Text Link Ads still hawks sponsored blog reviews

, posted: 22-Nov-2006 17:22

Early on when I started blogging, I tried out several different ad networks to see how they work. One such network was Text Link Ads (TLA), but I never used them - from memory it was because they require a server-side script to be installed, which isn't possible on Geekzone (doesn't sound very desirable either).

TLA is also one of the companies behind an idea that I don't like at all, namely vendors paying bloggers to review products. I did expect the rather obvious ethical concerns to tank that concept sooner rather than later, but found this in my email inbox today:

Get featured on blogs in your niche

Hello Juha,

I am very excited to announce to you a new service TLA launched, called ReviewMe. ReviewMe is a great way for you to drive traffic, links and buzz to your website. For a one time fee per review your product or website can get reviewed by a popular blog in your niche. This gets your website featured in the content area of a blog, giving you targeted traffic and a great chance at receiving a permanent link inside the content area of the blog for a one time fee.

Please browse ReviewMe's marketplace today and take advantage of this great opportunity. This is an outstanding way to supplement your marketing efforts!

Patrick Gavin

While TLA says it doesn't allow advertisers to require a positive review, its guidelines are kept "loose". From the looks of it, all that's required is that the blogger discloses the sponsorship in some fashion and write at least 200 words and has a certain amount of link love as measured by Technorati as well as traffic.

For that, the bloggers get between US$20 to US$200.

I don't see how the vague disclosure requirement and not allowing advertisers to demand favourable copy remove the fundamental problem with services like ReviewMe, which is that they're offering advertorials and not truly independent reviews. In fact, I don't see how this will benefit the advertisers either in the long run, because there are no quality guarantees for the reviews. Obviously, if a blogger writes favourable reviews, unscrupulous advertisers will give that person more money.

However, I'm sure that there are enough people out there who will just take the money and not care. For that reason, I wasn't going to mention ReviewMe and give them free advertising, but... I felt I had to make my position clear on the issue. Not acceptable.

Oh, and why TLA should spam bloggers like me with ReviewMe isn't entirely clear...

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