Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics

So near yet so far…

I was really getting on well with this Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics – Take 1 from Ogilvy’s 360 Digital Influence Blog. It seems to have some decent principles that make sense whether I’m wearing a blogger hat or a marketing hat (which is nice). They’re asking for comments and are going to refine the thing (and, by the sounds of it, share the refined version at the end) which is great. But then I got to this bit at the bottom:

While you don’t need to use your name in commenting, please identify yourself as a blogger and/or as an agency representative. Also, feel free to repost the current draft of the Code of Ethics on your own blog and solicit feedback from your readers (just give us a link back so we can follow the conversation too!). If you have any questions, or want to share an opinion privately, please feel free to contact me at and Alison Byrne Fields at

For some reason it just made me feel a bit icky. I’m not really sure why. I just got a massive whiff of PR-ism. It’s like they’re trying to make sure that feedback and opinion can be ‘looked after’ in the correct way. What they’re asking for is totally fair and reasonable and I’m sure I shouldn’t have a problem with it at all.

Does anyone else get where I’m coming from? Or am I over-reading again? Or maybe I could just never openly like anything that was posted on a blog called ‘360 degree digital influence blog’ ;-)

8 thoughts on “Blogger Outreach Code of Ethics”

  1. I’m not overly keen on Advertising and PR types apologising for what we do. The whole idea of a code of ethics makes me feel rather creepy. Not that we souldn’t have some sort of informal code. But as soon as you put up a list of things that “We as PR types will not do” people automatically think “yes you will”
    It’s a pink elephant (as in once you think about it, you can’t think about anything else)
    Embrace the dark side!
    Let us work within the shadows, unseen and feared ;)

  2. Hi there,

    When I included the last paragraph my goal wasn’t to keep an evil tally of all the pick ups we got or spoil the code with PR Speak, it was to make sure that every opinion on the Code was accounted for when we re-evaluate it. Sometimes people don’t trackback, or don’t feel comfortable blogging/commenting on the topic and would rather reach out directly (in fact we’ve received a good number of private emails) – the goal there was to make sure everyone’s voice was present and accounted for – nothing nefarious, I promise!

    As far as creating the code in the first place, I agree that a lot of it is “common sense” and should be things that PR firms are already doing on their own. But, it’s impossible to ignore the prevailing winds online amongst bloggers who are being pitched – it seems more people are doing it wrong than doing it right. (And, based on the horrendous pitches I get to my blog I agree with the sentiment!)

    If putting this Code out into the universe means that a few more people are doing it right and overall the industry is cognizant of a standard, then it will have done it’s job. (Though if we worked exclusively in the shadows I would insist we all wear capes, MikeMystery…)

  3. Hi Kaitlyn

    Thanks for popping by. Nice one.

    Having thought about it I guess my point was actually that the precise wording of things like this is incredibly important (and precarious) given the cynicism and media literacy of large chunks of the blogging community.

    But even by sparking conversations about the fact that this blogger outreach stuff needs to be considered carefully you’ve done a good thing. I’ve no idea why I was so grumpy this morning. I just was. Sorry.

  4. Yeah, Iain, you were grumpy. I can see how you read it that way actually, but in the context of reading the whole thing I think it comes across more like they’re wanting to try and do the right thing rather than PR the feedback.

    I’d be interested to see what Tom Coates has to say about it too. He’s been on the case about this for a while

  5. @ Iain – I totally understand, on my blog my mood rules the day, I vacillate between well thought out, intellectual industry posts and sarcastic one-offs that would make a grown man weep openly, haha.

    @ Andy – I think we’ve gotten more “hell yeahs” on the not pretending to read a blog than anything else. It goes to building a relationship with someone, you don’t start out with a lie. You wouldn’t call up a journalist and pretend to have read every article they’ve ever written, so why pull that with a blogger? (Again, you’d think this would be obvious…but alas)

  6. I’m still somehow intrigued by this lovely idea of blogversations where you rant(or praise) on/at someone and they pop in and reply. nice one.

    You were a bit harsh there Iain, but I guess we have this anti-PR-ism inscribed on our nervous system…

    For some reasons, and I know it is a bit different context I was way more grumpy when the Bravia people “outreached” me.

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