offers to sell your soul

Ted Murphy, CEO of advertising firm Mindcomet, has launched a new service called You guessed it, it’s a marketplace for companies to connect with bloggers who are willing to blog about a product – for a price. The companies can set guidelines for their requests such as whether a picture must be included and whether they will only pay for positive blog coverage. There does not appear to be any requirement that the payment for coverage be disclosed. There is a requirement that must approve your post before you are paid. Wow.

TechCrunch does not accept payment for posts.

Is this a bad joke designed to torpedo the blogosphere’s credibility in general? It doesn’t appear to be. If we’re all trying to negotiate a space between Hollywood and mainstream journalism, this is taking things way too far towards the most insipid parts of Hollywood.

Clearly comfortable with the “all press is good press” paradigm, Murphy is emailing bloggers with a link to scathing coverage at Business Week (“Polluting the Blogosphere“) and even includes the words “As seen in Business Week” in the company logo. Blogger Jeremiah Owyang gave us the tip on and assures us that though he has grave concerns about this, Ted Murphy is not the devil. I don’t know if I’m convinced.

If you visit the website you’ll see that they do advertising for some very high profile clients. I can imagine many of them wouldn’t want to be associated with a project like this at all. Like EarthLink. They have a major campaign underway to improve advertising by paying people to make authentic promotional materials for them. How ironic.