Tag Archives: policy

Policy on guest posts

I’ve previously shared a post outlining my thoughts on posting reviews and being “pitched”. In the past three days I’ve had two unsolicited offers of “guest posts” for my blog, asking how to go about contributing. It seems that “social media marketing” is taking another new turn.

Well, I’ll keep this short. As it says on the About page:

The Lost Outpost is Andy’s personal blog.

I also note in the disclaimer in the sidebar that:

The postings on this site are my own

As such, it would not make a whole lot of sense for my own blog, which is intended to be a place for me to post my personal thoughts and opinions, to carry guest postings from others. It’s not a community or group-maintained site – it’s the output of my brain, for better or worse!

So, thanks, but no thanks – I don’t take guest posts for this blog.

My review policy

Earlier this week I heard that the Federal Trade Commission has introduced new advertising guidelines, which amount to rules for bloggers who review products. A contact of mine also sent me a link to this information directly… I think the unspoken implication there was that they were aware I’m sometimes sent free things to review and that maybe I wasn’t being open about that.

Both of these events acted as triggers to make me finish this post, which has actually been sitting in draft state in my blogging client since… well… March this year. I can’t see that the FTC has any jurisdiction over my blog, but I’ve been thinking about this for a while, as a way of telling both readers and companies what they can expect from me.

It’s true that I’ve been given access to products for review purposes on occasion, and sometimes I’ve been able to keep hold of the products (or been given a full software license after the review period has ended). I’ve always been careful to point out where I’ve been offered a product for review, most recently for example, with the LG Arena mobile phone.

So here’s my standpoint.

  • Firstly, and very importantly – I write here as an individual. I do not make a secret of who my employer is, and you are welcome to read all about me on the About page. However, my opinions and are my own and may or may not represent my employer’s views. I will not review anything here on behalf of my employer, I do so as an individual.
  • If a company wants to invite me to review their product or service then I’m often interested in taking a look.
  • I appreciate it when the company or PR firm actually takes the time to find out what I’m interested in and what I write about, rather than sending me a silly email. Do your research.
  • If you send me something to review, you should expect an honest set of opinions. I will not sugar-coat what I think of it.
  • If you send me something to review then it will be on my timescales. I have a life and a day job and both of those come before writing about your product, site of service.
  • I will always disclose whether I was given / given access to a product in my review. If I do not call that out, then readers should assume that I own the product or am otherwise a personal user of that site or service.

That’s it. Pretty straightforward, really.

Trust and empowerment are key

From a great post about the ESPN and USMC social media rules / bans:

You might not expect a corporate juggernaut like IBM to lead the way when it comes to creating effective social media guidelines for its employees, yet here we are: IBM was one of the first enterprise-size companies to not only recognize the need for such a document, but also to deliver an adequate set of guidelines within it that made sense and allowed its culture to spread. IBM recognized that treating its employees like responsible adults rather than dangerous little children might yield pretty good results.

Indeed. I’ve written about IBM’s Social Computing Guidelines before, and I’ve spoken about them at conferences. I’ve also repeatedly opined that blocking access is counterproductive. It’s important to note that the guidelines were written collaboratively, and they are linked to IBM’s existing standards of professional conduct (the Business Conduct Guidelines) which employees agree to annually. Folks at the leading edge of technology continue to inform and educate the rest of the organisation on good practices and behaviours in these online social spaces.

Let’s end with another of the many quotable extracts from Olivier Blanchard’s post today:

The risk here is not the medium, it is the behavior. Ban access to the medium and you solve nothing: The behavior is still there, only now, you are blind to it. Double-fail.

Oh, in case you’re new around here: I’m an IBMer. My opinions may differ from IBM’s official line from time to time, but that’s OK. My employer trusts me, and I appreciate that.