Disclosure Ethics and Pay Per Post

I have been offline for a few days, so time to play catchup.

Techcrunch and Pay Per Post seem to have a love/hate relationship. Who will Techcrunch write about now that Pay Per Post with their requirement of disclosure can no longer be pinpointed.

Some of the comments on the latest Techcrunch post are quite revealing…

Here are some quotes from Michael Arrington

baby steps, Ted. Just writing something positive about your company nearly killed me.

and a bit later on…

The Foo – you are right. Controversy sells.

PayPerPost have actually been encouraging disclosure for some time, with their launch of DisclosurePolicy.org and even in recent blog post giving tips on disclosure.

Jim Kukral is claiming the change in policy was in some way down to him and wants some credit.
But Jim is just one of 100s of bloggers who have given their views, and certainly doesn’t mention in any of his posts relating to PayPerPost that he is the founder of a competing monetization model to PayPerPost.
Also just because it is now official policy doesn’t mean it wasn’t highly recommended for some time.
It should be noted that the minimum cost for using PPP as an advertiser has been increased to cover the costs for both PPP and a “postie”. If you se a rule in stone, you also have to police that rule. But having it voluntary (but a good idea) in the past, it didn’t need to be policed.

Now if Jim was using WordPress instead of MT, he would be able to use my disclosure policy plugin.

There has been quite a bit of affiliate discussion going on. Teli posted about this the other day, and I just read what Terry posted

Lynn Terry is a marketer I highly respect, and has been exploring paid posting for quite some time. Lynn has always used disclosure within the content. She might find using my plugin will save some time, and make it easy to change the wording on disclosures at a later date if necessary.

Paul has been looking at disclosure in regards to podcasting. I detect a little bit of sarcasm there. If he adopted my disclosure policy plugin on his multiple blogs, he might find it much easier to manage.

Of course the legal aspects of disclosure are very important, and Colette Vogele has expressed her views on disclosure. Hmm, how much can I quote of what a lawyer says? Ah, a clear creative commons license. So maybe I will quote a little more than 1 sentence.

First of all Colette stated

A badge on your blog site reflecting the sponsorship or affiliation or a statement in the disclosures at the end of your podcast would make sense to me.

But then Colette went a little beyond that

I think you’d need to go beyond a statement in the website terms of service, if not for the legality then for the sake of maintaining the trust of your readers. I think this way because, other than me (and perhaps lawyers like me), who reads terms of service documents? They are *very* important in my opinion, but the average reader will not click the link and go on to read it. So, if you’re goal is to not hide the ball from your reader/listener, then burying the affiliations in your terms of service doesn’t sound like the best practice to me.

This is why my disclosure policy plugin allows you to add disclosures in all kinds of ways within the content of your blog, and in RSS feeds.

It is funny, but with all the mentions of PPP I have made over the last few weeks, if I was actually a “postie” I could probably have earned $40 by now. But I am not, in fact I have no commercial relationship with PPP whatsoever.

I do respect them. VC Dan / DP Dan who is one of their investment partners is highly active in the blogging community. Some might look on that as damage control, spin control or protecting his investment. There might be a little bit of that, but it is highly interesting reading his replies in the comments, as not only does he show a positive outlook for the PPP business as a whole, he also proves he has done a huge amount of research about the industry before he made an investment, and I believe honestly listens to feedback.

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