Now that Marc Canter is spearheading a kind of transparent blog-payola system for compensating bloggers, the issue of full disclosure of one’s sponsors and or influences seems all the more important.
For example, here is the disclosure about the ZeroDegrees sponsorship of the new Operating Manual for Social Tools weblog: About The Project:
ZeroDegrees has agreed to sponsor this site for the next four months to provide a forum for the discussion of rules and expectations for online social networks that will make social networks more useful while respecting the needs and privacy of their members. ZeroDegrees has agreed to exercise zero influence over the content of the discussions. The paid contributors are working for a fixed, non-renewable term. ZeroDegrees has further agreed that if the contributors feel ZeroDegrees has tried to influence them in any way, they can resign from the project but will still be paid.
As for me, no one pays me to write this weblog. Nor does anyone pay me (directly) to write The Power of Many, although you can think of that blog as being sponsored by my book of the same name. Finally, I am paid a retainer to contribute to the Personal Democracy Forum blog, a site for which I am formally a Contributing Editor. No one pays for any product placement, etc., anywhere that I write.
Further, it’s worth noting that from July to November this year I was a paid employee of Armstrong Zúniga, a political consulting firm run by Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong, proprietors of Daily Kos and MyDD respectively. We have parted ways amicably and I am still in a position to refer business or share leads with them, but there is no direct compensation passing between as at this time.
For the record, I am entirely willing to sell out personally, but will only blog about what I want to and will continue to be completely transparent about anyone with whom I have a business relationship.