Blogging For Dollars

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[Liars]
[Viral Marketing]
Think your favorite web site has integrity?

Blogger Colleen Caldwell rants and riffs about whatever strikes her fancy — a run-in with her child's school principal, the rising price of Girl Scout thin mints, or an upcoming movie that caught her eye.

"Has anyone out there read a book called 'The Ultimate Gift'? I just heard that a movie is being made of the book (which sold 4 million copies)," she wrote in a recent post on her site, Simple Kind of Life.

The 30-year-old software analyst from Brooksville, Fla., went on to praise the inspirational message of the Fox Faith film, which opens today, about a trust fund baby who discovers the joy of giving.

One thing Caldwell didn't mention: She was paid $12 to build buzz about the movie's opening and the charitable campaign — bringing her blogging-for-dollars take to more than $7,700.

I can assure you here at BSAlert, we're not taking any money to run stories... after all, when have we said something nice about anybody lately?

Beware the blog that gushes about a product, movie, or anything you might consider purchasing. There's a chance that the blogger is on the payroll of "new marketing middlemen such as PayPerPost Inc. that connect advertisers with mom-and-pop webmasters." PayPerPost alone pays 15,500 bloggers for inserting their clients into blog postings. Other companies that pay bloggers for mentions include ReviewMe, Loud Launch and SponsoredReviews.com. Not all bloggers think it's a good idea. "PayPerPost versus authentic blogging is like comparing prostitution with making love to someone you care for deeply. No one with any level of ethics would get involved with these clowns," said Jason McCabe Calacanis, co-founder of Weblogs Inc. The quid pro quo is multilayered; one sponsored blogger's "traffic has doubled thanks partly to PayPerPost's fanatical users, who link often to fellow Posties. That gives her a bigger audience for her unpaid musings." The Federal Trade Commission recently directed word-of-mouth marketers to clearly disclose.

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