Why there is a need for a separate Code of Ethics for Problogs

Ever thought if the pro-bloggers are under supervision of the Adboard? Or if ever the pro-bloggers can solely rely on the Advertising Code of Ethics of the Philippines? Although Dr. Ang Peng Hwa may have said that laws offline are applicable to laws online, there are many provisions in the Advertising Code of Ethics that do not take internet and blog ads into consideration. For example, there are Filipino pro-bloggers abroad but the code that prohibits direct comparison of products do not really apply to them because there are no laws abroad that strictly prohibits comparison of product.
Moreover, pro-bloggers advertise as a separate entity or as a 3rd party. Their testimonials are based on what their personal experience or observation of the product. If ever the Adboard is to control these testimonials, we believe that it would already be a from of censorship and an abridgment of freedom of speech. However, pro-bloggers must also be responsible and accurate with their product reviews and with the kind of ads that they accept. Therefore, there is a need for a separate Code of Ethics for Pro-bloggers because the Advertising Code of Ethics only provides guidelines concerning how ads are to be executed. As for the proposed Code of Ethics for Pro-bloggers, it takes into consideration both how the pro-bloggers accepts the kind of products to advertise or review and how he is to advertise or review them. It takes into account both the process and execution that a pro-blogger takes when given an offer to advertise a product.

Blog Advertising Code of Ethics

Considering the growing popularity of professional blogging, there is an increasing need to have blog advertising ethics. Bloggers have similar duties as the media. Unlike the latter, however, there is no institution that regulates blogs. Hence, it is vital that bloggers self-regulate. Blogging is more than just writing, expressing oneself and earning money. The writers must know and be reminded that as they participate in media they have the responsibility to promote the good of their readers.
To probloggers out there, we are encouraging you to follow the code of ethics below. You owe it to yourself as professionals and to your readers who look up to you. After all, what sets you apart from casual bloggers is right there in your title – you are PROFESSIONAL.

Principled. I will be principled in my writing. I will practice discretion in determining the topics I will be discussing in my blog. I will also be principled in choosing advertisements I will allow in my website. I will not engage in unethical internet practices such as click fraud. I will make the good of my readers my highest priority and not compromise my principles for monetary gain.

Responsible. I will be responsible in updating my blog. I acknowledge that I owe it to my readers to have fresh content in my website. I will also be responsible in checking the truthfulness of the data before posting it. It is my duty as a professional blogger.

Original. I will be original; making sure that my content is my own. I will not even consider plagiarizing.

Fair. I will be fair when reporting on issues with 2 sides. I will make certain that both sides are properly presented and given the chance to explain or defend themselves.

Exposed. I will expose myself to new thoughts and ideas by reading, listening to people and music and watching the latest trends. I will not allow myself to stagnate as a person and as a professional blogger.

Sincere. I will be sincere. I will write what is true and mean what I say. Lying is not an option for me. I will be objective and unbiased when writing product reviews. I will share my actual experience with the product, nothing more and nothing less.

Straight. I will be straight in my blog and stand for what I believe in. When advertisers ask for a good product review in exchange for favors, I will stand by my morals and principles.

Inspired. I will not write simply for the sake of money. Writing is my passion so I will be inspired, putting my heart into my articles and reviews.

Open. I will be open-minded. I will not reject ideas that differ from mine. I will learn from them.

Novel. I am a problogger with my own identity. I will be novel, differentiating myself from other bloggers in terms of content, writing style and ethics.

Accountable. I will be accountable to my readers. Should I commit mistakes, I will admit them and correct them promptly.

Link Sources. I will give credit to the minds that help me with my work as a problogger. I will link sources to acknowledge their hard work.

Click Fraud

Click Fraud         

           Do you know that a blogger can earn by a click of a mouse? Pay per click (PPC) advertising is an easy way to make money because companies advertising at websites pay bloggers every time an advertisement is clicked, regardless of whether or not the person who clicked it is a valid web user. This posts as a big temptation for bloggers, advertisers and blog readers in general.


          Bloggers have everything to gain in PPC advertising. They may be lured into clicking the advertisements in their site because every click means extra income for them. It takes a principled and ethical blogger to resist this temptation.


          A bloggers' monetary gain is an advertisers' loss in PPC advertising. They lose money every time their ad is clicked. Technically, this should be fine because their "money loss" can be considered as an investment. The problem, however, is that some advertisers may be coaxed into clicking their competitors' ads just so the other company would lose money. 


          It may seem illogical but some blog readers click on ads with no intention of actually purchasing anything. Who knows if its for kicks but they do it for the mere reason that they want advertisers to lose money. Sounds pointless? Yes, definitely. Although it doesn't make much sense, some people do it anyway.

          Click fraud is an internet crime. Although it is punishable by law, the most effective way to fight it is by upholding proper ethical practices and maintaining high moral standards in blog advertising.

SELF-REGULATION IS KEY! (POV - Interactive Media Agency)

bloggingfAD was fortunate enough to interview JR Magboo, an account manager from K2 Interactive(a well-known interactive media agency) regarding the trend of blog advertising.

These are the key points we got from our chat with Mr. Magboo:

1. On pro-blogging…

Most bloggers love to write. If they decide to become professional bloggers, it’s a great thing because they earn money from doing what they love.

2. On advertising in professional blogs…

Basically, there are banner ads and product reviews. Product reviews are good because they give readers/customers a different perspective. Not all pro-bloggers have a degree in journalism, but they try to be true to themselves to. Ideally, they write what they want to. It’s also a plus that it has a personal touch. So, if they are really passionate about that product, the review will give a little something extra for the company. And vice-versa. If they’re not happy, they don’t sugarcoat it that much.

The advertiser also gets a different exposure because the internet is a relatively new medium compared to print, radio and TV. A good brand manager would look at the different contact points. The advertiser should also understand the risk involved. They can’t control everything. Unlike in a TV commercial, they can write the story and edit it before airing. With product reviews, there’s no telling what will be written in the blog. At least that is what should happen. This is where ethics comes in.

3. On ethical advertising…

Pro-bloggers should remain ethical and not feel obligated to write good reviews just because companies offer them free products. And although they have biases already (like their favorite brands), they should remain objective in writing reviews for competitor brands. They should also consider carefully which companies they allow to put up banner ads in their blog. Considerations should go beyond the monetary deal.

4. The process...

There are two ways:
(1) Companies who want to advertise in pro-blogs go to media agencies.

The agencies will choose which blogs to advertise in.
(2) Companies search on their own.

But most of the time, companies do course it through media agencies.
Therefore, the agencies also have certain considerations I selecting which
blogs to advertise in.

5. The criteria...

On the side of the blogger some considerations are:
(a) Relevance of the advertiser to the blog and to readers
(b) Aligned with principles

On the side of the advertiser / agency:
(a) Similarity of target market
(b) Objective of marketing plan
(c) Non-controversial blog (unless the brand is controversial as well)
(d) Relevance

Message to bloggers and advertisers:

Since there is no regulatory board for blog advertising (the Internet being a relatively new channel), pro-bloggers and advertisers alike should be the ones to regulate themselves. This applies to what they write and who they allow to advertise. Self-regulation is the key.

From all of us here in bloggingfAD, thanks Mr. Magboo! It has been a very enlightening interview and we're sure the readers will learn a lot from this!.


Speak Up!

Banner Ads
What are your thoughts about banner ads?
Have you purchased something from them?

How do you feel about pop-uos?
Do you think it is an effective form of advertising?
Product Reveiws
Do you read product reviews?
Do you believe in them?

The Rise of the Blogging Business

Initially, bloggers wrote blogs as a form of self-expression. The Blog Trend Survey conducted by Digital Marketing Services Incorporated for AOL showed that most people do not blog for fame or money. Over half of those surveyed agreed that blogging served as a form of self-therapy.

However, with consumers starting to consult blogs for insights about a product or a service, bloggers started to conceptualize how blogging can be monetized (BBC, 2007). As most blogs were the work of individuals, many believed that they were more honest and reliable than corporate or commercial websites because they were not subject to marketing pressures. Consumers are wary of marketing gloss and so their interest in blogs is not surprising.

Marketing, in constant search for ways to communicate with their consumers, saw the potential of blogs. Hence, “blog advertising / marketing” was born. Companies such as Nokia, Samsung and Microsoft started sampling their products to prominent bloggers in exchange for write-ups. Although there seems to be nothing particularly wrong with handing out products for review, there is a concern that bloggers will be placed in a situation wherein they have to come up with positive reviews for the company. If this happens, readers are denied their right to unbiased information.

Furthermore, product advertisements became present in blogs. Companies started placing their ads in famous blogs, giving a certain amount of money to the blogger. Hence, blogging is becoming a money-making enterprise and the blogger, an advertising medium.

Knowing these facts, would you would you continue trusting product reviews? Would you be tempted to click on blog advertisements? Share your thoughts!

Featuring Abe Olandres

For our next featured problogger, we present to you Abe Olandres. Abe, more commonly known as “Yuga” has been in the web hosting business for 4 years. He is a professional blogger, a blog consultant, a technopreneur and a resource speaker. His blog is all about Philippine technology news and reviews. If you are techy, well, his site is for you. Please visit www.yugatech.com.