PayPerPost, the controversial company that pays bloggers to review products and services, has launched a new set of features, which Darren Rowse at ProBlogger breaks down as including new video ad products, targeted channels, and payment based upon traffic rankings from Alexa, Google, and Technorati.
My position on what essentially is paid editorial falls somewhere near Darren's take that "I’m not really into writing paid reviews on a blog - however I’m not completely opposed to the idea IF there is disclosure." However, my feeling is that the vast majority of PayPerPost bloggers will not fully disclose and that lack of transparency could have the ripple effect of hurting the full of the blogosphere's credibility.
There's no one better at sussing out the philosophical nuances of online media than Scott Karp, who writes over at the The Blog Herald: "There’s a direct connection between bloggers and their communities — so who better than the blogger to create marketing messages that are relevant and interesting for their communities?" However, he then goes on to examine his own potential bias or the perception of potential bias because of paid advertising from PayPerPost that runs on The Blog Herald. He ends with this: "The truth is, standards in media have never been simple — blogs are just the latest medium to slog through the commercial mud."
Here's the thing about PayPerPost, though, something that I have not spent a lot of time looking into. Jeff Jarvis flat out states that PayPerPost pays bloggers to write "positive posts about products." According to PayPerPost's requirements, they only mention that bloggers should state their opinion about products. However, they also state that Step Three of the "The Simple Process" is that "Blogger posts based on opportunity requirements."
That's kind of a strangely phrased step, isn't it? If I sign up for PayPerPost and follow each requirement to the letter, but trash each product in a ruthless and reasoned and intelligent way, will I continue to meet the "opportunity requirements"?
I'm thinking not.