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Paid Reviews – Have You Written Them on your Blog?

Posted By Darren Rowse 2nd of November 2007 Reader Questions 0 Comments

This week’s Reader Poll is sure to cause some interesting discussion as there’s lots of debate about paid reviews with some bloggers dead against them and others who see them as a great way to make money from their blogs.

So lets see what the community thinks. Have you written paid reviews on any of your blogs?


I’d love to not only see the result of your vote – but to hear some of your reasoning why you responded the way that you did in comments below.

  • Do you think Paid Reviews are a good thing?
  • Have you done them? Do you still do them?
  • If you stopped – why?
  • If you do them – why?

Looking forward to seeing the conversation that this one generates.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I did one (required) review for Review Me on a site I no longer own. I left the review up the required amount of time and then deleted it when I migrated the site over to WordPress.

    Why? I felt cheap. I felt like I should have been standing on the corner of 7th street.

    I’ve long written reviews of products and services that I believe in. I’ve even embedded an affiliate link or two in such reviews. But for some reason, and yes, I know this doesn’t make any sense, it just didn’t feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, I don’t do it.

    Am I missing the boat on a nice income? Perhaps. However, there are other ways to make a good income from blogging where I don’t have to do something that doesn’t feel right.

    Some day, I may change my tune on this subject because I don’t see anything fundamentally wrong with the model. Logically, it’s just business as usual. The only difference between sponsored reviews on blogs and what businesses have been doing for decades is that it’s out in the open and there is buzz surrounding it. The basic concept is the same as a kickback; a practice that has been a part of business for a loooooong time.

  2. Paid reviews are a good thing because it gives bloggers a chance to make an extra buck. It’s no different from advertising.

    I’ve been doing paid reviews for about a year now and am still doing them. Afterall, it’s my blog and I do as I please. However, I am careful with the words I use in my paid reviews and I do not endorse products or services which I have not personally used. Rather, I would use words like “XYZ company claims.. / alleges…” etc.

  3. I voted for yes too. Easy way to earn extra bucks, while won’t be too annoying if the post is somewhat related to your blog niche and is written in a neutral tone.

  4. I feel that ethics are compromised when a trusted individual gives a positive review of a product or service without experimenting with it. Or, if the reviewer does not really feel the product deserves a positive review, then he is obviously misleading readers for profit.

    However, as long as the review is truthful, I don’t have a problem with the writer being paid to write it.

  5. I’ve been working with PayPerPost for around a year now. I started on MySpace, believe it or not, and make $100 in a year. Pocket change, really.

    I got my own domain four months ago. I’m a content little blogger and would do it for pure creative expression anyway.

    The NUMBER ONE REASON I chose writing paid content rather than bunches of ads in the sidebar: When I write about a product or service, I can tell a story or make a point that would fit my blog anyway. My words = my voice. If I have nothing to say, I don’t take the opp.

    As a matter of fact, I wrote earlier this week about my feelings on paid posts. I left the link to that post, if anyone is interested.

    One thing I want to point out: I don’t think it’s more okay to write paid content because you NEED the money. I need it, don’t get me wrong. But it’s okay even if I was way upper middle class without a financial worry in the world.

  6. I’ve never done paid reviews due to lack of relevant niche and low readership (but if I was offered one, I’d certainly consider).

    I have no problem with reading other bloggers’ paid reviews if, and only if:
    1. Payment is fully disclosed in each post,
    2. The blogger undertakes to give honest unbiased opinions AND the content reflects this,
    3. Paid reviews comprise only a minority of the blog’s posts.

    If paid reviews dominated a blog, then I’d question the blogger’s motives and unbiased-ness even if individual posts didn’t seem biased. But if written in moderation and with honesty, paid reviews can contribute to useful content.

  7. I’ve never done any paid review before but im eager to try them as soon my blog hits the 3month mark required by most service. Ohh well only time will if they will even consider my blog to be in their network :(

  8. Yes, I’ve just started writing paid reviews last month. I choose only the products and services I like, and I don’t accept those who require not to disclose the fact that they pay.
    Why I do them? Because it is an easy way to earn some money, and I noticed that they motivate me to write more regular posts, because I don’t want my blog to look like everything on it is a paid review.

  9. Yes, I have done paid reviews (started recently) and I will do them again.


    Because I need money and I can make money this way. I am not going to be a hypocrite by denying this fact. To me it’s a paid job, which pays relatively good.

    If google or for that matter few people have problem with it, so be it!

    It’s not like I am doing some thing illegal or some thing to be ashamed of. But instead of calling these paid reviews, I would term them as advertorials. Which almost every type publication (newspapers, televisions, web sites) indulges in.

  10. I write paid reviews regurarly…and last month i’ve gained 1,200$! But two blogs have lost their pagerank: the one linked here is now PR0 (from 3), another 4->3 and another still 3.
    Obviously threre is a disclosure on each blog about paid reviews…

  11. Do you think Paid Reviews are a good thing?
    I don’t have a problem with payed reviews, mostly because I trust the blogs I read, and I feel that it is a great way for bloggers with fewer page views to still make some money.

    Have you done them? Do you still do them?
    Yes I have done them, and I haven’t done them in a while. The reason I stopped is because of the whole paid links issue. I think I may do some in the future just until I start making a little bit more money through advertising.

  12. I review college football books on my web site… but I don’t think that’s exactly what you’re talking about here.

    Paid reviews – bad idea. Money, yes, but your credibility takes a serious hit especially if you’re not up front about it. If you are up front about it, it may be better, but you’d better not be homer about it or people notice.

  13. I wanted to initially do paid posts, through a service like PayPerPost for example.

    I did a trial run, and quickly realized that my readers didn’t particularly enjoy a “sponsored” post, as many of the posts say that they require a positive bias tone.

    Therefore I have never done it, specifically because my readers are more important to me than making some extra money.

    Maybe I will write a paid post one day, apparently it’s a great way to make money. But anyhow.

    Enjoy your weekend everybody!

  14. Steve:

    I didn’t think of it in terms of consulting, with public results. I guess my thing is if the reviewer getting paid actually gets the product or service to use to adequately test it, cool. Otherwise it may be misleading. And I agree that a complete blog of paid posts probably would not work after looking further into the subject.

    I know for the company I work with, to have a product reviewed in our industry print magazine is good, but generally costs $$ – send the product and pay for the review and a typical magazine cover will cost about $10,000 – $20,000. We have actually had one product the magazine liked so much they did a cover feature without the cost. Did the readers think or feel any different? Sales volume results didn’t indicate it, so I would say probably not.

  15. Whoo, a very hot topic here. I have never done any paid reviews although I did sign up for PayPerpost (now IZEA) months ago…

    I do write occasionally about services or products, which I feel are relevant for my blog…and guess what, I was doing it all for free :)

    So between doing these things for free, or getting paid for it…well, what do you guys think? Should be an obvious answer….in most cases, why give away free advertising?


    I think it is better to have an AYE or NAYE poll here. Are you against, or for – paid reviews?

  16. Bill: You raised a good point about access to a product/service. You will have what you paid for a review.

    John Chow get $200(his cut) per review and so he can take more time to give a good review about it.

    Take the same review but for $5: would you get the same in- depth review? I don’t think so. But you will get a basic ideal of it.

    My point is that advertisers should take a real look at the expected time it would take and pay for that. Factors like possible traffic will cost more too.

    btw, it was a nice example

  17. Nope. Not yet. I hope to do them in the future. I believe there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you give an honest review.

  18. I voted yes. I have just started writing paid review in August this year. And it’s really a good source of additional income and a great time spent on doing it rather than spending time doing something unproductive.

    Writing paid review gave me free knowledge of knowing what’s the best product out there in the market.

    It gave me something new to look forward to everyday looking at the amount of money comming in.

  19. I voted yes. I have just started writing paid review in August this year. And it’s really a good source of additional income and a great time spent on doing it rather than spending time doing something unproductive.

    Writing paid review gave me free knowledge of knowing what’s the best product out there in the market.

    It gave me something new to look forward to everyday looking at the amount of money comming in.

  20. The idea is a good one, however, the implementation of them as I’ve seen – not so good. Frequently the blogger is less than transparent about the reason he/she is writing about the other site or product. More frequently than not I’d guess.

    Besides that, how many reviewers are going to write their honest opinion about what they’re reviewing and (maybe) not get paid for having just spent a couple hours writing it?

    Bloggers are desperately searching for ways to monetize their blogs. Google is squeezing us with the text-link-ads fiasco… but, again – it’s a case of being transparent about what you’re actually recommending and why. Some text links are bought and not revealed as ads. That’s gotta be wrong.

    Hopefully a lot of new ideas in the works for monetization strategies… I’m getting to the point with my blog where I’d better start doing something about them as traffic is finally coming thick and heavy!

    Good luck to everyone out there… Vern

  21. I guess it depends on what type of blog you have. I don’t think paid reviews would work on my blog, because much of the content comes from personally experience, and the business related things that go on around me.

  22. Yes, I do paid reviews of Christian books, but if I don’t like the book – I don’t do the review and return half of the check.

  23. I write paid reviews occassionally but I “bury” them in between good, relevant posts so I will not scare readers off. The ratio is maybe at least 7:1. Seven good posts and one paid review.

    Although there are a lot of opps available, I can’t write a review for gambling sites, online pharmacy, plastic surgery or anything that I don’t believe in.

    I think doing paid reviews is not bad as long as you don’t overdo it.

  24. I’ve never written a paid review, but I do receive free copies to review. As an editor, I try no to let that sway my opinion of the book, but many of the folks on “blog tours” seem so star-struck by having the author comment that their reviews sound more like a high school football cheer.

  25. Believe it or not, some bloggers promote products they believe in, whether paid or not. In addition, they should only promote products that are directly related to their site’s content, or things they are passionate about.

    In this light, I don’t know why some people bash paid reviews and bloggers who do them. Would it be any different if we all posed in a billboard promoting google?

    Bloggers are the web’s endorsers of services and products. We blog about our daily life, and we use (or may use) things in our daily lives. Is it so bad that we endorse these in our blogs?

    This concept is the closest I’ll ever be to an image model. LOL. I like it, personally.

  26. DamionKutaeff says: 03/23/2008 at 6:01 pm

    Hello everybody, my name is Damion, and I’m glad to join your conmunity,
    and wish to assit as far as possible.

  27. I have registered with 2 paid review providers but still i have not received any paid review for my site. I think its not bad to write some review on your blog because all of us bloggers do write our opinion about various Products/Services.

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