Truth in blogging for advertising

Maybe I should start trying to make money by promoting products within blog posts.  Here's how the model works:

Publishedin helps Businesses and Publishers connect and benefit each other. Our patent-pending technology makes it simple for businesses to increase quality traffic from online publishers, and publishers to earn cash rewards from their online content.
How does it work?
Publishers continue write and link to products and services as they normally do. When visitors click a link, Publishedin reports a referral to businesses. Businesses reward publishers through Publishedin Reward-Per-Click program.
I commented: It seems to me that this is still getting paid for click through ads, only the ads are more subtle. What gives me pause about this model is that it seems to turn bloggers into advertorial writers who are promoting businesses while pretending to just go about their own business. Not that I am so naive not to think that they already do it, but I lose a lot of respect for bloggers like that.

The poster responded as follows:
Yossi Barazani I understand your concern, but I believe that we offer a better web experience to users, and I'll try to explain: 1. As you said, today it's almost impossible to know the motives of bloggers and publishers (paid posts and affiliate links are common). 2. Bloggers who do want to monetize their blog and use ads like google adsense don't have any choice but to manipulate their readers to click on ads, see my post 3. Moreover, bloggers stop to link outside at all, in order to increase the chances that readers will click on an ad (or watch more ads). We suggest bloggers the opposite, to concentrate on great content that will be valuable to readers. To Link and refer readers to the products/services/businesses they are writing about, and to be transparent about rewards they might get. And that's what users want, great content, great links, and less ads. At the end, the user will be the judge.

Any fellow bloggers or blog readers care to weigh in on this model?  Even if the blogger discloses that s/he is paid for the link clicks, s/he is still then presenting what amounts to ads as unbiased opinion.  Of course, the sophisticated reader knows that there is no such thing as no bias, but still there is a difference between an honest review, like the one I posted at and one that is designed to get people to click through the embedded link and make a purchase.  As I said, I do lose respect for bloggers who do that. The latest trend seems to be to announces "deals" as if one is letting the readers in on access to a bargain, when the ones who really gain are those who make the commission on the sale.   I understand the need to make a buck as a writer, but there is also a concept of honesty.

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Yossi Barazani said…
Thank you Ariella for including my my full response.

As a blogger who try to make money from your blog (as you have Adsense and Amazon ads), what user experience you give your readers by including ads like (and I'm copying from your page):

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Wouldn't it be better that the businesses who you are writing on, (who probably pay google for referrals) will pay you as you create value for them.

If you are honest and have integrity you shouldn't have any problem doing it.
Ariella said…
Hi, Yossi, the difference is that I am not endorsing the Google ads that appear on my blog. I only select the ads I place on my site or in links on the sidebar. I no more control the Google ads here than I do the ones that appear on The fact that The Lion King on Broadway is the current pop up has nothing to do with my own recommendation. I never even saw that musical. On the other hand, I do sometimes recommend exhibits and plays that I have seen and consider worth seeing. The only things I could, ethically, deliberately link to in posts are those I know to be worthwhile.

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