Ethical Committees

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

This is not a good day for my blood pressure.

Catching up on other weblogs, I found a pointer to this at Head Lemur’s weblog:

Nick Denton put up a pleasantly surprising post today, complimenting me for being a “volunteer watchdog” for blog ethics. He proposes Jeff Jarvis and I start a blog ethics committee in order to create some standards in blog advertising. It’s a great idea, a lot of work, and very important to the blogosphere.

So the man that brought us weblogging porn has appointed another person who runs a site called “Blogging Ethics” (and is rather tempermental and contentious to boot) to hook up with Jeff Jarvis, who is famous for protecting Howard Stern, and they’ll all come up with a bunch of ethics we need to live by.

Alan, Head Lemur, responded with:

The implication I see is that bloggers are out of control, have no ethics and need to have a keeper. Because there is no seal of approval or codified vetting process we are by default liars, thieves and if we take money whores.

The issue of the so-called Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing is appearing in an increasing number of conversations lately. Ben Hammersley was the first weblogger I knew of who was paid to write about a product through his sponsorship by Cuban Crafter Cigars, but he’s always been open about this. None other than Chris Locke, aka “Rageboy” just joined the ranks as Chief Blogging Officer for Highbeam Research. Marc Canter also brought this up recently, but I can’t find the link at the moment.

Much of the conversation about WOM comes down to trust–how much do you trust the person you’re reading? I have written recently about my PowerBook and my new Canon Printer, and how much I like both. If I did so and received money from Apple or Canon to write complimentary material, and then didn’t disclose this, this would be a pretty tacky thing to do. Or would it, if my opinion was genuine and everything I said was the truth?

Or does it all come down to how much you trust me? If so, then what does money have to do with it?

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