The glamorous side of blogging is that you get chances like this, delivered right to your e-mail queue:
". . .I am working with a couple of small-cap biotech companies who have good fundamental technologies, but are not on the radar screen of a lot of investors. We are looking for some influential bloggers to put some spotlight on these companies, so more people can be exposed to the value proposition and opportunities available. In the past we have worked with some bloggers who have written both paid as well as unpaid articles on these companies. I would like to explore your interest and to discuss this further. . .
I explained to this person just what my level of interest was, in terms that I don't think were misinterpretable, and pointed out that if their operation was not, in fact, a pump-and-dump penny stock scheme, then they should take more care not to make it sound exactly like one. But I thought I would at least get some use of of this sleazy offer by getting a few things on the record.
I write paid columns for Contract Pharma and Chemistry World, and I occasionally do paid pieces for other (respectable!) outlets. But in none of those do I tout stocks, companies, or products. As for the material on this blog, it's produced for free, which (by no coincidence) is what I charge for reading it. The only money that changes hands around here is if someone buys something through an Amazon link, and I try to keep those down to things that people could actually find useful and relevant - no links to plasma TV sales, for example, although if you want to buy one through Amazon, please do feel free.
And of course, I stay away from anything that might involve (or be thought to involve) material information concerning my place of work. But there are no commercial considerations involved in my choice of topics or my expressed opinions on them. If I have a stock position in a company - a rare event, these days, since my kids and my mortgage have seen to it that I don't have a vast fund of free-floating investment capital - then I say so. (A careful look though the archives would show that depending on me for investment advice is not necessarily a winning plan, although it would at least be full of excitement).
So there you have it. No pay-for-play around here. But if you across someone going on about what a great thing this tiny biotech you've never heard of is, well, exercise the usual amount of caution.