Paying bloggers to blog – a sell out?

Software company are paying about 15 leading bloggers 800 USD to blog about their company. Bloggers need to put up a logo and link to the company website and mention Marqui once a week. I’m not so sure about this. OK, they claim that the bloggers can write positive or negative information, and they will not interfere. And because is it a first, it is a good PR opportunity for Marqui to create a buzz about the company and they even got mentioned in Business Week. But this approach is clearly different from just having ads on your blog. I have never been a friend of mixing advertising with editorial content. It dilutes the credibility of both the advertiser and the medium and bloggers who get paid to blog by one specific company are very close to selling out. The reason so many have turned to blogging is that they feel the corporate powers have too much influence – direct or indirect – over traditional media. If you then let sponsors have influence over your editorial content, I think you’ve lost a lot of cred, no matter what you actually write in those Marqui posts.

Sure I wouldn’t mind 2,400 USD for three months of blogging, but this is not the model I would choose.

What the paid bloggers say themselves about the sponsorships: here and here.

Only rock bands sell out. Journalists are supposed to make their money from ads. The second point is that this all comes down to trust. If you can trust me to be objective, it doesn’t matter that I’m being paid, so long as you know I’m being honest.