If you don’t disclose you’re being paid to blog, you’re gonna create a mess, like Edelman and Walmart did. That’s why I don’t like PayPerPost (which sponsored part of the conference yesterday). I don’t mind PayPerPost on the face of it. As long as you disclose you’re being paid, your integrity is intact. The problem is that PayPerPost doesn’t ask its bloggers to disclose the fact that they are getting paid to blog (I talked yesterday with one blogger who is using PayPerPost and says he doesn’t always disclose that fact).
That said, bloggers are selling out too cheap. What PayPerPost is really about is getting better search engine ranking. SEO firms used to charge thousands of dollars to do what bloggers are now doing for $5 to $20 per post. I think PayPerPost is brilliant, actually, as long as Google/Yahoo/Microsoft don’t change their rankings to punish PayPerPost advertisers.
If I were running a search engine I’d actually come out and say “we’re gonna remove any advertiser on PayPerPost from our listings.” Why? Cause any engine that doesn’t allow organized buying into the organic search results that way is going to get good feelings from me. Companies should be forced to buy advertising if they don’t want to do the hard work of actually earning a link and/or coverage.
The nice thing is that when the corrosive effect of money comes into the blogosphere and isn’t disclosed it’ll earn a direct blowback just like is on TechMeme today.