One more time, slowly — why pay-per-post schemes are cancer

Let’s say the people who dreamed up spam set up a .ORG website that sounded very legitimate, something like Ethical Email Marketing Policy Organization, would I trust them to be the arbitrators of what legitimate spam practices are?

In much the same way, the people who dreamed up a scheme to get bloggers to make undisclosed posts for pay are now wanting us to believe they have created the good-housekeeping seal of disclosure. This is from the same folks who, before they were shamed into changing their policy, encouraged bloggers to take payment for undisclosed posts. And the new policy is merely a general disclosure, not a policy that requires bloggers to tag each post with a sponsorship tag.

Here’s all the disclosure policy one needs to be ethical. At the top of a paid post that appears to be one of the regular posts in your blog, write: “The is a sponsored post.” or “This is an advertisement.”

And another thing. The people who dreamed up this pay-per-post scheme respond to all criticism of it with the following attack: “Those who oppose us just don’t want bloggers to make money from their blogs.” That’s crap. I think that every blogger should have the right to monetize their blog in any ethical way they can. If you want to carry ads, that’s great. If you want to have sponsors who pay you to post something, that’s fine also, as long as you clearly state within that specific post: “I received payment to blog about this topic.”

rexblog flashback: A long post on why undisclosed paid posts are unethical and how clearly labeling what is paid-for is a simple solution.

Update: Scott Karp (as always) says exactly what I would if I could write as well as he does: “If you tell people in the fine print that you might deceive them, and then you go ahead and try to deceive them” well, that is still deception….In a world of infinite media, the only asset anyone has left, whether blogger, search engine, or traditional media company, is TRUST. Deception destroys trust, and so it is fundamentally bad for the media business.”

Technorati Tags: