UPDATE: When I proposed this talk, I didn’t claim to be a person of integrity or what not, I just want to share my experience and how I can help others who wishes to earn from their blogs just the way I do it.
Another reason I proposed this talk was that of the Big Bad Blogger issue which remained unresolved until now. I am for the revelation of that blogger/or blogger group, they/he are/is actually they should be named and held accountable. I wanna hear your side of the story.
I was warned by my friends that my talk was controversial and expect some interrogation during the Q and A. It even got to the point of saying I don’t want to talk about it anymore because I don’t want personal attacks about me as a person. But I went as I promised to be there, talking about this topic will be a learning experience for everyone as this was the first time a pro-blogger will talk about this. I was told that there were other controversial speakers in the past (if you read that comment she’s one of them) and those speakers are doing great now with their endeavors.
Those who know me well, especially the bloggers I treat as friends, I try to help all the bloggers I know as much as I could not just with their blogs but with their daily lives. I am a very vocal and emotional person, I say my opinion, I say what I feel. I don’t ask people to come forward and fight with me. I fight my battles alone. That’s me. If I reacted in a way you did not like, that was me and my emotions crying foul over the hurtful words people said here and there.
Now lets get to the dirty issues being thrown at me:
1) About me being a tax evader and telling people to do the same: I’m laughing this off. The issue about the tax was a joke by mom-bloggers and friends I interact with regularly. We, I feel we don’t need another tax right now as we are still struggling at getting a fixed income we can declare at BIR. As most who earn from their blogs know the income is unstable and irregular. I also feel that our government should turn their heads away from bloggers for now and do their job to run and after the big and greedy companies and corporations who don’t declare their taxes right. Also, the blog ads/sponsorship agents/networks already get 10% tax of our income from the assignments/task/ad placement they give us and we,I never received a copy of our taxes withheld from them so we can file our taxes right.
2) Why does my making money from my blogs bother them? I’m not the only one who earns from my blog here. In fact most of the speakers in the iBlog7 day 1 talked about tips on how to earn with their blogs. Its just that we have different ways of doing it.
3) I don’t know who should be a judge to my integrity or lack of it. Companies/individuals/ PR agencies come to me to help them get the buzz about them. We talk about the terms and conditions of the “job”. We agree. We signed. I deliver. They are happy. I did not step on anybody’s foot when I did the job. I did not mock, mudsling, harass, extort money from anyone. I ask a fee according to what I think I need in terms of logistics and my blog traffic. If we don’t agree and I don’t want to compromise, the project is off. I don’t see anything wrong with making money, I’m being practical, we all need money to survive in this world, those who say they don’t are hypocrites to the core.
4) I don’t know where does the term me claiming to be a rockstar or god comes from. Do they see me as one? Do I come off as one? Why Thank You that’s an amazing compliment but I am not a God, I’m an angel, I am not a rockstar, I’m a popstar (JOKE!)
5) About attending events and being late: Yes I was a few minutes late at iBlog7, Ms. Janette and I were talking on the phone. I didn’t say I got caught in the traffic. Actually my mom didn’t want me to go, maybe she had her moms instinct soaring. I can’t leave the house without having anyone watch my daughter and its more inconvenient for everyone to see me running around refraining my daughter while I do my talk if I bring it there. Those who know my daughter has autism. I’m sorry I came a few minutes late, but I did come. I’m not an hours late as being claimed I was waiting outside until Jason’s talk was done but they asked me to come in so while he was still talking so I did. They told me while I was on the cab that they’ve switch Jayson Biadong’s slot with mine so I was moved further away from the time that was alloted from me. Had anyone asked the organizer about this? Of course not, because they’ve made their opinions already
Those who regularly attend events like me, its very inconvenient for the other bloggers who came early in an event just to learn that the organizer was waiting for some other bloggers who are late. The events attending talk part was for those who regularly attend blog events and not for those who attend events for leisure only. There are bloggers who come to an event just for a loot bag and there are bloggers who come after an event for the loot bag only. If you regularly attend events you will know this. This is a running joke and fact.
I am strongly against being invited to be a warm body. Like I said this are for those who regularly attend events and not meant for everyone. I even said if you don’t mind it doesn’t matter. This is for the PR’s not for the bloggers to be considerate at sending out invites. Don’t expect someone to come running at your event an hour notice. There was this one incident that still gets my nerve. There was this “PR company” who had been press releasing about their event all over the SNS (social network sites) and they only invited a few people among the circle of their favorites. The time of the event came and the client was surprised that there were just about a little over 10-15 people in the event. The client got mad and demanded them to invite more people. They did the very last minute. That was insulting and that was what I am against.
With regards to syncing my schedule on Google I’m iffy about this because I’m not comfortable about putting out all my details on the net because I’m paranoid about stalkers. I don’t even use four square. Yes I do forget my schedule because I’m doing tons of stuff and I don’t have a huge office to hire someone as a personal assistant I can’t even find a good person to be trusted as a nanny. I do turn down events I can’t attend, lots of them. I do inform the organizer if I think I’ll be late. I’m not inconsiderate as you think I am. Like I said you don’t know me to even say things about me and what I do offline .
6) On product endorsement: My delicadeza was questioned when they saw my face on a Ponds site when a few months ago I was at Neutrogena being a brand ambassador. If you read the Ponds site well you will know that it was a contest for the bloggers and not an endorsement. If you asked around reliable sources and not rely on rumors and hearsay you will know I’m not a blogger there but a friend of another blogger for Ponds. The friend thought I’m a best person to review the product since I’ve tried other products before and I can make a good comparison. Yes, my contract with Neutrogena expired and I didn’t break any laws. If you are asking me to be loyal to a single product sorry I can not, as long there are new things coming out I’ll try them out for sure. If you are asking me to keep quiet about what I’m trying out I’m sorry I am being responsible to my readers by telling them the latest products out and if they are good or not.
When I was asked to be an ambassador of Neutrogena they asked us to try the product in which I did and I do believe in Neutrogena and I love it so much. In fact in my latest update at the Ponds site I said I don’t think that product is for me because its making my skin feel dry and tight and I believe its a good regiment for those with oily skin. But for those with a combination to dry skin like mine, Neutrogena works very well with me. Now I can say I tried both products and I know what works best for me and I can tell everyone which is best for me.
7) On being paid to blog: Like I said, I don’t see anything wrong with wanting to earn with your blogs. I started my blog as a hobby, an outlet. When I learned that there are ways I can make money with it, I grabbed the opportunity. There are so many ways to make money with your blogs and not just by being paid to write or review something or put ads in your blogs. There are companies worldwide who pays bloggers to post their links, manage their blogs, ghost write, talk about them on their SNS and so much more. The Philippine digital/online media marketing is so new, there’s so much to learn and so much to earn. An iBlog7 speaker mentioned we only get 20% of the money in the internet because there are a lot like those who condemn the way I make money with my blog who don’t know about this yet and now I am telling you.
Making money with their blogs is an awesome opportunity for the stay-at-home-moms who want to help out with the family finances. Working from home is now seen as something to be a reality soon as companies would cut expenses in their operations.
I preached what I practice at the iBlog7. That’s all what it was, if I insulted anyone with my talk I didn’t mean it. I’m calling off all the insult being thrown at me. If insulting other people makes you a better person, I don’t want to be a better person anymore.
(Beyond this point was my spiel meaning script or lines in TV linggo.)
I got cold feet as soon as I got up the stage of the iBlog7: The Philippine Blogging Summit yesterday that I wasn’t able to read my spill. My cheat sheet was all swirly and blurred so I had to rely on my Power Point Presentation!
There were a lot of people who told me they didn’t catch my talk, while some approached and said they’ve learned something from me (phew!) Anyway, here is the complete text of my talk.
Blogger Etiquette: How to be a Blogger with Integrity
by Earth Rullan
I know some eyebrows raised when they saw my name came out in the roster of speakers for iBlog7. I even read someone threaten to throw slippers at me as I speak. I believe what got people opposing my presence is the fact that they were saying I’m an “unethical blogger” because of my past dealings or whatever they think I was doing online and offline with my blogs.
Who am I to speak ethics when I am considered by some as an unethical blogger because I blog for profit or get paid to post?
But this I ask you, is there anything wrong if you want to earn from
your blog and that you are upfront with your clients or don’t harass anyone to pay you upfront when you attend their blog events or write something for them? Also, if the client/advertiser doesn’t want to pay for a “job offer”, I directly tell him to find someone else who wants to do it for free.
Sure, I write other post for free, especially things that interest me, but who am I to turn away from making money when I am a single-mom who needs to earn on my own to pay my bills .
If you are looking for a disclosure about my dealings its a sitewide disclosure that I put up on my blog that has been there there since I’ve learned I can earn with my blogs.
I have always been upfront that I blog for a living and the ethics I am about to talk about is based on my personal dealings and experiences as a “pro” blogger.
Now, If you have any violent reactions or questions, please hold your until I finish my talk. Thank you very much and I hope you listen to me and not just hear what you like to hear.
What is Integrity?
(according to wikipedia) Integrity is a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs.
Integrity is the inner sense of “wholeness” deriving from qualities such as honesty and consistency of character. As such, one may judge that others “have integrity” to the extent that they act according to the values, beliefs and principles they claim to hold.
So the question now is, who’s morals should be follwed when being a blogger is a personal matter?
To know your blogger integrity, you should know what is your purpose/ classification as a blogger. When you started blogging, I’m sure most of you have a reason, either to kill time, an outlet for your thoughts, to be popular, or to make money in blogging.
There are two type of bloggers the hobbyist and the pro
- The hobbyist is after personal experiences and interests (hobbyist blogger)
- Or are you out there to earn ( Professional blogger for profit)
- under type 1 there is the new breed of hobbyist bloggers : those who started blogging so they can get gat passes to events for free and get freebies/lootbag/ swag whatever you call the giveaway is … even if they don’t have intention to blog about it or don’t even have an idea what the event was all about or don’t even care about the brand or product being launched.
Personally, I classify myself in-between the hobbyist and a professional blogger because I blog what I love and I’m grateful that I earn from it at the same time.
I make money blogging through the following:
- google adsense
- direct advertisers
- paid post via paid to post networks
- advertising networks
- advertorials/sponsored post
- product reviews
- and other online marketing campaign
Anyway I won’t talk much about how to make money through your blogs thats somebody else’s topic later this afternoon, I am here to talk about
the common etiquettes a blogger with integrity should (newbies or have been there a long time )
The things I’m about to tell everyone are actually a no-brainer. However, I compelled myself to suggest this topic because there are so many issues that bombarded the blogosphere lately, the latest one was that BigBadBlogger thingy published in a column in Inquirer by Margaux Salcedo. As much as most of us are not like BBB, it affected the general community and the perception about bloggers got tainted really really bad. It stirred controversy and made potential advertisers/clients think if they want to go digital or stay with the traditional media.
If we want to keep the community clean (because I love hearing from PRs that they love bloggers because they don’t practice what has been prevalent in the traditional media the envelopmental journalism, they are honest people who blogs honestly about what they see, hear, and experience). Let’s keep blogging fun but don’t forget to be a blogger with ethics.
But you should also remember your standards/integrity as a blogger. Now, that you know your purpose for blogging you now also know what is important to you and what image/character as a blogger you want to project
and stick with it.
For example: Bloggers Being paid to post about something, is what they call in the print media as advertorials. Some of these advertorials are disclosed, while some are not. I’m sure there are some of you here who didn’t disclose on their post directly that they are paid to do that but have site-wide disclosure anyway so that they you don’t need to put a disclaimer in every blog post you make especially if you don’t want the BIR do a bookeeping on
Here are 10 Unwritten Rules for a Blogger With Integrity
Unwritten Rules On Attending Events
- Don’t invite yourself to an event/ no to gate crashers :Don’t assume that because you have a blog you have the liscense to attend any event with bloggers in it. Even if the bloggers attending the event are your friends, its still best to wait for your invite or ask a friend who’s attending to ask the organizers if you can tag along.
- Don’t attend events an hour or two late – it makes you look like your after the freebies only. Don’t make the organizer wait for you so you can get the presskit and the loot bag. 2 hours late is just unreasonable. If you can’t make it tell it straight. The organizers went to a rough time organizing and all give them a break to relax after the succesful event that you didn’t get to witness because your in another event or something else.
- Listen and show interest in the speakers. Don’t go gossiping among your friends while someone is talking in front its very rude. What would you do if you talk in front and was so enthusiastic about your story and everyone else goes chit-chatting one another, its very insulting isn’t it?
- Earn respect, don’t go be kaladkarin. Personally I hate being kaladkad to events. As much as I (we, all) appreciate being invited to events, I personally hate the fact that I get invited the very last minute. It makes me feel like I’m a panakip-butas or a warm body to fill in for those who can’t make it. Seriously, do you expect everyone you invite drop everything they intend to do on a certain day or hour just to be in your event? But of course this is a pesonal choice if you don’t have anything else to do then by all means go if you are interested. As much as how prestigious the event maybe I’d appreciate if I get a notice 2 days ahead so I can work around my schedule for you. One day or hours away from your events is inevitably inacceptible. Although we bloggers, or I myself am a full time blogger, I still have other things in my life I attend to. Its not true that I am always infront of my computer and stare at my blog or social network sites. PR companies or event agencies already have an idea of their upcoming projects or events at least 2 weeks before the date of the event itself. I wouldn’t mind being told by an agency or PR that they will have an event on this date or within this date so I won’t get surprised and annoyed when you invite me the last minute, or cancel the last minute. I very much appreciate a day away from the event reminders too as I have a tendency to forget my schedule.
Regarding sponsorships and product reviews
6. Don’t be so flagrant (garapal) in asking sponsors or products for reviews: You can ask once if you have dealing with them in the past and you have built a close relationship with them but don’t be so aggressive to the point that the agency feels being harrassed. Advertisers/ PR companies or companies in general have a very vague idea about what blogging is all about unless they have hired a digital or social marketing specialist to help them
in this area. Even if you think the blogging world is so popular this days there are a lot of companies who still don’t have a clue. I’m saddened to hear that there are a lot of newbie bloggers and some who’ve been here long who are
so flagrant (garapal) these days as if the company owes them products for them to review or that its their duty to sponsor every contest they think of. Its not like that. If they want you and need you and your blog is suited to their target market then they will find you.Sponsorships are either paid or ex-deal. I am asked very often by newbie bloggers how I get products and how I get invited to events so often… and its not being mayabang when I say
they emailed me they searched for me… the principle build it and they will come is so true (but build a reputation and a following and good
content first before you ask for something you know you wouldn’t give to just anybody).
Regarding your blog content
7. I always say its your blog and YOU write what YOU want. Your blog is yours. Remain truthful in your blog, even if you are paid for a certain post always remember to have a disclaimer in your blog and be clear with your
business dealings (your clients/advertiser), tell them upfront that you don’t always say nice things even if you are paid for it. Be objective in your review or post (point out the pros and the cons) . A blog is always personal and not a magazine or a newspaper. Its still about you even if some say its not about you. Its about your thoughts, your feelings, your opinion, its your
universe your sharing with the world not the other way around. At Earthlingorgeous.com and most of my blogs my disclaimer goes like this:
This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me without bias or influence from others. While this blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation, it does not publish in a way that is contrary to my personal integrity. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. I am free to reject posts that I do not agree with or approve. My writing represents the truth and I do not write about items that I do not personally support. This blog does not contain any content that might present a conflict of interest but it does follow international ethical guidelines and best practices for the internet and online advertising.
8. As much as possible never copy paste press releases in your blog. Honestly who wants to read a press release. Besides, those who read your blog religiously can tell if you were the one who wrote it or someone else. I
don’t mind grammar mistakes as long as its your own words, and own thoughts. But in every rule there is always an exemption, movie releases is
something I post as is, ergo my Press Releases category. If you can’t help but post a press release as it is then labeling it as a press release will do god for you.
9. Never claim expertise in any field unless you really are. In my disclaimer I also pointed this out very clearly, and this has been in my blog since I
I do not claim expertise in ANY field, what you read here are my friendly advice, based on personal experience and are purely suggestions
and recommendations only. For your professional or personal satisfaction, I highly recommend that you verify everything first before taking my word. Thank you!
On Blogger Relations
9. Be nice to every blogger in the planet. No blog or blogger is an island. To get good ratings, good page rank , and get accepted in paid post companies (international) they require a reasonable number of
followers/readers and a reasonable ranking in the google search engine (SERP). Make friends with other bloggers , comment and do link exchanges,
they are good for your blog. Joining communities and posting comments on other people’s blog won’t hurt. Don’t be afraid to link back or post a comment on other blog, there are millions of blogs in the world, you won’t loose readers if you comment on one. Stop the crab mentality, we all need each other in the blogging world like it or not. However, don’t just link to
any site, should always be related to your niche (blog topic). We can all live in the huge internet universe dynamically and work with each other
to our advantage. Don’t feel superior over others because you
blogged longer than they are. Its not how long you’ve been its how you relate to your readers and other bloggers.
10. Don’t name drop. If you really are a good blogger as you think you are
don’t use other bloggers to get ahead of them or or to ride with their popularity. If you want a name of your own, if you want to build your own
brand its better to do it on your own.
In the end it it all boils down to how you relate to your readers, your blog partners (sponsors, advertisers, clients) and other bloggers.
Getting paid to blog about something doesn’t necessarily lessen your credibility if you are true to your readers about your experiences and you are true about your client that you may not write positive things all the time or if its that bad you may not blog about them at all.
Day 1 was so much fun. I met the mommy bloggers I always interact online and I learned so much more from the other speaker.
If you were not able to attend yesterday, I encourage you to come today the Day 2 of the 7th Philippine Blogging Summit, I promise you won’t regret it. Its absolutely free and walk-ins are welcome!
See you later!
Stay gorgeous everyone!