Posted on 25 Comments

Sponsored Posts & Reviews Using Free WordPress Blogs – Not Allowed

I was asked  a question today so I thought I should look up the answer quickly.  It was a simple one and as I’ve never used the free blogging platforms, it’s not one that I had paid any attention to in the past.   All she wanted to know was if it was within Terms and Conditions that she could accept sponsored posts on a blog.

I know there are plenty of people out there who have taken the risk of using freebie blog hosts to take compensation in goods, services or cash for the written word on the blog, but I didn’t know the actual rules for or against.

Checking against TOS, it seems that it is forbidden to actually take any form of paid posts in sidebars, posts or anywhere else.   Looking deeper in, it seems that people who do flout the rules have the potential to have their blog pulled out from under them at no notice.

I am quite surprised at the complete ban on using blogs in this way, but I’d guess it would be so that they are not responsible as a company for being associated with anything advertised on blogs within their network.   It looks like Google Blogger allows sponsored posts and reviews as long as they don’t breach the content policy, but everyone should check that out for themselves.

The WordPress Terms and Conditions on Advertising clearly say that sponsored posts on WordPress . com, (or paid posts) are NOT allowed.  Moderators on their forums have cleared up that payment via goods or services, eg by doing reviews are also part of the prohibition although that doesn’t seem clear in the Advertising Terms and Conditions.

So, pretty much, a lot of parent blogs accepting freebies on the free blog software are doing so against the Terms and Conditions of the hosting companies.

I think I’m glad I took my blog down the self-hosted route when I changed the name to Scottish Mum.  At least I don’t have to worry about my blog disappearing if I upset someone and they report my blog.

In answer to the question I was asked, we’ve shelved the free WordPress option and I’m in the middle of setting my friend up as self-hosted blog.

Being on a free platform might be nice, but the risk is too great for her and we found a great little host that supports the self hosted version of WordPress and will allow sponsored content from the start.  She gets webspace, and WordPress support with her own domain name for about £16 a year.  It’s not an advert for them so I’m not going to post their name here, but if anyone wants to know it – send me a message as it’s been very reliable for my husbands work website.

To be clear, these types of posts are NOT allowed on the FREE WordPress blogging software option.

  1. Ad – Sense Ads Unless Placed by WordPress themselves.
  2. Sponsored or paid posts.
  3. Affiliate or referral links.
  4. Clickthroughs or MLM networking.
  5. Sponsored Content. (I presume this means reviews where a product is the payment)

If you are in any doubt, contact WordPress support to see where you stand.

Post amended after comments on Twitter about Google Blogger allowing sponsored content.

25 thoughts on “Sponsored Posts & Reviews Using Free WordPress Blogs – Not Allowed

  1. I had no idea about this. I suppose it is to help stop spammers setting up hundreds of free blogs and putting adsense on them.

  2. Hi, would you please by able to let me know the WordPress self hosting company you would recommend? Either by email or via Twitter. Much appreciated!!!

    1. Please email me, too. I would love to know who you recommend for web hosting.

    2. Please email me, too. I would love to know who you recommend for web hosting.

  3. This is a really interesting post – as an internet marketer, I’m always happy to see influencers like yourself helping to educate those not so aware.

    I can understand why people choose to use the free WordPress platform but if someone is going to be serious about blogging to the point where they’re going to be offering advertising or sponsored posts, it is so much more beneficial to have a self-hosted site.

    Not only does it ensure they won’t be breaking the rules, but there’s also so much more flexibility to adapt the site as they wish. Setting one up may be a bit daunting for the non-technical minded but I’d advise those people to ask their friends and colleagues as usually you’ll find someone who knows how to set up hosting etc and there’s plenty of cheap hosting out there!!

  4. Hi I am using the free word press service. I have paid for self hosting with an a provider but I am yet to move as I am scared of breaking some thing. Could you please let me know the name of the self host company in the post as I would like to check out their services if they offer support.


  5. I double checked this as per my twitter message to you. I use Blogger and I have read the contents policy twice and there is definitely no mention of not being able to post sponsored, paid or review posts. I have always been aware that WordPress has more “rules” and that’s why I didn’t go with WordPress when I set up my blogs. I don’t actually do sponsored or paid posts, but I do post the odd review where I receive a product (albiet small scale products). I wouldn’t want to pay for a blog on the basis on the reviews I do, so if blogger were to change their rules I would just simply stop reviews where I receive a products, or I would simply send the product back to the company.

    1. I’m really surprised by this, and now very glad I’m on blogger not wordpress. Eek

      1. I think there will be a fair few people grateful they are on blogger, or would think about moving if they realised their blogs were at risk of just disappearing in a puff of no smoke.

    2. I am glad I started this blog off on self-hosted. The thought of moving it would have been a nightmare a little further down the line with it. I do sponsored posts, but not that often as I think it’s harder to justify than the products we only accept because it’s things we’d choose to buy anyway. I never accept anything that I wouldn’t consider buying myself as I think that would be really hard to talk about.

  6. I LOVE wordpress, but one of the reasons I moved to self hosted was because of this. I still use their set up, but am self hosted, and pay for that. I do know a lot of people who use the free WP and promote stuff, do reviews and have adverts in the sidebars, I will send this to them!

    1. I do love being WordPress self-hosted and being able to put what I want on my blog. I just never considered that put so many restrictions on their users.

  7. It is a really good reason to consider going straight for a paid blog too. Good post – I was over a year in before I knew this!

    1. I don’t think enough people realise this. I had no idea and after years of blogging, I’d have thought I would have seen this somewhere. I guess if people lose their blogs, they probably just lose heart.

  8. Thanks so much for this, I have had several people ask me about this I will now go and point them in this direction so they are clear on what they can do and cant do. Thanks

    1. That’s fine Jamie. I was surprised at this, so I guess there will be plenty more who will also be a little shocked. I don’t fancy the thought of losing so many hours worth of work with no notice.

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