Money changes everything or does it?

It can be said that blogs are the new black. Of course the same thing could also be said about the internet in general and we have been around a touch long to still be new. All readers might not be here but the ones calling the net home can be said to be among the brave, the proud and the loud. So catch our attention and you might catch yourself a few more sells.

JR Ward has often said she credits ‘word of mouth’ for her success with the Brotherhood series. Love it or hate it, there are few that can say they haven’t heard of it. I happen to love the ‘net and have been around in one place or another for a while and when I found reader blogs… I found a new home.

I loved them. And there were no where near as many reader blogs when I started to do the hop. And most of the websites had come and gone or recreated themselves. All About Romance self awarded title of:

…the number one site on the Web for those who read and love romance novels.

Seemed to be true, at least to my newbieself. And loved it, still do… you will find some of the most interesting stuff in their archives. Reader blogs were not as big then. We had Maili, Wendy and Rosario blogging about romance, reviews and their views. (there were more I am missing) I joined the fray around March 2005. Around the same time The Smart Bitches burst on the scene as did many a reader, many encouraged by THE maili. Hey even Mrs G got in on the action and her site was all about her.

It was no longer about money talking, no longer just hearing what publishers wanted us to know, no long about which authors could afford ad’s. But what we, the reader, liked and wanted. It was when we wanted it. Readers now had a very vocal voice beyond message boards ran by moderators.

And I would say in the past year many, people have stood up and listened. Many an author can be found on reader blogs such as Dear Author, Bam’s It’s Not Chick Porn, Smart Bitches and even here. The authors started to blog, followed by the publishers and now…

Well now… I am not sure what we have. Just about every review ‘site’ now has a blog to go with it. And regardless of traffic numbers, of the sites or blogs, they seem to be selling ads in both places. Does the money the authors offer up for ads affect the reviews or the ‘news’? It seems odd to me that sites that rate so lower in traffic according to their public trackers (if they make them public), alexa and technorati rankings are charging authors for ads, when the highest traffic sites are reader blogs such as Dear Author and Smart Bitches.

Although Smart Bitches are now charging for ads as well but I think it is more geared toward covering the cost of the site, bandwidth and contest prizes than it is quitting their job and living off the work of their volunteers. Candy? Sarah? Correct me if I am wrong.

Odder still are the two new cats on the scene. Well one isn’t really new new… Michelle Buonfiglio who recently blogged on RtB about her ‘job’ and the woes of having too many ARCs and not enough time recently moved her site. I had assumed (you know what they say about assuming) she was now working for herself since she is no longer with Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc (who is now using Blog Burst).

But she talked about her site vs her blog and how she had ‘the same viewership’ on her new site as she did her old one. So who is paying her now? Publishers? Authors? Some one else shelling out coin but wanting no connection? I of course asked but the answer was silence.

Then we have When I first heard about this I thought wow, cool. Then I thought what the hell, who has that kind of coin to back something that involved. It is pretty much a mix of Message Boards (in the vein of AAR and RT’s boards) and reader blogs but with no readers.

There is a feed from Squawk Radio, Word Wenches, two movie producers that are the idea guys behind the site and a new blog by an author Eileen Buckholtz (who that?).

And no clue from who is backing this. I know some people ::coughkarencough:: don’t care about the money. But to me, once money enters into play, it is hard (not impossible) to view it as honest opinion. Although the thing that makes me wonder more is no one puts up cash without getting something from it. So where are the banners? Where are the imprint links and such.

If it is authors or publishers footing the bill then isn’t it dishonest to not say that up front? But the that really smells is Jane posted the question yesterday, on the site. And now the post is deleted.

Soooo if there isn’t something to hide, why not just answer the question? Or maybe it doesn’t matter because they aren’t giving out reviews. We know up from Michelle only does the positive. And is only taking the guest author day idea from blogs and really is that any different than seeing CP partners or long time friends doing guest days on other group author blogs?

It is sort of a let down though because I find myself seeing it as nothing more than Writerspace. But really I should know better, because nothing is ever new on the internet is it?

So does it matter to you? Do you view reader blogs differently than author blogs in terms of rec’s and reviews? Do you check out new to you authors who are ‘guesting’ on your favorite author’s blogs or do you assume a ‘connection’ other than just a great book? Is that fair? And once money enters the picture does that change the way you see a site? Or do you just cool, nifty toyes?

LOL am I the only person who thinks about these things? Come on you call tell me if I am just a nut.