Dilemma of Paid Reviews!

Darren’s article asking people if they have written paid reviews on their blog came at an interesting time since I just got notified by pay per post rejecting the review posts I wrote sometime back!
Looking at the survey question responses on problogger, its clear that the blogging community is heavily divided on this issue and emotions run pretty high on both sides!

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I wrote 2 (supposedly) paid review posts and both were a negative experiences for me. First one was on the car garage guy which got rejected because I included a video in the post! Well, I thought Tim Allen’s video would make an otherwise boring review post interesting but obviously the advertisers didn’t think so!

Second post was on pay day loans, a concept that I had never heard about, before reading on their site, and was titled Strapped for cash. This post also got rejected because pay per post guys cannot find a record of me first ‘reserving’ the ‘opportunity’ before writing about it! Even if they had found the record that I did everything I was supposed to do, they would have declined to pay because there is a link to another site in the post, my bad. Sometimes including interesting links only makes these otherwise bland posts a bit better, I thought – well, so much for what I think, they refused to pay!

I also thought the post headline was pretty good, if not better than a lot of the headlines Lyndon thought up if he were to write the same article!

Although I was pretty hesitant to write these kinds of posts to begin with, I confess I got tempted to earn $7 for some 50 to 100 word post!  Now that this blog got page ranked 4, I see some ‘opportunities’ for as much a $20 per post, which can add up to a nice pocket money at the end of the month.

But as soon as I wrote the posts, I received a few emails from my readers suggesting I shouldn’t take sponsored posts! I haven’t tried Simonne’s guide for excluding the sponsored posts category from RSS feeds yet , which I think is a brilliant idea, but I am wondering if this would really work with people!?! Hiding these posts from the feeds doesn’t mean people wouldn’t be upset if they decided to come to the blog to read the articles and we do want to encourage them to comment and participate in the discussions, don’t we?

So, there, as much as I would like to write some sponsored posts, I’m afraid of driving readers away from here. I am thinking of building another blog (without fresh perspectives of course), but building content to get it approved would require time!

What about you? Are you writing paid reviews on your blog?

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39 Responses to “ Dilemma of Paid Reviews! ”

  1. Hey RT….. thanks for good advice, always……

    Theres no substitute for experience…. :) hope you have a great birthday :) you’ve got to tell us the date then…..

  2. Hi Pearl, I’ve just started writing Sponsored Posts for PPP myself. I’ve done two, one approved and another waiting for approval.

    I almost fell into the same trap you did – in my draft for the “I signed up for ppp” post, I linked to a couple of RT’s sponsored posts to show just how good sponsored posts can be. I figured that it would add value to the post for the advertiser (PPP). But the opportunity was fully reserved for a week and when it came up again, I had second thoughts and removed all links except for the one they asked for. I guess that’s safer.

    Anyway, I think you should continue with sponsored posts. Some people will be worried by it, but then some will be worried by any sort of ads! If your normal content’s good enough, people will keep coming back even if there are some sponsored posts.

    I plan to follow a similar set of guidelines to RT’s, making sure there are at least 4 non-sponsored posts between sponsored posts, only writing about topics that I feel comfortable writing about, only doing them if I’m allowed to disclose they are sponsored, etc. I think this will work well.

    RT, I’m 9 years, 357 days younger than you (leaving leap years out of it)!

  3. Hey RT,

    Pearl referred to you as a PRO, not me ;-)

    In terms of years I’m close on behind ya – yes sir, no spring chicken any longer …….but from one ole fella to another, I do think you integrate your sponsored stuff really well, so here’s wishing you many, many more years of experience!

  4. No Secret. November 28, 1960. Every so many years, Thanksgiving Day falls on my birthday and I get to celebrate with a turkey. A turkey for a turkey. :-)

  5. Nov. 28th? that’ll be easy to remember, ‘coz mine was Oct 28th… :)

  6. Hi Steven: follow RT is the mantra regarding ppp :)

    I still think the ad posts could be so much more fun to write and read with every one coming up with more creative material…

    thanks for stopping by and voicing your opinion Steven, hope to see you around here more often… tc and kit

  7. Hi Pearl,

    thanks for trying to visit my blog. Unfortunately, I was just moving from blogger to a self hosted WP install. The site is up again, but I need to tweak it a bit, as I am not used to WP at all. One thing I want to do it to have the nofollow tag removed, as on your site.
    On the traffic issue: yes, I know, I am working on it and I am starting to see some goos results. I have an average of 2 visitors per day, which I think is not too bad at all. I have a few strategies planned to improve that (like commenting on nice and interesting blogs like yours). I hope to double my score in 2 month from now!

  8. Its best to put our readers first. Sponsored reviews are basically biased since the sponsor wouldn’t want you to say negative things about their company. The first time I found out about sponsored reviews is from John Chow. He makes quite alot from it. However, a idea is to have sponsored reviews on your blog, and like you said, leave it out from the RSS, yet do not delay your other posts because of the sponsored ones. i.e. sponsored posts should be considered as an extra rather than a substitute to posts.

  9. I would stay far away from Paid Reviews. Many have been penalized by Google for doing paid reviews (as we all know the concept behind them is to get links). Do it at your own risk, but don’t say you weren’t warned.

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