Robert: Disclose that bag of pretzels too

Well, Scoble has gone and done it again, it seems. He agreed to accept a speaking engagement from none other than PayPerPost, everyone’s favourite blogosphere whipping boy. At first, the deal was that they would pay him for appearing, as well as paying for his flight and accommodations, but John Furrier and PodTech apparently decided that wasn’t such a great idea — poor “optics,” as the political types like to say — and so he turned it down.

Duncan Riley says that Scoble “has balls” for doing the speech, but also that he has become “a paid shill” for the company, and that he has every right to “whore his presence.” I think we’re back to where we were just the other day when the latest PayPerPost brouhaha erupted (which I wrote about here). Everyone is being held up against an impossible standard, just because PayPerPost is seen as the blogosphere’s version of a “sidewalk hooker,” — as Scoble’s friend and co-author Shel Israel says in his disapproving comment.

Robert_Scoble.jpg So Scoble was going to get a fee for speaking at a blogging conference. Big deal. Speakers at conferences get paid all the time, and even if they don’t get an honorarium, they usually get free plane flights and hotel rooms and food. That’s how it works. Is this conference somehow different because PayPerPost is sponsoring it? Like Jason at Webomatica, I think more disclosure is definitely good, but I don’t see why he should be subjected to a public flogging. He’s not speaking at the Aryan Party’s annual meeting, for pete’s sake. Mike says he’s making a mistake.

PayPerPost may not be the model that I would like to see bloggers adopt, but it is one of the alternative for people who don’t get enough traffic to make their blog pay, and it has definitely gotten better since it launched. According to an email I got from CEO Ted Murphy, the company will soon be launching a new feature that would place a disclosure button (with a rollover ad included) at the bottom of any post sponsored by an advertiser, although it will be up to the advertiser to decide whether to use that feature.

Update:

Tony Hung has a long and thoughtful post on the subject of the “impossible standard” bloggers are being held to. And both Duncan Riley at 901am and Jim Kukral of Blogkits (which I use, in the interests of full disclosure) think that Ted Murphy of PayPerPost is a marketing genius.

7 thoughts on “Robert: Disclose that bag of pretzels too

  1. Yeah now that I think about it, the disclosure thing is getting kind of crazy – I’m disclosing things before I even do them, now 🙂

    Totally off topic, but what is the plug in you’re using for your recent comments? I like how it has the URL of the commenter, and I’d like to add it to my WordPress blog… thanks.

  2. You’d think Robert Scoble was a journalist or a priest or something the way people have reacted to this.

    I don’t think during his blogging career that he’s ever been either of those things. He’s a PR guy who blogs. He blogs about companies that pay him money (and many that don’t) — a lot more money than those poor bloggers who toil for PayPerPost.

    If he’s going to give of his time, he wants to be compensated. Who doesn’t, unless it’s for a good cause?

  3. I agree, Dominic. People seem to be expecting things of Scoble that they never did when he was a flack for Microsoft — I’m not sure why.

    And Jason, the recent comments plugin is a sidebar widget that came as part of the WordPress widget plugin.

  4. The big deal is as follows: There’s been a huge amount of ranting from the A-list that PayPerPost is EVIL EVIL EVIL, and people taking money from them are bad, bad, bad bloggers who pollute our precious bloggily fluids.

    Then one of the BigHeads announces he’s getting paid – with special treatment! – to speak for them.

    IOKIYAA! = “It’s OK If You’re An A-lister”.

    Yeah, yeah, you can argue “that’s different”, because, you see, he’s getting big money for *speaking*, and that’s just what A-listers do, but if you, little Z-lister, get small money for posting, well, then it’s not about the “conversation” anymore (strangely, all those speakers fees aren’t taken to corrupt the “conversation” at all, it’s only capitalism).

    So what you’re neglecting in the above post in the demonization of PayPerPost, and the class-warfare aspects thereof.

    [note: I’m not defending PPP _per se_ – but I don’t see them as so much worse than the strategies used by the A-list for their own monetization]

  5. Class warfare, totally. You tell people broke that they can be paid to blog, “zomg sign me up!”… and then when you go on about transparency and disclosure, they laugh at you and repeat, “sign me up!”

    We don’t like this. It’s against The Rules.

  6. I was never paid to speak on PayPerPost’s behalf. I’m giving a speech at a conference planned and sponsored by PayPerPost, though, and I’m not being paid by them to do so as per PodTech’s policy on speaker compensation.

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