Monday, October 09, 2006

PayPerPost, call the ghostbusters?

PayPerPost is creating a buzz in the blogosphere - both negative and positive. This post will touch on that buzz, but first some background.

Your eyes are worth money. Advertisers are willing to pay simply for you seeing an advertisement next to a post. Some advertisers pay more when an advertisement is actually clicked. The amount varies by product advertised and the broker placing the advertisement. The advertisements on Treowth pay a few cents a click - one a few months ago paid over a dollar. (Only five more of those, I can head over to Starbucks.) I could not determine who was so generous - maybe the "clicker" bought something. Some advertisers only pay when a sale is made.

In my limited experience, most brokers require their publishers - Treowth, for example - to sign confidentially agreements limiting what can be disclosed to third parties. Hush, hush and all. Trust me, it is all about eyes and clicks.

Counting eyes and clicks can be fascinating. Treowth has three meters on the bottom of this page - slightly varied in the information they harvest. They count eyes and clicks - where the eyes reside, how they arrived, what outbound links were followed, etc. SiteMeter is accessible by you. Click on it and check it out. It is amazing (annoying?) the data it collects - and this is the free version of SiteMeter. The paid version can be made inaccessible to visitors and even cloaked, as in hidden. The middle meter, eXtreMe Tracking, is also accessible by you. I keep this meter only because I find interesting the Geo Tracking - the listing by country of Treowth visitors. The third meter, StatCounter, is password protected. I can't remember the password and haven't accessed that meter in several months - SiteMeter provides enough information for my purposes.

(Meters are not without controversy. Some claim they can be manipulated for good or bad.)

I enjoy surfing the web, reading both a regular list of blogs and random blogs via clicking "Next Blog" at the top right corner of Treowth. Occasionally, I discover a post, format or feature that I would like at Treowth. A couple recent discoveries are the talking girl in the right column - SitePal plays a nice commission for new subscribers - and PayPerPost - which pays a publisher a fixed amount to post about an advertiser.

PayPerPost (PPP) maintains a list of "opportunities" for its registered publishers to select. The opportunities have links to the advertiser's site, some include graphics and photographs that may be used, minimum number of words, tone of post (+, - or neutral), a summary of the topic and the compensation if the post is approved. Compensation for the opportunities that I have reviewed at the PPP site ranged $2.00 - $35.00 . . . most are under $10.00.

PPP's business model has been criticized by some as corrupting the blogoshere's purity. Bloggers who are participating as slime or worse. Interesting, but in my opinion flat out silly.

Jason Calacanis, CEO of Weblogs, Inc., believes PPP is deceptive. He wants a transparent market place. He wants PPP to require its posters to commence any post with a disclaimer stating that its writer is being paid to write about the topic. Jason opines:

The fact is no one in the world--NO ONE--wants to be covertly marketed to. Add to that the fact that PayPerPost enables people you consider your friends--or who you thought were your friends--to covertly market to you for profit. That's really evil in my book.
Who are Mr. Calacanis and Weblogs, Inc.? Think Engadget, Autoblog, and Joystiq. Perhaps PPP is threatening Mr. Calacanis' business model?

Mr. Calacanis, I blog about things that interest me. The few readers that stop by read what interests them. If a reader finds little or nothing of interest, the reader is unlikely to return. Life is busy and they move on.

I doubt Treowth is unique. Readers of blogs read and return because they find the bloggers inform, entertain or infuriate them. The social contract is simple - blogger, provide what I want and I will read.


Treowth readers will know when a particular post is a PayPerPost opportunity that Any Donkey has chosen to write about - at the conclusion of the post will be "PPP". To date, three such posts can be found on Treowth - the post on Thursday (10/5/06) about JJ Buckley Fine Wines, Saturday's Inventionland (10/7/06) and this post. All topics that interest Any Donkey and ones that I can explain to my barely teenage daughter who stops by on ocassion . . . I passed on an opportunity involving latex and batteries.

If you would like to climb the learning curve of blog economics by riding on my back, please feel free to contact me the "Email me" link in the top right corner. I am happy to share what I have learned about monetorizing a blog or site.



blogan said...

Now that's slick! You just got paid by PayPerPost to explain why you're getting paid to post on certain topics. Or did I misinterpret the reason you put PPP at the bottom of this post?

I don't mind ads on blogs. I just put some on mine about a week ago, and have made almost enough to buy a candy bar. Clearly not a big deal and I'm considering removing them unless I find a three-column WordPress template I really like. I'm not willing to put the ads up where they'll be seen if it means moving my sidebar content to where it won't.

I guess my problem with PPP is the same with the Lifestyle inserts in my Sunday newspaper: the ombudsman keeps having to explain that the verbiage "special section by the Snoregan marketing department" means that the content has been dictated to some extent and is paid for by third parties. The reason for the explanation---most people don't know that's what the magic phrase means and the section looks just like the rest of the paper.

That's the problem with the PPP posts. First, the PPP isn't going to mean a thing to the people who haven't seen the two secret decoder ring posts you've written explaining it. Something more explicit about the payment or being sponsored or something like that on each post or in the sidebat explaning what PPP means. Second, the PPP posts look just like the other posts in your blog; they don't look like ads. Third, it is changing the content of Treowth.

But, electrons are free; I can skip to the next post. I can't remember the last time I paid to read your blog, so if you can get paid to write posts, more power to you.

Maybe I'm just jealous they won't let me do the same thing... ;-)

blogan said...

Ah, what do you know! You do have a sidebar comment about what PPP means...

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