Wednesday, October 24, 2007

PayPerPost censors bloggers

Reading a recent thread by a mom blogger on the PayPerPost message board has revealed a shocking revelation: PayPerPost will not let it's employees, or "Posties" as they're called, write about anything they don't purchase. Full disclosure: This was brought to my attention because a colleague worked on a recent campaign and was emailed by a blogger whose post was yanked by PayPerPost due to "violating the terms of service".

You might remember my other takes on PPP: paying for blog posts isn't word of mouth marketing and they're unethical. But I digress...

The explanation from a PayPerPost censor, errr "reviewer", cited their terms of service:


A sponsored post is any post for which you received something (cash, goods or services) in exchange for writing the post.


To clarify, we don't send out products in exchange for a review. Bloggers are asked if they're interested, we deliver the product if so and if they choose to write then so be it. There are never strings attached, unlike what PPP does.

There's also another thread here where bloggers are complaining about "reviewers" from PayPerPost censoring posts for similar reasons. As someone who wrote the WOMMA Blogger Relations Ethics Code, I have to say that I am completely dumbfounded with PayPerPost censoring bloggers.

The real kicker is that PPP says that, instead of disclosing if they've received a product, PPP bloggers should purposely not tell readers that they received a product for free from a firm. So, essentially, bloggers should flat out lie about disclosure in order to help the paid postings "blend in".

In the era of transparency, authenticity and credibility, PayPerPost is clearly not interested in participating in the aforementioned values but instead asking bloggers to destroy their credibility through nondisclosure and controlling their content.


3 comments:

Tonja said...

Our agency and clients are getting bombarded by companies who say they'll get us on sites, create fake sites, comments, etc. Some are using PPP. Ugh.

Melanie Seasons said...

Oh, PPP, how you are the bane of my existence.

Dave, I'm worried that as the blogosphere becomes over saturated with product reviews (whether paid, sponsored, or opt in), the idea and uniqueness of online outreach will eventually become so cheapened that readers will eventually learn to ignore reviews just as much as they do ads. I know that we're all trying our best to get ahead of the game. That's the only way to stay on top.

That said, if a blog reader can't tell the difference between a PPP or spam or a legitimate operation or if a blogger doesn't disclose where they got said product, it ends up making us look bad too.

David Binkowski said...

Tonja,
Let them take it out of the ad budget if they're going to pay for it. ;)

Mel,
Product reviews will never go away, because people will always look for advice before spending disposable income. The issue is going to be, as you're implying, the reader's questioning of the integrity of the reviewer -- especially as the general public becomes more savvy and starts to ignore the ads, err, reviews.