In essence, PayPerPost pays bloggers to post about companies, products, or services, without any disclosure at the top of the post which indicates the blogger is being paid to shill whatever they're shilling. It sure seems like the sketchy world of SEO to me, and undermines the legitimacy and hard work of a lot of bloggers who write about things they genuinely love and care about.
As a longtime blogger, I care a lot about this little chunk of the Intertubes we've sort of carved out for ourselves, and I believe that companies like this do us all much more harm than good. With that in mind, I wish I'd done my homework a little better before I posted earlier today. I can not, in good conscience, encourage anyone to sign up for or participate in anything they sponsor.
All of that said, I don't have any personal vendetta or whatever against Rosie O'Donnell. Other than the whacky Truther Conspiracy garbage, I actually agree with her damn close to 100% of the time politically, even if I find the way she posts in her blog rather off-putting. But one of the greatest strengths of the blog-o-sphere (a word I still hate) is that everyone get to express themselves and have their voice heard, in whatever way they choose to do it. This latest thing on The View? Yeah, I try to avoid that kind of celebrity drama, but where in the world was she going to get to tell her side of the story if not on her blog? How many times have I cheered the fact that I can tell my side of a story on my blog? One of the things that makes blogging so awesome -- and, in fact, the reason blogging gave me a second act in my life -- is that we can be as unedited or as edited as we all want to be. I regret that the dry humor I intended to convey earlier didn't come across. I keep forgetting that the Internets aren't the best venue for subtlety.
What's important, and what the point of this post is, is this: Everything I've read about PayPerPost, and every discussion I've had with my friends and people whom I trust leads me to believe it is an incredibly unethical company that is going to do more longterm harm to us as bloggers than good. I'm not going to promote anything they're involved in, and I hope everyone who reads this will join me. Don't vote for me; don't vote for anyone. In fact, read xkcd instead.
I'll leave my earlier post up for posterity, and because outright deleting something like this when new information comes to mind and comments have been left is pretty lame.
Afterthought: Some people associated with PayPerPost have posted comments, and tell me I have my facts wrong. I encourage everyone to read their side of things and make up your own mind.
To clarify my position on this whole thing: I've stopped reading dozens of blogs because the bloggers began filling their blog with sponsored posts, and I felt like I was watching a lot of commercials instead of reading whatever drew me to their blog in the first place.
Paying for editorial content is advertising, and mixing advertising with other content is misleading to the reader. When I read a newspaper, I can clearly discriminate between advertising and actual content, and give each one the appropriate amount of attention and credulity. When advertising begins to mingle with the actual content without clear and obvious measures taken to clarify for the reader what it is, I believe an ethical line has been crossed. I believe that PayPerPost should force disclosure at the very top of each paid post, and maybe even in the title; hey, if it's not such a big deal to include posts that you've been pad for, why not make it perfectly, unambiguously clear right at the beginning?
To be absolutely crystal clear: When I post about a product or service in my blog, I do so because it's something I genuinely like or think my readers will like, not because someone paid me to post about it.
But, as I said, the people behind PayPerPost disagree with me, so hear them out and make up your own minds.