TheAppleBlog.com, a relative newcomer to the Mac web scene, quickly found a way to generate a lot of backlash from their readers.
They posted a public proposition for advertisers to pay for a review of their products:
We get literally hundreds of software and hardware review requests each month. We love trying out new products, so this usually works out pretty well.
The problem is that we just canâ€™t review everything (obviously).
So, for the remainder of this week weâ€™ll be offering a discounted price to review your Mac/Apple related software or hardware.
If youâ€™d like to have us review your product, head over here and purchase a review and weâ€™ll get that rolling and get you a review on TAB!
They linked over to ReviewMe where bloggers can earn from $20 – $200 to post a review of a specific product. The backlash was swift and resulted in a retraction and apology of the offer.
The reaction, I think, was predictable but raises some interesting issues when sites do start generating enough traffic to draw the attention of advertisers. To be fair, TheAppleBlog said they could not promise a positive review. While I’m sure they had the best of intentions, I do believe that paid reviews will almost certainly affect the outcome of that review. It seems unavoidable.
Unfortunately, this appears to be a growing trend amongst bloggers. An LA Times article reports on bloggers who get paid to write up these opinions. Though this practice may start innocently enough (eg. “I like the product anyway.”), some “assignments” ask bloggers to make up fictional personal stories about their products.
Then there was the law firm looking to find clients who had used a certain birth control patch. The firm told bloggers to “get creative, have fun with your post and help spread the word” â€” the word being that the patch was killing and injuring young women.
i usually stick to natural birth control methods because i am a christian, natural birth control has no side effects too.””