Will You Take the Blog Honor Pledge?

Filed as Uncategorized on October 25, 2006 9:13 pm



There’s been quite a bit of discussion lately about blogging for money – in particular with opportunities like PayPerPost and the like coming onto the scene.

The arguments from both sides has been strong on this issue. There are those who don’t see anything wrong with it and then there are those that see it’s corrupting influences.

I’m of the later. Why?


I’m of the view that the reader comes first. Do right by the reader by being authentic and transparent at all times and the rewards will eventually come your way.

Okay, that may be niave and some idealistic clap-trap but it’s the way I see credible bloggers and blogs lasting the course and in fact, being successful and genuine alternative media.

With this new trend of basically selling your post to the highest bidder, blogging, I believe, takes a backwards step. Without full disclosure, all blogs will eventually become tainted with the same brush.

A bit over-the-top you might say. Maybe. But in these times of information overload and media coming at us from all sides it won’t take much for someone – a reader – to say no thanks to something they’re not sure is genuine.

This will devalue blogs and blogging as a medium, and might even be one reason why blogging may never move beyond the “blogosphere” and into the general mainstream. Perceptions are easily made but are much harder to change. The perception of blogging as a genuine medium has never been good outside of the “echo chamber”. Lets face the facts. Ask those not into blogging what they understand of blogging and it’s usually “oh, those online diaries things.” Add to that the perception of paid posting running rampant and that should just about do it for blogging.

And I don’t take this silly argument that everyone does it – even in the mainstream media. So what! Why can’t blogging be different then?

Blogging for money is not a new issue – if you’re using AdSense like the majority are then you are blogging for money. Why do you see the little tag at the bottom of ALL AdSense advertisements – “Ads by Google”? That’s called disclosure. Readers can see a clear line between editorial and advertising. I see nothing wrong with that. I see nothing wrong with slapping on all sorts of ads in your sidebar or in between posts … just as long as it’s plainly clear that it is an advertisement.

But this “paid to write” blogging without disclosure takes it all to a new level.

And I’m not the only one with such views. Jim Kukral of Revenews and BlogKits has recently started The Blog Honor Pledge.

Go take a look and read it. Please!

Its principles are pretty straight-forward, I think…

  • Blog readers want authenticity and transparency at all times, especially when it comes to advertisements
  • My blog integrity comes from my ability to provide high-quality content without attempting to deceive my blog audience
  • Writing content specifically to receive money without disclosure severely damages my blog brand and the entire blogging community with it

So, are you willing to take the blog honor pledge?

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  1. By Vincent posted on October 25, 2006 at 9:53 pm
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    The blog honor pledge is not straight forward. The first pledge is kind of stupid: “1. I will endeavor to continue to bring you the highest quality content that I am capable of”. Does this mean you have to spend a week on each post to achieve the highest level of quality you are capable of? Or maybe fifty years. Or maybe you should spend a lifetime on your first post and submit it on your deathbed when there is no physical way you could make it better.

    If the pledge is about authenticity and transparency then they should remove the “how long is a piece of string” quality bit and keep the other two. After all quality is subjective and not really necessary. There are plenty of successful and authentic blogs out there that are low quality in terms of badly grammar and aweful spelling.

  2. By Vincent posted on October 25, 2006 at 9:57 pm
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    Oh and another thing. You have two mistakes in paragraph two: “has” instead of “have” and “it’s” instead of “it is”. I am going to have to take away your blog honor badge. Hand it over. I don’t want this to get ugly.

  3. By The Zero Boss posted on October 25, 2006 at 10:26 pm
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    Cool beans. Agreed 100%. I HATE this effort to buy buzz within the blog community.

    it’s quite an impassioned issue, though. A post I wrote on it several weeks back is still generating debate from PayPerPosters defending the model.

  4. By Gleb posted on October 26, 2006 at 3:28 am
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    I totally agree with you. There is nothing wrong with a clearly distinct advertisement, but I would not intentionally mislead my readers by advertising some product I wouldn’t personally like and approve.

    Blog honor pledge seems like a decent thing to do

  5. By Kamrul Hassan posted on October 26, 2006 at 3:40 am
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    I take pledge. No matter what I will write, how ugly stuff but readers have rights to know my intention.

  6. Blog News Watch » Blog Archive » Pledge for Blog HonorOctober 26, 2006 at 4:14 am
  7. By DrumsNWhistles posted on October 26, 2006 at 4:20 am
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    Many who write for PayPerPost disclose. You can find my full statement of principles on this question here.

    I’m one step ahead of you, as are most of the folks writing for PPP.

    DnW

  8. By Darren McLaughlin posted on October 26, 2006 at 6:20 am
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    Just say “NO” to linkbait initiatives :)

  9. By darrenh posted on October 26, 2006 at 6:47 am
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    This is actually something we can learn from dead tree media. Advertising looks like the way to generate revenue from a blog. But content and advertising must be distinct. And if you believe in quality and integrity, you won’t let the desire to cozy up with your advertisers drive your content. Being true to the reader is the basis of it all. You won’t build an audience by shilling for someone.

  10. By VC Dan posted on October 26, 2006 at 8:25 am
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    Martin, This is written to sound honorable, but looks amazingly open-ended. Are we playing word games here or does this have any teeth? As a PPP investor, I’m confused whether this pledge says a blogger/videographer/podcaster/photographer can participate in PPP with disclosure. I’m also not sure what kind of disclosure is mandated (cash, non-cash, exclusives, in-line, sidebar, about page). What is your interpretation?

    I’m working on a disclosure policy for my blog because this doesn’t feel like a one-size-fits-all problem. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

  11. Starked SF, Unforgiving News from the Bay » Blog Archive » Talk of the Town: ThursdayOctober 26, 2006 at 9:01 am
  12. By Jim Kukral posted on October 26, 2006 at 10:43 am
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    Vincent, I think you’re missing the point of the first part of the pledge, and that is that as a blogger I’m pledging my honor to you for your trust, so therefore telling your reader that you’re going to “always put out good content” is needed. I don’t see anything wrong with that. I mean, are you sometimes going to put out shit content? That’s ok?

    Drums… Most disclose eh? Those are blogs I’ll never, ever read. Do you keep going to your friends house if everytime you go over they keep putting on the sales pitch for tupperware or candles? I sure as heck don’t.

  13. By DrumsNWhistles posted on October 26, 2006 at 12:00 pm
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    I think the ratio for me of PPP postings to normal posts is something like 1 paid for every ten not.

    My sister in law came over a couple of months ago in her new Prius. We have one now, too. Oh, and I bought some Moo cards for my drummer son because I saw some really cool ones on Flickr because of their free giveaway awhile back. And I actually watch commercial TV.

    Before I bought my last laptop I read through lots of blogs to see which ones seemed to be ones bloggers liked best.

    It wouldn’t matter to me whether any of the recommendations I used were paid or not as long as I trusted the person who wrote them to be honest about the product, which I did in these cases.

    No one steered me wrong — I got exactly what I expected. I don’t view that as a bad thing.

    Part of what has me defending PPP is this misconception that the ones paid to post are spam-mongers. At three non-consecutive posts per day (I usually do one about every three days), this is not a spamblog factory, crusading to further pollute the blogosphere with meaningless tripe.

    DnW

  14. Where’s Jason Calacanis when you need him? at odd time signaturesOctober 26, 2006 at 6:05 pm
  15. By Jack Carlson posted on October 26, 2006 at 11:01 pm
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    As long as there’s full disclosure, the rest will take care of itself. If I know right off whether I’m reading a person’s own words or those they’re being paid/influenced to write, I can decide for myself whether or not I want to read it. Sorry, DrumsNWhistles, but motivation is a factor in my trusting a site.

    I think there’s enough bandwidth to allow both paid and uncompensated blogs. As long as we know which is which, we can surf intelligently. One thought I have about being paid to blog; your content had better be accurate, complete and informed. There’s too much free, quality content out there I can access. Your metrics won’t be worth a buck if you don’t deliver something different and interesting.

    If all you do is AdSense, I don’t even consider that payment. It’s passive and obvious.

  16. Isolationism » Blog Archive » Blog Honour Pledge ReduxNovember 2, 2006 at 12:09 am
  17. By Grokodile posted on November 2, 2006 at 4:26 pm
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    It’s too late. The quality of content on many portions of the net is already crappy, this will just incentivize more crappy quality content.

    Quality and “getting noticed” are going to be the name of the game. Have something good (which won’t be paid posts) and then find a way to get it in front of people so you can develop an audience.

    I don’t think anything will change… look at all the spammy blogs that are out there posting nothing original at all right now… what will a few million more crappy blogs matter?

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