Making Blogs More Transparent Angers Bloggers – Huh?




accountabilityAn article in today’s Boston Globe, reports that a new regulation will compel bloggers to disclose any affiliations or gifts they have received.

As Web 2.0 matures, it will be more regulated. This is an issue I have blogged and spoken about many times before.  But what makes this article even more interesting to me is the reaction of bloggers. In this case the regulation actually seeks to make blogs more transparent – exposing any and all connections between the author and another possibly conflicting interest. The article states “Beginning today, bloggers, Twitterers, and others who write online reviews or endorse products … must disclose it when they receive free merchandise or payment for writing about an item.” Ah – disclosure – full transparency.  This is a good thing – right?

Web 2.0 zealots have long pontificated that the 2.0 movement is grounded in transparency and openness. And yet, in this instance they are “unhappy” with a ruling that makes their sites even more transparent. Oh the irony.

As previously stated, I have many times before blogged about the need for responsible use of Web and Enterprise 2.0 technologies, including the strategic leveraging of security, control and yes full-disclosure.  As Web 2.0 matures, perhaps many of its zealots will have to mature as well and realize that in many cases their  writings are not random ramblings but real business content, which needs to be responsibly managed and  accurately positioned for what it really is.

The article is really worth a read. The commentary and arguments from bloggers are telling and at times almost amusing.

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  • http://www.compliancebuilding.com Doug Cornelius

    I agree that transparency is important and don't understand bloggers complaining about why they need to make a disclosure. I think a review of product may be very different when you take into account the price. By getting it for free, you lose that dynamic.

    My biggest complaint is that newspapers and old-school media are not subject to the disclosure rules. The Boston Globe, Boston.com and the blogs on Boston.com may have different disclosure obligations. That seems wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/Fibol Fibol

    Doug is right. Something feels wrong here. In addition I'm not sure to understand what really triggered this regulation.
    Fibol

  • Carl Frappaolo

    While perhaps newspapers etc. should be subject to the same regulation, the point made is a reader/consumer is more aware that commercial pubs have ties. The greater issue is so called “independent individuals” that are actually “works/opinions for hire”.
    What triggered the regulation were a host (minority perhaps but enough that it mattered) of individual bloggers that were reviewing products and making recommendation – but not disclosing that they were paid by organizations (i.e. manufacturers) to write the reviews. The article explains this in more detail.

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  • http://www.compliancebuilding.com Doug Cornelius

    I agree that transparency is important and don't understand bloggers complaining about why they need to make a disclosure. I think a review of product may be very different when you take into account the price. By getting it for free, you lose that dynamic.

    My biggest complaint is that newspapers and old-school media are not subject to the disclosure rules. The Boston Globe, Boston.com and the blogs on Boston.com may have different disclosure obligations. That seems wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/Fibol Fibol

    Doug is right. Something feels wrong here. In addition I'm not sure to understand what really triggered this regulation.
    Fibol

  • Carl Frappaolo

    While perhaps newspapers etc. should be subject to the same regulation, the point made is a reader/consumer is more aware that commercial pubs have ties. The greater issue is so called “independent individuals” that are actually “works/opinions for hire”.
    What triggered the regulation were a host (minority perhaps but enough that it mattered) of individual bloggers that were reviewing products and making recommendation – but not disclosing that they were paid by organizations (i.e. manufacturers) to write the reviews. The article explains this in more detail.

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