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Discussing blog ethics, Dave Taylor says bloggers need to talk about a best practice to cover whether we are required to disclose that we’ve been paid to blog about a product or service.
First off, Taylor says, there’s the question of whether bloggers should accept compensation of any sort for writing about specific topics. Then he sees an entirely separate question of whether bloggers should reveal that they’re being compensated. Third, he asks whether bloggers should detail the exact nature of their compensation? He sees them as three different topics.
Disclosure is our obligation
I believe bloggers have an obligation to our readers to be honest. I always disclose when I write about my clients, and I will always disclose that I’ve been given free access to a service I’m reviewing or sent a product to try, should anyone ever send me one :>) One couldn’t write about products and services without trying them. And if we had to pay for everything we try, only bloggers with big budgets could write reviews. (So Apple, if you need anyone to test your laptops, lemme know.)
But it never occured to me to say that I’ve been comped at an event that I am covering or that I was sent a book for review. I have written scathing reviews of expensive reports I’ve been given, and said when I thought events weren’t up to speed.
The best any blogger can do is be open and honest, and that’s been my policy since day one.