Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cash for comments: The fashion blogosphere's liquid bonanza

stella mccartney for target australia launch, sydney, october 1st/little black book
They are literally throwing money at bloggers at the moment in Australia. Not in the traditional advertising sense, whereby a marketer pays to take out clearly-delineated advertising space in your publication. In fact it’s almost impossible to find many, if any, bloggers who are earning a living out of legitimate display advertising. No, affiliate marketing (pay per click or pay per buy) and sponsored, advertorial posts are the way of the world right now (although not on frockwriter, just to clarify once again). Westfield is currently recruiting a blogger for a 12-month, $100,000 contract. One of the finalists is 19 years old. That’s an extraordinary salary for a teenager. We mentioned the recent Target Stella McCartney launch for which six bloggers (pictured above, details below) were flown to Sydney and paid to write approved copy. 

Remuneration in these situations usually depends on web traffic, but in general terms frockwriter understands there are Australian fashion bloggers earning up to $900 per sponsored post under these sorts of deals (and just to clarify, there is usually a sponsorship disclosure eg "Sponsored by Nuffnang" at the top of the posts). With your average blog post not exceeding 400 words, many a mere 200 words, that’s potentially $2-4 per word. The average freelance journalist would be lucky to get $1/word for work in Australia at the moment, with even some prestigious newspapers offering as little as 50c/word for the privilege of having your byline in their publication. 

The latest blogger cash bonanza is a project called Lustable from online payment service PayPal. According to PayPal, five Australian bloggers including Matt Jordan, Phoebe Montague and Candice DeVille are each being given $1,000 cash a week for 12 weeks to spend at their discretion on PayPal – and to talk about it on the Lustable website

The bloggers are not, we understand, under any obligation to write about the project on their blogs.

PayPal is referring to the bloggers as "editors", disclosing that it has "cashed them up" and that there is no copy approval.

The money is being deposited into their PayPal accounts and we understand that what the bloggers purchase, they get to keep. What happens if they don't spend all the money and siphon some of the funds out of PayPal into their bank accounts, like a salary? Good question. Apparently there is nothing in writing stopping them from doing this.

But just a reminder that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

PayPal will presumably be writing your names down on its books as suppliers and the ATO will presumably regard this as income. And needless to say, if you were to blow 12K on non legitimate business expenses such as clothes, cosmetics, jewellery and accessories, then you could ostensibly wind up with a hefty tax bill on the other side. That will of course be of little concern to PayPal.

Happy shopping.

Main image: L to R: Style Melbourne, Fashion Hayley, Little Black Book, Drop Stitch, Sassi Sam, Karen Cheng.


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