Not necessarily an oxymoron.
(Thought I’d get in before some wag does).
I’m (very) interested to know what members regard as ethical conduct when it comes to paid product promotions.
For the sake of clarity, I’m not referring to a James Hoffman style Patreon funded review but the more typical influencer review such as you might see on YouTube e.g. ‘daddy got coffee’ or ‘lifestyle lab’ where the manufacturer sends kit to a professional (as in ‘makes a living from reviews’) influencer.
I’m posting about this on CT specifically because I’ve noticed more criticism of influencers here than anywhere else so I figured if there was a consencus here, it would more likely to be accepted elsewhere.
Full disclosure: I’ve written a handful of coffee grinder reviews and I’ve now had approaches from two manufacturers who want to discuss sending me their grinders for review. I have my idea of what ethical disclosure looks like but that view may not be shared by others and I want to get all my (ethical) ducks in a row.
This post is to canvas a wide range of opinions because ethics is more subjective than laws or rules. FWIW my definition of ethics is ‘obedience to an unenforceable value or ideal’.
To get the ball rolling, my idea of ethical influencer behavior would be to declare any vested interest clearly at the start of a review. For example, if a manufacturer is paying for a review then that should be explicitly stated. Or if a manfuacturer sends a grinder and says ’it’s yours to keep in exchange for a review, warts and all’, then that needs to be declared. And it may go without saying but any ‘strings attached’ requests would be declined. e.g. ‘if we like your review you can keep the machine’.
Please note that I’m not intending the scope of this thread to cover incentive-induced bias but feel free to comment on that if you feel that bias can’t be seperated from ethics. Bias runs a spectrum I suspect, from concsious to unconsious and based on my experience to date, we tend to have a bias towards certain brands or perhaps a certain look or even a color bias.
Anyhow, the floor is yours. What would you consider ethical or unethical behaviour from an influencer?
Thanks in advance.