Boag on paying not to be mentioned on a blog

In a panel discussion on RadioLive today Michelle Boag explained how on a certain blog you could pay $300 per promotional post and you could also pay not to be posted about. She wouldn’t name the blog but Shaun Plunket made it clear it was Whale Oil (Cameron Slater).

Slater later denied paying for silence.

“I don’t receive any money from anybody to not be mentioned on the site,” Slater told Sean Plunket.

This is a transcript of the Boag segment:

Boag: Some particular bloggers I know who charge people not to mention them.

Plunket: Oh really?

Boag: Yep.

Plunket: Oh no hang on, let;s hold it right there. Tell us more Michelle.

Boag: No. Cause he’ll just have another go at me, but I know it’s happening.

Plunket: Ah this is Cameron Slater.

Boag: Not making any comment.

Plunket: Ah well, do you pay Cameron Slater not to say nasty things about you Michelle? Does he offer that…

Boag: I don’t. I don’t. In fact even if I did pay him he wouldn’t stop saying nasty things about me, but I know…

Plunket: Do you know people whom Cameron Slater has said if you pay me this money I will not say nasty things about you?

Boag: I know people who pay money through an intermediary to a particular blogger so that he won’t mention their name.

Mike Wiliams: That is sensational stuff Shaun and you’ve got yourself a scoop.

Boag: There’s no more senstational than that intermediary saying to people “oh, if you want to get promoted on this blog it’s three hundred bucks a pop.

Plunket: Are you prepared to name the intermediary to me or make that information…

Boag: Off air I will.

Plunket: Ok Michelle, I would like you to do that after this panel and we will chase that story down. That is tantamount to a kind of formalised blackmail.

Boag: Well it’s not a kind of, it’s just typical tacky behaviour that you’d expect from that particular source.

Plunket: It’s like a protection racket.

Boag: And let’s wait and see what he says about me today. And he should take regard of the fact that there’s a cyber bullying law now.

Plunket: Michelle I’m just going to ask you did you come on the programme with the intention to make this disclosure today?

Boag: Not at all. I’ve known about this for months.

Plunket: Gosh. I wish you’d told me months ago. It would have been good for the ratings.

After a break:

Plunket: Oh yeah, and the Friday morning panel have just thrown a bit of a spanner in the works of the whole day I imagine, or the news cycle. Michelle Boag telling us that there is a blogger that I presume is Cameron Slater who has an itermediary who will go to people and say “Give us some money and we won’t mention you on our blog”.

Boag: No that’s not how it works. What I said was that the intermediary says if you give me, oh, if you wanna be mentioned on the blog or promoted in any way there’s a price on that. And then if you don’t like it you have to pay for them not to do it.

So he mentions people, right, and the you say hey it no longer suits me, I don’t want that going on, right, you pay and he doesn’t do it any more.

That’s still not very clear. Does she mean that you have a contract to be promoted and if you decide to stop part pway through you have to pay the full contract anyway?

Plunket: Whoa, doesn’t do what? Doesn’t mention you by name…

Boag: That’s right.

Plunket: …or attack your opponents.

Boag: No no. Mention you by name.

Plunket: Ok but who would pay to be mentioned by name in a bad way in the first place?

Boag: No not in a bad way. Look you look at the way bloggers operate. They promote certain people, they get involved in certain discussions and they say so and so’s a lousy candidate, so and so’s a good candidate, so and so deserves to be elected…

Plunket: Yeah, well I knew that was going on.

It’s well known that Slater promotes candidates, MPs and lobby interests and he attacks others as a paid for service – and it’s impossible to know in his posts whether he is doing posts for hire or just expressing his opinion.

But I don’t know of any other bloggers who operate like this. As far as I know it’s the way just one blogger operates.

Boag: Well that’s for sale. Right.

Plunket: So you can get coverage that will help you for a price.

Boag: Yes.

Plunket: Ok. So that’s like paying for advertising.

Boag: Yes except it’s not disclosed.

Plunket: But the more important thing is you’re also saying that if nasty things are being written about you you can get them taken off for a price.

Boag: Um I know someone who has paid not to be mentioned.

Plunket: Oh. Ok and what sort of money are we talking Michelle?

Boag: I’ve got no idea. But I know how much you pay to be mentioned.

Plunket: Ok how much do you pay to be mentioned? Three hundred dollars?

Boag: Three hundred bucks a pop. So if there’s six blogs in a day you’ve paid eighteen hundred.

Plunket: I’ve had all sorts of rubbish written about me on the Whale Oil site, I’ve never paid a cent. Is that ’cause he likes me.

Boag: Because he’s saying horrible things probably.

Plunket: Sometimes they’re nice, sometimes they’re horrible,

Boag: Well I’m not saying that’s what all the content is about. What I’m saying is there is clearly examples…

Williams: It’s a lucrative sideline…

Boag: Well it’s probably the only part that’s ah you know being economically efficient.

Williams: Viable.

Audio: Are Kiwi bloggers taking payment to stay silent?

Follow-up audio: Cameron Slater denies Michelle Boag’s claim he takes payment for silence

The transcript of the follow-up interview with Slater will be posted as soon as I get it done.