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Bloggers, marketers and ethics

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday November 4, 2006 )

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association, motivated possibly by a rather embarassing incident recently, have released some new draft guidelines focusing on marketer’s contact with bloggers.

A couple of weeks back I wrote about a public relations company that hired a couple of freelance writers to blog about a client in a positive light, without those bloggers revealing that they were being paid to do so. This practice has been referred to as Flog Blogging.

The embarassing element of this arrangement was the PR company involved contributed to developing the Word of Mouth Marketing Association’s code of ethics, which includes a standard that is directly opposed to this sort of practice, as stated in their “Honesty of Identity” criteria.

WOMMA’s new draft Blogger Contact Guidelines, currently open for comment, provides marketers with a 10 point checklist to refer to in order to ensure their communications and approaches to bloggers are appropriate and ethical.

WOMMA states that the guidelines reflect in no way on blogger behavior, nor are they attempting to assert authority over the blogosphere, but simply to educate marketers on appropriate behavior. As if they could assert authority on the blogosphere anyway, but it’s probably wise they made that disclaimer ;).

The draft guidelines can be summed up in a single point, i.e. keeping disclosure and transparency as the top priority.

You can have your say on the Blogger Contact Guidelines here – they are welcoming public comments from all points on the compass, be you blogger, marketer or concerned consumer.


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