Friday, January 22, 2010

Blogging Ethics

Brian Solomon wrote a great piece on the ethics concerning bloggers and promotional material sent along to them for review.

I confess that some of my posts have made use of such material.

What'll happen is, a publicist of some sort will send me an e-mail promoting the product they're trying to sell/promote. If I consider it interesting or relevant to this blog, then I'll incorporate it into a post.

Here's the posts that have used such promotional sources and why I wrote about them. I should also point out, that in all posts, the source of the info was disclosed:
Blog Entry: "Vampires on Telly"
Product: Stephenie Meyer's appearance on Oprah.
Why'd I Mention It? Simple, really. I found the idea of a vampire fiction author's appearance on one of TVs most successful shows (ever), to be an incredible step in the mainstreaming of vampires.

Blog Entry: "For Twilight Fans with a Sense of Humour"
Product: "Emo Vampire" music parody.
Why'd I Mention It? The sentiment expressed in the song appealed to me. Yeah, I'm one of those "what happened to evil vampires?" types. I admit it. Not that I've done much to hide this attitude, mind you! Check out my Amazon review of F. Paul Wilson's Midnight Mass. To balance things out a bit, though, I gave coverage to the de-romanticisation of vampires, which, in a roundabout way, is romanticisation in itself. Anti-romanticising, that is.

Blog Entry: "Free Plug!"
Product: A new webseries by Ti West, called Dead & Lonely.
Why'd I Mention It? Two reasons: 1) the courtesy of the promotor and 2) Ti West. As I mentioned in the blog entry, he's the mind behind The Roost (2005), a flick I've been hanging out to see. I wrote about it to see if anyone would be interested in checking it out. I didn't.

Blog Entry: "Contributing Elsewhere"
Product: Vampire-themed "Haunted House" event in New York.
Why'd I Mention It? It combined vampires and Hallowe'en. Perfect! As I mentioned, I was actually offered to visit the place itself. This was somewhat prohibitive, as I live on the other side of the world.
Off the top of my head, those are the only ones I can recall.

I've also received promotional e-mails from other sources, most notably, The Weird World of Wibbell. They've got a film out called The Vampires of Bloody Island.

The problem is a) it looks incredibly amateur, b) this isn't a movie review blog.

I've made one notable exception, but mainly because I was discussing the film as an adaptation of Stoker's novel, as well as its impact on vampire movie history.

I doubt Bloody Island could claim the same level of critical status.

Nonetheless, if you wanna read about the film, I'm happy to forward you along to Andrew's review.

Other than that, I should clearly state that I'm not interested in being used as a promotional mouthpiece.

I can certainly appreciate the efforts undertaken in promoting a movie or other media. It's no easy feat. But I'm not gonna be a publicity sock puppet, either.

We do raise a teeny bit of a dilemma, here. I recognise that. After all, where does one draw the line on promotion? Don't I promote things? Don't I point to things on sale?

Sure I do. But that's cos they fit in with the purpose of this blog, that is, to entertain, share resources and knowledge I've gleaned in the field. No one's telling me to do it, or making subtle "suggestions".

You'll note that there's no ads incorporated into this blog, either. That was a deliberate move on my part. After all, as fellow Bloggers would know, there's an AdSense function one could make use of. Sure, I considered it. Came mighty close. But, I thought I might lose some integrity along the way. Not to mention that they ain't exactly aesthetically pleasing.

That said, I've got no issue with Bloggers who do use it. If they wanna make money off their blog, by all means! Nothing wrong with making a living - or getting some spare change - from your writings.

I should also point out that I'm certainly receptive to readers sending me items of interest. Sometimes, I might incorporate them into a blog entry. Take the articles sent to me by Martin V. Riccardo (as mentioned in "Localised Vampire Interest"). He didn't send them to me to promote anything, they just caught his fancy. They're news articles, after all.

But when we've got something as overt as a forwarded press release (I'm looking at you, Wibbell!), then clearly a line has been crossed. We're talking spam tactics here, people.

And dammit, I hate spam!


Niels K. Petersen said...

I too receive those messages concerning The Vampires of Bloody Island. I don't find them relevant to my blog, but have forwarded a couple of them to a fellow blogger who writes about horror movies, and he's mentioned the movie once or twice.

The main thing that annoys me is that the e-mails always begins something like: 'You asked us to keep you up to date..., and I have never asked them to do anything like it.

Personally I am more annoyed by those spam comments I have to reject all the time. Once a day or so I receive a comment in Chinese that looks like an advert for something when I translate it in Google Translator...

Anthony Hogg said...

Hi Niels,

That line about "You asked us to keep you up to date..." well, I didn't either!

That was the giveaway (among other things), that it was a forwarded e-mail.

I certainly didn't ask to be put on such a list. I e-mailed them, requesting that they stop sending me such updates and to remove me from their list.

I haven't had too much problems with spam comments, though. But that's because of the sign-in precautions I take, which I notice on your blog, too.

But of course, you also have a greater readership and thus, are more of a target, unfortunately.

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