Have you noticed some funny business happening around blogland over the past year or so?
We're not the only ones who've noticed unsavory practices: stealing ideas and photos, not providing links or credit, leaving anonymous, hateful or hurtful comments.
In July, four bloggers got together (Susan Getgood, Liz Gumbinner, Kristin Chase and Julie Marsh) to create the Blog With Integrity Pledge "to provide bloggers with a tangible and collective way to express our commitment to a simple code of blogging conduct."
You can view the pledge here. You can sign it here. It was brought to my attention as I was preparing the Build-A-Bear JONAS Dog Giveaway. The Blogging With Integrity Pledge lets my readers know that I was in some way compensated for offering them the giveaway (in this case, Build-A-Bear Workshop provided Loopy with her JONAS Dog), thus making it a form of advertising, as well as a fun and interactive blog game. You see?
I think now would be a good time to tell you that I often get solicited for giveaways and prizes here on the blog... I turn many of them down. For instance, I was approached recently by a jewelry company that wanted to give my readers a chance to win a $200.00 gift card and in return, they would give me a diamond ring. After investigating, I realized nothing on their website was remotely within the $200.00 price range, meaning that the winner of the gift card would have to find at least $1400.00 in order to use the card. That's a bit sketchy, don't you think? Yes, I'd have liked that ring, but in times like this I didn't think asking a "lucky reader" to feel pressured to spend money in order to claim their prize. I have to tell you, here and now, my giveaways are with companies that I feel confident in "endorsing" or sharing with you. You are my peeps, after all. Saucy takes care of her peeps.
Only a few of my giveaways are compensated endorsements. Sometimes, I just like giving things away for the fun of it. Remind me of this as I attempt to bake cupcakes in the ninety degree heat this week to deliver to the winners of my local reader cupcake draw this weekend.
And sometimes, I just like telling you about a cute place to go or to shop, because, that's what girlfriends tell each other, right?
Aside from keeping my readers aware of my endorsements and blogging practices, by displaying the pledge button, I am also stating publicly that I will do my best to cite sources, provide links and give credit for ideas. I will do my best. I may miss something by accident, but I promise to do my best. If you notice a mistake, please email me. That's one of the reasons I keep my address in the sidebar.
Let's take this one step further... I have seen (and been the recipient of) some pretty hurtful comments. The cloak of anonymity provided by the internet makes it easy for us to attack each other. We should respect each other's blog as we would each other's home, don't you agree? If you respectfully disagree with me, please say so. But please own it. Sign your name. Allow me to respond in a respectful manner. For more thoughts on blog comment practices, take a look at my post about it during Build a Better Blog Week in July.
Reader, what are your thoughts on this? Has another, big-time (or small time) blogger stolen an idea from your blog and claimed it as their own? Have you been the victim of an anonymous blog "flamer?" It's happened to me, and it hurts. We need to be kind to each other.
Go ahead, take the pledge. It only takes a moment. Integrity lasts a lifetime.