Jason Calacanis, CEO of Weblogs Inc (WIN), spoke about the issues of authenticity and transparency in commercial blogging.
WIN’s editorial policy has always been (and always will be as long as Jason is involved) to keep editorial content pure, absent of any posting that may be financially influenced, what Jason referred to as “pay-per-post.” His declaration is, the blog post is “sacred.”
I couldn’t agree more. The twin cornerstones of blogging are authenticity and transparency. If you’re going to take money from a company to talk about them in a post, two things are critical: For your part, it’s vital to disclose that you’re being paid to make mention of them. From the sponsoring company’s standpoint, it’s equally important they don’t put constraints on your editorial. You MUST have the liberty to say what you want.
The Marquis Paybloggers model is a good example. Marquis, a company that produces CMS software, were pioneers in the “pay-per-post” model. Though it stirred a fury in the blogosphere, Marquis did it right. They required disclosure among their bloggers, and did not rein in or put controls on what the bloggers wrote.
Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that this is still a topic…blogging has come a long way since the days of Dave Winer and the purist mentality. Apparently, it’s still a touchy subject.