Bloggers Behaving Badly.
Nov 01 2012
"Still figuring it out? Really?"
When I read the piece on bloggers "cashing in" on The Guardian Blog on Monday, I shrugged it off as merely "old media" finally catching on to the ways of "new media". But then, I read a very similar article in French daily Libération and I started to suspect I was caught up in some freaky space/time continuum snafu.
I started The Luxe Chronicles way, way back in 2007 and the topic of bloggers cashing in through sponsored posts, sponsored links, affiliate programs and advertising was already a subject du jour. How is it then that we're still talking about it as though these practices were just now emerging? The Federal Trade Commission has already introduced a set of rules (albeit wholly inadequate ones) governing US based bloggers and the subject of regulating European-based blogs has been floated now and again by various European Union bodies (don't hold your breath).
For the time being however, it remains very much every blogger for themselves with most bloggers making it up as they go along. A number of bloggers I know are forthright about their brand relationships but a good many others are decidedly not. And for the record, the "blogging is still new and we're still figuring it out" rationale is wearing awfully thin. That excuse was also around in 2007 and it is no more convincing today than it was back then.
There is a relatively simple solution for anyone genuinely interested in being transparent to their readers: Bloggers need to come clean consistently about their relationships with brands on a per post basis. It can be stated in the post itself or it can be stated in a footnote at the end of a blog post. The truth is, there is nothing really difficult about disclosing whatever gift, travel expense or payment you've received from a brand. It is infinitely more difficult to find convincing excuses to justify not coming clean about it to your readers.
The Luxe Chronicles