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FULL DISCLOSURE – Blogging Policy

April 20th, 2009 No Comments

Before I write this post, I want you to listen to what I tell every single brand, pr rep, advertiser, media buyer, I have EVER worked with:

“The trust of my audience is of the utmost importance to me so I will only align myself with brands I truly love and believe in.  If I lose the trust of my readers, I feel I will have failed not only as a blogger, but also as a person involved in a friendship.  And if I am not trustworthy, I would no longer be valuable to you.”

When I first started blogging, I wanted to earn your trust so you would think of me as a friend.  But what really happened is you all became my friends.  I tell you what’s going on with me, and you send feedback in emails, notes, comments. I listen to your advice and use it to improve my site and myself.  As most friendships go both ways, you do the same by reading my site, choosing to pick up tips here and there, and writing in when you have specific questions.  MY BLOG IS NOT A ONE WAY STREET.  I truly value your friendship – I wake up every morning to a handful of sweet notes that make me smile.  Having a jolt of positive reinforcement knowing that I’ve helped you in the smallest way, even if that’s simply putting a smile on your face, gets me up when I’m exhausted and motivates me to work harder.  There is not enough money in the world that would ever get me to violate your trust and loyalty.

So the fact that your trust in me has come into question makes my stomach turn.  In fact, I really need to be doing 8 other things right now, but I can’t focus knowing that this issue is still on the table.

(Note: this blog is not much of a business at this point.  It’s just me over here typing with a little help from Kodak and my interns.)

In the following list, I’m going to outline my basic policy as how I conduct this blog as a business.  If you have further questions, please feel free to comment below and I will make myself perfectly clear.  I’m pretty sure I’ve left something out….

  1. I blog because I love it.  
  2. I do believe in blogging as a business.  I spend countless hours researching, writing, and filming to produce quality content for this blog just as you would for your job.  You are then responsible to report your findings, whatever they may be.  My work is no different. And my time no less valuable.
  3. Honesty is always my policy.  Whether I am paid or given something for free,  receive a product/meal/service from a friend as gift, am offered a discount, or pay full price for anything, I ALWAYS RELATE MY REAL EXPERIENCE TO YOU.
  4. I receive products and services for free all the time.  I wouldn’t be able to do try as many things as I do and report if I didn’t.  Like a magazine editor.  No money exchanges hands.  On these posts, I will mention or thank the PR company/brand/restaurant. If this is not noted, then the product was paid forby myself or a friend.
  5. I am currently seeking new sponsors for this blog to help keep it (and myself) going.  I only approach or consider brands I truly love and use.  When a sponsor is on board, you will know because I will tell you or a banner ad will appear. 
  6. I am always welcoming in new free products, books, and services from brands looking to get more exposure.  I can’t promise a glowing review, but what I can offer is my honest opinion.  For example:  Back when I was writing StyleByMaryRambin, I wrote about Betty Beauty, a product I found interesting for several reasons, but clearly stated I would never use.  Of course I linked to the brand’s homepage so you could investigate further for yourself.  The owner of that company later mentioned my blog in Forbes as selling more product than AOL, Yahoo, and I think Lucky online.  So you see, I really don’t need to be dishonest.  You all are adults and discern for yourself if you truly think something is valuable to you.

Kodak is not a sponsor.  I am a brand ambassador for them and am honored to become a part of their team.  They are paying for banner placement and the time it takes me to use and review their new products for my blog. The only reason I feel justified in doing so is because I use Kodak, I love Kodak, I believe in their brand, and I am proud to be a part of their new initiative to actually relate with their consumers.  They fully support my opinions and would never encourage me not to post my true feelings about a product – good or bad.  All of my opinions about their products are based on my real experience.  My past work for them has not included blogging, I did it because I enjoyed the work I was doing for them and wanted to let you in on what I was up to.  I know you hate the word lifecast, but it’s really what I love the most about blogging – sharing my day-to-day with you, not just the reviews and meaty content posts.  I created the tag line “My life in pictures”  because that’s how I feel Kodak 
“presents” my blog to you.  It’s very literal.  And if you enjoy seeing my life on this blog, you should be thrilled to have Kodak support my efforts.) 

The bottom line here is I have nothing to hide, nor would I ever want to be dishonest with you.  You’re my friends and I value our relationship.  That might sound cheesy, but it’s my genuine feeling about this whole experience.