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Old 9th March 2007, 03:52 PM   #1
thejenn
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Default New Article - Can You Trust A Blogger's Advice?

Authored by: Jennifer Laycock

Full Text: http://www.searchengineguide.com/laycock/009586.html

A Snippet:

Here's the conundrum. Search engine marketing requires links. Links can be hard to come by. Blog reviews are a great way to get links. Blog reviews have the added bonus of carrying the power of word-of-mouth recommendations. That said, it can be hard to catch the eye of a blogger and to get them to write about your products. The solution? Buy your blog reviews. At least that's how some people see it.

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Old 14th March 2007, 10:25 PM   #2
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Default Paid is okay if known up front

Trusting bloggers is like trusting anyone else in the world--trust has to be earned.

I know a lot of people are up in arms about paid per blog posting, but if there's a stipulation in the contract that says the review must be 100% honest, even if it's negative, and if the blogger makes it aware at the end of that post, not in a button/link that he/she was paid to review the product. I don't see the harm in it.

I guess I don't see it as being any different that affiliate websites that market certain products with the hope of earning money from the sale.

I suppose the real difference is that a website is usually known to be "salesy" and blogs were designed to be conversational tools.

Only blogs have evolved and as they continue to evolve and grow, people are bound to discover or find ways to make them profitable--it's the nature of man, right?

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Old 14th March 2007, 10:53 PM   #3
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I don't mind paid posts in the blogs I read as long as they relevant to the topic of the blog and are marked as paid reviews. In fact, I've found some other sites of interest through paid posts.

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Old 15th March 2007, 08:15 AM   #4
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I think the occasional duly noted paid post is fine, just so long that the paid posts don't overrun the non-paid posts. 1 out of ten should be the VERY max IMO.

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Old 15th March 2007, 10:46 AM   #5
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I'm in agreement with everyone else. I don't mind the occasional review as long as the blogger is upfront that it's a paid review.

Jenn I'll use you as an example. I've read enough things you've written to know you're an honest and decent person. And I trust you when you write something. I may not always agree with everything you say, but I trust your motives.

If you were to write a review, even if it's paid, I would still think your motivation for the review was more than just the money. But if every one of your posts was a review then I would start to think the money was the motivation and I'd lose trust in the reviews.

But an occasional review is fine with me.

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Old 15th March 2007, 06:53 PM   #6
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Default So glad to hear someone say this

Greetings all,
I am new to the forum and have just done an introduction post.

I believe that, just as the concept of paid textlinks passing ranking value that may then result in better rankings and the misconception on the user end that higher rankings=better quality, so paid reviews continue to muddy the waters in terms of how big of a grain of salt the user needs to take with anything they read on the Internet.

Blog posts that read like unbiased praise but are backed with money changing hands are deceptive, and I believe that the average user is not going to really understand the difference between a spontaneous and a paid post.

Nevertheless, I don't see this going away. I really appreciated Jennifer's article on this and was glad to see someone saying what she said. I'm afraid my business drive continues to get fouled up by my own idealism about the Internet being an altruistic 'information highway', when I truly do know that it is the commercial aspect of the web that is behind the majority of its contents at this time.

Thank you, Jennifer, for the thought-provoking article.

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Old 16th March 2007, 08:19 AM   #7
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I believe that the average user is not going to really understand the difference between a spontaneous and a paid post.
Just like the average user can't distinguish between a paid search result and an organic search result, despite the "Sponsored listings" text...

I've got to admit that paid posts are not something I generally enjoy reading, there have been one or two that have tweaked my interest, but generally not. Heck, I was watching the new Bond film on DVD the other night, and started getting annoyed by the obvious product placements in the flick... (yes, so Bond uses Sony Erikson, does he need to keep showing it to us?)

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Old 16th March 2007, 08:38 AM   #8
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Well, I don't think its much different than a DJ being paid to do a commercial on the air. These type of "commercials" usually only play when that DJ is in the booth so sometimes the line is blurred between their commentary and their commercial.

I read a post the other day about a pay review service that required that paid posts be no more than 1/3 of the blog posts. Wow... that's a huge number of paid posts vs. genuine content.

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Old 16th March 2007, 10:35 AM   #9
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I understand what you are saying ston3y, but disagree. In my opinion, as Miriam commented on, there is no difference between a paid text link ad and a paid blog review. In the past google wasn't very good at identifying paid text link ads. Now they are very good, and the trust/authority doesn't pass. Just as some visitors to a site might not mind and actually get some value from paid text link ads, others have a different opinion and Google has addressed more than before thru their algorithm. While this may not be the case now, I believe with time the overall trust/authority will be deminished because of the muddy waters with paid blogs (as is the case now with paid text link ads). So its not something I would consider 'long term' even if does work for now.

A couple points to consider -

1) Does anyone think these blog posts are not being purchased for the paid links and search engine rankings as a motivation? If this is not the case, then check how many place the nofollow tag and I think you will be clear that there is considerable link motivation involved based on payment. We'd be silly not to think so since Patrick Gavin started ReviewMe and also text-link-ads.

Simple, read Google's stance about paid links. Google has been clear that they discourage paying for links to manipulate search rankings.

Lets be clear about the above, as many don't fully understand what is going on.

2) Lets say the value of a page is determined by how many others link to it. Not a real stretch, eh? Based on my experiences, if I put up a complete site of paid links it is very unlikely others will link to it. If I put up a complete site of non paid links the likelihood of others linking to it increases. Now taking this scenario to paid blog posts, if I post a paid blog review .... it is not likely that others are going to link to it. If I post a non paid blog post ... it is more likely that others are going to link to it. Clearly to me, even if some don't mind, in reality a paid post is not the same as a post just as a paid link is not the same as a link obtained naturally. Whether for search or humans.

Paid = Paid ... that's not muddy

The best links/blog posts are not paid (see mattcutts comment below) ... that's not muddy

Here was one of Matt Cutts response when it was paid text link ads -

Quote:
Reputable sites that sell links won’t have their search engine rankings or PageRank penalized–a search for [daily cal] would still return dailycal.org. However, link-selling sites can lose their ability to give reputation (e.g. PageRank and anchortext).
I would still consider the same to apply whether it is under the cloak of a blog review or any other type of 'paid' link.

Using your scenario as an example Ston3y -

Quote:
I don't think its much different than a DJ being paid to do a commercial on the air.
... and I realize most others have expressed the same. Let me ask you this. If you were recommending a DJ, would it be based on his paid commercial spots or his non commercial influenced work. There is a difference, how humans act ... and search engines, based on my experiences.

Is there anyone here who would prefer to pay for an Adwords listing versus a free natural listing for a keyword. How about a paid text link ad versus natural link? How about a paid blog post versus natural blog post? Of course, everyone thinks the non paid listing is better, right? Paid = Paid.

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Old 19th March 2007, 08:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
there is no difference between a paid text link ad and a paid blog review.
That's Google's problem. I thought we were talking about human credibility!

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