Okay, take that gift. But let the world know you did.

• January 15, 2007 • Comments (1)

What is a bribe, what is a gift and what is doing a friend a favour? What is acceptable to accept from people who might want to influence your blogging?

A post by Media Culpa’s Hans Kullin makes it perfectly clear that bloggers are not journalists: Swedish bloggers can be bought for a lottery ticket

The story is that a site selling underwear has asked a number of Swedish bloggers to link to it, in return for a Triss lottery ticket (worth around 3 dollars). Lo and behold, many of them did. Hans Kullin ponders:

I can see that bloggers might be tempted to earn a quick buck by simply posting a link on their blog and as long as they are candid about the circumstances, there’s no real problem, right? A little surprising is when people who are in an official position, like being a member of the local council, allow their blog to become a marketing channel for underwear. But that’s their choice. What is more difficult to digest is when the payback part of the deal is not disclosed or when bloggers simply lie about the whole arrangement.

No, bloggers are not journalists. They would never be bought… that cheap. ;-)

In the States, though, it’s not about lottery tickets. No, the blogger ethics issue is on a whole new level. I guess it’s been hard to miss the debate around Microsoft/Edelman sending out brand new state of the art Acer “Ferrari” laptops, with Microsoft Vista installed, to bloggers, “no strings attached”. The US blogosphere is divided on this issue. While some think it’s great that bloggers finally get some recognition for their hard work, others say the can no longer trust the bloggers who received these laptops. In the end, it looks like the whole thing turned for Microsoft. Lots of bad pr.

The key issue for bloggers is disclosure. The lesson learnt is this: if you receive something for free because you are a blogger, write about it straight away in your blog.
And, I’d like to add, consider the possibility of returning the gift if you have a gut feeling it’s not right and that it might cloud your judgement or that the suspicion might arise that your judgement has been clouded.
Just a piece of friendly advice.

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  1. doddo says:

    I was one of the bloggers who were lucky enough to get a triss lott by posting a link to evasunderklader.se. (It was a prize lottery ticket too). The neat thing about the whole thing was
    1) The dorkyness of the blog post for lottery ticket
    2) As far as I know; This is the first time in Sweden something similar has happened

    And about the content:
    What you write in the link which point towards the “briber” is less relevant then the link itself, at least as far as search engines are concerned, the way I see it, its sort off like link farming, and because of the great contents of the web page and the corny offer with the triss lott, I simply had to make a post.
    About that; most bloggers like having a blog but are unable to figure out what to post in it (thats a fact ;D ), so instead of writing about their boring lives, they can write about this site with amazing lingerie (thats a fact too, I mean some of the stuff on that page is actually eatable), and they get a freebie too, its a great deal, I know thats what I thought at least…

    yeah OK =)

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