Be Careful When Offering Advertising On Your Blog

Warning Dangerous Waters







Article by Wendy McCance

I have offered advertising, sponsored posts and the like since I began self-hosting this site.  I have had some strange experiences along the way.  If you are thinking of monetizing your blog through any sort of advertising, you need to be extra vigilant about who you choose to work with.

The way I handle a sponsored post (for example) is by making sure the post fits in well with the topics covered on this site.  An article posted about hunting equipment would make no sense here.

After I approve the topic, I need to see the actual article before I will approve its use.  I don’t want a poorly written article and I will not be editing any material.  I must also have the name of the company, a way for readers to contact the company and I will expressly note in the article that it is a sponsored post.

If everything is in place, I will bill the company through PayPal.  I won’t accept checks through the mail and payment must be made before a posting date is issued.

All of this information is under the page marked Sponsored Post.

So recently, I received an email from a person showing interest in doing a sponsored post.  The email went like this:

I’m interested in publishing an article on your site Searching For The Happiness.

The article would be of the highest quality and it would be perfectly suited for your website meeting any requirements/guidelines you might have. I would want to include one link in the article to my client’s website. This is a spiritual guidance website and is highly authoritative.

I thought an article on how to decide when a career change is right for you could be a good fit, but I’m open to suggestions!

I am also happy to pay for publishing. Would this be at all possible? Please do get in touch.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

I then wrote back and asked to review the article before making a decision.  I also went over the rules about how many words the article could be and how payment and posting of the article worked.

This was what I got back:

Thanks for getting back to me. I’m happy to start working on the article and the fee sounds fine. However, I would have to send the payment after the article has gone live. Unfortunately my client has lost a lot of money from paying upfront so we have to be a little careful. I hope you can understand. If you can let me know when the article would be going live I can make sure the payment is sent for you immediately afterwards. Would that be okay?

The article will of course be written to a high standard and will not be promotional in nature. 

It would be great to be able to work with you so just let me know if you’d like to go ahead. 

Now, at this point, I haven’t read the article, I have no idea who the client is and this person is unwilling to pay upfront.

I wrote back explaining that our website is like anything you order online. Payment is made before you get the product, or in this case, an article presented on the website.

I was feeling uneasy by the fact that I had no knowledge of who this company was, what the article would be about and the fact that they were unwilling to pay upfront.  I have done numerous sponsored posts and no one has ever blinked an eye about paying ahead of time.

At this point, I was going to walk away from this potential client.

This was the email I got back:

I would have to double check with my client to see if we can make an exception. If I were to send the payment first I would need the article published straight after. I would also require that the article is not marked as paid or sponsored as the client wants the article to look as natural as possible. Would that be okay? I’d be happy to send along an author bio instead if you would like to label as a guest post. 

This was the email that cinched the deal.  Forget it, I am not working with this person.  Maybe you will read this and think, they were willing to pay, what’s the problem?

The problem is that I can’t accept payment for any post unless I clearly let the reader know that I have been compensated.  I am not willing to break a law for a little money (or even a lot of money if it were the case).  Who wants to put all of their hard work into jeopardy for a sponsored post?

This is what I wrote back:

I’m sorry, but I don’t think this arrangement will work out.  By law we have to clarify when payment is made for an article we publish.

I haven’t heard from them since.

The bottom line is that when you have a blog, you essentially have a business.  Even if you aren’t monetizing the blog, you still have a reputation to uphold.  Take your time thinking through any offers and make sure that what you agree to make sense for the blog.  If you don’t feel comfortable with any arrangement, the offer is not right for you.  Don’t worry, there will be other offers and they will be terrific.

Have you ever had an experience like this?  I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

P.S. If you are enjoying the information we supply on this blog, we would love it if you stopped by our Facebook page and “liked” us.

Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 6 local papers online, including the Oakland Press.The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]

17 thoughts on “Be Careful When Offering Advertising On Your Blog

  1. Excellent advice Wendy.

    We get 5 to 10 of those each month.

    There is always a catch. In the past, we’ve been caught by allowing a payment after publishing and we’ve been caught by them sending garbage content, which I would edit, or by insisting later that they paid for a link that passes pagerank, which we told them up front that it would not.

    These people can get very nasty, and threaten to click on your ads, report you to google for all kinds of things that aren’t true, or threaten to write bad reviews about you. We no longer allow any guest posts or advertising like this and we are much harder on starting up new long-term writers now.

    Kudos to you for sticking to your guns, and for passing on good advice to others.

    • Thanks Alan. I haven’t had any nasty situations like you mentioned, but just the thought of what can go wrong makes me almost want to run the other way. I do let people know up front that I won’t edit. If I feel a piece is poorly written, depending on the attitude of who I am dealing with, I will either point out a few things and offer them the opportunity to do a rewrite, or I just pass all together. One thing I have stopped doing was guest posts that weren’t sponsored posts. I was getting flooded with people asking to post. A good majority submitted poor quality articles and many weren’t very professional attitude wise. It was more a hassle than anything.

  2. Thanks for the heads up Wendy. I have been on the receiving end of many of those exact emails. I am not sure who they are or what their intent is, but I have no interest in anyone hiding behind an agent. First and foremost is making sure the article in question fits your “brand”

    • I definitely agree with it fitting your brand. I have worked with several PR companies and marketing firms, so someone reaching out for a client doesn’t raise any red flags. The big difference is that these companies will tell you all about the company they are promoting and will send you website links etc… so that you can get familiar with who these companies they represent are.

      I have actually worked with 2 accounts where the person who reached out by email were so new to their job that they just didn’t understand how to proceed. In these cases, as soon as I asked the questions, like who is your client, they were more than happy to fill in all the blanks.

  3. For those who have a website, it’s important to check through every page now and then, too. One day I happened to check a page on my site that I hadn’t looked at for awhile and someone had put a link at the bottom. This took readers to some shady www. that I would never have directed anyone to. I changed my password often and have no idea how they were able to install it on my site, but I was astounded and disgusted.

  4. I think the fact that the person would not identify themselves or their client or show you a copy of the ad was even more evidence of something very fishy.

    Someone left a comment on my website once; my filter called it SPAM. The site it came from was “Beach Tent Camping” and I clicked on it to see from whence it came. Their home page was a poor English translation of an ad for beach tents. But checking out another page I read that they were also a web host company that could offer a legitimate web address “for companies that want to harvest e-mail addresses.” Hmm….

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