As a result of the recent FTC rules regarding bloggers, there’s been quite the debate going on in the blogosphere about rules, regulations and disclosure. Should Mommy bloggers have a code of ethics? After all, the integrity of Mommy bloggers is what Moms have come to trust and rely on and it is that trust brand managers and CMOs are leveraging for their brands. And whose responsibility is it– the blogger or the brand?
For those who don’t want to read the entire FTC document, this is a link to a terrific blog article outlining the 10 Simple Things to Know About the FTC’s New Guidelines for Blogs & Brands by August Ray of Forrester. http://www.experiencetheblog.com/2009/10/10-simple-things-to-know-about-ftcs-new.html
So what are bloggers doing? They’re banding together and creating badges of honor, writing their own Code of Ethics and otherwise, straight out saying they don’t need any badges to uphold integrity.
Blog with Integrity (www.blogwithintegrity.com) started a movement back in July to address this. I particularly like the last line of the pledge. Here’s their pledge:
BLOG with INTEGRITY pledge
By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge or signing the pledge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.
I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.
I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices. My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising, should I choose to have it. If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.
When collaborating with marketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by basic journalistic standards.
I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.
I own my words. Even if I occasionally have to eat them.
Payment for blogging?
And how do Mommy bloggers feel about payment for blogging? Shouldn’t they be paid for service? In many cases, they are contributing to the greater good. And although most surveys, say she will tend to only say good things, I’ve seen many a disgruntled Mom post honestly laying out the truth about a product. I think the bigger question is limits on what Mommys are paid for blogging and where it becomes blatant corporate sponsorship and the Mom blogger becomes a shill or hired spokesperson. And as long as it is disclosed in the blog post, she keeps her integrity and the world gets the benefit of her wisdom and point of view.
So what do you think? To badge or not to badge?