Friday, December 7, 2007

Corporate Bloggers Launch "Blog Council"

A group of big corporate bloggers has formed a Blog Council to "help corporate blogging efforts become more successful." Their press release indicates a little about their mission and method:

The Blog Council exists as a forum for executives to meet one another in a private, vendor-free environment and share tactics, offer advice based on past experience, and develop standards-based best practices as a model for other corporate blogs.

And here are a couple interesting excerpts from the FAQ:
7. Is this an ethics organization?
Our purpose is to help our members develop effective policies and learn from each other. Teaching ethical best practices will be a core part of our program. The Blog Council is a community, not a trade association, so we don't set or enforce polices [sic].

8. Are you trying to 'regulate' or 'police' the blogosphere?
Absolutely not. The Blog Council is a peer community where we learn from each other. We have no intention of creating policy or regulating anyone. The opposite is actually the case ... we help companies learn to work with the existing standards of blog ethics set by the free and open blogosphere.

It being a brand new initiative these are probably QWFAO (Questions We Frequently Ask Ourselves), so I'd like to see them define their terms a little further. A Google search for the exact phrase "existing standards of blog ethics" gave me zero results. A search for "free and open blogosphere" yielded six results, one of which is a fascinating article on "The cost of ethics: Influence peddling in the blogosphere" by J. D. Lasica in Online Journalism Review from the University of Southern California's Annenberg School of Communication. That article was a lucky find because it mentions the Word of Mouth Marketing Association's Ethics Code, and WOMMA was founded by Andy Sernovitz, the guy who's also behind Blog Council.

For further reading, here's a Technorati page collecting the blog buzz on the Blog Council. There's definitely some skepticism floating around about why this initiative is proceeding mostly behind closed doors, and if that's even useful for the participants given the messy, public, interactive nature of blogging. But I guess that strategy is not so farfetched in light of the sensitive proprietary information that companies deal with and the uncertainty some must feel when opening up to blogs.

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