Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Paid Assignment Is Here: Marqui Ignites "Bloggers Paid To Blog" Initiative

Sponsored Links

The opportunity to verify whether me, Marc Canter and those few others are really out of our minds is becoming areality.

Marqui a company that has developed a personal content management and publishing system which integrates email campaigning, CMS, marketing communications and features that support a facilitated publishing workflow, has made an historical step in creating the first true major opportunity for bloggers and independent publishers to do paid assignment work.

As Marc Canter himself notes this is a light-weight CMS with the tools that will allow small enterprises easier take off in effective online publishing.


"The idea of paying bloggers is a controversial one, as it challenges some of the sacred cows of the journalistic publishing business."

The Vancouver Sun reported:

"A Vancouver-based tech company, Marqui, is about to invade the blogosphere by handing out cash to publishers of web logs to get its story across. Marqui will pay $180,000 US over the next few months for coverage of its web-based communications tools. And the content that runs on the web pages won't be marked as advertising, it will be editorial comment, right in the body of the blog itself."

I am personally enthusiastic about this now official announcement and while I don't know if I will be selected as a possible contributor to this I felt compelled to republish here the key parts of this historical opportunity.

Marqui, with the help of Marc Canter has published both an exhaustive and fascinating FAQ as well as the Terms of Contract for this revolutionary involvement of bloggers in the creation of new conversations around products and services.

Bloggers are not paid by Marqui to write good things about their products, but simply to write and report freely about their own views on them.

I think that if you read closely the following excerpts from Marqui's blogosphere initiative official FAQ and to the key parts I have extracted from the official contractual terms you can better appreciate the unique ethical spirit of this effort and why some of us think this is really going to rock.

Here it is:

The Marqui Blogosphere FAQ

"We're creating an opportunity based on trust." says in the opening paragraph of the Marqui Blogosphere FAQ, Stephen King, Marqui President and CEO.

Isn't this evil? Why the heck are you doing it?

Let's face it. People are getting more sophisticated as consumers and as marketers. Our targets are marketers and communicators. Our solutions help them communicate more effectively in the online world and in the "solid world." We believe the online world is becoming the dominant communication vehicle for marketers and consumers alike.

To step back a little, we believe this is the next step in a natural continuum. First there were the blind banner ads. Next, contextual ads. Then there were embedded ads, and embedded contextual ads...

We've decided to set a new standard in marketing by offering ongoing sponsorship to leading bloggers. We believe that these voices are growing louder and more influential every year, and could be the best investment in marketing the Marqui name.

As soon as someone says Marqui sucks, you're going to cut them off, aren't you?

You can read the complete agreement between Marqui and paid bloggers here, then judge for yourself whether this is a program based on trust and transparency. We're paying bloggers to blog for three months. Period. We hope they'll honor their commitments, because we're going to honor ours.

Fine. Won't this (Marqui) force bloggers (Marqui) to talk (Marqui) about Marqui more than (Marqui) they normally would?

We put no limits on what these paid bloggers can say about Marqui; we only require a badge on their site, a weekly mention of our product and a URL link in the body of their blog. For their own integrity factor, if they want some sort of disclaimer on their blog, they're more than welcome to acknowledge that we are paying them to blog with a frame, background, language, etc.

If bloggers paid by Marqui want to do more, whether offering criticism about our products and services or adding their personal endorsement, we welcome it. Criticism is helpful in our development process and it is always better to be talked about than not.

In the future, we will be introducing additional incentives to bloggers, but today we are just happy to help these talented people spend a little more time doing the blogging they do so well.

So what are you telling them to say? You've got to be telling them something...

We'll feed our paid bloggers weekly success stories from our Communication Management System customers. We'll also have a standard message regarding communication management, brand management, Software as a Service (SaaS), scalable content (write once, read many). They'll either pick up those messages or not.

How much will bloggers make?

We're paying our bloggers $800.00 a month and $50/month per qualified lead (up to four/month right now), and we'll see if our hunch -- that the blogosphere is a conversational marketing gold mine -- is correct. Marqui will spend almost $200,000 on this project in the next year.

How many bloggers are you choosing to pay?

Marqui will start out on about fifteen leading blogs, the largest direct sponsorship program the blogosphere has ever seen.

Our paid relationships are unique, take a look at the ethics debate (follow the links) that exploded in the Blogosphere when we first began "socializing" this idea. It's a clear and compelling example about why supporting bloggers is such a great way not just to talk about your product, but also to get the kind of feedback that most companies pay for.

How will I know who's doing it?

We'll list (along with our terms and conditions and links to the blogs) all of our paid bloggers here.

How can I get involved?

We're looking for marketing and business bloggers, because they speak to our customers every day. If you'd like to participate in the program, let us know by e-mail and we'll take a look at what you are blogging to see if you might be a good fit. We look forward to talking with (and hearing from!) all of you.

Complete transparency is mandatory

Here is also the essence of the contract bloggers will need to sign. You can check out and print the full unedited original right here:


Dear ,

This letter is a contract between you, an individual residing at , and Maestro Communications Software Corp., (aka Marqui), located at 1075 West Georgia Street, Suite 1550 Vancouver BC Canada V6E 4E6, which describes the terms and conditions of Marqui's agreement to pay you to blog about Marqui and Marqui's services.

You will place both a Marqui mark provided by Marqui and a link to the Marqui website on the home page and archival pages of your blog and you will make a weekly textual mention (with URL link) about Marqui and its Communication Management Software as a Service on your blog.

In exchange for your doing this, Marqui will pay you a fee of $800.00 USD per month plus $50.00 USD per qualified lead accepted by Marqui up to 4 leads per month, for a term of three months, beginning on ___________ and ending on ______________. Payment will be made monthly for services delivered the prior month. The monthly fee will be pro-rated on a per day basis for contract beginning and ending dates that do not coincide with the calendar month.


We do not require you to acknowledge this payment relationship publicly.

However, we encourage you to communicate to your readers that you are being paid to blog about our product by doing such things as placing a separate colored background behind each blog post, delineating the posts with borders or by communicating in some other way through language.

We welcome constructive criticism about Marqui's service in the body of your blog and will attempt to respond to any criticism you may have about our service.

It is our desire that acceptance of this agreement reflects your basic confidence in the product and that it serves as an endorsement on your part of the Marqui product. However, Marqui places no limits on the content of your blog or the wording of the weekly mentions of our company or service offering, other than the limitations stated in this agreement.

Marqui will provide artwork to you for the Marqui mark you will display on your site. You agree that the artwork will remain intact as provided by Marqui and the image will be displayed of a size not less than 180 pixels by 90 pixels and will include a live link to our demonstration site at . We reserve the right to send you new artwork or links and you agree to incorporate them in your blog in a timely manner. We also will be providing you with standard messages and increasingly useful news and information on Marqui's success stories. We wish to receive feedback based on the traffic we see from your site and to accomplish that we may use special tags that better identify the sources of traffic.

Agreed, this date, by:

MAESTRO Communications
Management Software (Marqui)



Print Name




Tax ID Number


What do you think will happen to the bloggers that will accept this assignment?

What are the true risks bloggers are taking by accepting this new paid approach to reporting online?

How is this any different, outside of the money being paid out and the size of the company providing this opportunity, from what Robert Scoble does so effectively from Microsoft?

Reference: Marqui Blogosphere FAQ [ Read more ]
Readers' Comments    
2004-11-25 22:30:08

alan herrell - the head lemur

I am gonna play. I have set up a blog specifically for Marqui

there you will be able to track my progress and see what goes on.

posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, November 16 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

Search this site for more with 








    Curated by

    New media explorer
    Communication designer


    POP Newsletter

    Robin Good's Newsletter for Professional Online Publishers  



    Real Time Web Analytics