The idea behind Smorty is that there are companies and organizations that are willing to pay to advertise on blogs, but it is done in the form of opinion pieces. It is said that word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of advertising and blogs are as close as you can get to word of mouth on the web.
The way it works:
First you have to sign up and have your blog approved, which I found to be an easy process. Once approved, you can login and choose from the currently listed campaigns. Each campaign explains what is expected from the post, generally key phrases are listed. Once you complete the post, you submit it to Smorty. Smorty pays it’s bloggers on a weekly basis through Paypal. So far, the campaigns listed for me range from $6 – $12 per post.
Smorty may be on to something great here. The key for Smorty is that they need to recruit a large quantity of advertisers and offer a diverse range of campaigns to choose from. For myself, all things technology would be a great fit. I already talk tech, so to get paid to blog about things I already blog about would be a perfect match.
Why Smorty is Different:
I have never used a “blog for money” service before, but I like the way Smorty approaches the writers, one being me. We are being paid to blog, but being paid to write our own opinions.
Via the Smorty RULES page:
You do not have to necessarily endorse the advertiser’s website products or services, just mention them in your blog. It is entirely your opinion to post, however, please keep in mind that the advertiser has the opportunity to dispute each individual post based only on our terms. If your post fits within Smorty’s terms then Smorty administrators will still approve your post so you get paid.
I am going to try this service and see where the campaigns go. As long I can give my true opinion, I thinks it’s a win/win. The downside may end up being for some of the advertisers. If I post about online casinos or pay day loans, it will not be promoting the service.
The line that is supposed to be between content and advertising became traditional in publishing for good reasons. This concept sounds to me like just one more convenient blurring of that line.
In a way, yes, but consider the methods that are being used in mass media. Product placement in television shows and movies, podcasts delivering advert copy in their own words with little to no segue, the list is long and the line has actually been erased in some cases. True, the shameless plug potential is high, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to spam my own site to make a few bucks. Others certainly will, but I won’t. If the campaigns end up being stuff I am interested in, it would be no different than the next guy raving about or condemning his iPhone. Generating opinion pieces about things I am interested in IS content. Like anything though, it can be taken too far, which is where your point is completely valid.