Scoble and PayPerPost: Disclosure Is Healthy
So Robert Scoble (entertaining tech blogger) is going to speak at a PayPerPost conference. PayPerPost is a company that pays bloggers to post about products, and has come under much controversy as to ethics, disclosure, and advertising. But in an endorsement of disclosure as a practice, Scoble posted his compensation information regarding this speech.
One thing that’s lessened my annoyance at PayPerPost is their movement towards disclosure. I feel that if a blogger reveals something is a paid advertisement, what do I care. I have no right to to stop anybody from earning a living – if they use their blog to do it, great – just let me know. Because by having sponsorship information, I can take everything said blogger writes with a grain of salt and make my own decisions about that blogger’s integrity or reputation, and whether or not I will continue to reading their blog or rely on the information provided.
So here we have Scoble, doing exactly what many readers are pushing for, disclosing his relationship with a company that’s invited him to speak. I think for that, people should take a step back from whether or not PayPerPost is evil or if Scoble is a sell-out, and realize Scoble deserves some credit. Because now, even before the PayPerPost event, we know what compensation he received (at this point, it looks like just travel expenses) and can therefore make our own, better informed decisions about the content of his keynote. Scoble also says he hasn’t been told specifically what to say, nor changed his opinion about PayPerPost as a company.
I’m sure some are thinking “yeah, right,” but please realize that it’s his disclosure that has allowed you to think that.
So I feel better knowing he’s really taking the concept of disclosure seriously. I hope more A-list bloggers do the same.
It will be interesting to see the reaction in the blogosphere to this announcement and Scoble’s speech itself – especially Jason Calacanis and Valleywag (who seem to have a personal vendetta against PayPerPost and Scoble).
Additional Reading: Duncan Riley, Like On the Wicked Stage, Mockriot, Writing Home, CrunchNotes, Infothought, Just Shelly, Deep Jive Interests