Friday, October 6, 2006

PayPerPost is not the AntiChrist of the Blogosphere

When it comes to blog advertising, PayPerPost has come under some intense criticism. Two recent examples by Jason Calacanis have been brought to my attention by PPP's Ted Murphy.

In the first, Calacanis says: can disclose you're using the platform--no one has that i know of... It's the worst, most evil idea to hit the blogosphere to date, and that fact that venture capitalist are rewarding it is pathetic.

I've replied to Calacanis to point out that I have been disclosing ever since I started running PPP-sponsored posts. I know that Kn@ppster, who was my referral, does also. I recently came across another who also discloses, tho I can't recall their name at the moment.

Of course, Thomas Knapp and I tend to offer opinions on ideological and political matters, so it's important for us to make clear to our readers which posts are advertisements and which are not. Our audiences will disappear if they think we're talking a political candidate or issue up or down because someone's paying us to do so. Folks who are writing blogs about scrapbooking or fly fishing may not have such concerns. It should be up to them whether to disclose their use of PayPerPost. As a libertarian, I have to support their right to make nondisclosed blog posts. The rest of us have the right to decide whether a particular blog is worthwhile or not.

Out of the thirty or so posts that I have written for PPP, only one advertiser has balked at the disclosure. I deleted the post, and PPP backed me up, and will pay me for the post, anyway. The advertiser hadn't mentioned the need for nondisclosure in their opportunity description (most don't), so I had fulfilled the qualifications of the post for payment. That doesn't sound like the actions of one of the most evil ideas to hit the blogosphere.

Calacanis' second post states:

[Jay Allen's] post is spot on, and he explains that there marketing slimebuckets are NOT interested in supporting you with advertising--they are interested in using you for covert marketing.

Actually, earlier today I put the question directly to Ted Murphy, CEO of PayPerPost, in an online town meeting.

Tor Lindahl: Ted, what's the likelihood that more advertisers' requests will be able to become part of a standard checklist so bloggers will be able to quickly scan opps for what they like or don't like to blog about?
Ted Murphy: very likely. : )
Lisa Renee: Hi Ted the hat goes good with your eyes :-)
Ted Murphy: awwww. thats sweet : )
Tor Lindahl: Hey Lisa Renee! Good to see you!
Ted Murphy: i love the community we have here :)
Lisa Renee: My being here is all thanks to you Tor :-)
Ted Murphy: i love talking cats. long live tor!
Christopher Schmitt: Do bloggers make mention on their blogs that they are affiliared with PPP? Is that required or not?
Ted Murphy: it is optional right now.
Tor Lindahl: Thanks Ted :-) When you say ppp affiliation is optional right now, do you mean that there may come a time that is is mandatory to disclose, or mandatory not to disclose, or maybe a third way, such that nondisclosed ppp posts get a larger fee?
Ted Murphy: yes. LOL. we will be introducing a program shortly that will have some mandatory disclosure features. It will be optional, but those who signup for the program must disclose and all advertisers in that program will require disclosure.
Tor Lindahl: If advertisers are giving us poor rankings, will we be able to appeal a poor ranking from a disgruntled advertiser, or will it not really be so overwhelmingly important? And will there be a standard guidelione as to what advertisers and bloggers should be thinking when they make their rankings?
Ted Murphy: there will not be an appeal. the ranking will be based on the overall feedback from all advertisers. if you get a bad review or two it shouldn't matter so long as you are doing a good job overall.
Tor Lindahl: Cool, as long as I can keep disclosing, and there are advertisers who want my readers' eyes, I'm all for it.
Ted Murphy: there is no problem with disclosure. we will offer all flavors and combinations, you pick what is right for you.

Does that sound like the ravings of a madman who's going to take over the blogosphere with nondisclosed sponsored posts? Not to me.

So my readers can rest assured that I'll continue to use PayPerPost, and continue to disclose. It may be the case in the future that I'll have fewer opportunities open to me, but it's more important to me that you are able to pick out the advertisements (which are still my thoughts, anyway) from the non-sponsored posts.

And yes, I am getting paid to do this post, but I've gone way beyond the measly 50 words Ted required. And he explicitly said it didn't matter what our thoughts on the matter were: we could have decided to take PPP to the woodshed on this one, and still get paid. Once again, not the actions of a man who has something to hide, or is doing something unethical.



Tor has been paid to blog about the above topic via PayPerPost. If you are a blogger who would be interested in being paid to blog, please sign up at PayPerPost and fill in tor at torsrants dot com as your referral.