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This Blog for Sale--But Not for $5   (July 10, 2006)

find out about Zombiestra The MediaCentric column in BusinessWeek's July 10 edition describes a pernicious trend in the blogosphere: saying nice things about corporate products in one's blog for a few bucks--as little as $5 or $10. "Polluting The Blogosphere: Bloggers are getting paid to push products. Disclosure is optional."

This calls to mind the old joke about the suave and wily gent asking a very attractive young lady if she would be willing to trade her favors for an evening in exchange for $1 million. (Yes, there was a movie made on this premise.) After the requisite blushing and stammering, the young lady allowed that she was indeed willing to entertain the offer. The gentleman then asked if she would be willing to provide the same service for $100. Outraged, the young lady demanded to know exactly what he thought she was. He replied, "I think we've established what's for sale. Now we're just haggling over the price."

Longtime readers know that This blog sold out back in December 2005; but like the young lady in question, we don't come that cheap.

Yes, we have negotiated a very very generous compensation package for placing corporate clients Kroika! Cookies, Astra-Zastra Pharmaceuticals, Cervantes Beer and Jank Coffee on this site, but the deal comes with this unique caveat: I get to trash and mock the brands and the products just as I did before the marketing arrangement.

This keeps my site "respectable," as it were, because it maintains the appearance of being unbought. Clever, no? Rather like a young lady who very discreetly exchanges favors to a very few clients while maintaining a very modest, upright appearance, I have sold my soul--but for a good price. And I'm having fun doing so.

The price is so good and the fun so swell, in fact, that I couldn't restrain myself from bragging about the arrangements. (See "Kroika Chronicles" and "Design Follies" in the lefthand sidebar for more.)

My latest ad venture reminds me of Sherlock Holmes' famous dog. Holmes and Watson never owned a dog, of course, but in one of A. Conan Doyle's stories, Holmes remarks to Watson that the dog's bark puzzled him. But the dog didn't bark, Watson exclaims. Yes, replied Holmes; that's what's puzzling; shouldn't he have barked at the intruder? Something was indeed amiss with the witness's account of events.

I am referring in a roundabout way to the discreet little ads which have been running the past few days at the end of each entry. Take a moment and scroll down to Thursday and Friday's entries, and look for the little text ads.

You ignored them, didn't you? I know you did because I checked my web server's logs; not one visitor clicked on the "ads by Groogle" link. The ads looked like those ubiquitous "ads by Google" links, so you completely ignored them. Of over 2,300 visitors on those two days, not one clicked on the link. What does this say about "contextual" web ads? That they're completely ignored, and therefore a waste of ad money.

Go ahead, click on the links, both of them. They won't bite. Then read this story from BusinessWeek on click fraud, and ponder just how bogus the entire web ad world might be, down to its very premise: that you the visitor will even notice the ads, much less ever click on one: Counting Up Click Fraud's Toll.

NOTE: there are no real ads on this site, and there never will be.

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ads by Groogle

For more on this subject and a wide array of other topics, please visit my weblog.


copyright © 2006 Charles Hugh Smith. All rights reserved in all media.

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