When it comes to bloggers writing paid reviews there is a consent amongst most bloggers that paid reviews should be disclosed. Beyond that the debate whether this is good or evil, cool for bloggers or a sellout which is disastruous for the blogospherical ecosystem often has become quite ethical, emotional, even hysterical.
In the German speaking part of the blogosphere Switzerland based Trigami has adopted the PayPerPost model of matching companies who want to get the word out (and a link in) on their products and services and bloggers who are interested in writing a paid review in their blogs about a year ago and quite successfully so.
With hallimash Germany just got another competitor in this space. They sing the usual markets are conversations mantra and add some word of mouth marketing gloss but like PayPerPost, ReviewMe or Trigami hallismash is a marketplace for advertisers to book bloggers for writing reviews. Paid blog posts mediated by hallimash need to be disclosed and bloggers get €10 – 300 depending on their traffic and authority for these posts.
My take, I’m glad you asked: I think it’s great that bloggers can make some money with their blogs if they want to, even more so if they can write about a topic they love. But if they just like the idea of cashing in on their blogging habit a bit they should keep in mind that there are opportunity costs involved. Writing about something you wouldn’t write about on your own makes it a job and depending on the time invested in the article probably not a very well paid one. And justified or not there is a risk of losing the trust of some of your readers or to annoy others. Noncommercialism is one of the core values for many fellow bloggers in Germany, as odd as this may seem everywhere else.
At the same time advertisers need to be aware that this type of marketing not necessarily triggers the viral effects promised. In a way paid blog posts have an intrinsic non-viral aspect and might even discourage other bloggers to carry on a story – i.e. if this guy gets paid €50 for his lame review, why should I write about it for free?
(This article originally was written for blognation Germany. Since blognation is gone I have reposted it here)