One of the most refreshing things about the blogosphere (in its infancy) was that it had the potential of being an authentic forum. Whether readers loved or hated a blog, they could say with some assurance that the blogger wrote what they believed, and often with considerable passion. This apparent authenticity, coupled with a growing disaffection with mainstream media, helped build an audience.
And where there's an audience, there's money, which as Tony Hung at The Blog Herald tells us, really puts blog ethics in jeopardy. In his article SponsoredReviews.com Jumps Into the Pay-Per-Post Fray, Introduces New Ethics Quandry, Tony expresses the concern that given the amount of money a blogger can demand for a review (based on the SponsoredReview.com model), “how can anyone possibly be expected to write an unbiased review?”
The potential for advertisers is clearly stated on the SponsoredReview.com site. They boldly promise a positive impact on search engine rankings due to increased link popularity. Getting links from relevant, popular blogs is a major benefit of paid reviews, regardless of their content.
While other pay per post services like payperpost.com and ReviewMe.com have been in business for some time, their payoffs to bloggers appear to be considerably more modest. Will SponsoredReviews.com change the game? And will blogger-driven pricing drive blog spam to new levels? It will be interesting to see how this new business model is received, both by bloggers and by advertisers.