Clinically shown to induce distrust

There’s a new service out there called PayPerPost. Basically, you get paid for posting ads in your online journal.

So far, so ho-hum. One thing that makes this one a bit different is that the ads aren’t separated into their own section alongside your postings, like Google AdWords; rather, the postings themselves are the ads. Furthermore, buyers get to dictate the wording of the links.

In addition, the question of disclosure is left entirely open. Maybe all your postings are ads; maybe some of them are. Maybe you tell people, maybe you don’t. It’s up to you.

I decided to take a look at what the result was like. In the forums I found some people who were pimping their web sites; here are some URLs.

Reading the above is an interesting experience. Sometimes it’s blatantly apparent where the ad is. (In these quotes, underlining shows where the links were in the originals.)

I really need a Caribbean vacation. It’s time to stop dreaming of going somewhere like this and just start to plan and save for it. […] Warm is a perfect place to read about all the things I can do when I get there.

I just know a friend of mine needs to reduce cholesterol in his diet. I think this is the reason he gets sick so often, and feels winded so easily. I’m going to have him try Vasacor an all natural cholesterol supplement.

Another thing that I used to be big into a couple of years ago, but kind of let go by the wayside is taking women’s vitamins. […] Osteo Essentials is clinically shown to support bone protection – which to me means will help strengthen them. I want to promote and develop strong bones now before it’s too late.

I don’t think any human being ever uses the phrase “…is clinically shown to…” in conversation. Sometimes it’s not so clear, though:

After lugging my laptop bag around all day for three days and seeing other people with their wheeled laptop cases, I’m starting to think I need one. My new laptop is lighter than my previous one, but it’s still damn heavy, especially when walking through the enormous hotel here from my room to the business areas.

Check out Tumi at Luggage Online. Isn’t that bag sweet? It’s got room for everything: laptop plus all my paperwork in really nice organized compartments. I want it!

On the one hand, the author had already said she was attending a show in Las Vegas. On the other hand…

Here’s a quote from a posting which, to me, demonstrates the problem with the whole thing:

This time last year…we were caribbean bound! I had already been on one cruise, and was about to embark on another. In September 2005, we went on an adults online cruise with a few other couples, my sisters, a brother-in-law, and an adult nephew. […]

During our day in Jamaica, we visited a beatiful garden at the top of a hill overlooking the city of Ocho Rios. After that, we headed to Dunn’s River Falls – a must see! You can literally climb up the side of the mountain by walking up the falls. […]

I think the best way to visit the Caribbean is by cruise ship – and if you need help choosing the right cruise for you, look no further than these cruise ship reviews. Our 7 night cruise was with Carnival, on one of their newest ships, the Carnival Victory.

I started out reading it as reminiscence, triggered by her noticing that it was a year since her last cruise vacation. It starts to sound kinda interesting, approaching a travelogue. But then suddenly, you hit what looks like blatant paid linkage. Does she really think cruise ships are the best way to visit the Carribean, or is she just being paid to say so? Maybe the whole September 2005 cruise is fictitious, planted at the request of the advertiser in order to seed the idea of taking larger family groups on cruises. Are the sisters, brother-in-law and nephew real? If so, why don’t they have names?

The thing about trust is that once you lose it, it’s hard to get back. Once you realize someone has lied to you, you tend to view everything else they say with suspicion. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would want to read a personal web site where you had good reason to believe the author was lying a large proportion of the time. Then again, even Jason Fortuny has fans.