloggers have credibility. Afterall, they are journalists, right?

    Bloggers aren’t journalists. They CAN be journalists. But, they are two sets of people, some of whom overlap. And even then, it varies from post to post.

    If I see a building burning out my Window and I report that, I’m a journalist. If I just say “Podtech sucks” then I’m giving my opinion. That makes me an opinion writer, but not a journalist. Got it? Why do you keep bringing this up?

  31. How does one “loose” points? I understand you can LOSE points. I don’t understand how you can LOOSE points.

  32. Companies even hire researchers to study a topic and give opinion for an example on the total cost of ownership. The key is that these researchers even though take money have some objective measures to support the underline claims. These claims help the companies to sell their product.

    Sometimes researchers themselves study a topic out of interest.

    Now, each blogger has an opinion. Suppose, Robert, you have an opinion on a product called called “payperpost”. Then you may put some of your IQ on use before making a post on this product. You may also try to keep yourself updated by reading about the product, otherwise you won’t be able to justify your opinion. Well, in this case you turned out to be a researcher of later kind.

    But reseachers of former kinds are commercially quite useful too. Even though their post is sponsored by the company, still they could make an objective judgment. This judgment could help the company sell its products.

    By objective judgment I do not mean unbiased judgment. But a judgment which is supported by an argument. An advertisement does not do that. An advertisement could say Zune beats iPod (or the otherway round if you prefer). But an objective judgement will say Zune beats iPod because of X,Y,Z reasons.

  33. Companies even hire researchers to study a topic and give opinion for an example on the total cost of ownership. The key is that these researchers even though take money have some objective measures to support the underline claims. These claims help the companies to sell their product.

    Sometimes researchers themselves study a topic out of interest.

    Now, each blogger has an opinion. Suppose, Robert, you have an opinion on a product called called “payperpost”. Then you may put some of your IQ on use before making a post on this product. You may also try to keep yourself updated by reading about the product, otherwise you won’t be able to justify your opinion. Well, in this case you turned out to be a researcher of later kind.

    But reseachers of former kinds are commercially quite useful too. Even though their post is sponsored by the company, still they could make an objective judgment. This judgment could help the company sell its products.

    By objective judgment I do not mean unbiased judgment. But a judgment which is supported by an argument. An advertisement does not do that. An advertisement could say Zune beats iPod (or the otherway round if you prefer). But an objective judgement will say Zune beats iPod because of X,Y,Z reasons.

  34. How does one “loose” points? I understand you can LOSE points. I don’t understand how you can LOOSE points.

  35. “Now that the blogosphere is being bought off, I sure won’t buy something just based on one blogger”

    Wait, wouldn’t this go against your meme that more corporations should blog? So, if a corporation is paying an employee to blog (cough cough) does this mean you will no longer patronize them? Essentially the blogger is being “bought off” to blog on behalf of his company.

    Does this also mean will never see PodTech blog on the PodTech site, updated by PodTech employees that are being paid to blog? So, logically would this mean that we should no longer consume content from PodTech since, well, some would be being paid to blog?

  36. “Now that the blogosphere is being bought off, I sure won’t buy something just based on one blogger”

    Wait, wouldn’t this go against your meme that more corporations should blog? So, if a corporation is paying an employee to blog (cough cough) does this mean you will no longer patronize them? Essentially the blogger is being “bought off” to blog on behalf of his company.

    Does this also mean will never see PodTech blog on the PodTech site, updated by PodTech employees that are being paid to blog? So, logically would this mean that we should no longer consume content from PodTech since, well, some would be being paid to blog?

  37. As with many ideas, this seems like a great, hot new idea for gaming Google … a few times. Oh sure, it’ll work, perhaps for a few months, for a few hundreds of sites that go this route.

    It won’t work forever, though.

    There are advertisers out there that would go for this. So it *will* work … just not forever.

  38. As with many ideas, this seems like a great, hot new idea for gaming Google … a few times. Oh sure, it’ll work, perhaps for a few months, for a few hundreds of sites that go this route.

    It won’t work forever, though.

    There are advertisers out there that would go for this. So it *will* work … just not forever.

  39. The problem you are speaking about is integrity. Do you think Brian Williams, editor of NBC Nightly news, doesn’t have to consider sponsored based issues when editing some news items now and then?

    But the key to blogging or reporting is maintaining an open and honest dialogue with your audience. I don’t care if you disclosed your sponsors. If you tell me that you love product X,Y & Z and I take a look at that product and it sucks – you just lost points. If you loose enough points, I’ll take my reading time somewhere else.

    I think it is wonderful to take blogging, podcasting and video-casting to a professional level and actually make money off the technology.

    But Robert, I don’t think disclosure is the answer. The answer is within the blogging technology – verification. If a blogger gets paid for his opinion and his opinion sucks, the rest of the blogging world will pounce on that bad blogger and self police per se the bad opinion. If memory serves me, the blogging world has pounced on you a couple times. But the pouncing has always resulted in a better dialogue and greater information sharing. And you have become a better blogger because of the community!

    The fact that bloggers have the opportunity to actually make money is a positive step for the technology and for the medium as it means mainstream America is taking notice.

  40. The problem you are speaking about is integrity. Do you think Brian Williams, editor of NBC Nightly news, doesn’t have to consider sponsored based issues when editing some news items now and then?

    But the key to blogging or reporting is maintaining an open and honest dialogue with your audience. I don’t care if you disclosed your sponsors. If you tell me that you love product X,Y & Z and I take a look at that product and it sucks – you just lost points. If you loose enough points, I’ll take my reading time somewhere else.

    I think it is wonderful to take blogging, podcasting and video-casting to a professional level and actually make money off the technology.

    But Robert, I don’t think disclosure is the answer. The answer is within the blogging technology – verification. If a blogger gets paid for his opinion and his opinion sucks, the rest of the blogging world will pounce on that bad blogger and self police per se the bad opinion. If memory serves me, the blogging world has pounced on you a couple times. But the pouncing has always resulted in a better dialogue and greater information sharing. And you have become a better blogger because of the community!

    The fact that bloggers have the opportunity to actually make money is a positive step for the technology and for the medium as it means mainstream America is taking notice.

  41. I find that lately, there is a strong debate on blogger’s objectivity, and whether they are biased or not. On a recent analysis I made on my blog about Fon, I was accused of all sorts of things, when I had already disclosed I left Fon as a user when I joined a startup, which could be malinterpreted as a Fon clone (which it will most certainly not be).

    This was made very clear in a post where I stated I would refrain from commenting on Fon’s forums, but that I would continue to blog about it on my own. This is where I draw the line between being objective and being ethical.

    What is an unethical post? In my view, and please correct me if I am wrong, one that launches accusations, criticism or praise for a product, service or person, without backing up them with hard facts. You can be blogging about a competitor, either praising him or being critic, as long as you disclose you are his competitor, and you back up your words with facts. Otherwise, you are just throwing words into the blogosphere, and dragging someone through the mud.

    What is an objective blogger? A utopia. One simply cannot be objective about the topics one feels strongly about. Can Robert Scoble be completely objective about podcasting? I feel not (correct me if I’m wrong, Robert!), but he can certainly be ethical about it. When you publicly congratulated Podshow for their investment round, it showed that while you may not be always objective, you are certainly be ethical. More so with your comments about PayPerPost.

    My opinion on PayPerPost is that it will not work. Only dummies will believe bloggers that have written about a company after being paid to do so (even if they disclose, as you say). I can see ShameYourBlog.com coming up…

    Regards,

    Mike

  42. I find that lately, there is a strong debate on blogger’s objectivity, and whether they are biased or not. On a recent analysis I made on my blog about Fon, I was accused of all sorts of things, when I had already disclosed I left Fon as a user when I joined a startup, which could be malinterpreted as a Fon clone (which it will most certainly not be).

    This was made very clear in a post where I stated I would refrain from commenting on Fon’s forums, but that I would continue to blog about it on my own. This is where I draw the line between being objective and being ethical.

    What is an unethical post? In my view, and please correct me if I am wrong, one that launches accusations, criticism or praise for a product, service or person, without backing up them with hard facts. You can be blogging about a competitor, either praising him or being critic, as long as you disclose you are his competitor, and you back up your words with facts. Otherwise, you are just throwing words into the blogosphere, and dragging someone through the mud.

    What is an objective blogger? A utopia. One simply cannot be objective about the topics one feels strongly about. Can Robert Scoble be completely objective about podcasting? I feel not (correct me if I’m wrong, Robert!), but he can certainly be ethical about it. When you publicly congratulated Podshow for their investment round, it showed that while you may not be always objective, you are certainly be ethical. More so with your comments about PayPerPost.

    My opinion on PayPerPost is that it will not work. Only dummies will believe bloggers that have written about a company after being paid to do so (even if they disclose, as you say). I can see ShameYourBlog.com coming up…

    Regards,

    Mike

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