3 min read


At the desk, 8:34 a.m.

I think the thing that's surprised me the most about the Internet in the last few years is the plague of the everyday lie.

Ok, I admit it. Maybe that's a little naive. When I look at the sentence, I think - "Oh come on Claudia, you knew about the predators, the kids seduced my older men and women, the online scams, why does this surprise you?"

Maybe I should explain what I mean by the plague of the everyday lie. I'm going to fudge these examples because I don't want to point finger - and it may sound like I'm judging - when in fact, I'm simply disappointed, discouraged, and more than a little confused.

Here's what I mean by everyday lie:

1. I could tell you at least 5 Twitter chats that were originally started by people who wanted to share information and now exclusively used to promote paid guests. If you pay the host enough money, you too can be a guest on their chat.

2. I have a number of friends who've started doing paid reviews on their site. In more than one case, the reviewer takes the money and promotes a product that they don't use, never used, and are fundamentally against. For example, let's say you were allergic to wheat. This blogger takes a paid review from a wheat co-op.Nowhere in the blog post do they say that they are getting paid (usually really well paid) for posting this material.

3. I recently went back to a group of bloggers who did reviews for Learning to Stand

. Rather than reviews, I offered to write a guest post on their site. I received a number of responses that sounded something like: "You're welcome to guest post on my site for a fee of $125." When I looked at the site (traffic, etc), the site is mostly paid guest posts. There's no disclaimer on the site that says to the audience they are being advertised to. Nothing. And these are the very same people who two years ago competed to review my book!

So what is the plague? This deceitful, unethical behavior is considered to be "smart" blogging. I was in a room with these "smart bloggers." Most of them were well-kept doctors wives who didn't need money. This is key to me because if you need to feed your kids? It makes a little sense to bend what you'd try. But these folks are just a step or two below the 1% everyone hates right now.

When I questioned a blogger I knew well, she said, "It doesn't feel great, but this is what everyone does."

"But what about your audience? They trust you and you're abusing that trust to make money."

"What about them? What do they expect? We're not making a paycheck by doing our blogs and..." We descended into one bullshit justification after another.

Because no one wants to be taken advantage of, this behavior becomes like a plague passed from one "smart" blogger to another.

"Have you heard that Janey is making (made up exaggerated number) dollars a year off her guest posts?"

Let's get down to the nitty gritty. Truth be told, the people who make the most money on the Internet make it by adding value, by selling products that bring something to people's lives. How do I know this?

Because that's what people who make real money on the Internet say.

For me? I can't imagine anything more despicable than taking the trust your reader has in you and using that trust to sell them some crap.

So why would they sell themselves like this? Why would they do it? <--I'm kind of stuck here, so if you have any great ideas, feel free to add them to the comment section.