matthew's picture

"Whatever hatred saves the number."

This nonsense sentence has a meaning behind it. As many of you have probably guessed, I'm working on posting more content to my web site. Part of my reason for this, at heart, is an experiment with this hypothesis:

A reasonably-intelligent person can make enough money from blogging to support a somewhat-expensive hobby, and possibly much more.

My expensive hobby is radio-controlled aircraft. I totally have self-interest at stake here. Monetizing my blog combines two things I love: writing and getting paid!

One of the things I want to explore -- and long-time Barnsonians, I apologize in advance for how crass this is going to sound -- is paid reviews. Have someone send me a product, do a review of it, and get paid per word.

But see, what the advertisers don't know is that I don't gloss over JACK. I tell it like it is. I don't care if the product was free or not. If it sucks, I'll say so. If it's great, I may just fall in love with it and overlook its faults.

So here goes. I'm signing up on a bunch of review sites with a cost of $0.01 per word. We'll see if anything comes of this. The phrase quoted at the top of this entry was, in fact, a requirement to sign up at one of said review sites. Wonder what other hoops I'll have to jump through?

UPDATE: Wow. Fun.

So, OK, I spent a lot of time signing up at the various sites that do these kinds of campaigns. In most cases, they need to "personally review" your site to determine a few things:

1. Has your blog existed for more than just a few months? This seems to be really important. If it's a brand-new blog, you're probably automatically rejected.
2. Have you posted more than a handful of times? Based on the nearly 2,000 articles here posted over a seven-year period, I think I qualify, but you never know.
3. Is your blog your own and not some kind of community network? Now, here, I worry a little bit. There are a few higher-privilege members of barnson.org that are allowed to post here, too. I don't know if it will rule me out -- most haven't posted in a very long time -- but the possibility exists.
4. Do you have a high PageRank on Google? I don't know how high mine is. I really have never cared. I probably should pay closer attention; apparently, PageRank is important to marketers to determine if your blog is worth investing in.
5. Is most of your posting unpaid? Given that I've never been paid one thin dime for posting over 1800 blogs here, I think I qualify, but it's still another interesting requirement. You can't just post a bunch of reviews. You have to have a bunch of other original content, too.

Now, other than this, the ad networks seem to vary. Some want long product reviews, others want short blurbs as part of campaigns. Some want you to tag your posts as "sponsored", others want you to astroturf with aplomb. Interesting game. I feel slightly scummy for playing it!


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Sammy G's picture

They send you the pills?

Interesting in the last 3 years how blogging revenue has shifted completely from contextual search and placement ads to paid reviews.

The good news is that you type 4,006 WPM. Wonder what will happen if you post a negative review?

Just curious - do they physically mail you the pills to take or do you have to buy them locally? :)

matthew's picture


So far, they've simply asked me to send them a photo of the organ involved next to a ruler or -- in a case like yours -- a yardstick. In my case, this involved a visit to the local university yesterday so that I could use their scanning electron microscope. That was a little awkward but I learned a lot. I wonder if the vendor will be concerned that the photo is in black and white?

Matthew P. Barnson

matthew's picture

First rejection letter

OK, I'm very comfortable with rejection. You don't look like I do and not end up with that mindset, or else you'll go bonkers. But I got my first rejection letter!

Interesting how it was such a standard form-letter. My reply is below. The names have been changed to protect the guilty:

Hi Matthew,

We regret to inform you that the blog you recently added to our website (Barnson.org: Half-Baked Opinions, Served Lukewarm) has been rejected.

Site Title: Barnson.org: Half-Baked Opinions, Served Lukewarm
Site URL: http://barnson.org/
Description: Barnson.org is a family and friends-oriented site with a focus on technology, music, entertainment, and self-improvement. It's been in operation since 1998, and in continuous operations since 2003. I first got started with the site to enjoy some relaxation from writing my thoughts at a time in my life with a great deal of upheaval. Over time, I've come to enjoy writing topics that break down highly-technical details into palatable chunks of writing for my readers. Although my core community is small, over time most articles receive tens of thousands of readers, and my email inbox reflects the values readers appreciate. Thanks for your time looking at my site. I look forward to reviewing some of your products!

Reasons for rejection may include:

1. Blog is too new and has poor stats, including little traffic and/or links.
2. Blog has too much paid content and does not meet our 2:1 ratio rule.
3. Blog was over-priced based on its stats and our suggested price.
4. Blog is written in a foreign language and does not follow guidelines on how to properly submit.

If you have any questions about why you were rejected, or want your blog to be reconsidered (after 90 days) please contact us.

Thank you,

WePayYouForStuff.com Team

My reply:

Dear WePayYouForStuff.com support,

I'm interested in knowing which one of the rejection reasons applies to my blog:
1. My blog has been in continuous existence since 2003, with plenty of links inbound & outbound.
2. Blog has zero paid content at present, with over 1800 articles over seven years, an average of over two hundred fifty blogs per year.
3. If it's over-priced, I'm happy to negotiate with you on that.
4. Blog is written in English and always has been.

Is #3 the reason for rejecting my blog? Are you requesting that I wait ninety days before attempting to negotiate what you consider to be a fairer price?

Thanks for the information.

Matthew P. Barnson

Matthew P. Barnson