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Paying Bloggers For Links...
Posted 06 March 2007 - 06:10 PM
In the case of these "reviews," if you're not clear about what's going on (that you've hired these people to write a review), then you're not thinking in the long term. Instead, you're trying to get what you can right now. In the long term, this may be viewed as false advertising. It may be discounted or even penalized by search engines. Why? Because of payola in radio, or giving the answers to popular contestants on game shows in the 1950s, false claims in TV commercials (when Alex Trebek tells you how great that insurance company is, the words "paid endorsement" appear on the screen for a reason), link farms, Googlebombing, cloaking.
These are all attempts to pull the wool over someone's eyes, and they've all been shut down one way or another.
If your site really matters to you and you think long term about growing it and promoting it, you're not going to do anything that smells of deception. It's not worth the risk. The long term strategy involves making the site good enough that it's going to get good reviews from anyone. You won't have to pay them.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 09:47 AM
Well the reason I say that is that at 'best', in SEO terms, you are probably going to effectively get a paid for link. The majority of paid for links, in my book, are not worth much in SEO terms, but that could be just me.
With 'pay for post' I don't have a problem with it as long as any interest is declared and I have seen bloggers declare an interest and give a bad review - kudos to them.
As I have said earlier some products and services are ideally suited to a 'Pay per post' campaign, for others it will be a waste of time, but any value it has will for me be more in the viral marketing area, which is in itself is not a bad thing, it's just not SEO.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 11:52 AM
Nope, that's not really what I meant, although I suppose indirectly it could be.
What I meant, and this is a hard concept to grasp, is that what you think the search engines want and try to give them, may not actually be what they want. Because what they want is the best results for their users (the searchers), not the best results for themselves (the search engine).
By trying to optimize a site for search engines instead of searchers, you'll always do it incorrectly, even though you may think you're giving them what they want.
Posted 07 March 2007 - 10:03 PM
This will hopefully bring some sales, but the primary goal is SEO. We would get keywords and a link from high PR sites, and their blog on us would continue to exist long after the initial posting.
Generally, blogs that accept money for links in blog posts will accept money from anyone. Those blogs often have links to shady areas of the Web and if this is your main source of links then your site might end up in a shady link neighborhood. I wouldn't count on it for long term results unless you really know what you are doing. There are usually much better ways to build links.
Posted 08 March 2007 - 02:29 AM
Although I agree that pay per post blogs will do little for SEO I also disagree with your general view.
Adsense has for sometime been the main cause of thousands of spam blog websites that use free article content that is likely to result in anyone who regularly writes free reprint articles having those articles appear in 'bad neighbourhood'. Although those links have probably not helped a website improve its SERP I doubt they have done any harm - websites cannot control who links to them - search engines probably just value the link as zero.
You may be right or wrong saying 'Generally....blog posts will accept money from anyone', but to say those same blogs have links to shady areas is a massively sweeping statement.
There are many good high quality blogs that have healthy readership and are regarded as a good source.
Bloggers can choose to offer their services for free, they can choose to carry advertisements and/or they can agree to review something for a fee. Let's just not generalise that all bloggers who accept payment are bad.
For the record, I am neither a blogger who accepts payment and a subscriber to any pay per post system.
If I were to test the pay per post market I would want to choose my bloggers carefully.
Posted 08 March 2007 - 07:29 AM
If I were going to pay someone else to write about my brand, product, or company, you can be sure that the group, firm, agency, etc would be qualified to write about it, i.e. they know our unique selling proposition, understand our product/feature set, is familiar with and done work in our industry, knows seo copywriting techniques, and has a track record. Even though its blog posting, it should be done well (again, my opinion), especially if it really has the focus of being a success story or your talking about your brand in an effort to shape perception in the prospect's mind.
In one of these posts, someone mentioned testing it, that is a good idea, before you plunk down money on a contract. Another thing to do might be to write some sample posts yourself, maybe a range of them, depending upon your various objectives (because I would hope you know your company, brand, or product better than anyone else), come up with a list of blogs and use an intern to do the work, that way, you can control the quality by providing the parameters of the content and supervising it. I have been fortunate to get some great interns, and after spending a few minutes with them, explaining things, and teaching them how to do it, they pick it up quickly and do fine job. Again, just another suggestion as an alternative.
Posted 09 March 2007 - 06:43 PM
Spoken like a true marketer, DJKay, and it's really smart advice!
Posted 12 March 2007 - 05:48 PM
I have had my designs "reviewed" on review sites, and that does absolutely nothing. They have offered to move my review to the front page for a fee, which would be a complete waste of money. I was advertising by way of gift idea directories, but that was a. dishonest and b. did not lead to sales. It provided clicks and a link onto some of my product pages, but after a while, I learned not to care for them. I've since stopped advertising with a site that does not list something as an endorsement.
However, the first site I did this one was a newsletter. She did not say that these product raves were paid. I only found out when I enquired about how to get on her site. I paid for the cheapest placement possible (the PS at the bottom of her letter), and did get a good resonse. Sales and newsletter signups. I guess you could say that she "chose" to allow me as an advertiser.
The next effective placement I got was from a true blue blogger who blogs about her pregnancy. She googled "cute jewelry pouches" and thanks to good SEO, my jewelry bags came up! And she bought one. This was around xmas time, and she included it on her gift list on her blog. I only knew this b/c I got a Google Alert for my website. Forgetting her name (and not looking it up in my customer list) I commented on her blog ONLY b/c she did not list an email. I have a new product - a baby burp cloth - and I offered to send her one. I said if she liked it, she could blog about it. And she did and I got tons of hits. No sales, but I'm experimenting with the price. I don't make my things in China, if you know what I mean. And my product picture is bad, and I know it. I just have a long to do list.
Anyway, as a blogger, I respond well to very genuine sounding pitches. An author offered to send me her book. If I liked it, blog about it. If not, keep quiet. I could even get invited to VIP parties. No problem. I liked it, and I blogged about it - really late. She was already a best seller in San Fran, so something that they did worked. And don't comment spam on people's blogs. It's annoying, and I don't publish them. I have a few litter bugs on my blog b/c I was letting people comment freely, that is until Blogger hid the trash can from me and I can't figure out how to delete.
Sorry for the long post. I had coffee.
Posted 12 March 2007 - 05:54 PM
Exactly. It's about building relationships
Posted 19 March 2007 - 12:58 PM
I think your post was valuable, so I am glad you had coffee . I really like that you are "testing" what works for you, your market, your product, and your company. Things that work in one situation, may not work in others.
While we have two blogs, and another on the way, in my industry, more often than not, the person authorized to purchase our product is not "blogging", but, since its a business to business technology product, with a long sales cycle where you have many stakeholders you must persuade and get concurence, we use blogs, podcasts, email marketing, direct mail, promotional products, and other techniques to educate and build everyone involved in the buying process.
In my opinion [again, am a marketer by training], its all about the cost of customer acquisition. If your cost of customer acquisition is too high, you are out of business, and if you are a marketer (out of a job!) Our average sale is very large. Compared to others in our industry, the cost of our customer acquisition is very low because we are using seo/sem/online marketing for lead generation. I am able to use other techniques and tactics, because I save a huge amount of money in one aspect of our marketing. (Side note: Please do not take the above as a hard and fast rule, just cause it works in the industry I am in, does not mean it will work for you.)
If the activity or marketing you are paying for does not convert (make sales), it will drive up your cost of customer acquisition, that is why I am firm believer in testing things first, before you roll them out (and it has saved my tail many times). Moreover, it good produce sales on products in which you have most margin, but again, it may not be so, given the company and its business model (subscription models are different than recency frequency models, different still than latency models).
So, just keep testing....
Posted 19 March 2007 - 02:05 PM
In its most direct form, "paying bloggers for links" is something I would not consider. Still, there are online applications that I am a member of, such as ReviewMe and SponsoredReviews. On those sites, my blog is "available" for reviews, but I'm looking for the right match and have declined offers in the past. I won't just blog about anything; it has to be valuable to me and potentially to my reader base. As per the rules of these sites, I also need to specify that it's a paid review.
With the aforementioned online review applications, are you looking for a positive review? You may not necessarily get one. This is a risk you should take.
There are some people (read my post at techipedia.com/2007/03/17/john-chow-clever-blogger-can-i-say-internet-marketer/ for my insight) who can do this very well, though that does come across as questionable as it did in my particular case. I'm not sure if there's a long-term benefit to this tactic.
The best reviews, in my opinion, are on topic with the blog, and would benefit its readers. As Scottie said, "If these are well-read blogs and relevant to your product, it sounds like a great strategy. An honest endorsement from a credible, popular blogger is a powerful thing."
With that, and with my own awareness that this is not a farfetched request, I say go for it.
Edited by qwerty, 19 March 2007 - 02:20 PM.
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