Today PayPerPost launched. It's a service where bloggers are paid to blog about products, and here's the kicker: disclosing that they are being paid to blog about a product is completely up to them.
The end results are obvious before this even gets started. Bloggers are huge on transparency, and any sort of dishonest shilling such as this will not only toast the credibility of the blogger in question, but all of us as a group, by extension. And sadly, this is just the type of trainwreck that the MSM is waiting for, as BusinessWeek has already jumped all over this new service, and how it will 'pollute the blogosphere'. Shel Isreal was even more venomous, but no less accurate, when he said that: "I hope this nasty, cynical, ugly idea crashes and burns swiftly.".
But of course, the true reason why it will fail is because the passion of these 'citizen marketers' won't be for the product and the communities the product is aimed at, but for getting the $5 or whatever they are getting paid to hawk some product they had first heard of when they opened their email 5 mins ago. Any time the sole motivator and passion for your marketing is getting paid, you have lost the game before the kickoff.
When your marketing passion is the community, you're set. When it's your wallet, it will likely always be your wallet, because you will never be very good at what you do.
Right on, Mack.
I have posted the same about the P&G bribing the moms to talk up stuff to their friends, in exchange for free product and discount coupons - and P&G is not encouraging the moms to tell up front of their affiliation, much less show them how to incorporate a line or two before they hit up their friends.
Same problem mlm has - they tell the new recruit: "Just do what you always do, talk to your friends, only now get paid for it."
Right. And lose the trust of your friends by not telling up front...
Dan Gilmor, like me, wrote that a friend who talked up something to us and we found out later they were paid somehow, would be a trusted friend no more.
Link to that piece and Dan's here.
I left a post on Naked Conversation's blog for Ted - whose project this is...
It's pretty easy to fix this selling out of bloggers...
Give them some language to use up front:
"I love this [show/artist] madly, have for years, and now they're paying me/giving me free CDs/show tickets to tell someone else, so here goes...Whee!"
If they are just doing it for the money, and the products being hawked this way are found out, soon every blogger who does this will be on the X list because their words can no longer be trusted - "for love or money?" Isn't that the distinction between bloggers versus the corporate website types?
Once a blogger has sold out this way (without telling) they'll have lost the only thing they had in the first place - the trust of their readers.
Expose the products on the PayPerPost program, and get the word out so everyone knows what they are...Maybe it will backfire. Hehe.
I read Ted's response on Shel's blog. Pretty typical. I particularly love the anecdotal evidence of some poor destitute woman using his $5 per blog to pay her rent. Uh...how stupid are we again?
Truthfully, though, I thought about doing it, just to get some DVD money, but I'd have to do it under an assumed name. No way would I want myself associated with it professionally.
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