Google Doing Paid Reviews via AdSense? Why not!

by Jeremy Schoemaker on January 28, 2008 · 153 comments

I had an unconfirmed resource emailing me that Google Adsense will be testing a paid review service within the next couple months to beta testers via Adsense. I promptly emailed contacts at Google to confirm/deny with nothing back yet.

At first I wanted to just dismiss the email as hogwash (and it probably is) but I can think of many reasons why Google would jump into the paid review industry.

Publishers - Google already has a amazingly huge database of publishers.

Advertisers - Nobody has no online advertisers then Google AND now they they have taped into the news, magazine and radio network they have access to tap even more advertisers on the shoulder to pay for reviews of their service.

Blogger - Google already owns the biggest blog network in the world and they seem to already have a relationship with wordpress for easy implementation of Google AdSense on (that would make sense anyway).

Metrics - Between Google toolbar, Adsense, and Pagerank data Google has by far the best metrics to price a site for a review. They already use these metrics for Adwords in selling contextual ads and links.

Google has pretty much destroyed ReviewMe and PayPerPost (the competition) and launching there own seems like it would solve all of their problems. The big issues Google had with paid reviews was the linking issue and now they can control all of that PLUS get a chunk of the revenue.

So again…. there is no credible source that is saying Google is getting into the paid review marketplace but it would certainly seem like it would be a very good business move for them.

What do you think? Could we see Paid Reviews via the Adwords/Adsense system in 2008?

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2896 posts on

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.

Jason recommends you check out these amazing posts:

  1. IMG_0247 The Pursuit Of Happyness
  2. Failure-Poster I Am a Failure
  3. gestalt-pattern-image The Gestalt Protocal


1 Justin Dupre

Google is ridiculous. It would only make sense if they made this kind of move. Next they will be buying Al Gore, just to make sure they really do own the internet.

Justin Dupre

2 Eric Odom

Well, considering the fact that Al Gore actually owns a good chunk of Google, I would assert this isn’t a likely scenario.

That being said… Google sucks. I still love it though.

It’s like an addiction that society finds acceptable, even though we all know it will eventually be very bad for us.

3 raj

I smell link bait ;)

I don’t think so they will introduce something like this

4 Dan Schawbel

I don’ t understand why Google has to be anonymous when contacting you.

5 Affiliate Confession

It wouldn’t surprise me if Google were to get into the paid review market. They’re more intent these days on dominating than they are anything else. Putting other businesses out of business like ReviewMe would be like being Wal Mart. Whatever happened to “Do no evil”? Frickin’ Google!

6 Anon


7 Hustle Strategy

Totally depends on their implementation. I could see this being done in a few ways where it would be good and a few where it would be bad. I first want to know why they don’t have a stumbleupon or digg alternative that is successful. Once they have that in place I see the paid reviews sitting nicely on that platform. Otherwise I don’t see where they would implement it (unless it is like adwords). Also would they give “good” reviews all the time?

8 Fat Kid Unleashed

What?! You’ve got to be kidding me?! If this goes through then Google will have reached their most evil point. They punish other companies who are just trying to make it big and then go behind their back to turn a profit. Ridiculous.

Although, I could see some revenue from this, so I can’t complain. :-)

9 Erica

I totally agree. I actually recent wrote a post on How I have a love/hate relationship with Google. I hate it. But they’re addicting. And great.

10 Erica

Wow. Google just may very well take over the world. Of course that’s been said before…

11 Erica

I totally agree. I hate Google. With a passion. But i love it! It makes my life easier and its just great. I even wrote a recent post about my love hate relationship with Google

12 Will

Dang google sure knows how to divide and conquer.

13 Will

yea lol. you gotta hand it to google for shaping what the internet is today.

14 Lee

This would not surprise me at all. If it is a paid review service on other sites might surprise me. But really what is Knol except a paid review service? Look at how full of paid reviews Squidoo is.

15 Ben

I’m getting sick of Google targeted all these niches and destroying other peoples businesses. Can’t they just stick with perfecting search and bringing my Google AdWords costs down :(

16 Mubin

Well it will be very interesting to see how this turns out.

17 bowtrol

That is what am thinking.I will watching

18 Hyder

Can anybody say hypocritical, if they did that?

19 alanj878

It is possible but they may create a special button that bypasses google paid review filter and also believe Google if cannot control he real world they would go to the next best thing the net.

20 samo

Everyone will — but nobody will do feck’ all about it! Everyone just bends over and takes anything google has to give. They could say: “do not do any paid reviews, or you’ll be dropped from google!” and people will stop!

21 Hobby Place

I don’t really see Google doing this through Adsense/Adwords necessarily, though I suppose it is possible. Typically, if Google expands into a niche they purchase a company that is already successful in the niche in order to do so. Blogger is a good example. I guess they could simply incorporate a system into Adsense/Adwords instead, though. Much more likely that they purchase whichever competitor survives through all the penalties, though, and wrap it up into their ever-expanding online monopoly.

22 Holly

It would make sense for them to try this out. I mean they have taken over everything else. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

23 marhgil

why not? but i’m sure, they will require the nofollow tag on all the reviews if this is true.

24 Jeremy Schoemaker

well of course =P

25 Adam

Well, this is the first showings of monopolistic action that I’ve noticed from Google. First they lay the smack down on pay per post / ReviewMe / Text Link Ads under the guise that its “gaming their system”. Ok, so they try to destroy a subset of advertising out there. I guess I can see that it might be people taking advantage of their system.

But…then they turn around and release their own little version? This just looks like they destroyed a profitable tactic for ad networks just to turn around and create their own for profit.

Looks shitty if you ask me. Do no evil my ass.

26 Marisa

If it’s true, it practically guarantees an anit-trust suit against them. Surely they can’t be this stupid. The DOJ will have a field day with it!

27 RacerX

Why wouldn’t they do it? There is a market there already, and if Google does it it legitimizes the practice. They will put the spin that these are 100% actual reviews, no positive for positives sake.

28 Sander

Also another rumor.. I’ve read somewhere that matt has launched a script that scans all email within gmail for ‘link buying / paid reviews’ and so on. They scan the emails and ban/downgrade the domains (websites) doing paid (review/link) deals.

Big brother is watching you!

29 Maurizius

I Think Adsense is a serious thing but the people in the world who have a really possibility to earn something are not very much, i wanna use it on my blog wich is What do you think about?

30 Paul

They are monopolizing the internet in all aspects. If they continue to do this people are going to stop using them. Free market my ass they are communist in all facets. It is just a shame that the millions of us that have made them rich are now taking it up the @$$!!!!!!!!

31 Linda Tong

Well I guess they will try and corner the market on paid reviews. Anything for profit and since they are trying to control what the bloggers are doing. Something they havent exactly cornered yet or have a thumb on. Especially since they tried to track down paid reviews for PR and gave a few bloggers a 0 for such reviews.

32 WebSide Ventures

The reason a lot of people pay for reviews is to get link juice passed back to their site. I would honestly be shocked if Google entered the paid reviews space. Matt Cutts wrote a post recently about how paid posts spam up Google’s SERPS.

33 jim

It’s just another avenue of advertising I suppose! It does really go against the Do No Evil mantra though…

34 jim

No…. really? By whom? :)

35 Will

wasn’t google offering affiliate products to battle with affiliate networks awhile back? what happened to that?

36 Rui Augusto

I would like that those rumors would be true. Then Google will just get my website’s pagerank to the real one so I can make them increase their profits.

37 Stealth

I don’t think Google would do that. Also they have to be careful now there becoming a monopoly so the government intervention axe will be coming swinging down Soon.

38 Gary R. Hess

Plausable deniability. It lets them advertise a new product without actually advertising it and allows them to deny everything until they actually release it. And on the other hand they are getting publishers excited and ready for the product before its release without ever hurting their image.

Large companies do this all the time.

39 blackysky

Agree you cannot slap compagnies and then offer the same service. It doesn’t make sense at all…. They will have the same microsoft problem
Internet explorer vs nescape and others
Windows media player vs others like real player…
Let’s face it google search engine become a standard like windows was…..
I still love google … the walt mart of internet. You find everything at cheap price ahahah

40 Gary R. Hess

No, all they have to do is say “use nofollow on all reviews”. Or, they will just spit out a bit of javascript required on every page reviewed. They will probably do the ladder.

41 Gary R. Hess

I think it is more likely they will say to use a bit of javascript. They are javascript whores.

42 How To Rule The World

i have a close contact at Google and i asked him if this is true. Here is his response

“In terms of a paid review service through AdSense, I certainly haven’t heard of any such product. I’ve done some searching around the web and found some speculative reports that were the first I’d heard of this product. ”

The reps at Google have not heard of this product yet, so i assume its just rumor. He said he will also speak with some of his superiors to see if he can get additional information on it.

43 Gary R. Hess

On what grounds? They only punished those who wrote the reviews and didn’t put nofollow on the links. If you used nofollow, you were safe… although you probably didn’t get any buys.

44 sukosaki

yea, but why do people hate them? are those people mad because Google CAN do what Google wants? Are they mad they are getting away with interweb monopolization? Are they mad because the toolbar is too simple and doesn’t cause their browser to crash? What is the real reason people “hate” Google?
I myself, like Google, search, that is. I appreciate their excellent business sense, but I can’t help but feel they are getting away with something. Nonetheless, this service would be no surprise to me, or to others that posted here I see.

45 Collin LaHay

Seems too hypocritical. There would be a lot of backlash from the people who had their PR deducted (or removed).

46 Plumbing Skool

That would bve kinda cool if you ask me :)

Maybe google could also bring back the “free toys” in the ceral boxes :)

47 guitarFlame

Now that you put it this way, sounds possible. I wouldn’t have thought about it.

48 Alan Johnson

The relationship most people have with G is indeed interesting: most don’t agree with their business model yet couldn’t imagine surfing without it :)

49 Alan Johnson

In the end, it’s their business and they have the right to make whatever decisions they see fit but will, of course, have to live with the consequences.

50 Alan Johnson

Most likely since let’s face it, offering paid reviews which contain seo-friendly links would simply be too much, even for G :)

51 Alan Johnson

As strange as it may sound, nothing would surprise me as far as G is concerned :)

52 Steve Blanchard

I would love it if they get that gig and why not – don’t they pretty much own the internet now?

How much internet does Shoemoney own?

53 Alan Johnson

After each controversial decisions of theirs you’ d think that people would stop using them but that hasn’t been the case up until this point and I doubt that it will be in the near future.

54 Syed Balkhi

Looks like google will dominate another industry. I think it will be good news for bloggers as more contracts now … because i am sure google will have plenty of advertisers to help us all ;)

lets see how this works out.

55 domprofesor

Paid reviews are certainly the next step in advertising and google must get a piece of the pie. It will be interesting to see if they are going to keep a large % of the money paid for the review. But in my opinion – direct negotiation is the best – eliminate the middle man (or company)

56 Colin Joss

Those reviews could perhaps generate some public interest and increase the quality of the ads. The only CHALLENGE for google is to get genuine reviews, so I am thinking that google could get real buyers and consumers to do the reviews.

57 Media Morgue

Why not just buy the competition? They seem to do that a lot anyway. It sure seems easier that re-inventing the wheel each time.

58 Popular Wealth

Google wants to bring us EVERYTHING we may want but I don’t think they have any interest in paying bloggers to create more reviews when there are millions of reviews on the net already. Especially paid reviews.

59 sean

who gives a cr#p. I am getting close to jetisoning google from my life. They will overreach and then decline.

60 sean

right and it isn’t the first time they have used one division to kill competition while another exploits the gap.

61 Omar Yesid Mariño

If a paid review system from Google is coming, then I surely will test it. But, certainly, it would be a hypocritical attitude from Google after they have criticized those systems so much.

62 Prashant N Mhatre

I think review service may work for very high traffic sites – specially pulling traffic from English Speaking countries.

63 Michael Aulia

So, how does you become a beta tester? :)

64 Start Blogging

This would be awesome if they did this. Google has TONS of interested advertisers via adsense, so finding an interested advertiser for a paid review would be easy as pie.

65 Start Blogging

If they’ll make money off of it- they’ll do it.

66 Start Blogging

Haha, I wish. But, they’d have to know they would be able to make a ton of money off them before doing so. How would Google Cereal taste anyways?

67 Shane

If they do it they should just buy PPP or RM and create a Wordpress plugin that links a review post to your review account – that way, they can automatically verify the review was done and even apply no-follow to the links if they want. Bottom line though is they have to allow the market to price itself to some degree. If there isn’t decent money in it for publishers, it’ll be a total waste of time.

68 Adam

Well its the first I’ve noticed. Doubt itll be the last either.

69 Keith Cash

This explains why they kill everyones PR a few months back. Maybe I will catch back up in a few months my PR will be back up.

Tell Google to sign me up.

70 BrinkStow

This would be very surprising. I guess that if they did this, they would be no-following the links. Otherwise, it would be EXTREMELY hypocritical.

71 Simple Mindz

LOL…Google Cereal…..They could have colorful letters and the marshmellows – could be a blog, an adsense…..etc…;)

72 Louis

Why are you talking about them possibly doing it? They already ARE doing it.

Google has their own referrals/CPA offers in Adsense. There is nothing to prevent you from blogging about a specific offer peppered with a few of these referrals. Unfortunately for Google, their referrals are not proving to be popular.

A natural extension would be to allow come up with a post with 3 to 4 links and you are either paid a flat fee for the post OR you paid for the referral or even clicks in the post.

73 Emil

Are there any easy setup web sites where you can place ads on your web site then make profit every time someone clicks on an add? How can you make money off myspace by posting ads on bulletins! or messages?

74 Johan Cyprich

That’s great. I would like to get paid reviews back on my blog. I didn’t get very good results with Review Me.

75 Elmo

A Google free world is easy (nuttin tuit honey). Try it …. the only thing you have to lose, is your wooly coat and bleating voice :-)

76 Goldie

This sounds really sus, and it doesn’t sound legal – if it’s true.

This sort of behaviour, building up a monopoly and crushing your competition only to get into their business, is what Microsoft has been in trouble for. I’d expect the, now ruined, competition to start pushing for anti-trust lawsuits.

In fact, I’m kinda surprised no-one has sued Google already.

77 Beasiswa

Are there any easy setup web sites where you can place ads on your web site then make profit every time someone clicks on an add? Are you sure??

78 TheBloggerTips

Google become a giant in advertising program and now will increase their market share once the paid review is launch. Maybe Google will hold back since they will consider the monopoly issue if raise by other competitors?

79 TheBloggerTips

Google become giant in advertising program for adwords and if the paid review is launch, probably google market share will increase. Maybe Google will hold back to consider some monopoly issue if raise by other competitors?

80 Martin

really? i would have never thought that they would delve into such a business, i still think its unlikely but this post has slightly swayed my opinion

81 Matt Cutts

This doesn’t sound right to me. I’ve been asking around as well and I haven’t found anything that resembles this.

82 Free Xbox 360 Package

yeah this is in the google pipeline along with something to rival wikipedia

83 SEO Optimization

It does make sense indeed Jeremy, just as it makes sense this might be just another linkbait … but who knows ;)

84 Alan Johnson

It would be far too funny to see them buying one of the paid review companies they have tried their best to eliminate from the equation :)

85 Alan Johnson

Actually, they didn’t criticize the reviews, they criticized the paid links which came with the “package” so that, if they were to launch something like that, the links would not carry any weight as far as SEO is concerned.

86 Simon

Let’s hope nothing comes up. It would make all of the Google campaigning against paid links seem mighty shady, wouldn’t it?

87 Alan Johnson

As a linkbait, I’d say that it has served its purpose, with 100+ comments and quite a few links at this point.

88 Start Blogging

Good point. Never thought of the possibility of it being linkbait. Eek!

89 Mike Huang

Interesting post, I’ll keep this in mind.


90 Darren

hmmm…. so a week ago you post how excited you are about April Fools….

I wonder if this new service from AdSense might be released April 1? :-)

91 Ginene

This would be Priceless. They are definitely owning the internet.

92 Simlock verwijderen

Haha, why not of course. It is a good way to earn more money with your website. Google becomes more useful and that’s better for them as for me and you. So why not?

93 Melanie Phung

If that happens, that’ll be the day Google jumps the shark.

94 Feed Flare

I honestly hope the merge goes through with Microsoft and Yahoo. I bet your going to see a lot of bloggers focus on there search engine.

95 Steve Real

I’m all for it.

96 Make Money Online

they have the power and money and reach to take on anyones ideas and simply do it themselves, its a one horse race!

97 Blog Advertising Network

Don’t think that they will do that sincerly!

98 Web Design

Google just wants to rule the whole internet and have all the money to itself, it’s already penalising paid links (it’s very close to adwords if you check closely), paid links was killing their business, so they just penalise. Same here with paid reviews, it won’t shock me if you start hearing google is penalizing “in content” links. hah!

99 Flash Gamer

I do not think this is a move they would make, still waiting to hear if you heard of any proof that this is going to happen.

100 Dave King

I personally think it would be a very good move by Google to do it. They could easily dominate the market (yet again).

101 Tom M

I can not imagine they would do this with all the bitching Google has done about paid links. However, anything is possible when it comes to Google. If they see a money making opportunity, they jump on it.

102 Average Joe Helpers

This is something I hope they implement. The more ways they offer me to make money, the more I’ll be grabbing.

103 Bonus Ringtones

think they crushed paid review websites just so they could capitalize on this?

104 tech blog

They would get royally fcked in the EU for that, as its abuse of a dominant market position, which to be honest they already do abuse.

105 Too Much Vodka

Yep, they are already abusing their position. Specially in the online advertising market. I really want to know when the EU starts re-thinking Googles Dont-Be-Evil policy.

106 Nate Hill

If Google started doing paid reviews that would be great but i suppose they might be abusing their position in the market. It would however, probably be the fairest service because of analytics, adsense and all their metrics

107 Xbox

I wish I had the motivation to get adsense up and running, just cant find the focus.

108 valenluis

i think this would be very nice as an incentive for creating more and better content.

109 Jay @ work from home

Blogger is a good example of the success Google of adsense in a way, paid reviews is a great way to implement useful content on the Google network hands down.

110 hoodia slim


111 Berita Harian

@Justin: LOL, agree with you that Google is somehow out of their mind right now..

112 pramod

thanks….for giving useful info….it really helped me……

113 Revitol hair removal cream

Who knows, either way they will get what they want, they have the deepest pockets, nothing has happened yet but who really knows

114 Jane

Well, You have got to give it to Google.They are still the King when it comes to search engines.

115 Bowtrol

I love Google and I think they are the best

116 Nuno

Maybe yes Maybe no.. Interesting post… Congratulations

117 Laura Wartrol

Google is good but they can be very complicated sometimes.

118 Premium Links Directory

6 months in and already had to adjust my position within the company to focus on my strengths and ask for help

119 add your site

It’s interesting – every knows Google is opposed to dofollow paid links, but one of my colleagues did some research the other day and found that Google allows websites that openly sell such links to advertise on AdWords with them. Search on Google for “buy backlinks” and you’ll see what I mean. Thanks for the great post!

120 web design manchester

I keep checking the website for new tuts but this one has been very interesting and knowledge full .

121 where can you buy revitol hair removal cream

You raised various nice points there. I did a search on the topic and found a good number of people will have the same opinion as your blog.

122 plastic surgeons in cleveland ohio

Excellent bit of information. I’ll have to bookmark this site.

123 provillus

well not a bad idea at all !

Previous post:

Next post: