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Do You Read Paid Review Posts?

It’s been months since programs like PayPerPost and ReviewMe launched – offering bloggers money to review products, sites and services.

In that time there’s been a lot of controversy around the ethics of paid reviews and whether disclosure should be compulsory or not. I don’t really want to get into that again here – but I do have a question.

  • When you see a paid review on a blog do you read it?
  • If you read it – do you give it any more or less authority or credibility than a non paid review?

I’m asking the question(s) without any agenda – but out of my own experience of seeing more and more blogs writing paid reviews (some blogs are doing them daily and are making good money doing so).

My own experience is that while I don’t ethically have a problem with a paid review as long as it’s clearly disclosed – that I can’t remember too many times when I’ve read them beyond the first paragraph.

Perhaps I am not a typical blog reader and have become a little hardened in my old age – but I’d really love to hear of other people’s experiences. Do you read paid reviews?

I’d also like to ask a question or three to those doing paid reviews:

  • What type of response (positive or negative) have you had from readers to your reviews?
  • Do you find comments on paid reviews are higher or lower than your other posts?

Again – I’m only asking this out of a genuine interest. While I’ve not gotten into the paid review game myself because it doesn’t quite fit with my style of blogging I’d love to hear from others who have – particularly around the questions of whether you feel the reviews have impacted the quality of the interactions you’re having with readers.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. andrew chen says:

    I rarely pay attention to the content of pay review post but I do tend to visit the reviewed web site.

  2. Paid reviews are tricky.

    Unmarked ones are ignored outright once I’ve figured out it’s a pay-per-post. I also won’t hesitate to email the blogger or leave a comment saying that I’m disappointed.

    Clearly labeled ones are different. If it’s a blog I normally the read then I’ll skim it a bit. If it’s interesting it gets a further read, but I keep in mind that they are being paid for the post.

    It’s not something that comes up much. I don’t read many blogs that do Pay Per Post.

  3. Stephen says:

    My view is that it depends on how the paid posts are used. If they are on topic or otherwise worked fittingly into the blog then I don’t have much of a problem with them.

    Like many here I skim over paid posts. If it’s a service that interests me then I’ll pay more attention to it. If not then I’m likely to skip on to the next post.

    I think that the idea has merit and so I’ve began to use PayPerPost myself. The catch is that I will not post about any’ol offer that’s available. It has to be something that ties in with what I would already be writing about.

    This is an example:
    http://steph.shadowsinmotion.com/college/college-cold-weather-sandals/

    Seeing the offer to write about sandals reminded me of something that happened on campus. It was a win/win situation in that it was an amusing situation to share and it also fit perfectly with the PPP offer.

    Ironically I’m still waiting for them to OK that post.

    Anyway, the blogger has to have limits. They need to respect their readers. These are limits that I try to stick to, myself.

    -Steph

  4. George says:

    I tend to skim paid reviews since I found some value in a few of them.

    I recently did a paid review. It basically generated no response from my readers. I thought I would get complaints but I heard nothing.

    I also did not receive any comments, which is a bit strange. I usually get a few comments per post. Maybe my readers were all distracted by the stock market gyrations this past week. I know I was.

  5. ian says:

    I used to read them, but to be honest, I am now starting to switch off reading them, I think a responsible blogger would set a percentage limit on the number of posts that are reviewme posts, otherwise the site just turns into one big advertisement.

  6. Alex says:

    John Chow is a man whore, 50% of his content is either affiliate marketing ads or reviewme’s of sites he has looked at for approximately 5minutes. He is just a greedy greedy man and I and others now don’t bother with his site because it takes too long to wade through his crap.

  7. Renée says:

    I usually skim them. If the topic is something of interest I will read them with a grain of salt. I might check out the site but the final judgement is base on my experience.

    I don’t mind if bloggers do it once in awhile but when it happens too regularly then I’m put off. There is one blogger who posts once a week or two with good content and ever since reviewme came out, this blogger posts nothing but paid post twice in a roll per week. If this goes on, his feed will be history.

  8. ZeMMs says:

    I’ve seen many blogs in my feedreader who’s getting addicted to write paid posts.. most of their new posts starts to circulate on unrelated stuffs just so that their posts are accepted by the paid program to get the commission. To be honest with you, I’ve deleted most of those type of blogs from my feedreader… although I used to like it before they signed up with those things.

  9. Broc says:

    Ive found myself barely skimming most paid reviews but on occasion the writer/reviewed product or person will catch my eye and I will continue to read the review all the way through but those eye catching posts seem to be coming fewer and fewer in between.

  10. Randa says:

    I don’t read them at all. I think it’s a waste of time reading a recommendation of a site or product that someone was paid to promote. The one exception would be if it was a blogger I respected who started out the post saying that this happened to be a paid post, but they might have written about the topic anyway because they were sold on the product.

  11. JosefVirek says:

    i read the first few paragraphs if i’m interested in the topic/product being reviewed and if i like the blog.

  12. reptile says:

    I usually do not read paid reviews . However, most of the blogs I visit do not have paid reviews :)

  13. Peg says:

    I typically scan right over PPP entries. I find if the proportion of PPPs starts to dwarf ‘regular’ posts, I drop the blog from my reader.

    I’m all for bloggers making a few bucks, but when a personal blog becomes a PPP machine, I’m done.

  14. David Airey says:

    I recently wrote a review through ReviewMe (the first ever paid post on my blog). At the end I asked a question of my readers, “was I too harsh or overly critical of the website I was reviewing?”.

    I received a less than average response, but those responses appreciated that I offered constructive criticism rather than praise.

  15. Rui Augusto says:

    As long as the blog content is usefull and the reviews are in some way related to the blog content, I will read them.

    I started 2 weeks ago to do payed reviews.

  16. Mark Shead says:

    If the blogger takes an approach where they see the review as being paid for their time and honest opinion, it can be interesting to read. Paid reviews help pay for a bloggers time to genuinely give their opinion on something. I’ve paid for some reviews of my site and the constructive criticism was well worth the cost.

    I think where most bloggers fail with paid reviews is by reviewing things that are irrelevant to their readers or not providing an honest review.

    As a reader, I will read a paid review as long as the blogger keeps the honesty and perspective that makes me want to read their blog anyway. If the blogger brings their insight to the post a review can be very worthwhile to read.

    To do a good review takes a lot of time though. For example if a blogger is paid to review a web application, they may need to spend a good amount of time actually using it in order to write an informed review.

  17. Laura says:

    I have a different take on this one, I think.

    Personally, I have not been doing paid reviews on my blog. Most of the paid reviews that are out there would probably not fit into my niche.

    However, I don’t object to bloggers doing paid reviews any more than I object to paid reviews being in the newspaper, magazine, or any form of media. (It’s interesting that many writers fuss about writing for free, yet expect blog posts to be written for free. Sometimes I actually wish that I had a blog where paid reviews would fit into the theme.)

    I do think disclosure of paid reviews is important as is objectivity. This is true of advertisements found in other media as well. I want to know who paid the reviewer. Was it a professional blogging outfit, the manufacturer of the product, or somebody else?

    As a consumer, I turn to reviews (including blog reviews) only when I am actually interested in the product. Otherwise, I skip over them. That’s true whether the review is on TV, in a magazine, or on a blog. If a blog were made up of nothing but paid reviews then it probably wouldn’t hold my interest.

    To summarize, I think paid reviews can be an excellent income source for bloggers who might still be waiting for that elusive ad revenue to trickle in. If it’s done sparingly and openly it can actually enhance a blog.

  18. Andy Beard says:

    I look on paid reviews as a consultancy thing, and to a lesser extent links and traffic. I find people read the reviews I write and have no problems with with the ethics.
    I even have people linking through to the reviews I write as an example of how paid reviews can be beneficial.

    I have recently as an additional incentive added the new RMP (Review My Post) links from PayPerPost – I have never written a review for them, but think this is an excellent viral marketing system that is win/win

  19. Rob StGeorge says:

    I do a few paid posts but always mark them as such, I certainly don’t expect people to read them – I believe that as my site is about different ways to make money (paid posts being one of these) that readers would probably expect a few here and there.
    I normally disallow comments on them as I would rather get comments on my other posts.
    Also I try and drop them under a “normal” post so they are never the first thing you see on my site. The money from paid posts keeps the fridge full of beer which is a benefit of course and important fuel for blogging!

  20. Orvindra says:

    yes i read paid reviews if they are of my interest, but with the time bloggers are writing anything i.e. for paid reviews and are diverting from
    their premier topic. If the blog is reviewing the product in its domain i will surely read but if there are too many different products are involved i will stop reading that blog at all.

  21. Baz L says:

    I’ve just started the paid review thing, so I can’t really comment on my reviews and comments. However, doing a few paid reviews has helped me to understand the motivation behind them.

    Now I see a lot of you guys mention ReviewMe. ReviewMe has minimum traffic requirement that they have. None of my blogs have been accepted. If you’re receiving that amount of traffic, then usually AdSense would do just fine for you so you don’t really need paid review money.

    As with all revenue for bloggers, it depends on how it’s done. If I go to a site and AdSense is splattered all over, then it turns me off. Some sites do a very good job of either blending or placing their Ads where they actually compliment the rest of the site.

    Most of the sites I’ve seen that do Paid Posts have the disclaimer at the bottom of the post, so do you guys scan the post and look at the bottom before reading? Why are we in such a witch hunt for paid posts? The companies that I do paid posts for usually allow you to give a good or bad review. If the topic is relavant to my blog, then why not? I’ve read countless paid reviews on other blogs: a lot of which I didn’t even know were paid until I reached the end.

    IMHO, paid posts are a great way for new bloggers to help pay their hosting fews, instead of waiting months (some years) to see AdSense revenue trickle up to $100.

  22. Atul says:

    Yes Sir Darren Rowse is right , by posting review on good running blog may effect to your traffic and feed readers .Because traffic is reading and visiting your blog because they want to learn and know some thing new through blog owner they are not their for buy products.

    Otherwise if you need few money you can post one or two reviews a week .

  23. Baz L says:

    Did my first comment just disappear?

    Oh well? Here’s a quick review:

    Adesnse takes too long for small sites. It’s really hard to sit and wait for months and months for your revenue to slowly climb to $100.00. Doing a quick review is a nice way to knock off some hosting fees. You stick a few review posts on a well updated blog and everyone’s happy.

    As with all other methods or gaining revenue on a blog, it all depends on how it’s done. I’ve seen blogs with gaudy Adsense and sites with nice layouts. Same with paid posts. Some or ridiculously off topic and other blend right in.

    What I don’t agree with, however, are READERS that give up on a blog for a paid post. If it’s relevant and well done, then why not? Also, most paid posts have disclaimers down at the bottom of the post, so do you guys scan to the bottom to determine whether it’s a review? I don’t think that’s right.

    My Two cents

  24. Lynn says:

    Yes, I will read paid reviews or blog postings. Most of the paid posts that I’ve read either fit into the blog or have interesting content. I have paid posts on my blog. I try to take opportunities that fit my blog. Sometimes I stray, but I always write what I feel. I think that is true for most of the paid posts that I’ve read as well.

  25. Ajay says:

    I treat paid reviews as just about any other blog post I read. I skim through the first para or so to see if it is of interest to me.

    If so, then I read the entire post in detail, otherwise I let it be.

  26. Nope, I skip them. I’ve seen a couple where the blogger forgot to mention that they were paid posts, but it was obvious that they were, and that didn’t feel very pleasant at all.

  27. cikgu azleen says:

    I also do paid blogging.. but only up to products or services that are related to my topic.. most of the time, when I was offered to write about something I dont think is related, i turn it down..

  28. Glen says:

    I’ve only done a couple, but so far they’ve done pretty well. The trick is to not just approve any. It has to be relative to the site content. Otherwise, people run far, far away.

    I do know that the couple I’ve done, I’ve had positive response across the board.

  29. Blaine Moore says:

    Paid reviews don’t really bother me. If I trust the author, then I’ll take their words at face value. If I haven’t read much from them, then I’ll take the review with a grain of salt. No skin off of my bones.

    Besides, most of the paid reviews on sites that I see are negative and fairly humorous anyway as the person asks what on earth was the person thinking paying for them to review their site.

  30. I dont think there must some restricions to read paid review contents.I think its mostimportant the content of post and whether it suited your choice rather its paid or not.If you find some interest on those topics then you might get back or left some comments there about your interest.Freely speaking most of us want to earn some money by creating some beautiful contents.You may think they are using their writing skill or somewhere some bloggers are just encouraging people to visit some sites.You only trust them when you believe that the bloggers has good reputations.One thing Iwould remind you nobody would prefered to read or stay attached with such a blog who are writing only about paid reviews,even the addvertisers are seeking them are also reject them as they dont have general visitors.Many of paid review sites are accepting bloggers who are 3:1 ratio blog content with non paid to paid .I am a new here in paid review writing,just have taken three or four post but I can understand the situations when a blogger feels by seing a such contents from his favourite bloggers.I found this article from your blog very interesting and sit to write my opinions.i hope you will visit my blog and would left a comment for me that my paid review (which is hardly few) are good content oriented or not.I think so that you should have time to manage this.that’s how the bloggers like me would get a clear position about newly starting programme to earn.Thanks everybody and very very special (coming) christmass wish for both of you.May god bless all of us and blogger world too.Thanks and byeeeeeeee.

  31. Sommer says:

    I’m having problems with this right now. My blog fills a niche and is becoming more popular. I like what I am doing but it doesn’t pay and I do have a family. Having free stuff sent to me even with full disclosure is nice and I don’t feel obligated to write a good review. I just give my opinion but it takes time. My husband says any good business person charges for their time. A lawyer gives one free consult and then your on the clock. A doctors visit isn’t free. Why is my time for trying a product, researching it, organizing a giveaway, marketing my blog and writing the post not worth something? That made me think. Charging is more for my time, energy and honesty with full disclosure. Should I state this at the beginning of the post or just have the disclosure policy and leave it to that? It gets confusing.

  32. Vidyut Kale says:

    I’ve done some paid reviews with reviewme on a blog I write on. My blogs don’t really have many comments, but for whatever its worth, the comments for paid posts are similar to others.

    I don’t really use these paid blogging thingys seriously, as I go through sites and only pick those that “work” for my interests. The others come and go.

    For me, this opens an arena of sites I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise and I learn a lot from seeing them, which I wouldn’t have, if I remained with my “usual sites”. So yeah, for me, this works, though I don’t take up every offer.

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