Now Bloggers Really Can Be Journalists

1 Jul ’06

No doubt I’m going to hear from Mathew and Mark about this title. But it was the first thing to jump into head after I read of the blogging brouhaha du jour (if this is Saturday, there must be a controversy brewing somewhere in the ‘sphere) over PayPerPost, a new service that proposes to automate the paid placement of (presumably favourable) reviews in blogs.

Techmeme reads like a who’s who of outrage over the notion (with Techcrunch holding the pitchfork and Business Week the torch), but I can’t bring myself to care much more than the minimum needed to jot down some thoughts here about the idea. And basically, my reaction is, who cares? Mainstream media shills for adverdollars all the time, always has. The corner of the media reserved for the entirely ethically pure now probably consists of Seymour Hersh, and, well … hmmmm… And bloggers routinely shill for visibility through all manner of contrivance and connivance. The ‘sphere’s explosive growth has diluted its much vaunted authenticity, and the proportion of bloggers who reliably speak with unblemished candour is diminishing exponentially (and with it, the number of feeds I follow).

Tempest, meet teapot.

Final note: I’m hoping that noted controversialist Nick Carr blogs this today (though I wouldn’t be surprised if its flies below his radar, and judging from his recent posting infrequency he may be out tending the crops) – he will certainly have something interesting to say. Which is really my main point. PayPerPost is merely selling bloggers the rope they will use to hang themselves – but it’s their choice. At the end of the day, I’ll be drawn to what’s worth reading, and I can tell the difference between what is and what isn’t.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

George Tsiolis July 2, 2006 at 15:03

Hi, Rob. Anyone who attended Mesh in Toronto heard one very loud and clear question – how do I make money from my blog? As a business heavy, tech light attendee, my mind immediately started racing on how to capitalize on the opportunity. As such, this comes as no surprise to me and should come as no surprise to most.

In fact, I’ve already started speaking to bloggers about helping market Agoracom and our clients through their blogs.

The difference, however, is disclosure. Despite the fact that securities regulations would require any participating bloggers to disclose working with me, I would have demanded it anyway. Partly because I believe in ethical communications but an even bigger part stems from terrifying fear that we would be outed by the blogosphere and potentially cause great harm overnight to a business that I’ve built over many years.

As such, I have to wonder how many advertisers are going to take advantage of PPP. More importantly, how many advertisers are going to participate when the very first advertiser is bashed by other bloggers. It won’t be very difficult, just go to PPP and take a look at the “opportunities” section.

There is definitely a gap to be filled between bloggers needing to make some money and adertisers looking to leverage their network. I’m going to do it but I’m also going to make sure the whole world knows it when its happening. This assures zero backlash from those not interested, while providing great upside from a community that may find interest in my messages.

Best,
George

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Mark Evans July 1, 2006 at 09:19

since you asked for a comment…:)…..i’m with you on payperpost. it’s just another blog services – niether good, bad, evil or whatever. at the end of the day, it’s probably a positive development because it could separate what’s real (i.e. insightful, credible, objective, trustworthy) from all the useless flotsam floating around in the blogosphere. yes, we’re all tainted in one way, shape or form (i.e. the inclusion of adsense is just another way of begging for money) so all the criticism of payperpost is just a waste of energy.

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