Is It Ethical For Bloggers To Do Paid Posts?

Polls are great when you want to gauge how people feel about certain things. To date I’ve run 1o polls on this blog, the top two involved comments. The poll that got the most votes was Is Disqus Costing You Comments? with 162 people participating. This actually turned out to be a very popular post with 815 views and 140 comments. As it turns out 56% of people refrained from commenting on a Disqus blog, something you may want to consider if you run Disqus on your blog.

The second most popular poll with 107 votes was Will Commenting Harm Your Blogging Success? That also turned out to be a popular post attracting 109 comments. I wrote this post because someone tried to tell me that replying to comments on your blog was a harmful practice. I disagreed but rather than argue the point I put it to the vote and as it turns out I won with 89 people saying that interacting with your commentators was not harmful to your blogging success.

Vote

My last poll came about because I was trying to work out how often I should email a newsletter to my list subscribers and naturally the best way was to ask by way of a poll. This was the fourth most popular poll with 51 votes and the one that polled the highest with 43% of the votes was getting an email every time I wrote a post; once a well polled second with 37% and fortnightly came last with 20%.

Naturally as one poll ends another must take its place. I submitted one of my posts to Helium as it fit very nicely into the Bloggers Being Paid To Post: Is It Ethical? As I said in the article it’s always been a hot topic amongst bloggers. Many are dead against while others are for it. I thought it was about time I found out what my readers thought about it by running this poll.

Is It Ethical For Bloggers To Do Paid Posts?

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Naturally I expect a little more from you guys than just participating in the poll as I, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this, would love to know why you voted the way you did.

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Peter Pelliccia

I'm an Aussie blogger who loves to blog and share everything that I've learned on my blogging journey, including blogging tips and ways to blog for money. I am also trying to make my way on YouTube. You can follow my progress by subscribing to My Bonzer Channel.

This Post Has 79 Comments


  1. Twitter:
    I personally see nothing wrong with paid posts, as long as they are not intentionally misleading. If the reader is informed that it is a paid post (or that the blog they are reading contains paid posts in addition to any unpaid posts), then there is nothing unethical about it. If the topic is one that the blogger has had personal experience with and can write about it without misleading, such as reviewing an item, service, or destination, then that is also not misleading. The only time that I would think that a paid post would be unethical is when the blogger has no experience with the topic AND fails to tell tell the reader that it is a paid/sponsored post.

    1. Yeah, I can see where the unexperienced would be tempted to write a whole lot of BS trying to build up their clients image but the reality is that when doing paid posts all the client wants is the keyword rich links.
      Sire recently posted…In Search Of The Right SEO CompanyMy Profile

  2. I voted yes, Sire, but I do so with a caveat; if a blogger has built up a reputation as being honest and reliable in recommending products, then starts endorsing all manner of crap just to get paid, he or she will quickly shoot down their hard earned reputation.

    It seems most bloggers are blogging in the hopes of getting paid for it somehow. So accepting pay for posts that promote a product is jus another facet of that plan.

    Let me turn it around; when someone approaches you about doing a paid post, do you try out the product or service before accepting their money? If you find you don’t like what they offer and would have to say so, do they withdraw the offer?

    1. Let me turn it around; when someone approaches you about doing a paid post, do you try out the product or service before accepting their money? If you find you don’t like what they offer and would have to say so, do they withdraw the offer?
      Ok, if they specifically asked me to write a post recommending a product which I had never tried then I would refuse the post. If on the other hand they wanted me to write a general post, let’s say one about SEO as an example, and just wanted a couple of links linking to their post then I would accept. As long as readers know it’s a paid post, ie a blogger has a disclosure, I don’t see a problem with that.
      Sire recently posted…More On LA- Las Vegas & Rewarding Your ReadersMy Profile

  3. If blogging is a job, why not get paid to do it? ethics doesn’t come into play until the blogger writes something he/she doesn’t believe to be true … but that’s a whole different kettle of fish, as it depends on the person. It also depends on the reader, I’m not the one to go out and buy a product just because X or Y says it’s good, especially if it costs a lot of money and you have to use it/live with it a long time.

    1. Personally I don’t believe anyone should tell someone else how good a product is if they haven’t tried it themselves. That’s why I’m always dubious about celebrities who do commercials, you just never know if they actually use it.
      Sire recently posted…Tips On Tipping & Other Things When In The USAMy Profile

    2. Right on the spot. Commercials endorsing a product gets me to notice the product but never convinces me of the implied quality of the product. I may try it, but if it falls short of my expectations, no amount of placing the product on, say, Ashanti’s abs can make me buy it again.

      Like the majority of our blogger friends’ reactions, I too find no issue with paid posts. It does have to be done in some kind of way. :)

      1. The knowledge that they got you to notice their product will have them jumping up and down James. :clap_tb:

  4. It should be ok and ethical as long as the blogger is disclosing the paid article and that he wrotes an article on someone else’s behalf and is getting compensated for it.

    1. The thing is that a blogger may not actually disclose it within the post itself as there are times when the advertiser requests that as a condition of the task which is why it’s essential they have a site wide disclosure.
      Sire recently posted…Back From LA With A Tip For BloggersMy Profile

  5. I think it is ethical for bloggers to do paid posts – within reason of course. What I mean by this is not having most of your articles as paid posts.

    A blog with too many paid posts looks cheap, and probably only cares about the “making money” aspect. There are many blogs that are more picky about which posts they choose to write, and may only write paid posts if it benefits their readers, and such blogs usually have well-written paid posts that add value to their blogs.

    So paid posts, if written and published properly, are ethical.
    Paul Salmon recently posted…How to Implement an Email Marketing CampaignMy Profile

    1. I agree with you Paul, also in regards to having too many paid posts most advertisers would not choose a blog that went that route so if a blogger wanted to keep doing paid posts it would be to his advantage to ensure his normal posts outnumbered his paid posts.
      Sire recently posted…Blogging! Why The Hell Do We Do ItMy Profile

  6. I think there is absolutely no problem with people doing paid posts or articles. It would work especially well if the post was for something that complimented the blog that it is being featured on and is of use to it’s readers.
    khaled recently posted…What Are RhinestonesMy Profile

    1. Hey Khaled, getting a task that is related to the post would be ideal but it sure doesn’t happen very often. Still, even if they’re not related to the blog done properly they can still add value and if you use your normal SEO procedures when writing them you will also generate traffic.

  7. Why wouldn’t it be ethical?

    The main purpose of a post is to change the tone of the original blog writer and to offer something different to your readers while driving some attention towards that guest writer.

    While I believe the regular standard is to do it for free (it is supposed to be good for both parts) it’s still a very time consuming task.

    I really can’t claim that a paid post could be unethical for the simple reasons that if it is being paid to be written, it’s already ethic.

    Some people say you have to say it is a paid post but I happen to disagree on that as well, if you outsource your logo or your banner, do you say “PAID LOGO”? or do you give credit on the ALT tag like ‘Header graphic done by Sheldon Cooper’?

    Nope you don’t.

    The only unethical bit about guest posting would be if the original writer did NOT credit the guest poster as the original writer. If it was paid for, free or even if you had to lapdance to some great looking girl, it’s the same thing.

    Just my .02 ;-)

    PS. I would never charge for a guest post but then again, my writing sucks LOL

    1. Interesting points Sergio but I’m not sure why you went on a tangent about paid guest posts? :ponder_tb: Then again even though it never occurred to me that this practice goes on I suppose it does and so is a valid point.
      Sire recently posted…A MailChimp Review- For The Good Affiliate MarketerMy Profile

      1. Somebody put something in my drink! haha

        Sire, I don’t know why I went so crazy on a tangent and I agree with you 100%

        I think I must’ve read something wrong on the post title and just started typing away ;-)

        1. Don’t worry Sergio, I reckon we’ve all done that at one time or another.

  8. Hi Sire,

    I think as a blogger you should give your readers first priority. You should publish a post which really matters for your readers no matter if it’s a paid post or not.

    1. The thing with paid posts Riya is that they usually promote a website or blog that is promoting a product and that being the case there is always a reader who may be interested is said product or service.

      One thing I would never do is promote something that I disagree with or find to be dubious in some manner.
      Sire recently posted…Happiness In New York City Is All About PeanutsMy Profile

  9. As a blogger I think it’s important for you to first give without expecting anything in return. When you do that it builds a level of trust with your community that you can’t build otherwise. You can do paid post when you have already built up your community to your liking, but until then that might cause problems.

    God bless,
    William Veasley

  10. If blogging is your job or business then there is nothing wrong with paid posts.But every blogger should try the product or service before publishing the paid post.

    1. Perhaps, but I feel you can do a paid post without having tried the product as long as you don’t crap on about how good it is.

  11. Well, Sire, my opinion is that bloggers can do anything they want on their blog and paid posts are just an other form of advertising, with the added fact that the readers will most probably think they are reading the authors opinion.

    So, paid posts are ethical, as long as the payment you receive doesn’t affect your objective opinion about the promote product or website. I think the most unethical think someone can do is to recommend a product that they know it sucks!
    Alex recently posted…Servit ceai cu bicicletaMy Profile

    1. You are so right Alex, recommending something that you know sucks is pretty low. You know though there are people who are an affiliate of a product who do just that and I think that is pretty low as well.

  12. Hi Sire

    If there is a disclosure and an honest review then it is not unethical. But how many honest people do you know??!! I know bloggers who do paid posts but they are emphatic if they are reviewing a product they will write an honest review regardless. That to me is okay.

    More honest than some affiliate marketers who would write good things about a product they want to sell even if it isn’t!

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. A disclosure is necessary and yes, there are a lot marketers who will say anything to make a sale.

    1. Only a stupid person would do that because in the long run it will end up biting you in the ass.

  13. I see no wrong with it, it’s the blogger’s personal choice. But then again, post quality has to be maintained – it should not be sacrificed for the sake of the readers.

    1. You are so right, the quality of posts does have to be maintained otherwise people will lose faith in the blogger.

  14. Paid Posts are not wrong, if writer keep himself neutral while writing the paid post. Writer must state pros and cons of the product even if he is being paid. He should be loyal to his readers than his employer.

    1. You are so right, loyalty to ones readers is of paramount importance.


  15. Twitter:
    I can’t answer this one, Sire, because the question is, well, kind of incomplete. The ethics of it depends on what the writer is going to do. If they’re writing a puff piece just to get the money then it’s not only unethical, but in the U.S. if it can be proven it’s now illegal. If they write a truthful piece, whether they like it or not, and explain why, then it’s not, but the people who should pay probably won’t like it.

    So, I equivocate at this time; ain’t that a shame?
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted…Thank You- But… Don’t Do ThisMy Profile

    1. The thing with paid posts Mitch is that for the greater part the writer doesn’t have to say how great a product is or isn’t. Usually all they need to do is write about something generally linking to the advertisers site. Most of the time all they’re interested in is the link juice.

      I’ve been approached on more than one occasion by advertisers who want me to place a link in one of my old articles which as nothing to do with their site at all.


      1. Twitter:
        I get that request on my finance blog from time to time, but in those cases it is related and I’ll take their money.
        Mitch Mitchell recently posted…The Art Of StorytellingMy Profile

        1. I’ve had requests on my Scenic Adelaide blog that were completely unrelated and I still took their money. :drunk_tb:

  16. I think that It is ethical since a blogger needs money to pay some bills both offline and online. As long as you are disclosing it in your blog then I don’t see the reason why the readers will leave you.

    1. They could well consider leaving it if your paid post to regular post ratio was out of proportion.

  17. I do not have a problem with paid endorsements as long as it is an ethical and honest appraisal, and readers are made aware of the payment. There is no difference between this and a celebrity or an actor being paid to do a commercial or endorse a product on television
    Brenda Freeman recently posted…How Do I Make Changes To My LifeMy Profile

    1. That’s true Brenda but one has to remember that not all posts are written to appraise a product, sometimes all the advertiser wants is the link juice. I once wrote a poem and submitted it as a paid task an it was approved.

  18. In my opinion it is nothing wrong as a blogger to do paid posts. Basically this is a good way of earning fast and easy some really good cash. So to answer to your question i believe that it’s perfectly ethical.

    1. It certainly is a good source of extra income Vlad.

  19. I think that selling your writing skills is similar to selling any other of your skills, like your designing skills or your programming skills. So i don’t think there’s an ethical concern there.
    Mohammed recently posted…Cheyletiella MangeMy Profile

    1. A good point Mohammed but if the blogger tells lies or his post is totally suspect then perhaps one can legitimately argue as to whether or not it was an ethical post.

      1. well if you are writing for others and conveying their opinions, you can’t really lie, can you? since your personal point of view is irrelevant.
        Mohammed recently posted…Common Symptoms of Mange in DogsMy Profile

        1. Actually if someone is paying you to review a product, one that you’ve never tried, and you tell everyone how great it is, how much you love it and how they should buy it, there may be some that would call that a lie.

  20. I think it depends on the blogger and whether or not they do an unbiased post even though they were asked to review it.

    1. Most times you’re not asked to review a product but to talk in general about whatever the they’re involved in. So if it’s a SEO company you would write about SEO, or if it’s a window blinds company you would write about why you like window blinds and whether or not there are positives for having them.

  21. I can see many bloggers are making good sum of money by paid reviews.Most reviews are get influenced by the money.So,you will see 99.99% of them positive.Customers are unable to make informed dicision because of these fake reviews.So,I think this is a unethical job if you consider your visitors.

    1. I agree it would be unethical if all bloggers acted as per your comment but I would say those types of bloggers would be a small minority and would soon lose all their followers.

  22. Okay, my turn.

    I voted yes. The way I view this is if you are writing a good piece and it’s adding lots of value for the reader but you don’t want to give ALL your stuff away because let’s face it, we all need to earn a living, then in order to get ALL the info they would need to pay a small fee (or whatever their intention is). Kind of like here is the introduction but if you want the full scoop, give me some mula.

    I know that you are probably talking more about just writing content on blogs or maybe even articles that you think their content is good enough that they should charge for it. If I’m eager to learn more and I trust that person, I would pay. That’s pretty simple.

    Interesting topic Sire and glad you are doing a poll. I think the majority is in favor so far.

    Keep up the great work!

    Adrienne

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Actually I’m writing about something that is entirely different. I’m talking about people who offer a blogger money to write an article. It may be about a product, a service or something related to their website. So the blogger will write their article, complete with the required links and keywords and if the advertiser approves they get paid.

      1. Well you know there are SO many ways you can go about this so glad you pointed that out to me. I actually know some people who do this write now so I know their opinions would be “yes”.

        Thanks Sire!!!

  23. Ads are an important source of income for bloggers, so as long as the posts aren’t too laudatory,they are ok. I have to admit that I enjoy reading reviews on blogs, because they offer plenty of inside info.

    1. They may be an important source of revenue for some Mia, but not for all.

  24. I think it is ethical for bloggers to do paid posts as long as the post is unbiased. I don’t find it ethical for a blogger to accept money in exchange for a fake review. People should be able to trust bloggers and a fake review of a product violates that trust.

    1. Yes and once you’ve done that it’s pretty hard to win that trust back.

  25. I don’t mind paid posts if it’s stay at home parents or single people trying to make a bit of extra cash. If it’s whole networks of spammy sites selling links and cluttering the web with more junk just to earn money it’s annoying.
    Art recently posted…6 quick tips to help reduce your website bounce rateMy Profile

  26. In all honesty, I’m not sure where ethics even enters into the issue of paid posts. If you can even view it as ethical or unethical, then I would definitely say it’s ethical. I’d also say paid posts make for higher-quality posts, giving bloggers a great incentive to take the time and show that they’ve really thought and care about the topic at hand.

  27. When everybody is earning huge money for advertising then why not bloggers? I think, it is good but bloggers must promote only those products which they tried and are happy with the result. No false promotion

    1. It sure does seem that everyone agrees that promoting things that you haven’t tried or giving a false review is definitely the wrong way to go. Even so I think that some people will let their greed cloud their fundament in their quest to make a dollar or two.

  28. I voted Yes. This is, as long as it doesn’t affect the readers in a negative way. Bloggers are people too and i don’t mind them making some money if they can.

    1. Maria, thanks for taking the time to vote, and yes,bloggers need to make money as well but let’s hope that they choose to do it in an ethical way.
      Sire recently posted…Sharing Photos Is Best Done With FlickrMy Profile

      1. We can do almost everything as long as we don’t take advantage of it. Everything should be done in moderation.

  29. This is a grey area. I think it mostly comes down to frequency. If you are doing an occasional paid post, I have no problem with it. It’s more of a problem where blogs are doing paid posts with every other post. It becomes a lot less genuine and tougher to tell what the blogger actually thinks. You do have to be careful with paid posts. If you are going to do them, at least make sure that it is a relevant product or service. Also be sure it is something that you are comfortable recommending.

    1. I used to have a blog where every other post was a paid post but that was only when I was researching whether or not you could make an income doing paid posts. I certainly wouldn’t do that on this blog.
      Sire recently posted…Sharing Photos Is Best Done With FlickrMy Profile

  30. I think there’s nothing wrong with doing paid post as long as the blogger don’t do this to majority (especially not to all) of his/her articles. We know that we blog cause there’s money on it. But, I guess that readers should be valued also. Just because we showed that post or article free from charge does not mean we are bankrupt. At the end of the day, it all boils down to sharing quality articles to your following.

  31. I think it’s ethical as long as the posts provide an honest review about your products or services and not just an unscrupulous analysis in order to get the visitors’ interest.

    1. Honesty is the best policy hey Aybi? :wink_ee:


  32. Twitter:
    I agree with Allie, as long as you are not intentionally misleading your readers, it should be ok to do paid post.

    I myslef have never don paid posts. I think mostly its because I want to be 100% honest about whatever it is I am promoting through the paid post, but at the same time, I would feel bad for the sponsor if I had to talk about it in a negative way.

    I guess you have to find a balance somewhere in there.

    What I really dont like is when people write a post about a product and its all positive, but they haven’t even tried the actual product/service themselves!
    Satrap recently posted…53 Ways to Make Money OnlineMy Profile

    1. Hey Satrap, sorry for the late reply, I missed this comment somehow. What if you were offered a paid post where it didn’t require you to review a product?
      Sire recently posted…A Review Of WP Zon BuilderMy Profile

  33. It depends on the situation. It is fine to do paid posts as long as it is reasonable, but I think it’s when they go overboard then it becomes very unethical, makes them seem like money is the only thing that matters to them. Just have to pick their spots, and not go all over the place.

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