By: David Armano

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has recently made public a "Discussion Draft" of ethical guidelines around blogging.  The entire draft and supporting documents can be found here.

And here's what the 10 point checklist looks like:

  1. I will always be truthful and will never knowingly relay false information. I will never ask someone else to deceive bloggers for me.
  2. I will fully disclose who I am and who I work for (my identity and affiliations) from the very first encounter when communicating with bloggers or commenting on blogs.
  3. I will never take action contrary to the boundaries set by bloggers. I will respect all community guidelines regarding posting messages and comments.
  4. I will never ask bloggers to lie for me.
  5. I will use extreme care when communicating with minors or blogs intended to be read by minors.
  6. I will not manipulate advertising or affiliate programs to impact blogger income.
  7. I will not use automated systems for posting comments or distributing information.
  8. I understand that compensating bloggers may give the appearance of a conflict of interest, and I will therefore fully disclose any and all compensation or incentives.
  9. I understand that if I send bloggers products for review, they are not obligated to comment on them. Bloggers can return products at their own discretion.
  10. If bloggers write about products I send them, I will proactively ask them to disclose the products’ source.

Well, there you have it.  It's all about disclosure and transparency.  Marketers, PR firms, Agencies (and bloggers) everywhere—do yourself a favor and read up on these.  You'll be better off knowing they exist as opposed to claiming ignorance.

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