At the outset, let me request you not to get into a negative mindset after reading the title of the post. It is not like all bloggers indulge themselves into unethical blogging practices or methods to get fame, visibility or money. However, I have seen a few of them getting into wrong ways of doing things primarily with the intention of making it big in a very short time. I will not cite any examples here in this post to avoid controversies.
Things those are unethical in my view
#1 Public bashing and defaming: Publicly abusing others – especially the rich and famous people, including bloggers – is a way of getting into shortlived fame via sensational means. In press terms, this is called yellow journalism – not sure if we can term it ‘yellow blogging’ when it happens in the blogosphere.
#2 Stealing content: This is the most commonly found bad act where by people just blindly copy and paste content from others’ blogs. In most cases they conveniently forget to mention the credits where it belongs. If copy and paste is inevitable, the ideal way of doing it is to post an excerpt along with a trackback to original post.
#3 Writing untruthful stuff: It is always better not to write about things that one doesn’t understand thoroughly. For example, in several SEO blogs I have read contents that depict Google as some kind of a mysterious hero at the same time they talk audaciously about even the algorithms that Google uses though none of them is publicly documented.
#4 Writing biased paid reviews: Paid reviews can be excellent moneymakers for bloggers but writing exaggerated or totally biased reviews can affect a blog’s long term goodwill. Writing off topic reviews can hurt the blog and the blogger even more.
#5 Talking about affiliate products without proof: I have seen many MMO blogs promoting certain affiliate products and networks without actually showing any proof of income or statistics on the same. At the time of review or posting, if there’s not enough information available, the blogger should mention that.
#6 Blindly marking others’ comment as spam: I have talked about blog commenting and moderation ethics in the past. There are many bloggers who sometimes blindly mark others comment as spam without thinking enough about the consequences of the same. If it is genuine spam it is okay to mark it as spam but if it is an excusable act, please bail them out because that could cost them their blogosphere life.
#7 Showing fake blog statistics: Now, this one is a widely seen phenomenon – from bigtime bloggers to beginners. Whether it is related to number of visitors or blog income, there is no limit to self praise. Fake blog statistics are mostly supported by fake proofs as well but when it comes to blog income, I have not seen any of those bigtime earners showing PayPal proof etc. (Not forgetting Shoemoney’s famous check)
#8 Click exchanges: This is prevalent mainly among smalltime bloggers who are riding on the inspiring stories of people making money overnight with AdSense etc. Many of them indulge in the click exchange acts that could finally fetch them the ban that could have been avoided through proper learning. I still have a couple of mails in my inbox that go like this.
You have a nice blog. I visited it today and clicked two of your ads. If possible pls return the fav…
Now a lot of people – including yours truly – ask for RSS subscriptions, bookmarking posts etc. But is it okay to ask for ad clicks?
#9 Cheating own advertisers with fake or bot clicks: This used to happen a lot in the pasts until advertisers invented mechanisms to curb this and ban such publishers. This is big offence in the eyes of advertisers and will definitely affect the future of blogger-publishers involving in this act.
#10 Charging readers for reading content or other favors: I talked about the Pay-Per-Read model sometime back. While Pay-Per-Read may not be the worst thing about a blog, asking for readers to pay for removing ‘nofollow’ flags from comments etc can be really bad.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Please comment on any other bad practices about blogging that you have noticed around.