Bribing Bloggers and Advertising in Blogs

The blogosphere has been abuzz with the news about bloggers who received a PC loaded with Vista from Microsoft. The company told the bloggers they could keep the PCs, donate them or return them. Here’s an entry from Joel on the topic. This topic isn’t new. Remember Marqui?

Sites like PayPerPost and Blogitive pay bloggers to mention a product or service in their entries. The site encourages bloggers to disclose their relationship with PayPerPost, but it’s not required. I am not getting paid to mention these two companies.

However, I’ve posted ads for Blogitive before its site went up and have yet to accept an offer from its site. I also registered with PayPerPost when it was first announced, and haven’t taken advantage of it.

After that experience, I’m less inclined to do that sort of advertising again as I don’t like it that some of my blog entries have crazy keywords in them. I also acknowledged they were ads by stating, “From the sponsor.”

How do you find a balance between earning money to support non-paying activities and turning off readers? These experiments taught me to limit site sponsorship and avoid regularly posting ads within my blog entries (aside from Google’s).

Although I did add a new sponsor yesterday to an old post. She approached me and the site met my requirements, so I accepted the offer. My two rules:

  • Honesty
  • Selectivity

You may not agree with what I do, but I’m honest about it. I don’t like in your face or deceptive advertising and keep that in mind with this site. Only the blogs contain the advertising with the exception of the sponsors on the sidebar — those appear on most pages.

Over time, I’ve gotten more stringent (here’s the selective part) about what ads or sponsors I accept. If you find any of the current ones unacceptable, they’re from before I changed my rules. Out of respect for the folks behind them, I let them continue sponsorship.

Reviews are different. Some of them come from stuff I bought and others from free copies. Free or not — the reader is my first priority when writing a review. When I read reviews, I want honest feedback about the product or service, and I provide the same. These aren’t pricey items like a laptop — usually books or games.

I’ve turned down review opportunities because the product wasn’t good quality (rather turn it down than waste my time and write a bad review) or the topic had nothing to do with anything I ever write about — applying the selectivity rule.

What’s your take?

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