Would you accept payment to write articles on a specific topic from a third party?
Would you let that payment effect your oppinion on a specific topic - perhaps a favourable review?
Would you disclose that you were paid to write the posting?
I've heard about a number of bloggers accepting fees to write on specific topics.
This is something I'm very uncomfortable with. It becomes a issue of conflict of interest. It's one thing to request a product for review and be able to keep it - such as a book, gadget, etc... the item is given without expectation of the resulting review and is usually of nominal cost.
However, being paid to write on topics - especially when one seeks further "assignments", cannot lead to independent thinking and honest results. Failure to disclose being paid is even worse. In the academic world it's a career disaster. In "amature" blogging it's something not yet discussed.
Here's one consideration. Most bloggers have at least a little advertising. Do they advertisers suspect they are supporting a paid public relations site or are they being deceived as well?
I'd like to think that my oppinion costs more than $40, does yours?