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?