PayPerPost recently landed $3 million in funding for a business model built for the Internet age: paying bloggers to endorse products.
PayPerPost runs a marketplace where advertisers can find bloggers, video bloggers, online photographers, and podcasters willing to endorse their products. "We're a marketplace that connects advertisers together with what we call 'consumer content generators,'" says Ted Murphy, CEO and founder.
How it works: A company with a product or service to advertise registers with PayPerPost and describes what it's looking for. A sneaker company, for example, might post a request for people willing to write a 50-word blog entry about their sneakers or upload a video of themselves playing basketball in the sneakers. The company also says what it's willing to pay.
Bloggers and other content creators sign up with PayPerPost and shop for opportunities they like. They create the blog post (or whatever content is requested), and inform PayPerPost, which checks to see that the content matches what the advertiser asked for and arranges payment.
PayPerPost has stirred up criticism on blogs. The main sticking point: It doesn't require the bloggers to disclose that they're being paid for the endorsements. "We're simply the marketplace," Murphy says. "It's up to each individual blogger to determine what they want to disclose."
In a post to the comments section of the blog TechCrunch, Drew Olanoff says PayPerPost "is absolutely horrific. ... This absolutely cheapens the medium and the power of the Internet."
The approach isn't unique, says Murphy, noting that it's not unusual for radio and magazine advertisers to get editorial coverage.