I don't know what to make of the post by Melissa Cole today. At the end she indicates that she has not yet indicated that some of her writing fails to indicate clearly that there may be a conflict of interest... and promises to sort that out. At the beginning she says some others - bloggers no less - may be doing something very bad indeed, perhaps even worse:
...it's come to my attention that some of my fellow beer bloggers are demanding cash for posts and then passing them off as personal opinion, comment or recommendation and I'm just not cool with that.
First, I raise this not to question the idea Melissa raises. While one writer not being cool with something does not an ethical standard make, it is wrong to demand cash for posts unless you have no sense of self respect. Because, while I'd say it still makes for a personal opinion, whether it is a worthwhile one is entirely different matter. Someone outs you and everyone gets to point and make fun. Of you. And no one pays money to an outed fool.
Fine. Ethical point made. My real interest is a second aspect - what bloggers demand cash for posts and then actually get paid? On the one hand, I would like to study the technique and apply it but, on the other, I am stunned that any brewer or festival organizer would buckle and send a check to a blogger. You would have to be a blogger of a certain prominence in terms of readership and, frankly, I just don't see anyone putting out obviously bought content. Here is Pete Brown's recent post on the UK and Ireland's most popular beer bloggers and I just don't see them putting out stories for hire. And please don't tell me money is being wasted on bloggers no one reads. That would be tragic.
All that being said, let me make a last point. I do take money. Because it is lovely and pays for the beer. I take money for ads - including discrete text ads. And for a few sponsored posts that mention the sponsorship, sadly none of late. And for doing whatever else you will pay me for that I don't mind. Profit is, in fact, loverly. I pay taxes on it that goes to build roads and subsidizes nationalized health care. You could give me money, too. If you want to reach those beer nerds who viewed these pages 55,492 times monthly as well as the daily 4,353 Google readers and via a bunch of other stuff, money will do the trick to get your message across. Send me an email.