Posts Tagged ‘Ethics’

PR Industry Shouldn’t do ANYTHING to Help Clients

November 13, 2010 3 comments

I will not do ANYTHING to help my client. There I said it.

Those of us in the PR industry all (hopefully) agree that there are ethical lines in the sand that we as PR people shouldn’t cross, but there are a couple of gray areas that deserve discussion. When it comes to Reader’s Choice awards and (non-PR) industry surveys, PR’s job is to Promote not Vote.

Occasionally we see stories like PR firm got caught astroturfing the App Store, that remind us that making ‘false representation’ is not in our job description, yet ask a bunch of PR people if they think voting for clients is wrong and I bet you’ll hear answers like: ‘no, it isn’t wrong it’s PR’ or ‘I never really thought about it being wrong.’ Read more…


Is Ghost Blogging Ethical?

September 8, 2010 6 comments
This post is the first of the 4 Communications Issues. 4 Perspectives. 4 Weeks. Blog Series. The brainchild of Steve Farnsworth. Every Wednesday for the next four weeks Steve, Lou Hoffman, Todd Defren and I will blog about the same topic. This week’s topic – is ghost blogging ethical?

So, I need to start with a little full disclosure to explain my perspective on this topic. When I first started my PR blog (for a number of well-intentioned reasons) I did so under a pseudonym….actually, pseudonym makes it sound too noble, let’s just say I blogged under a fake name.

For several months, I blogged and tweeted as Tony Mackey. After hypocritically posting about the horror of ghost blogging and other ethical topics, I decided that it was time to come clean. See The First Day of the Rest of My Blog or Tony Mackey – Unmasked. It wasn’t exactly ghost blogging because Tony Mackey was just a made up name, but the experience helped to shape my option on ghost blogging. Read more…

Another Vote Against Voter Fraud (and Astroturfing)

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

I written many times that the PR industry needs to take a stand against astroturfing and voting for client’s products in online polls. It is stupid and immature when anyone engages in this type of behavior, but it is unethical when PR folks do so on behalf of a client.

Here is another example of how such actions (while maybe not by PR folks) has impacted one of our own. In his recent post Voter Fraud Taints Social Media Tools Poll Steve (still TheRealPRMan to me) Farnsworth discusses the experience from his own online poll.

Now let me use this forum to confess that as an 8-year-old Red Sox fan, I may have voted for Fred Lynn 29 (or so) times for the 1976 All Star game, but I was a kid and not the Red Sox general manager or publicist, so it was stupid, but not unethical. Read more…

Does PR Need an Ethics Style Guide?

October 19, 2009 Leave a comment

Every PR person at one time in their career has had The Elements of Style and the AP Style Guide on their desk, but maybe it is about time to add an Ethics Style Guide to the library.

Of course there are some floating around, the PRSA has one, and some PR folks have attempted to publish them, but safe to say there isn’t an agree upon standard.

Why is it necessary? I’m not saying that it is necessary because the industry is a cesspool of immoral and or deviant behavior. It’s necessary because the industry is spending too much time discussing the issue trying to reach common ground.

What is the debate? We all know lying is wrong. We all know spreading rumor is inappropriate. The real confusing issues come with social media. Astroturfing, ghost blogging, ghost tweeting etc.

Ask a PR pro if they think Astroturfing is wrong and most will say – Yes. But that is because it sounds wrong. Ask them if they think it is okay to post a comment on Amazon when their client writes a new book and I fear many would say that is – part of the job. Read more…

Ghost Blogging to Change PR More than Twitter

September 23, 2009 Leave a comment

This post was inspired by a recent conversation I had with a fellow PR guy. He and I both agree that ghost blogging, ghost tweeting and Astroturfing (a new term for me) are wrong. That wasn’t surprising, what is surprising is that not everyone agrees.

Our conversation led us to the question: Is social media bad for PR agencies? Where my coworker and I disagreed slightly is in the impact social media will have on PR agencies. My point is that I’d rather have an internal PR person posting blog entires and tweeting on behalf of the company than an external agency resource.

I’ve written speeches, countless quotes, press releases, byline articles, executive email’s etc. all to be attributed to another author – and I’m okay with that. But social media and blogs should be authentic and honest.

I asked my 3rd grade daughter if she thought it would be okay if daddy wrote blogs for other people and she quickly replied, “No, I don’t think that is right because they should really do the work themselves if their name is on it.”

Well said. Read more…