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Cochrane: Disclose or Die!
I've always wanted to write a headline like that. It doesn't bother me a whit that that's not really what Todd Cochrane said, because I'm pretty sure that's what he meant.

Todd discovered a blogging friend of his was being paid to evangelize a product and had never disclosed that he was getting paid to do so. Shizzle...that is bad news.

I was floored and the conversation went pretty much downhill, out of respect to him I am not going to mention his name or blog, but I told him in no uncertain terms that I thought it was wrong, and that continuing to promote a product without disclosing that he was getting paid was unethical.

That's got "gonna blow up in a big mess" written all over it for both the blogger and the company. The entire reason why corporate blogging and podcasting are growing and becoming more mainstream is because they allow the traditionally one-way street from company to customer to become two way. Customers are learning to trust companies again because of the transparency and immediacy. Paying a blogger to hawk your goods and forbidding him to disclose that he's being paid to do so is completely at odds with this philosophy. The company clearly has no concept of what blogging is all about or why it's beneficial. And the blogger?

Trash. Absolute, 100% trash. I don't know this blogger so I'm not constrained by any previous impression of him like Todd is. It's one thing for a company to not understand how to make use of citizen media, but for a blogger to hawk goods for pay is anathema to the cause.

In fact, he is not a blogger. He is a shill.

I had better not catch any of my readers approaching bloggers or podcasters with offers to hawk goods under a non-disclosure agreement. That's bloody criminal in this county and I'll hunt you down.

Oh yeah...like a dog.

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