Have you noticed lately how many blogs have been "raving" about a product, highly recommending it, posting a link to it and then revealing at the end of the post that they are being paid to do it? I have and I gotta tell ya, I'm not liking it. I don't mind the ad here or there when I know it's an ad, but I feel like I'm duped when I devote my minutes reading a post from someone I regularly read only to find out at the end that it was a paid endorsement. Note to bloggers who participate in this practice - Please, please, please put a disclaimer at the beginning of the post, not at the end!
I've gotten quite of few requests myself from myriad of products, many of which I've never heard of. Usually in exchange for writing a glowing review or providing a link I will get said product "free." I have yet to endorse anything for money. My feeling is if I like your stuff I'd probably let the world know for free when/if I wanted to. If you're a reader of this blog you know that sword has two edges -- if I don't like your book, your software, your restaurant, your whatever, I'm gonna let the world know that too. I wonder what happens if the blogger does give a negative review to one of the products or services they are asked to review. Do they still get paid or get the free product? Have you ever read a negative post from someone who was paid to review? I don't think I have.
On my last blog I had some ads. I signed up for the Adsense. The only thing that did was clutter my blog. I never made one penny from it. Supposedly there was a tiny balance but I never received a check. Frankly, I wouldn't do it again. Obviously I don't have enough readers who are stupid enough to click on the ads to warrant them taking the space up on my blog. On this blog I have one "ad" under the "sponsored by" heading which is for my own auto repair business and which I don't even get paid for it. Hmmmm, maybe I should charge myself a monthly fee! Actually I probably wouldn't turn away any advertiser that wanted to pay me to go under the "sponsored by" banner. So is that hypocritical? I don't think so. Most readers are well aware what "sponsored by" means. It's their choice to click on the link or just ignore it.
For the record, I don't begrudge any blogger making some money off of ads, but I just wish they would be more upfront when their actual posts are designed only for that purpose.