Paid Blog Reviews: ReviewMe & PayPerPost

Dec 27, 2006 • 2:04 pm | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO
 

There are two recent threads that I found at forums I typically do not cover much on the topic of pay per post reviews. The posts are at HighRankings Forums and at SEO Refugee Forums. I am going to pull in all sources I know of, to give you the perspective of the search engines, advertiser, SEO and the blog writer.

Search Engines View of Pay Per Post Reviews: Earlier this month, I reported at Search Engine Land on Pay Per Post Reviews Acceptable By Some Search Engines where I quote SEOMoz's coverage of a SES Chicago session.

Specifically, Tim Converse from Yahoo starts off saying that "there would be no discount of link value for paid blog material." The rest of the search engines, including Google, represented by Adam Lasnik nodded their heads, according to Rand. Now, this was not just shocking to Rand, I was shocked by the response after Rand told me this on Thursday.

Yes, shocking... would Matt Cutts of Google say something like that. No! And I quote his comment at SEOMoz and at Search Engine Land:

Just to chime in and expand on Adam's comment: Google wants to do a good job of detecting paid links. Paid links that affect search engines (whether paid text links or a paid review) can cause a site to lose trust in Google.

The specific guideline for doing paid reviews or paid links is to make sure that your links don't affect search engines. You can do that via a nofollow attribute on your links, or an internal redirect which goes through a page which is robot.txt'ed out, or several other methods.

So in short, Google doesn't like this model but the other search engines haven't commented much on it. Perhaps because it is not a huge issue right now, in terms of hurting the current state of search relevancy algorithms. They know it can be an issue but currently they cannot do much about links within the main copy of the site, without removing or devaluing trust side-wide, which may be extreme in some cases.

Advertisers View of Pay Per Post Reviews: Bottom line, they want their message, product, or service in the public eye. Be it on a blog, forum, radio, TV, or billboard - they want people to know about what they have. Blogs tend to do a good job spreading this stuff. So a little money to encourage some bloggers to review your product/service can't hurt the advertiser. Unless, they give a poor review for the product or service.

SEOs View of Pay Per Post Reviews: An SEO wants the link, it is a link building strategy, and its one of the best types of links. They do not care if the review is positive or negative, they are perfectly happy with the link. In reality, the more extreme the review (positive or negative) the better off they are. More eyes catch it, more bloggers pick it up and you get free viral links out of it. Adding a nofollow attribute to those links, will make the links worthless.

Bloggers View of Pay Per Post Reviews: Well, a blogger, by nature, writes about items they buy, try out or consider buying. DazzlinDonna puts it well from the blogger's point of view...

Over the years, I've had a ton of people email me and ask me to review some seo tool or something, and most of the time, I would (for free). It gave me something to blog about for one thing, without me having to rack my brain, and it also was of interest to the readers. So I figure I've earned the right to get paid every now and then for a review, and I'll continue to also do free reviews when I want. Either way, I'll state my opinion of the product, good or bad, and money doesn't play into it. I don't mind disclosing the payment, although I have to also agree that it's kinda weird considering all of the celebrity endorsements that have inundated us for decades (as Robert Paulson brought up). But Dave's point is well made. I think (hope) that over the years, my straightforwardness has come through on my blog, and I assume people will know that I'm telling it like it is - paid or not. But I imagine there's probably a million or so bloggers out there who may not have that same level of trust because they just don't care one way or another. So, I can see how it could be useful. If I stumbled upon a blog from someone I didn't have any kind of trust relationship with, I might want to be reassured that the review I'm reading is an honest opinion - paid or not. Of course, who's to say whether I could believe that or not. I dunno. I think the big bru-ha-hah is a little silly, but whatever....

In short, I tend to do a lot of reviews of products I am personally interested in at my personal blog. I also review products I have bought in the past, and I write the good and the bad. I rarely ever nofollow a link, unless I am trying to make a point. A blogger's job sometimes goes unappreciated and for granted. Pay Per Post and ReviewME offers models where, at least, they can review products and services they find interesting and give a fair assessment of those products, while being appreciated ($$$) for it.

In Summary: That is a tough one... Let's look back... E-mail is a great thing, but spammers got to it and make it tough to use sometimes. The Web is a great thing, but spammers got to it (spyware, adware) and make it tough to use sometimes. Search engines are a great thing, but spammers got to it... Blogs are a great thing, but comment spammers got to it, making it tough... Paid blogger reviews are a great thing, but they can and will be used by people with bad intentions. As a blogger, I believe you can judge for yourself if a review is for a link or for a review. It is up to you if you are willing to risk a site-wide trust devaluation by Google or other engines. You are the only one who can judge, but don't let Google scare you - do what you know is right.

FYI - this was not a paid review of anything.

Forum discussion at HighRankings Forums & SEO Refugee Forums.

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Comments:

Jeremy Luebke

12/27/2006 09:17 pm

Well according to ReviewMe, they do not even require a link back to any site, but most every review will have one. They also do not require that you keep the link clean without nofollow or redirects. So any blogger is free to nofollow the links so that the review is just that. If the review is meant to drive traffic and sales, the person buying the review should have no problem with that. Personally, if I really liked a product, I would nofollow the links in the review, but drop the link later on in another post on a related subject where I was referencing the product. I doubt I would review a product that wouldn't be on topic and fitting enough to deserve a reference at a later time.

Chris Winfield

12/28/2006 02:51 am

Barry - Would you personally get paid for a review through either PPP or ReviewMe? Just not sure where you stand on it yourself.

Barry Schwartz

12/28/2006 04:06 am

I would not, because this blog doesnt do that.

Slimster

12/28/2006 08:48 pm

I have always been "white hat" to the extreme. And although I had a cigarette or two at a recent party, I consider myself a non-smoker. I like the clean game but on this one it seems like Cutts is saying, "Don't smoke ever or you'll likely get lung cancer". And that may be the right thing for him to say. But since my site is a total new launch with a new design, I am willing to pay for people to review it. I want to respond to those reviews and I don't feel like I should be required to put in "rel=no follow" tags to make sure I appear legit. It doesn't seem like the algorithms can tell at this point anyway.

No Name

06/14/2007 04:23 am

As far as I'm concerned, Paid Reviews don't hurt much to the search engine as long as they provides a good original content. Anyway, let the mass judge all these reviews.

doni

07/19/2008 12:53 pm

Now, after ReviewMe, it does not require a link back on any ground, but most must be of each inspection. They also demand that the link or without nofollow own son. Blogger So everyone is free, nofollow links, and the revision is, dass If the audit is to drive traffic and sales on the person buys the revision would have no problem. � � Personally, if I really a product of pleasure, I nofollow links in the audit, but the link decline later in another post in a category where I was referencing the product. I doubt, I check that a product wouldn 't be on the subject and earn enough timeline, a reference to a later date.

Brian

08/20/2008 09:58 pm

Don't know how I missed this post way way back in 2006. It would be interesting to get a round up of thoughts on this topic as it stands in the middle of '08.

asbury park

09/10/2008 01:59 pm

PayPerPost is total BS for advertisers. most of the blogs are just total spam (even when i offered $25 per post), and they did NOT have the PR i requested - i specified a PR 3+, but 3 of 4 blog posts were on PR 0's. when i contacted customer service to complain, they removed my blog posts, but kept the $$. considering they tack on $10 to every $20 post you offer, its a real rip off - no phone # to call, no customer service at all. I DO NOT recommend this service. i am a professional SEO specialist and i work for a fortune 500 company...

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