You could win $62.50 if you comment on this post

What you are reading here is a sponsored review. I’m getting paid $125 to post it. The pay-for-blog-posting service that is paying me $125 for this review is called ReviewMe and I just registered on their site to see what a posted review here on the rexblog is worth. Apparently, if you want to purchase a review from me, they will charge you $250. Then I get half, $125. Unlike the pay-per-post scheme I blasted a few weeks ago, ReviewMe requires me to disclose that the post is sponsored. They also pay a lot better than the concept I blasted and they aren’t trying to run from their concept by creating a .org that sounds like they are not creating a heinous form of splogging.

Oh, by the way, this is a review of ReviewMe.

Here’s my review: If I were going to do reviews like this, I think I’d stick with them. I like the transparency of the transaction. They ran the rexblog through some algorithm that led them to believe a review here is worth $250. That impressed me. Then they require me to say what I’m doing. That impressed me. Then they tell me they’ll split the $250 with me. That really impressed me.

But the thing that impressed me most was that Scott Karp of Publishing 2.0 reviewed it and said everything that I would about it. I figured by pointing his way and saying “what he said” I could save myself about $50 worth of hassle in actually thinking what to write since I decided long ago, there’s very little I can add to whatever Scott has to say on something.

Another good thing about ReviewMe is they don’t require blogs to post positive reviews (however, I feel certain that blogs that post negative reviews won’t pick up that many gigs, if you know what I mean — you purchase a reviewer by placing him or her in your shopping cart and I don’t think too many shopping carts will get filled with blogs that do negative reviews. Wait, did that sound cynical?).

Anyway, I’m so impressed with the share-and-share-alike model of ReviewMe, I’ve decided to go one step better. I’ll pay $62.50 to one lucky reader who reads this review — you don’t even have to like it, just read it. To be considered for payment, all you need to do is add a comment on this post answering the following question: “Should a blogger accept payment for a post made on his or her blog?” Please keep your comment brief or link to your own blog for the long version. On your comment, make sure you have a valid e-mail address (it won’t be displayed, but I’ll be able to reach you if you win the $62.50). One e-mail address will be selected at random on November 18. I will send you the $62.50 when ReviewMe sends me my $125, so I have no idea when you’ll get it. Happy commenting. (Void where prohibited — but I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.)

Update: As this post has picked up some momentum from Tailrank, Techmeme and some other meme trackers, I feel the need to provide a bit of context for those who’ve never been by here, so I’ve added links to two previous posts:

  • One more time, slowly — why pay-per-post schemes are cancer.
  • The real reason behind pay-per-post schemes
  • Also, please continue to add comments to this post. After this experiment is over, I will post a summary.

    Clarification: While I signed up for ReviewMe for this experiment, I don’t plan on doing any more pay-per-review posts. I prefer the approach to other schemes, but I would prefer an approach that is outside the edit well. Also, the use of the “shopping cart” metaphor when an advertiser selects bloggers to pay is too ironic for me.


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    • http://www.twistermc.com/blog/ Thomas

      As long as the review is the bloggers opinion, then I see no reason why you can’t get paid for it. Especially if you note that it’s a sponsored post.

    • http://nick.typepad.com/ Nick Bradbury

      In general, I don’t have a problem with a blogger getting paid for a post provided that they give an honest disclaimer, but I wouldn’t trust a positive review that was paid for.

    • http://refreshmentrefuge.blogspot.com Gina Burgess

      The problem with reviews, whether paid or not, is that they are strictly opinion. If your taste and my taste are alike, then I can trust your review. If they are not… then, it is just so much print and opinion.

      I also have a problem with giving my SS# to anybody over the internet, especially a start up company. What if this is totally honest seeming but is actually a dupe for getting identites? After all, on their website they say something like “if you qualify” meaning, if you are good enough. Which means they don’t have to take you, do they?

      I don’t live close enough to Las Vegas to go meet this guy, so I how do I know it’s not a scam? Does that sound cynical?

    • Andrew

      I agree with Nick: with full disclosure, why not?

    • http://www.deepjiveinterests.com Tony

      I think a better question is, “is there any way to prevent bloggers from accepting payments for their posts?” Clearly the answer is no — and so I think 2006 will probably be remembered for the year that the real commercialization of the blogosphere began. Not just with ads that surrounded the periphery of the content, but with a mechanism that began to change the substance of of those posts.

      And, of course, the marketplace that began using blogs for SEO purposes as well. ;)

      Cheers
      t @ dji

    • http://worcester.typepad.com/pc4media peter caputa

      Yes, as long as they disclose it.

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    • Al Chang

      If there’s a disclaimer, I don’t mind a blogger getting paid.

    • http://www.mclady.net/blog colbert

      Monetizing through blogs is not something everyone can do. I have a high traffic celeb blog but I don’t get much out of it from Adsense. So getting paid for posts is something cool and it keeps me in this game. I don’t mind doing it as I plan to go full time with blogging. It sure beats my dead end job.

    • http://hughroper.com/ Hugh

      I don’t know if a blogger should accept pay for post, but a person who comments definitely should not.

    • http://celebritycowboy.com David Krug

      Read the post. Seems good enough. Andy Hagans is a pal of mine its a great service. Glad you signed up. Woot long live paying the commenters.

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    • http://stuart.amanzi.co.nz Stuart

      I like the ReviewMe site – I also reviewed their site, unfortunately my site is only worth $40 so far!! Regardless it’s nice to get paid for a review that I was going to write anyway. The site has addressed the two key rules with payment for posts: 1. Full disclosure, 2. Honest reviews. I don’t think it’s any different to taking a blogger out to lunch to pitch a new service.

    • http://viandantedelcielo.blogspot.com/ Cole

      I’m gonna have to be boring and say that I agree with you, Rex. I have no problem with it as long as that blogger is telling everyone up front that they’re getting paid for that particular post. I’m also with Nick in that I’d find it real hard to trust a positive review that was paid for. Boring comment over.

    • http://www.mathewingram.com/work Mathew Ingram

      The answer to your question is no.

    • http://blog.hypercubed.com/ Hypercubed

      I think it is no different from a sports star endorsement or a advertising agreement between a major website and their advertisers.  I’ve said so on my blog as well.

    • http://businesslogs.com Mike Rundle

      I don’t see why it’s a problem… mainstream media publications get pitched by PR firms all the time that are on the end of 4-5-6 digit consulting fees by their clients. How is this not the same thing?

      Oh, because we have to disclose. When CNet writes a long review of a tech company out of nowhere and people wonder how it got there, does anybody call bullshit and say “this is just a product of a PR firm’s aggressive pitching policies?” Of course not, because it’s so prevalent that nobody really notices it anymore. But when it happens online people call foul and get their underwear all bunched up.

    • Hudge

      In my newspapering career, at most papers we were forbidden to accept anything from someone we interviewed beyond a glass of water or maybe a soda. It made for some awkward moments, but I think it was the right thing to do. In PR, I was stunned when editors of trade mags declined articles unless accompanied by advertising. Later, writing in trade media, I was further unsettled by the widely accepted practice of industry wining and dining reporters and editors, and giving them swag. If that didn’t work, there was always the threat of pulling advertising in retaliation for less than favorable press – which happened and people lost jobs over it.

      None of this was disclosed to the reader, although more than a few knew about it in at least general terms. And readers are smart – they can pretty well tell that the publication’s getting ads or merch or swag to never say nothin’ bad about anyone in the magazine.

      So with blogs, we are asked to trust that the individual has the ethics to disclose “considerations.” Somehow, this reminds me of Arlo Guthrie’s rap in “Alice’s Restaurant” where he ponders whether he’s been rehabilitated from his littering arrest. “Sargeant, you got a lot a damn gall to ask me if I’ve rehabilitated myself, I mean, I mean, I mean that just, I’m sittin’ here on the bench, I mean I’m sittin here on the Group W bench ’cause you want to know if I’m moral enough join the army, burn women, kids, houses and villages after bein’ a litterbug.”

      So I think you’re asking the wrong question. I think the question is, how many bloggers would have enough ethics for it to even bother them.

    • http://www.laist.com tony

      im with the others who say that as long as its being disclosed then thats good enough for me.

      even newspaper guy was in bed with someone. noone’s perfectly clean.

    • http://www.creativeslice.com Tim

      I do like the full disclosure, though I have a feeling this is going to lead to some really lame stories. Most of those who need to pay to be written about probably don’t need to be heard in the first place.

    • http://www.rev2.org Sid Yadav

      While I think bloggers have the right to feed their family and pay their bills, I don’t think it’s healthy for any blogger to actively take part in such a service. Once in a few months, fine — great for that once in a while outside dinner. Every few weeks and accepting every offer you receive, that’s what I don’t agree with. In the end, I guess this is what it comes down to: would you rather be happy with a once in a while outside dinner or sell your soul to go further?

    • http://amifamousnow.com franky

      The disclosure policy is the best thing about ReviewMe. Second best thing is the right to write a negative review.

      Gone are the times when bloggers will have to lie to get some bucks. Did I just say that?
      Who am I kidding? Myself?
      Of course Pay Per Post will not disappear. Companies (with a campaign budget) will now rather aim some influential blogs (4 or 5) and pay each review $250 to reach 40k-50k (or even more readers) with only 4 posts and pump $4k-$5k in Pay Per Post for some 400, 500 more links.
      PR6 seems close to me with only $5k-$6k.
      And many people have read about the product.

      Cheaper than 120*120px on TechCrunch.

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    • http://www.MushinNoShin.com Jon

      I don’t think there’s any ethical problem with getting paid for reviews, so long as it is disclaimed, but as others have said, I’m not much likely to trust a paid review. Unless maybe it’s also known that the reviewer is paid the same whether it’s positive or negative.

    • http://www.knowingart.com/ PJ

      OK, I’m game. Now where’s my $62.50? ;-)

    • http://franchisingtips.com Daniel

      100% Yes!…it is the same for affiliate marketers, they write a review on their blogs and if you like it and follow the link and buy the product..they get paid…same thing here but easier because you dont need nobody to buy anything…

    • http://www.simplekindoflife.com Colleen

      That was a great review. What are your throughts on Blogitive at http://www.blogitive.com ? I’ve be interested in hearing what you think of it.

    • http://www.tristarpub.com Steve Smyth

      In my view, the money absolutely taints the review – that said, since there’s no real way to police “pay for review” practices, a full disclosure should absolutely be required. Then I will know that I can discount a positive review – but perhaps pay closer attention to a negative one!