Latest Version of Pay for Play: Bucks for Blogs

Beware the blog that gushes about a product, movie, or anything you might consider purchasing. There's a chance that the blogger is on the payroll of "new marketing middlemen such as PayPerPost Inc. that connect advertisers with mom-and-pop webmasters." PayPerPost alone pays 15,500 bloggers for inserting their clients into blog postings. Other companies that pay bloggers for mentions include ReviewMe, Loud Launch and Not all bloggers think it's a good idea. "PayPerPost versus authentic blogging is like comparing prostitution with making love to someone you care for deeply. No one with any level of ethics would get involved with these clowns," said Jason McCabe Calacanis, co-founder of Weblogs Inc. The quid pro quo is multilayered; one sponsored blogger's "traffic has doubled thanks partly to PayPerPost's fanatical users, who link often to fellow Posties. That gives her a bigger audience for her unpaid musings." The Federal Trade Commission recently directed word-of-mouth marketers to clearly disclose.