The Internet has provided a means for anyone to voice their opinions, share their expertise, and express their views. Many of these people have chosen to do this by blogging. But like any medium, there are ethical practices that separate the success stories from the bottom feeders.
If you’re a blogger who’s trying to make a name (and perhaps a buck or two) for himself or herself, it’s vital that you avoid these unethical blogging practices:
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Stealing content without attribution.
Despite being told since childhood that it’s wrong to copy someone else’s work, a surprisingly large number of bloggers still do this.
Not only can copying and pasting outside content sap your blog of any credibility, but it can sometimes have legal consequences as well. If you’re going to refer to another source, block off the text or use quotation marks – and be sure to give appropriate credit.
Bashing or defaming public figures.
There’s a word for this practice: libel. And it’s actionable is court and can cost you money in legal judgments.
If you have opinions about the behavior or activities of someone else, fine. Write about them – but use objective facts and clearly-labeled opinion statements, and avoid ad hominem attacks.
Being an authority on things you don’t know about.
The most extreme version of this practice is known as lying. But more often, bloggers will take a little bit of knowledge and pass themselves off as topical experts about complex matters.
It’s fine to give advice or discuss a multifaceted subject; just don’t write as if you are a field specialist if you aren’t one.
Asking for advertisement clicks to boost revenues.
“Dear blogger: I like your blog, and I clicked on a few ads. Please do the same for me.” Openly soliciting ad clicks is a great way to get you banned from services like Google AdSense – which is essentially cutting off a lucrative source of blogging revenue.
While statements like, “Please visit our advertisers!” are okay, begging for clicks is taboo and gauche.
False clicks or using bot clicks to boost ad revenues.
Same principle, different method.
You’re engaging in a practice to inaccurately skew statistics in order to line your pockets; it’s not all that different from inflating charitable donation totals on tax forms. Plus, nowadays advertisers are getting wise to this technique and refusing to do business with perpetrators.
Writing biased or exaggerated product reviews.
A common way to earn a little extra money is to review a product on your blog. There’s nothing wrong with this, even if you choose to adopt a positive tone.
But making outlandish claims about what the product can do or ignoring substantial drawbacks or issues is unacceptable. Too much of this practice will sap your blog’s credibility – and eventually, these product review opportunities will dry up.
Allowing guest posting too soon.
You need to establish a voice and identity for your blog before exploring the benefits of guest posts on it. Displaying numerous guest posts before you have gone through this process will dilute your message.
In a nutshell, embracing concepts like honesty, integrity, and the “Golden Rule” will go a long way toward maintaining an ethical blog, which is vital if you want to establish a following that’s larger than your regular circle of acquaintances.
Author Bio:- Chris Martin is a freelance writer about topics ranging from auto insurance to consumer finance to reputation protection. She writes for Reviewreputation.com