Paid blog posting: the road forward?

April 13, 2006 – 6:43 am

by Darren

I’m seeing a lot more references to something I’d rather ignore: cries for paid forum and blog posters. I have to admit, this strikes me as somewhat wrong. I cannot imagine a good forum being built from the scraps of paid posts, and although I can understand the point more for paid bloggers, I also think the original point of blogs might be getting missed.

Adsense from Google gave tons of people a chance to monetize content, but it’s also set off a tidal wave of bizarre business models that all depend on acquiring or producing more “content”. Content is King, is the mantra, and we need more of it. Sure, this concept is sound, at least on the surface, but it’s also extremely short-sighted. It isn’t “content” per se that pays well. It’s content that is carefully and lovingly created that pays.

Blogs went from being online journals of personal thoughts to big businesses which now staff writers.  Funny enough, there is a word for a business that employs writers to make content for pay: generally they’re called magazines.  How do the modern pay for play blogs bridge the gap between magazines and journals?  In reality, they’re headed much more in the direction of traditional print than a Web 2.0 wonderland.  Blogs are making content for advertisers, and some of them even are selling editorial options for money as well.

The credibility of blogging will become increasingly threatened as more content companies ramp up and attempt to monetize.  Standards which aren’t very high to begin with will be lowered even more.  You can expect product placement in all of your favorite blogs, and pictures of bloggers drinking Coca-Cola on their “About Pages” can’t be far behind.

There’s truly nothing wrong with this trend, if the surfers are clear it’s going on.  If people realize the “blogs” they visit are merely puff factories for companies and products, then no harm will be done.  But if the consumer gets confused about what a blog is, and what a blogger does, this cannot bode well for the millions of independent bloggers who are blogging for love, and not for profit.  Like most things, it’s not hard to believe that the profiteers are here to stay.

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