21 March 2012 0 Comments

Ethical Blogging

As someone who sets up blogsites for schools as a living, the idea that bloggers should behave in an ethical way is very important to me. I have reviewed a few products on this blog over the years (see below), and in every case they are products that I have purchased with my own hard cash (except for 1, which was loaned). There has been a lot of controversy, particularly over the pond, about bloggers accepting stuff for review and not letting people know. The murky world of celebrity endorsement is also highly engaged in this and in many cases they don’t make their connections specific. In the case of sports people it’s perhaps less of a problem as we all know when @lancearmstrong is tweeting about a new pair of sunglasses or trainers he is getting across his sponsor’s message. Just recently, though, Rio Ferdinand among others, has been subject to an Advertising Standards Authority investigation over tweets about Snickers chocolate bars.

For me, it’s very simple, if I receive any kit for review I will tell you that I have received it without paying for it and I will only do so if there are no strings attached, i.e. no minimum number of articles/tweets etc; and I will maintain complete editorial independence (i.e. I won’t submit my reviews for editing prior to publishing). In five years of writing this blog, it has yet to happen…until now.

Last week I was contacted by a PR rep working on behalf of Sports Direct who asked me if I would like to review a pair of running shoes on my blog. I was given a budget and freedom of their website and chose a pair of Asics Trail Attack 7. The kind postie has delivered them and they definitely fit (and look the business) so expect a review shortly.

It’s interesting that the phenomenon of independent bloggers reviewing kit is becoming more established. I suspect that many people, including myself, see that mainstream publications are too heavily reliant on advertising and commercial links with many of the manufacturers and products that they review for them to be truly independent (I’m not suggesting that they won’t have the balls to call a crap piece of kit crap (some won’t), but they do make recommendations in so many subtle and not so subtle ways). It falls upon bloggers to remain as open, transparent and independent as possible if this type of benefit for us is to continue to grow. I’d like to hear about your opinion or experiences about this.
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Having shared my willingness to review kit, I’m hoping that some bike manufacturers read this as I’d dearly like to try out a proper TT bike from the point of view of the middle of the road age group triathlete. I’m sitting by my phone… 😉

Other kit reviews on Irontwit:

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