From the September 2007 issue of Entrepreneur

A good review is gold. Unfortunately, getting a journalist to write about your product or service is not guaranteed. Wish it could be? Well, you can pay for reviews--not by journalists, but by bloggers. Proceed with caution, though: This emerging tactic has some tricky implications.

The first step is to find bloggers who write reviews. You can contact the top bloggers in your industry who do this and offer them cash. You can also use sites like Blogsvertise, PayPerPost.com, ReviewMe and SponsoredReviews.com. These sites specialize in connecting advertisers with bloggers who are paid to write reviews and link to your site.

Here's how they work: After creating an account, you write a request describing what you want reviewed. You can usually specify the bloggers' qualifications, such as a minimum Google PageRank, Alexa score and/or Technorati ranking.

Today's pay range is anywhere from $5 to $1,000 per review. The paid review sites also charge a service fee, typically a percentage or dollar amount per post.

Does paying for a review undermine its credibility? Some bloggers have blasted other bloggers for accepting money to write reviews. Some bloggers have blasted the advertisers. These bloggers believe paid reviews are automatically slanted in the advertiser's favor. To minimize potential backfire, follow these guidelines:

  • Choose blogs that are relevant to your product or service.
  • Choose a paid review site that requires disclosure from bloggers.
  • Don't choose bloggers or paid review sites that provide only positive feedback.
  • Set a reasonable review fee; too little could get you a generic-sounding review, whereas too much could get you one that is overly promotional.

This emerging tactic blurs the line between editorial and advertising. To play it safe, be sure you're paying to get the review but not to control the content. Even with a risk factor, the potential pay-offs are powerful: feedback, buzz, traffic, link love--and most important, the opinion of an influential audience.

Catherine Seda, a 12-year internet marketing strategist, is author of How to Win Sales and Influence Spiders and dean of LA College International. Get her free "Top 10 Internet Marketing Mistakes" report at catherineseda.com.