On The Importance of Disclosure

Newsome.Org Kent Newsome blogs about the fairly well written reminder today from the Wall Street Journal about our responsibilities as bloggers and sums it up well:

“While as far as I can tell most of the folks in the FON situation did disclose their relationship with the company, some are being criticized for not going far enough to explain the relationship. I suspect that any failure to clearly explain the relationship was not the result of a desire to conceal, but merely an oversight. That’s why it’s good to talk about this issue so we’ll all remember to make clear disclosures in the future.

Because if we don’t we will and should be criticized.

Speaking positively on your blog about a company you have a financial interest in without disclosing it is no different than hiring people to post positive stuff on a message board. It’s probably worse, since many bloggers are considered to be authorities on the stuff they write about.

Not to mention that bloggers are often the first to call someone out for not doing the right thing. If we want to be a check, then we have to be balanced.”

Tell the truth. Disclose where conflicts might exist — even if in your mind they don’t. Aplogize for your mistakes quickly. Always remember these three things when blogging and you’ll do well.

Also, speaking of hiring people to post positive stuff on a message board, the Hobson and Holtz Report has a podcast out today where they talk about this matter in light of the recent story out on NVidia paying people to post positively about their products in message boards (that NVidia has denied, by the way). I haven’t listened to it yet but plan to on the way home from work tonight.

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