Over the past couple of years I’ve learnt such allot about blogging. I’m the first to admit I blundered about a bit at first, not really knowing any rules other than don’t write anything you could get sued for!
As time has gone on I read and hear lots and there are some fabulous blogs out there, but on the odd occasion, often through wanting to promote something we love or we forget ( I know I have) or even that we are new to blogging we can make mistakes.
One of the most difficult areas is the copywriting of recipes. I for one have never minded people who tested my recipes publishing them. It served a great purpose by providing back links and establishing me quickly. That said people always asked me if I minded the recipes being used. Fair play ... because often they would take me a day to develop and write .. not to mention the cost of ingredients!
I think that it is right to be asked though. When I first published my book there were all sorts of deals that went on .. mostly involving exclusivity and I know that one deal that meant some amazing media exposure was seriously threatened when one of the “exclusive” recipes was seen online published be a blogger. (yes I had given permission) but the magazine didn’t see it that way. It was no longer an exclusive.
Bloggers don’t write beautiful posts endorsing the writer and book if they don’t love the book and the writer. It's such a thrill and a compliment to written about al all !
However writing a full recipe in a well meaning blog post can cause some serious problems when the writer is contacted to be exclusive. Behind the scenes I've leant that there are deals, and contacts that are agreed, and these can be very sensitive in a highly competitive arena .. so having your livelihood used as content by an adoring blogger means that you are stuck between a rock and a hard place .. you can't win. You look unreasonable to the blogger whilst your means to earn a living is under threat. Rock, hard place, rock.
Then there is the problem of sponsored posts. I read a superb post here on how to write a good sponsored post… but what is sponsored? Well basically anything you were given free. It’s just not fair to mislead people by not mentioning it. It’s also in my view unprofessional. Although I will admit that I was rather wooly with what constituted sponsored to begin with !
I read lots of articles on Google and there are all sorts of laws that cover blogging and no I don’t profess to understand all the copy write laws or the trading standards rules.. I do understand however what is truthful and right.
It’s not an area that can be policed, and really who would want to? So I thought and thought about it, and called several friends to ask their opinions, and came up with the fact that any standards have to voluntary and easy to follow.
Then I changed my mind. Who am I to suggest such a thing? Am I setting myself up to be shot down in flames by angry bloggers suggesting with indignation that this is all so blindingly obvious? But then when I first started blogging it wasn't obvious, and how do I show that I have integrity quickly unless people are intimately familiar with your blog .. then how do you know the the writer who's blog you are reading is fair and upfront? So here is what I am going to do. I am going to set out a simple idea:
The Bloggers Voluntary Code of Fair Practice.
It has three simple rules.
1) If you have been sent something for free or had any kind of payment in kind you must declare it in an obvious way.
2) The second is that before reproducing any work, or photograph or recipe that you have permission from the publisher / author.
3) The third ( optional ) rule is that you pop the badge on your site and link back to the original rules here.
This is totally self-policing and voluntary. Nobody owns it or is in charge.
It is not meant to cause anyone to be hung drawn and quartered for forgetting one of the rules .. however if you find you have made a boob .. it’s pretty quick stuff to correct it!
I hope it will be used as a sign of fair practice. Please let me know what you think.
PS It did not occur to me as I wrote this until an anonymous comment was made saying that asking to link back to this post was self profiting. However I appreciate that it could be seen as so I have made it an optional rule but would REALLY appreciate it if you did link back so people could read what this badge is about and what it means to use it !!
PPS Anyone who comments confirming they wish to participate and would like a link to their site added to this post please email me your blog url to recipes@VanessaKimbell.com and I'll add your site to this post
A Small Holding
Charlottes Kitchen Diary
Chilli and chai
Corner Cottage Bakery
Exploits of a food Nut
Goddess On a Budget
Lavender and Lovage
L'heure du The
Marks Veg Plot
Not Just any old Baking
The Hungry Manc
the secluded tea party shhh