Reputation For Sale: Sponsored Articles Can Literally Destroy Your Blog

Steven5 responsesBlogging
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About 3 years ago I was shocked to see a blogger advertising that she’d accept any guest post as long as it was accompanied by a $40 fee. Since then, I’ve found out that this is a relatively common way for bloggers to monetize their blog. But “common” doesn’t necessarily equal “good”, as we saw with lots of other black hat techniques. So, let’s take a look at how these sponsored posts can ruin your blog.

Generally when we talk about sponsored posts, we’re talking about an advertiser paying the blogger to write a post reviewing his book or product, and typically that post includes a link to his sales page.

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Guest blogging, on the other hand, generally involves no fee at all. One blogger writes a blog post and submits it to another blogger. If the other blogger accepts it and publishes it on his blog, he links back to the author’s blog. The blog owner gets content for his blog and the author gets a backlink for his blog.

In this case, though, I’m talking about blog owners who require guest posters to pay a fee to have their content published, which sounds a little shady.

As recently as last week I came across a blogger who had been paying for guest posts. Needless to say, she got a lot of submissions every week. When she decided she didn’t have time to read all of those poor-quality guest posts any more and she was getting tired of being buried with emails every morning, she changed her guest posting policy – Now, she’ll only consider your guest post if you’re a member of her training program – which costs a couple hundred dollars.

She is, in essence, telling her readers if they want to publish their guest posts on her blog they’re going to have to cough up $197. I’m sure her email will be much more manageable, now.

This is the same excuse given by most of the bloggers who are publishing sponsored posts. They say they’re just getting too many poor quality submissions and their thought is, if you have to pay to get your guest post published maybe you’ll take the time and put forth the effort to write a post worth publishing.

Personally, I think these bloggers are taking advantage of the popularity of guest blogging. I also wonder where most of them would be right now if another blogger hadn’t given them a break somewhere along the way and published their poor-quality guest posts.

But here’s what it really boils down to…

If you’re the person submitting the guest post, you are, in essence, purchasing a link when you pay a fee to get someone to publish your post. And as the blog owner who publishes the guest post, you’re essentially selling links when you collect a fee to publish that post. Personally, knowing how Google feels about link schemes, I wouldn’t touch either side of this “business” with a ten-foot pole. And I don’t think you should, either.

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  1. Nico Lawsons


    I do agree with what you’re saying. Although free guest posts aren’t always negative. But of course you should have the time to manage them all.

    It variates from your readerbase and how big your site IMO. You should think about all factors before introducing stuff like that.

  2. Brian H. Gill

    Amazing: free blog hosting services available, and folks *pay* to get their posts online? Maybe its the allure of being on an ‘established’ blog.

    When I started blogging, my budget was ‘zero.’ Paying someone to post my work wasn’t an option, even if I thought it would be a good idea.

    It helped that I knew enough about writing, the Internet, and search engines to write posts that made sense to readers – and be indexable by software.

    I used, and still use, Blogger as a host.

    With my first posts, I checked Google and a few other search engines to see if searching for keywords in my text showed up. After that, I concentrated on writing and posting regularly, and letting folks I ran into on social media know what I’m doing.

    So far, it’s worked pretty well.

  3. Steven Christian Du Pont

    ‘Literally,’ to be effective on the Internet, you have to understand the technology. Why pay for the results you hope to achieve when you don’t have to? Thank you, – Steven for an extremely informative article.

  4. Venkatesh Iyer

    I find this considerably surprising – and considerably distressing. This is the first time I have heard of guest posters being required to pay for having their posts accepted. Well, Steven is right – someday Google is going to crack down hard.

  5. Without enough hours in the day to do everything, quite often blogging gets ignored. (I know, I know . . .) Guest posts seemed the answer, but I felt kinda slimy and never used them (quality aside). Add money into that mix, and I really don’t want to touch it.

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No thanks, I have enough money