The Ethics of Blogging For Dollars

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Paul at Blogging Systems writes about Bring the Blog (see ‘Bring the Blog’ Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be) today, a new service by BloodhoundBlog contributor and Mortgage Reports Blog owner Dan Green.

Ostensibly, Bring the Blog is a simple blog platform but they take it a step further, they also provide a ghost-writing service – for $300 a year you can get your own real estate blog and not have to lift a finger.

The pitch from their web site:

Every business day, we post new, consumer-focused content to your blog for you. That way, you never have to worry about your blog going “stale” when you don’t have time to write. Heck, you never even have to write at all!

This is not a new idea, K2Bloggers has been offering to write real estate blog posts for a while (see Too Busy To Blog? Pay Someone To Do It For You) – what is surprising however, is that two well known REBloggers, Green and Teresa Boardman from St. Paul Real Estate, would be offering up their writing services so brazenly.

I’m troubled by these types of services, largely because like Paul, I believe the power of blogging hinges in the transparency and authenticity that the medium offers.

Clearly, blogging can be a money making opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t begrudge anyone the ability to earn a buck off their blogging efforts. (Full disclosure: the meager ad revenue I get from FoREM funds my raging gadget addiction). Paul’s company also sells a competing blogging platform, so even he has an economic interest in getting people to blog.

But there’s a difference between enabling someone to blog, or encouraging them to do it, and then flat out doing it for them.

Of course, one can make the supply and demand argument. These services exist because people want them. In that sense, blog writing services are no different from the essay mills that offer to write your college papers for you (see Slate’s How to buy a good college term paper online). But heck, why stop there? Why not skip college all together and just go buy a degree? Sure would be cheaper.

Shortcuts abound in all areas of life. But should you necessarily take them?

sellsius likens Bring the Blog to “skydiving strapped to someone’s back” – I think that’s being a little Pollyannish.

I doubt very much the people buying this product are going to use it as a way to dip their toes into blogging waters. More likely it’s the people who just want “a blog” with their name on it and don’t care how much it costs.

And, I’m sure Bring the Blog will rope in a few suckers who just want an easy way to jump on the blogging bandwagon. But they are the one’s being fooled. They’re the one’s buying degrees online.

The bigger question, is, just like PayPerPost (for more, see Techcrunch’s PayPerPost.com offers to sell your soul), services like Bring the Blog may be a way to bring short term financial gain to bloggers, but ultimately at what cost?

Are they legal? Sure. Ethical? Borderline. Something I’d get involved with? Absolutely not.