Offers Bloggers the Chance to Shill

From Business Week:

[The] Tampa-based interactive ad agency called MindComet, also runs a side business that pays bloggers to write nice things about corporate sponsors — without unduly worrying about whether or not bloggers disclose these arrangements to readers. Murphy is launching, which will automate such hookups between advertisers and bloggers and thus codify a new frontier of product placement.

Full article: Polluting the Blogosphere
Update: Dave weighs in.






8 responses to “ Offers Bloggers the Chance to Shill”

  1. James Durbin Avatar

    It’s simple – any blogger caught using this system is getting unsubscribed from my feed. It’s flat out lying to forgo disclosure, and it will ruin trust in the blogosphere.
    Advertising and Marketing agencies are creating fake blogs left and right that have to be sniffed out. I think this will be abig fat failure. I pray it’s a failure.

  2. Anon Avatar

    OK. I don’t love this either. But how is this SOOO different from writing glowing testimonials for all your buds and having them write some for you? Or getting your client list (and all your jv client lists) to buy your book on amazon all on one day so that your book is a best seller? I don’t think you “unduly worried” about whether or not John Q. Public knows theres a gambit there, either.
    Pollution? Seems there’s a bit of the “pot calling the kettle black” here. Maybe no money officially changes hands in the 2 examples I gave. But they’re still geared to generate an impression and therefore income.

  3. Andy Wibbels Avatar

    All of the people that wrote testimonials had received copies of the books and their reviews are honest and forthright. You’ll notice there are some less than glowing reviews as well.
    My Amazon campaign was completely out in the open, coordinated publicy and in tandem with some of my closest colleagues. At no time did I make this all look like some sort of ‘grassroots’ or organic growth.

  4. Anon Avatar

    Andy, you’re right, you’r campaign was out in the open, done with a lot of playfulness, and I actually do wish you the success that’s coming your way. You’re also not the first or the last person who’s going to do a campaign to boost your amazon rating.
    The place where things get questionable for me is the people who aren’t on your list, who don’t know your style, who didn’t see your campaign and who don’t know that your Amazon best-seller got there via a massive promotion effort on your part.
    Even though no money changed hands, you engaged in a practice to inflate your rank at, you did that for a reason, and at least part of that reason must be increased prestige and increased revenue.
    There was a time when I trusted the reviews on amazon and considered them useful guidelines. This is no longer the case, and testimonial campaigns are the reason.
    I’m not at all in favor of PayPerPost. I would like to see honest people making honest recommendations every day of the week. To do otherwise loses credibility.

  5. Andy Wibbels Avatar

    Okay. I’m guilty of marketing my book in order to sell my book.

  6. steve Avatar

    Andy, thats what people and companies do – market and advertise to sell … yes, I signed up for payperpost to see what it was all about and the facts are that they don’t “require” you to post only positive comments, you are not assigned products to post on and although you aren’t required to disclose your post was paid, it also doesnt’ say that you can’t disclose it
    the “morality” of the individual doing the blog is what will determine what information you get. don’t want to be forced to write good things? then don’t take the opportunity. feel like hiding the fact you are getting paid is wrong? then speak up and say you got paid.
    the problem isn’t that people are getting paid for advertising, the problem AND solution to this is that the individuals are left to make their own choices

  7. Scott Avatar

    In the travel sector, we frequently see Pay-for-Comment. Convention & Vistor Bureaus hire bloggers to create faux personal blogs to promote the virtues of their destination. Travel service providers (hotels, cruiselines, spas, restaurants, etc.) offer customers incentives to write positive comments on peer review sites like
    Many ad and PR agencies recommend these tactics to divert attention from the dwindling returns on their traditional cash cow — print and broadcast media advertising campaigns.
    Thank goodness, consumers are seeing through these attempts to game the system and viral (word-of-mouth) consumer campaigns are exposing fraudulent content.

  8. John Paul Micek Avatar

    Andy, it constantly amazes me how so many people who call themselves “business owners” have a problem with aggressively marketing themselves. Very often, these are the people who are struggling to attract clients or build a brand, failing miserably and wondering why.
    Harsh? Yes! … but true!
    So long as marketing is not misleading or lying, then it’s fair territory. As far as the pay-for-post issue, NOT mentioning that you’ve been asked to do a review (or even paid to do so,) is NOT misleading. If that were the determinant for honesty and credibility in writing articles then every NY Times reporter would have to disclose their political party affiliation at the end of their articles.
    Do you see Mark Victor Hanson, Jack Canfield, and Robert Allen sitting in their offices hoping that “unsolicited” testimonials and promotional opportunities will come rolling in on their own?
    NO! they’re actively an aggressively marketing EVERY day. That’s why Chicken Soup for The Soul is not a book, but instead an empire, a business on it’s own. Aggressive marketing is why Hanson and Allen have people paying tens of thousands of dollars each to be in elite coaching programs with them.
    While some may have different views on the actual content of your book, no one can deny that you ran an excellent promotional campaign. My partner Deborah and I just came up for air this week after a marathon five-week home stretch run to meet our publishers deadline, and I can only pray that our marketing and PR campaign for Secrets of Online Persuasion lives up to the benchmark you set.
    Congratulations on a job well done!
    You deserve the praise and success, because you worked your ass off to market and gain it! 🙂

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