Just ran across two items on this light-posting Friday. Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington is reporting on the spread of the cancer called pay-to-post with two new schemes emerging — one from a sponsor of Techcrunch. As I’ve noted before, my outrage with this concept is totally focused on one issue: The deception involved in not disclosing one is receiving payment for content that appears within the editorial well of a weblog (edit well may not be a blog term, but I’m referring to that part of a blog that is the central flow of posts). Mike seems also to be bothered with the requirement by some of the schemes that posts be positive before they are rewarded. My stance on that: If the payment is not disclosed, it’s payola whether the post is positive or negative — it’s a search engine marketing strategy to some degree, so the sponsor is buying an incoming link, not necessarily the buzz of the blogger. If it’s disclosed, it’s an ad and the sponsor can require anything they want. The blogger can accept or reject the requirement, but I don’t see any higher moral ground being reached by accepting money for undisclosed sponsorship.
“There’s quite a juxtaposition on the front page of last week’s issue. On the top left corner is the graphic that proudly proclaims our status as ASBPE Magazine of the Year for 2006. Less than six inches below it is a “Note From the Editor in Chief,” in which I informed our readers that one of our regular features included material that we now know to have been plagiarized.
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