And now... Odious 2.0... Disclosure 3.0

The latest twist in the web 2.0 world is the PayPerPost story, nicely analyzed by TechCrunch (who also has a previous posting listing other companies doing more or less the same thing). PayPerPost pays bloggers to say nice things about products, as long as they only say nice things... and they do not require disclosure of the payments.

One of the characteristics of web 2.0, as I have mentioned, is that user generated content plays a prominent role. In many cases the value lies in conversation between end users with no big corporation managing, editing or censoring. The PayPerPost approach is harnessing this in ways that seem to me to be unethical and immoral, not because of the payment, but because of the lack of disclosure. My belief is that many (most? all?) conflict of interest situations can be neatly defused by full disclosure. Who cares who spends time with Dick Cheney, as long as we all know? Similarly, who cares if I am paid to write nice things about Dick Cheney, as long as you know I am being paid. Advertising is usually required to be properly labelled as such, and I see no reason why those regulations should not apply in this case as well. There seems to be a groundswell of concern, so my guess is that this will be a dynamic situation for a while.

Meanwhile, if web 2.0 leads to odious 2.0, then here is my disclosure 3.0:

This blog does not accept any form of advertising, sponsorship, or paid insertions. I write for my own purposes. However, I may be influenced by my background, occupation, religion, political affiliation or experience. The links in this blog have my affiliates code embedded in them which results in small amounts of commission payment (which I donate to charity).

Look for this on every page of my blog from now on.

I promise not to turn my blog into a jokes page... but did you hear the one about the guy who asked a shrub what we should do about Iraq? The response was "why are you asking a bush?"


No comments: