I’m Writing This Post for Free! (Instead of $400)

Last week an advertising firm approached me and asked me to write a sponsored post for their client (who shall not be named). They offered to pay me more than my asking price, a lot more. They offered me $400 to be exact. Sweet!

You may have noticed that I do occasionally sell sponsored posts on here, but in fact I have very strict guidelines to prevent my site from being over-run with spammy crap. My demands go something like this: You give me a lot of money, I write a post (usually something I was going to write anyways), you get a link in the post, and I disclose at the end that you pay for it. Everybody wins. Surprisingly this doesn’t go over well with too many advertisers…

The disclosure at the end is key. I always insist on that for a couple of reasons, but mostly because I think bloggers are made and broken on their integrity. You guys read this site either because for some reason you see value in what I have to say (thanks for that, BTW). If I’m going to link to something that I don’t have experience with or can’t endorse myself, I want you guys to know that.

George is Keeping an Eye On You!
photo credit: peasap

Anyways, these corporate guys want to pay me $400 to write a post- on a topic I’d probably write about anyways, just to include one link to their company. $400! That’s a hell of a lot more than I usually make per post ($0). It was pretty tempting I admit, and you’d probably be reading that post right now if it weren’t for one thing: they insisted I leave off the disclosure at the end.

Now, I really wanted that $400. It’s kind of a lot of money for me. It’s almost twice the cost of my plane ticket to Colombia! I wrote back, are you sure we can’t squeeze in a disclosure? Just a tiny one? Pleeease?

They were insisitant that this collaboration be hush hush so in the end, I had to say no. I’ll admit it wasn’t the easiest decision, but it sits right with me.

So why am I telling you my sob story? It’s not so I can brag about the purity of my blog or my moral superiority or any bullshit like that. I rarely ever talk about behind the scenes blog writing stuff on here. I don’t care much what other blogs do, I just have to do what seems right to me.

The reason I wanted to tell you guys this is actually kind of the opposite: I know you guys see the ads on my site, the sponsored trips I’ve been lucky enough to go on and yes, the occasional sponsored article. I do these things because I need to make money to you know, live, and keep doing this website. I’m sure you guys understand my desire to like, eat and stuff. So I will continue to sell ads and do things for money: but I will always try to be clear with you guys about what is sponsored and what isn’t, because this site is about nothing, if not honesty.

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70 thoughts on “I’m Writing This Post for Free! (Instead of $400)”

  1. As an aspiring writer I think it’s important we have examples such as you who insist on transparency. The world could do with a little more honesty and a little less profiteering. Excellent job.

  2. Stuck between a rock & a hard place, but kudos to you. Tough choice, but seriously, for $400 bucks they can spend that kind of money getting other links. I couldn’t agree more that it’s 100% necessary to have the disclosure to maintain your authority.

  3. They want to hide it because Google can punish them – and the blogger – for honesty.

    If you disclose that the link is paid for and Google sees the post (or if someone reports you to Google), then Google can nix your site to zero in search results and do the same for the company that bought the link. Google doesn’t mind you selling links as long as you code it as ‘no follow’. Most advertisers are not interested in this because they don’t really want to advertise to your readers, they’re just trying to game SEO.

    So that’s why they want to be sneaky about it. But good for you for standing firm! I agree that it’s absolutely necessary to disclose all commercial arrangements to readers.

    I also don’t think it’s unethical to sell links if you disclose that fact to readers. But Google can and will punish you for it if they find out so it just depends if you think it’s worth that risk.

  4. Really respect your integrity on this one. I always believe in disclosures, not because us readers would mind if you left one off, or judge you in any way, but it’s aways nice to know… I duno… just because lol. Well done for sticking to your guns!xx

  5. This post actually makes me think back on some posts I have read on other blogs.

    When I hover over the links to see where they go (I rarely click through) and wonder why they click to a 3rd party website and when I scroll to the end I wonder why there is no disclaimer on why the post wasn’t “sponsored”. And this is why.

    As a newerish blogger who really only writes for herself, this post was very informative to maybe how other blogs so business!

    Thanks Steph!

  6. That’s the problem with a lot of things people need to be more transparent. Why hide? I know when I need advertisement I am more than willing to pay for it. Great job and trust me I think we all under that you enjoy writing but this also helps fund your travels and live as well.

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