Valleywag is taking Mike Arrington, Om Malik, and John Battelle to task for allegedly doing a Federated Media version of the “pay to post” blogging these guys have been ridiculing for over a year.
I’ve noted the mild hypocrisy of PPP critics before who seem to think their very lucrative blogging efforts are free from bias while the lowly Pay per Posties should be ashamed to turn a few bucks from their own silly efforts.
I’m checking into the details of this effort now but if ValleyWag has this right then it’ll be interesting to hear from these guys about why we can still rest assured they’ll be objective and bite the hand that is now feeding them. Given their record of castigating other PPP efforts it does seem pretty blindingly hypocritical to set one up themselves.
But frankly and somewhat hypocritically myself given this post, I’d say I’m sick to death of hearing from Google, bloggers, and other ranting onliners about the lack of credibility in *others*. Anybody in *any* venture who is free from the sin of treating advertisers/allies more favorably is free to cast stones. I have no fear of ever getting hit.
Update: Gotta love the web – I’ve already heard from Federated’s Neil and John Battelle on this by email and I only posted about an hour ago here and over at ValleyWag comments. I’d like to post the thoughtful reply but I’m waiting for their permission….
Well, here’s the gist of Federated’s defense, written by Neil of Federated and posted over at CNN’s harsh critique of Federated:
In the case of this Microsoft campaign, the marketers asked if our writers would join a discussion around their “people ready” theme. Microsoft is an advertiser on our authors’ sites, but it’s paying them only based on the number of ad impressions delivered. There was no payment for joining the conversation and they were not required to do it. They’re not writing about this on their blogs, and of course several of them have been known to be pretty hard on Microsoft at times as reporters. They’re talking about the topic, and readers joined that conversation.
I’m still struggling to understand why this approach is enhancing the dialog rather than diminishing it in a way similar to how political donations distort political relationships. How can blogging’s strongest aspect – legitimate, provacative criticism of power players – come into this equation?
Federated Media explains at their blog.
Wow, Om Malik has already pulled out of the campaign. Read his explanation here.
Mike Arrington suggests it is naive to think this practice may be questionable, but his “explanation” below, and Federated’s above, left me feeling kind of intellectually abused, especially when written by people who claim a high road when criticizing others for editorial opportunism.
It isn’t a direct endorsement. Rather, it’s usually an answer to some lame slogan created by the adveriser. It makes the ad more personal and has a higher click through rate, or so we’ve been told. In the case of the Microsoft ad, we were quoted how we had become “people ready,” whatever that means. See our answer and some of the others here (I think it will be hard to find this text controversial, or anything other then extremely boring). We do these all the time…generally FM suggests some language and we approve or tweak it to make it less lame. The ads go up, we get paid.