Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blog With Integrity

A few weeks ago I did a story on Mommy Bloggers and how entrepreneurs can market through them. The piece mentioned the uncomfortable problem of sometimes-squishy ethics among bloggers.

For instance, if you are providing product samples or freebies to bloggers, do they have an obligation to their readers to disclose that? If they're reviewing your products, will they be influenced by your gifts?

A group of bloggers has come up with a way to provide bloggers with a "tangible and collective way to express our commitment to a simple code of blogging conduct," blogger Susan Getgood wrote me recently.

The four women bloggers involved call their project, launched this month, Blog With Integrity. They aim to "frame the discussion in a positive fashion, focusing on simple things like respect, responsibility and disclosure. No commercial sponsors, no companies, no agencies. Just the community," Getgood said via email.

Their idea is for bloggers to take their integrity pledge and display their badge on site. You can read more background about the pledge on the group's website.

Here's the 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.

I've taken the pledge. Will you!?