Paid Reviews: 99% Crap

13 May
2007

We advertise quite a bit. Be it Adwords/Overture, or sponsoring sites (ie becoming the sole advertiser), newsletters, forums, etc – advertising is an important part of how we keep our profile up.

I was quite excited when sponsored blog posts came out. Not the PayPerPost crap (it didn’t allow you to control who did the review – how absolutely retarded. Maybe it has changed since then).

The thing many people fail to understand is scale of a business. Lets say I have something tech-related that tech-bloggers would find interesting. We will try to build relationships with 10-25 bloggers, but it is impossible to build a relationship with the 500+ tech bloggers (who have traffic we are interested in). $5,000 is not that much. It is far easier (time efficient) to simply nurture relationship with a dozen bloggers, but pay the rest. With contextual relevance – we have a product that makes sense for their audience.

In an effort to save even more time – Sponsored Posts allows you to create an ‘opportunity’ and let bloggers bid. You don’t even need to go looking for them now (both SR and ReviewMe have medicore search capabilities).

While they were originally decent, both of them now suck ass. Two primary reasons:

Firstly – laziness. Most of these bloggers are horrible at doing any sort of decent look through (one great exception that quickly comes to mind is Michael Gray – his reviews are intelligent and meaty). We bought about a dozen reviews for iBegin Source. I’ll admit people have a hard time understanding the significance – local data is expensive, and that is why we keep seeing the same re-hashed sites. Plus – local data is inaccurate. Horribly so. It is relatively technical, but still an issue any tech blogger should be aware of (accuracy of local search sucks today).

I actually stopped using ReviewMe (their horrible ordering system didn’t help) after those reviews. It ground my bones that here I was, paying hundreds of dollars, and they couldn’t even be bothered to fix these inaccuracies – trying to contact the bloggers and explain their factual errors were blown off or entirely ignored.

With Sponsored Review’s opportunity system, we’ve gotten at least 75+ bids. I think less than 5 actually met the requirements I had clearly spelt out (ie must be tech-related, must be in english). For example – I had a spanish parenting blog apply for the bid. Thanks dumbass.

Secondly – utter shit. These bloggers are basically whores, willing to review anything that pays. Both ReviewMe and SponsoredReviews suffer from this – blogs full of paid reviews. SponsoredReview’s opportunities make it even worse – I love how a tech blog can talk about drug rehab, credit card debt, and fashion shopping all on the front page. What makes it even more annoying is not only are people basically doing a ‘drive-by’ and applying for every single opportunity they can – they have multiple blogs all with no focus, no quality, just filled to the brim with absolute shit.

A few of them even went ahead and did a review! This just helps elucidate my earlier point about paid links -I definitely did not pay for those, and I have no desire to be associated with those neighbourhoods. What is to stop a competitor from buying 100 (shit) paid reviews at $5 a pop? When being at the top of a keyword search can net thousands of dollars in profit a day, $500 is but a walk in the park.

I do want to state that there are some decent blogs out there doing intelligent and relevant reviews out there. Unfortunately there is so much shit out there (making it hard for me to find that) that you can count me as an advertiser who is pulling out.

7 Responses to Paid Reviews: 99% Crap

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Tech.Chick.Blog » links for 2007-05-15

May 15th, 2007 at 7:24 am

[...] Paid Reviews: 99% Crap – Tech Soapbox In an effort to save even more time – Sponsored Posts allows you to create an ‘opportunity’ and let bloggers bid. You don’t even need to go looking for them now (both SR and ReviewMe have medicore search capabilities). While they were originally de (tags: blogging, pay-per-post, ads, advertising) [...]

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Link Sharing: 5/17/07 » Webomatica - tech, movies, music blog

May 17th, 2007 at 9:37 am

[...] Paid Reviews Are Lame: And most blogs are poo. [...]

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Best of Feeds - 45 links - blogging, business, startup, career, tips « //engtech - internet duct tape

May 19th, 2007 at 12:14 pm

[...] [PPP/REVIEWME] Paid Reviews: 99% Crap (techsoapbox.com, 2 saves) [...]

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ZanyNenk

July 5th, 2007 at 9:26 am

I think you totally exaggerating. You forget that most bloggers are not professionals. They are into making some dollars off of their blog, and your ethics don’t really bother them much – and they shouldn’t. The review is out there — the link is alive — the money is well earned. That’s all there’s to it.

You can’t ask everybody to be like Darren Rowse. So take it easy.

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Does Posting Sponsored Reviews Means Selling Out? « Bona Fide

July 5th, 2007 at 9:28 am

[...] Posting Sponsored Reviews Means Selling Out? An interesting rant I found talks about the quality of both the blogs and the companies involved in sponsored reviews. [...]

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Ahmed

July 5th, 2007 at 9:37 am

Zany – this isn’t about professionalism (in the sense of the overall blog). I’m not expecting Darren Rowse. My two main points simply are:

1. Ignoring requirements. Many bloggers apply for any and all reviews. They may have zero knowledge on that subject. It may have nothing to do with what their blog is about. I put simple requirements, and so many bloggers ignored them that they aren’t the exception – they are the rule.

2. Quality. I’m talking about blogs full of paid reviews. Sure, put in a paid review if you want to. I don’t have a problem with that. But when 75%+ of blog posts are reviewed posts, that isn’t a blog – it is just an advertisement masked as a blog. And when most of the blogs are like that (chock full of reviewed posts) – then they are simply crap.

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Best of Feeds - 45 links - blogging, business, startup, career, tips « Internet Duct Tape

July 20th, 2007 at 12:01 am

[...] [PPP/REVIEWME] Paid Reviews: 99% Crap (techsoapbox.com, 2 saves) [...]

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