Blogging Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

What is a blogging program? Is it a contest? 
Our blogging programs are actually "calls for submissions" on certain topics, sponsored by a brand or company. Blogging programs differ from contests, because there is a call for a finite number of posts for each opportunity. Writers who comply with quality and compliance guidelines get paid per post until the quota is achieved. Compensation varies by program but is typically $30 to $50. By contrast, a contest is based on random chance to win a prize (or prizes), and there is no limit to the number of people who can enter. When we run contests, they are guided by official rules posted online. Blogging programs are guided by a different set of terms and conditions

Am I required to participate in these programs? 
No. Any and all opportunities offered to the community are strictly "opt-in". Choose only those topics that resonate with you and your readers, or skip participating in them altogether. It's your choice!

Do I need to be a big, established or successful blogger to participate or get my submissions accepted? 
Absolutely not! Our mission is to help all moms who are active in social media grow their personal brands. We welcome all submissions that meet our quality and compliance guidelines.

Why do you prefer the "call for submissions" format over random prizing or contests? 
We feel strongly that a woman's time is valuable and she should be compensated appropriately for her time and creativity. Our programs result in earnings of $40-$100 per hour for some of our members. For that reason, we generally discourage sponsors from asking moms to spend time blogging in exchange for a random chance to win a prize, since it would likely mean a reduction in hourly earnings for our members. 

Why is there a cap to the number of submissions? 
Unfortunately, budget constraints lead to a cap in the number of submissions we can accept on any given program. It varies by sponsor and is stated clearly on the discussion page outlining the call for submissions.

What if more people submit posts than you have budgeted submissions? 
We discourage people from submitting posts above the submission cap, since they are unlikely to be compensated. We generally post a warning when we're getting close to meeting the submission cap to advise you of the fact, or you are welcome to count the number of comments (roughly 10 per page) to figure out whether or not it's worth your time to participate.  We are always working on new ways to make it clear to our members how many submissions are left open.  

What are quality and compliance guidelines? 
Each post must meet a minimum length, which can vary by program but is typically around 400 words. Your post must also include a "widget" provided by us to identify the sponsor of the post. Additionally, the FTC requires bloggers to post disclosure notices on sponsored posts. You must include a clear disclosure statement on your posts (we provide one for you). For your protection, we do not compensate any bloggers until we positively verify this disclosure is part of your post and will reach out to you if we see it's missing so you can earn your compensation. 

Do you actively encourage more people to blog than you have spots for? 
No. We post notices on pages where we are approaching our limit for submissions, and don't actively promote programs that have reached their goals in our newsletters. We would rather meet or be shy of our submission goals, and we strongly encourage members to see if taking the time to post is likely to be accepted based on the number of submissions received. Your time is valuable, and we offer lots of new opportunities each week. If you like these programs, we encourage you to make sure you're getting your RAMBO alerts on Tuesdays (and sometimes Thursdays) so you can get first pick of new programs or find out where we have needs for more submissions.

Why am I asked to tweet a link to my post? 
We started this practice to encourage quality submissions. We are looking for quality writing on topics that your audience will enjoy -- typically tips and tricks your readers will find useful or entertaining. 

How are the submissions reviewed and selected? 
They are reviewed in the order in which they are submitted to the comments section on the discussion page outlining the call for submissions. You will be compensated as long as your submission is within the cap, the widget is in place, the disclosure statement is included, you write on topic, and the minimum word count requirements are met. It's as simple as that!

Why do you reserve the right to reject submissions? Is this so sponsors can reject all the submissions and get free advertising? 
We are not in the business of rejecting submissions. Quite the contrary, in fact. Sponsors are looking to associate their brands with quality content. They want us to reserve that right to give them confidence that they will not be required to compensate bloggers who submit profane, offensive, racist, or otherwise off-topic posts.

Does post quality suffer if the emphasis is on being one of the first to submit?
We continually work with our community to make improvements in post quality by testing different requirements. We've also clarified that we're looking for thoughtful, quality posts, and the community has responded positively. We are very proud of the quality of posts our community members are submitting and would encourage you to view recent live examples to get a better idea of what our moms are writing. The reason we work off of the first to respond (up to the submission cap or quota) is to avoid subjective elements in selecting qualified submissions. 

Is this illegal? Am I going to get in trouble for participating in these programs? 
We don't compensate bloggers who don't disclose, which is the crux of FTC rules. We do this for your protection, and in the process we complete no less than three quality and compliance checks on each blog post. In cases where a blogger has forgotten the disclosure statement, a member of our staff will reach out to you and work with you to bring your post into compliance so you can be compensated legally. We have also invested heavily in legal assistance to ensure our programs are up-to-standards with current laws. We also invest in tools and staff to help us identify issues so we can work with you to make any modifications necessary to ensure you get compensated. 

Finally, it's important to note that we only work with reputable brands -- some of the biggest on the planet, nearly all of which are household names. Rest assured, their lawyers have reviewed every letter of every program before we are allowed to make a program available to our members. Like us, they have a vested interest in making sure nobody is engaging in anything that could be construed as "illegal". 

What about taxes? 
We are required to keep records of payments and submit tax information to the IRS. Individuals are required to report this income as well. 

Is this some form of link-farming Google spamming scheme? Will I lose my blog because of it? 
No and no. The blogging programs we offer are not "link-farming Google spamming schemes".  In fact, our customers use their brand budgets to sponsor our programs - not their search marketing budgets. And no member of our community has ever had their blog shut down because they participated in our programs. Can you imagine losing your blog because you crafted a quality 400 word post sharing ten tips for saving money at holiday time? Or because you shared ten of your best ideas to keep a greener, cleaner home? The disclosure links you are required to include are actually redirect links, which means they don't pass "pagerank". We offer brand programs for major sponsors. "Link-farming" and "web spamming" is the land of fly-by-night operations peddling diet pills or other shady products. Our sponsors are established, reputable firms from Fortune 500 brands and nearly all are household names. Unlike a shady diet pill peddlers, the sponsors we work with are not fighting to manipulate search rankings. Because they're trusted household names, they don't need to.

Last updated by Megan Calhoun Dec 1, 2010.

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