Thoughts on Blog Advertising

I've been asked multiple times over the last couple weeks about my experience with PayU2Blog, why I chose to use it, and how it's going. I'm going to post a summary of some of those questions here. For those of you thinking about trying it or another blog-advertising company out, it will give you an idea of what you're getting into. For those of you that aren't, this will be a way for me to be open and honest about my advertising policy. So, here we go:

What blog advertising have you chosen to participate in, and why?

I examined the options. Some blog advertising was very passive- banners or text ads along the top, sidebar, or bottom of this page (Adsense). Another type involved just linking key words in a typical blog post to a company's website (PayU2Blog). The third type involved reviewing or talking about a website or company- "viral marketing" combined with links to the website (PayPerPost).

I checked all three options out. The first doesn't provide enough revenue for it to be worth it. I did put Adsense ads at the bottom of my blog pages to test it out, and have made, to date, $2.42. Each time someone clicks on those ads, Google gets paid by the company (see Pay Per Click), and I get a few cents. Like I said, not a huge revenue stream. The last option paid the best, and allows you to choose your assignments- so I only have to write about what I'm interested in or care about- but assignments are hard to come by because there are LOTS of people vying for them (especially those of us with a lower PageRank than the really-popular blogs.) I ultimately decided against this form of advertising because I would have to endorse products or websites that I may or may not be totally excited about, which, to an extent, compromises the integrity of the blog in many readers' eyes.

After researching the middle choice, however, I hesitantly decided to try it out. There is no requirement that I endorse the contents of the link or the phrase, or even talk about it. I don't have to encourage readers to click on it- and it doesn't matter if they do or not (I'll explain more on that later). I label any post that contains a sponsored link as 'sponsored' as part of my disclosure- I don't want to be deceptive. This option also paid well for what it was- a link in a blog post I would probably write anyway- at $5 per assigned link. To date, over the last month & a half, I've made $185, which is at least paying for our internet connection :)

What are the requirements of PayU2Blog?
Here's how it goes: The system assigns me links and phrases with a deadline on when they need to appear in a post on the registered blog. I do NOT have a choice whether to accept the assignments or not- this is a downside of the program. If I get the phrase "New York car accident lawyer", I have to include in a post before the deadline, regardless of whether it fits very well or not. This can sometimes make for challenging, creative writing! The exact phrase assigned must be linked to the web page given and not talked about in a negative fashion, with no more than 2 other links in the post (and no other sponsored links, and no links to competitors of the advertiser), and at least 60 words in the post. Pretty straightforward.

What's the point of just a link?
It has helped me to understand what the purpose of the links are. Companies don't care if anyone ever clicks on the links, surprisingly. The point is for Google to see the link and raise the company's PageRank in their database. I "hide" my links by making them the same color as the rest of the text of the post, because I really don't care (or want) anyone to click on them. The advertising company's goal is that you give them a "vote" for their PageRank for that phrase, placing them higher in the search results list.

Do you recommend this for any blogger?
No. I do not recommend it for infrequent bloggers, as there can be a decent number of assignments, and bloggers that are only posting sponsored posts will get overwhelmed and probably see the quality of their blog diminish, because every post will be sponsored. Also, this would be very difficult if not impossible for bloggers with themed, topic-specific blogs. I'm not participating in the program on my food blog because there's not logical way I could fit any of these phrases in posts there, and, as I said, I don't want to diminish the quality or integrity of the blog.

This topic has come up in conversation lately, so I thought I'd explain it more clearly than I have previously. Participating in the advertising has actually been a little fun, stretching my creative writing skills, and wrestling with how to both uphold my agreement with the advertising company and uphold the integrity of my writing. I probably won't do this forever, but it's an interesting experiment for now. What other questions do you have? And, what's your take on blog advertising?

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