Bloggers Need to Stop Breaking Trust!

Date Mon, February 2 2015

Our readers’ trust. As bloggers, it’s all we have. And we have to work for it. We have to keep working for it. Like any relationship, this is not a one-way street!

For me, earning and keeping trust means there are certain things that I absolutely must do, and there things that I shouldn’t do no matter how much I may want to.  For example, I always write honest reviews even if companies don’t want them because they help my readers. I shy away from companies that might want a dishonest review because I just can’t do that.

As I’ve found more opportunities to earn money, I’ve come to learn how important it is not to lead my readers astray by allowing others to use my platforms — this blog, Facebook and Twitter, among others — to spread information that’s false or unhelpful. Marking sponsored content has become more and more important, and not just because of what the FCC has to say about it!

As a blogger, my readers provider me with their personal information. WordPress collects the names, email address, URLs and comments you submit. It also comes with recordings of your IP address by default when you comment. There are ways to collect more information, and I do collect some information — usually opinions — when hosting a giveaway.

I recognize that you don’t have to submit any of this information. I would encourage you to closely guard your identity online if this makes you wary, even (and you should never, ever leave your email in the body of a blog comment!). But you do, and I must guard it. I will not give anyone a list of my subscribers or giveaway entrants, even if they sponsored that giveaway.

There’s another blatant misuse of information that I’ve been noticed as a reader myself. I don’t just host giveaways, you guys. I like to enter them, too! So I’m giving out just as much personal information as you are — and I expect my fellow bloggers to respect that and maintain my trust. So when I enter a giveaway and don’t sign up for a newsletter, which I never do, but somehow wind up on one.. I am not happy.

Now, you can blame me for not reading the fine print. I rarely do. Who does? But a “freebie” giveaway entry, which is legally required for any giveaway hosted by Americans and probably a few more, has to be just that: free. There’s no freedom for you to get anything out of it, including subsceibers. It does not mean to sign me up for some newsletter that I don’t want. I will unsubscribe immediately.

And if your newsletter doesn’t have an option to unsubscribe? I will throw it into the junk and go on with my day. With email services like Gmail and the like, this means your newsletter email will eventually be blacklisted, and no one will see it because you’re a freakin’ douchebag.

If you’re hard up for subscribers, a metric that I don’t even muss about on Reviews by Cole, then you should provide content people will want. The few newsletters I do subscribe to, including Makobi Scribe, offer content I want to read, and I wind up back on the site.

So I’d like to thank all my readers for placing their trust in me, and I will try not to it.

If you’re a company or blogger who has abused trust, you’re literally ruining it for the rest of us. Stop it!

2 Responses

  1. courtney hennagir February 2 2015 @ 9:45 pm

    *high five* This is why you rock!

  2. Cole February 2 2015 @ 10:14 pm

    Thank you!

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