Monday, November 13, 2006 Get Paid for Your Opinion

The following is a paid review:

When I was in college, two of my friends were the Arts editors for the school’s paper. Every day they received stacks of CDs from all over the country from artists, labels and PR people desperately seeking reviews. Every few months they’d walk over to the nearest record store to sell the CDs, whether they ended up reviewing them or not. They used that money to produce their first EP. And there was something very right about the whole cycle.

With, this world of perks for publicity is open to anyone with a blog. The site brings Advertisers together with Bloggers to create a perfect circle of back scratching. Products get reviewed honestly—advertisers cannot demand positive reviews—and bloggers get paid. I can’t see any ethical dilemma to this as long as the bloggers are admitting that they are being paid for their consideration. This is something that the older media calls “Full Disclosure” and it’s specious at best. We assume that movie reviewers get free tickets to movies, but they don’t tell us when they’ve been wined, dined and flown places to interview the stars or watch the movies they review. If that kind of Full Disclosure existed, the disclaimers would be longer than the news.

Transparency is what makes the web great. You see who is advertising on every page. Within seconds you can find who owns any specific URL and now if you have a product you think you might like you can forgo the seduction and ass-kissing that is so much more tasteless than just offering a fee for a blogger’s time. That fee is based on the size of the blogger’s influence and readership, which is all gathered by objective statistics. No one is the fool with And ventures like this empower ordinary journalist/commentators to spend time on their publication. The twenty dollars I’m getting for this review would take me months to earn through Google AdSense and will pay for enough beer and/or burritos to fuel dozens of posts. says that one of the benefits for Advertisers of not demanding positive reviews is that their product will get some cheap, insightful response and user experience information. As someone new to, I’m impressed by the simplicity of the concept and the execution. I just hope in the future there will be some way for bloggers to approach advertisers. Right now you have to sit around and wait to be offered a product to review. As Plato should have said, any site that rewards steady proactiveness will be a site that grows exponentially.

If you have a blog, I recommend you try and see if you feel compromised or rewarded.


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