Over the past couple of months, the whole area of bloggers disclosing interests and potential conflicts of interest has become a serious issue. It’s something I’ve long been aware of since working at the BBC – where such conflicts of interest are not allowed to occur.
PayPerPost has some serious issues with users not being forced to disclose they are being paid to shill products on their blog – with some people inferring they may even be encouraged not to disclose their involvement with the PayPerPost program.
Micheal Arrington has also been ‘bashed’ (his words) a bit recently about these issues.
I don’t have advertising on my site – I think it’s a little lame to be honest on a personal blog – and I don’t participate in PayPerPost (or similar, either).
However I realized last night as I walked home from a Microsoft launch party (Virtual Earth 3D – quite cool) with a nice little ‘gift bag’ that maybe I need to disclose this kind of stuff too. As it happens I walked away with a 40Gig external hard-drive and somewhat bizarrely an XBox controller for Windows XP (not sure why I want the latter).
With that in mind I’ve now decided to publicly disclose everything I receive over $50 on my Disclosures’s page.
I’ve decided not to disclose include food/drinks because I don’t drink alcohol (hey, what’s the problem with the odd lemonade?) and I so rarely get taken to dinner! On the occasions I am taken to dinner, it might be a potential client or some other such event which out of professionalism I need to keep discrete.
But I’m interested to hear what people think about the following:
- Food/drink – do you agree with my position (perhaps I do need to disclose everything)?
- Schwag from conferences – should that be disclosed even though I paid to attend the event?
- Private engagements – such as entertaining by clients
- Prizes – such as the TV I won at Yahoo! Hack Day
I’m also interested to hear at what point people think it’s not appropriate to accept gifts.
Let me know what you think, and what else should be disclosed. Perhaps we can form a ‘template’ for disclosure together?