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Should bloggers disclose commercial relationships?

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August 15, 2005

Should bloggers disclose commercial relationships?

Stephen Baker

Lots of interesting discussion on Dave Taylor's blog about bloggers and advertising. One quibble I have is that Dave groups all of mainstream media in the same bucket, and says we're all influenced by advertising.

I think there are vast differences among the publications. Long ago I worked at a weekly in Ludlow, Vermont, The Black River Tribune. There were two of us on the editorial staff, and the business guy had an equity stake in the paper. The three of us lived in the same house. When we angered advertisers, which was often, we never heard about it from him. Not even when we faced an adveriser boycott. The only difference was that when he gave us our weekly pay, we noticed that he didn't pay himself.

12:00 PM


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it's all about TRUST. Whatever you write that someone is paying you to write (an adv) your audience show know it's an adv - period. That's the rule of thumb I use - would this make my audience NOT trust me if I wrote this and they found out about it....

Posted by: Ramon Ray at August 16, 2005 04:53 AM

If a person has a blog and I read it, I don't really care who they do business with. They could be a blacksmith, for all I care. I don't care what they look like or how popular they are. I read all kinds of blogs and know little or nothing about the people doing the blogging. I'm sure most of them are nice people, trying to be helpful. If not, it isn't my problem.

Posted by: Jim Dermitt at August 16, 2005 10:51 AM

Er...isn't there a journalistic policy that ads and editorial are to be clearly distinguished and separated, with full disclosure of conflicts of interest?

Why then would this policy not apply to blogs?

I don't understand the "I'm sure most of them are nice people" comment above. No offense, but that is a rather naive attitude.

Consumer Fraud, False Advertising, and Conflict of Interest come into play in all public communications media.

So, yes, bloggers should disclose commercial relationships.

And getting paid to blog about a product has a name: it's called "blog-stitution".

Posted by: steven streight at August 16, 2005 03:41 PM

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