The PayPerPost Business Model
With other PayPerPost type companies, ethical issues get raised when companies require that bloggers write about a company or website that they are less than familiar with.
Say, for example, that I went to PayPerPost and asked for a post about V7 Inc, our web hosting division. Now, what are the chances that somebody taking that job would have first hand experience with V7 Inc? Quite unlikely.
So they would be hosted elsewhere and writing good but most likely dishonest things about V7 Inc. And how much credibility does that review carry? Zero, zilch, nada, none, zip, and did I say zero?
Exactly why I think that those kinds of reviews are a recipe for trouble. With the PeyPerPost business model, you aren’t selling links. You’re selling your integrity. You’re selling your right to your own opinion.
The irony of the situation is, the top brass at PayPerPost are claiming that they are not trying to game the search engines, and allowing users nofollow the links to advertiser sites.
Who do you think is paying for these links? Do you seriously think that advertisers want some blogger to endorse their product, when they know full well that the endorsement, when accompanied by a THIS POST IS BOUGHT AND PAID FOR disclaimer, carries no weight whatsoever?
A 2005 survey of 800 consumers by market research firm Intelliseek found that 29 % of participants age 20 to 34 and 41% of those age 35 to 49 said they would be unlikely to trust a recommendation again from a friend whom they later learned was compensated for making the suggestion.
29%? Was the other 71% born in Gullibleville? I’d suggest that nobody believes paid recommendations. It’s simply contrary to common sense.
PayPerPost is a no-win situation. The bloggers lose any credibility they had; the advertisers get publicly identified as link buyers and face possible sanctions by Google, not to mention the backlash they have been subjected to in the blogosphere.
And all this trauma when the advertiser really only wanted some damn link love.
The Contextual Links @ V7N Business Model
With the Contextual Links @ V7N business model, we set out avoid the buying opinions business model.
Advertisers do not want uninformed and paid opinions. Advertisers may enjoy the play of just asking for reviews, and not trying to game the search engines; but we all know that it is bogus, and when you allow bloggers to nofollow the links, you’re letting the play get out of hand.
Advertisers want links. They want links with anchor text that includes the keywords they want to rank for. Simple, eh?
That’s what we want to give them.
A simple guideline for our publishers: Blog a concept, not a website.
For example, say we had an order for: URL= http://www.v7inc.com / Anchor Text= Web Hosting (Yes, that’s how our orders are formatted.)
Instead of a PayPerPost type post that would probably be titled “V7 Inc Web Hosting”, go for a post title that includes the keywords (“web hosting”). Some possibles: “Choosing a Web Hosting Company”, “Web Hosting Prices”, “Finding a Good Web Hosting Provider”.
Keywords included in the page title. You get the idea.
Should you link out to other websites in the post containing the paid link? Yes, if it seems natural.
Wikipedia is also a good place to link to. Linking to authority sites is all fine and good.
One thing you should avoid is linking to the competitor. I’ve seen this in product reviews, for example ReviewMe reviews, paid for by ReviewMe, but also linking to PayPerPost.