After being ripped off and fucked over by no less than 5 affiliate programs I found myself re-thinking whether or not I would accept money for a sponsored blog post. I have a slight un-ease with it as I fear people will think my opinion can be bought – but the truth is it can’t. My morals can’t be swayed, my opinion can’t be bought and my integrity is more important to me than anything money can buy.
If it’s generally accepted within the sex toy reviewing blogging community that it’s perfectly ok to earn money via affiliate links within reviews and it is accepted that any such possible earnings won’t interfere with our honest opinions on the product. So I ask why would a paid post be different? If anything, the affiliate system gives one many motivations to adjust their opinion as positive reviews obviously aid sales.
Many consider the reviewed product to be payment for the review post (which in itself is another debate topic), a position I have long held, but what about when there isn’t a tangible product?
It is also seen as acceptable to sell advertising in our sidebars to companies that we may or may not trust and wholly support, so what’s the big deal with accepting sponsored/paid blog posts? As long as it states that it is a paid for/sponsored blog post I can’t see the issue with it. Magazines and even newspapers run this type of article, why would it be different in the blogging arena?
There are quite a few big bloggers and social influencers who are standing up, speaking out in the debate about bloggers deserving to be paid, or, as in my case, not being ashamed of getting paid1. There is also a push towards bloggers being paid for reviews – and I am somewhat supportive of what Catherine Summers on Not dressed as lamb has had to say on the subject, or at least I understand where she is coming from.
It takes quite a bit of time and effort to review a product with no guaranteed pay off for the blogger, whereas the product supplier is only out the manufacturing cost of the product – which is often far less than the retail price, less than 1/2 price. When you are talking about self employed or ‘hobby’ blogger and big international companies – they can afford to send the product and pay $50 for what is both a link to their site and a personal recommendation, you are sending them traffic that is ready to buy their products. They want our links, they need our links and they are incredibly valuable to them. We spend years building our blog, curating our social feeds and growing our online authority. We have a product, a valuable product and one that we should be able to earn money from. It’s not like I can pay my kids college tuition in dildos! (although I once paid my rent in sex toys – I should write about it sometime)
I don’t make a lot of money from my blog, (Once upon a time I made a few hundred one year, but because I went on hiatus and then took a very long extended sabbatical, everything went to crap.) and despite what some people might think, bloggers put a LOT of time and energy as well as money into our blogs. You are quite likely aware that there are costs associated with running any kind of website; Domain registration, site hosting, some pay for premium wordpress themes and plug-ins too, and of course the cost of internet access2. Then there is the time factor. Even if posts aren’t being published I’m constantly reading about the latest Google updates and SEO trends, chatting on twitter and keeping up on the latest happenings in both sex toys and blogging. Rarely does a day go past without me doing something blog related. So if a company that I don’t have a problem with and am happy to associate my site with is willing to pay for their link to be in a post that I control the content of – fuck yeah I’m going to take it… But I still believe in transparency.
Whenever I publish a sponsored post you will know as it will say “Sponsored Post” right up the top and the details of the sponsor will appear at the end of it. And everything within the post will be my words, ideas and opinions, just the same as in my reviews.
I can’t see there being all that many sponsored post style advertisers all flocking towards my in-box, but I thought it can’t be a bad idea to go on record and to have a post to refer back to in any & all future sponsored posts.
Do you agree? Disagree? or have some other sentiment you would like to express? Shout it out in the comments below as I know that I can’t be the only one pondering the subject.