A few years back when I came up with the idea of ReviewMe (prior to Pay Per Post launching, but we were slow to market) I felt there was a need for bloggers and advertisers to be able to interact. Largely because I was getting more email than I could handle, and largely because I kept seeing blogs gain momentum in the marketplace.
But the paying for reviews idea has been a harder sell than I appreciated. Even social scientists 10 times smarter than I am have struggled with making ads go viral. When you directly pay for exposure it is seen as inauthentic. Take the same concepts and run them through a public relations campaign and you are a genius.
The downside of paying for direct exposure & editorial got a bit more exposure this week. A lead generation company named EPerks bought a review on Vlad Zablotskyy's blog through Sponsored Reviews, and generally got a good review. But then people commented on that review, which lead to a follow up post called ePerks - a scam or a gem?. That post got 163 comments, ranks #2 in Google for eperks, and lead to a lawsuit.
Mob mentality is never nice, but when you sue people (especially bloggers) it is easy to create more than enough collateral damage to offset any potential gains. The message being spread (complete with logo, donation buttons, and viral components) is defend free speech online. That is a hard meme to stop.
Lots of links will flow, but unfortunately their brand is destroyed. Perhaps they can later 301 redirect their site, but the PageRank is probably going to be worth less than the negative karma associated with the conflict.
Compare the above scenario with having a blog in the marketplace and building fans one at a time. Sure connecting with people one at a time is slower, but it is much less risky too.
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