In the history of VoIPWatch, there has been only one guest post, and that was by Michael Robertson during his days with MP3.com and Gizmo. But from the start, I never would permit guest posts, and it was for one reason. This is MY BLOG and it exists to share MY THOUGHTS and VIEWS on things, starting with VoIP, Mobile and Collaboration.
Yesterday, longtime blogging buddy, Om Malik drew attention to what Buzzfeed unearthed, but what most of us in the world of blogging and PR have known for years. That most of the guest post in what were once leading media outlets were really just paid posts to benefit a client.
How did guest posts come about? Before that term was coined, there was the concept of the "contributed article." The contributed article was often presented by the PR agency to a media outlet as a thought leadership piece, that gave the publication, or web site, content for free. It had to meet standards and often it was considered a plum to score one for a client. Of course, like all good ideas that had merit, the publications saw "contributed articles" as a way to reduce cost on paying freelance writers or having a big staff and it became their route to survival by selling ads around content that cost them nothing. Voila, the guest post model came to life and almost anyone with a keyboard and an email account could send in an article to be published. And, since the search engines can't discern the difference between real journalism and a contributed article, a piece written by a contributor would be discovered along side an article by a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter. That and the decision to not clearly label the content as being contributed also led to this situation overall
So, the next time you read something, ask yourself if the "reporter" is indeed a "reporter" or a "contributor."
Oh, and there's nothing wrong in contributing content. Just don't try to be perceived as a "reporter" when all you are is a "contributor." Give the public the ability to decide if what you write has value, because some "contributed articles" actually do provide the type of information that reporters can never cover, it all just needs to be properly positioned.
That's why, to get covered here, it means I have to want to write about it…so, please, stop asking if I accept guest posts. I don't.