A recent APCO Worldwide and Council of Public Relations Firms study demonstrated that 48 percent of bloggers think it is OK to get paid to blog and not disclose it (found in an old copy of PR Week). It just blew me away that so many bloggers could fail to see the implications, especially at this late date in the blogosphere (image by Joe Schlabotnik).
If you are getting paid to blog and you don’t disclose it, then you have no credit. If you get busted, all credibility is gone. You are a pay per poster, and your readers won’t care. Smart bloggers get this.
There’s not much difference between a pay per poster and a sock puppet. Someone with a fake handle schilling for a client. Ethics cut both ways.
Bloggers are not journalists, and this particular failure to understand such implications is another example why. Amateurs don’t understand what makes pros better, including integrity.
Of course, paid bloggers shouldn’t necessarily be punished for it either, they aren’t trying to be journalists. They are bloggers, just less credible ones! But if they want to be credible then full disclosure is necessary.
Ironically, 96 percent of PR people adamantly insisted that full disclosure be given in such situations. How do you like them apples, PR industry haters?