Let’s face it, most people don’t even know what a blog is.

They go online seeking information and if the site (website or blog) they land on gives them what they’re looking for, they’re happy.

But, what happens if the site (blog) gives the wrong information?

Today’s Lesson

Like many of you, I do a lot of research online. Not just for my online endeavors, but for business and personal purposes, too.

Because I know what a blog looks like, I make a mental note each time I land on one. I know what I’m reading is usually the blogger’s opinion only and even though they make a claim, if they’re not citing a reliable source or aren’t a blogger I know I can trust, I assume the information is probably based on their experience.

Unfortunately, I see comments on some blogs which state, “That didn’t work for me”, “You didn’t warn me not to….”, “I damaged, broke, scratched, ruined my __(fill in the blank)__after following your advice.”, or “I purchased the item based on your recommendations and am totally disappointed.”

Sometimes the blog author responds with an apology. Sometimes not.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that as bloggers we can share our hints, tips and reviews, but as I blogger, I also know if a product is being reviewed and an affiliate link is attached, there may be some bias.

But, what about our readers? What if they don’t realize they’ve landed on a blog?

Because we publish information online, a lot of our readers will believe it, will follow instructions exactly as we post them, will copy what we did in a specific situation or will spend money on a product we recommend. If we neglect to list each step (in the instructions), don’t disclose we may be compensated for the purchase they make or don’t post necessary warnings, people or their belongings could suffer damage – physically or financially.

So, should blogs post a disclosure (not just in the terms of use) which states, “reader beware”?

What say you?

Today’s Assignment

How much responsibility should a blogger take for what they publish?

If you posted something that harmed a person or ruined an item, how would you handle the situation?

Care to share?

signature for blog post

Related Posts with Thumbnails
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Look Who's Talking
  1. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I think we need to acknowledge that many of these sites are just giving their opinions, just like your friends are. And of course, the affiliate marketers are your friends (or “friends”) that is trying to sell you insurance or cosmetics. And then there are people who speak with authorities because they are experts in their field. Not that you usually go check the credentials of your real life friends.

    It’s only a danger when you believe whatever your friends said.
    Check out Kelvin Kao’s awesome post.I am on TV!My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      That’s true. Ideally we will check and even double check, what others are saying to insure we’re making an informed decision.

  2. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Disclosures are actually required by federal regulations:

    These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service. Likewise, if a company refers in an advertisement to the findings of a research organization that conducted research sponsored by the company, the advertisement must disclose the connection between the advertiser and the research organization. And a paid endorsement – like any other advertisement – is deceptive if it makes false or misleading claims. http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

    Check out Mike Goad’s awesome post.Park Avenue to Balanced Rock.My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Mike,

      I’m happy you brought that up. Whenever we are attaching affiliate links and/or reviewing a product for which we may receive cash or some type of “payment”, law requires us to disclose those affiliations so as not to mislead our readers.

      What I didn’t know was the part you quoted about companies who refer to the findings of a research organization. That’s great as it further informs the consumer.

  3. Barbara,

    I was going to mention disclosure is required under certain circumstances, but Mike has already done that for me.

    While I don’t need to worry about the disclosure piece of things myself since I blog for free, I usually try to provide a balanced treatment of the topics in my posts – this analysis will work in this situation, but not that one, etc.

    One further comment, this is not only for blogs. Some discussion groups on LinkedIn, facebook, etc. I end up getting the sense that someone is trying to sell something just by what they agree with or dispute or how they go about doing it, though it is not always apparent why.

    We should all beware when on-line, whether the blogger or group participant warns us or not.
    Check out david k waltz’s awesome post.Working Capital – Inventory Economic Order QuantityMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David,

      That’s true. Oftentimes we’ll see other people “pushing” a product or service but are unaware why. I know with bloggers, we often refer each others products or services, but because they’re not “paid” referrals, how we word our accolades could make it confusing.

  4. veredNo Gravatar says:

    I think we do have to post a disclaimer, but generally it’s good enough to post it on the legal page/terms of use, no need to post a disclaimer on each blog post.
    Check out vered’s awesome post.Lemon MuffinsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      Like you, I think it’s important to have a disclaimer on our blogs, but I also wonder who really reads them.

  5. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. it all becomes a bit bureaucratic and off putting (like Health and Safety over here) .. I don’t feel I need a disclosure or warning on my blog .. it’s me.

    I try and get everything about as correct as possible .. and the overall details in the post are essential correct – and really I do believe Reader Beware .. or Reader Have Some Common Sense ..

    The proneness of people wanting to sue for everything gets my goat .. do we not think before we act?

    Cheers – Hilary

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Hilary,

      I agree. With your blog and how you research the facts so well, it’s obvious what you’re publishing are you views only.

      Yes. There are people who are sue happy, however I wonder how successful they’d be suing a blogger who is only sharing their viewpoint and not dishing out something like medical advice.

  6. Hi Barbara,

    As a blogger, or at least grown up with computers all around, i think it it is easy to assume that people know what they are looking at. It’s so normal to us. So, some sort of disclosure is probably a good idea(or a must as some people stated here). However, a disclosure on a blog written by a blogger should or could be a not so formal one. Just a informal “btw, this is my opinion” is enough. And it keeps the blog personal, which in my opinion ;) is the beauty of blogs.

    Rex
    Check out rex @ product profiler’s awesome post.Nespresso D290My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Rex,

      I like you idea of casually stating, “in my opinion…”, so that the reader knows what they’re reading is just that.

      Unfortunately, although we (generally speaking) know blogs are usually opinion based only, we can’t assume everyone knows. Case in point, I have a friend who’s not computer savvy and they called to tell me they had found specific information online and then asked me if it was indeed fact. When they gave me the URL, I researched it further and found it was a blogger who, based on how they had worded their post, made their statements sound credible (but they weren’t).

  7. Sandy MackNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara that really some excellent advice. I personally do not beieve in any of the statements made by blogger unless the quote the authority site. ithen check the sit to determine hwether the author was mis-quoted.
    Check out Sandy Mack’s awesome post.does the lemonade diet workMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Sandy,

      Like you, I also check and double check. Even though a blogger might quote what they feel is a credible source, when we research the topic further, we might find “the source” is instead a paid post or a site which bends the truth.

  8. JoyNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Interesting. I believe if one is posting an affiliate link or providing a service that disclosure is required. If one is merely sharing stories and reflections, perhaps a disclosure is not required.
    I clearly state this is my way of life and my opinion, and it is a heart-led one so involves a bit of “vulnerability and risk”. I also know that many in today’s society look to blame others instead of take accountability for their choices. If I choose to follow another word for word, that is “on me”, and like you, I research before I invest my time, energy, or money.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Joy,

      That’s true. If whatever information we’re looking for entails us investing our time, money or energy, it’s best to look for more than one source that confirms it’s validity.

      And yes, I also think some people prefer not to do the extra work and if what they do/buy/invest in doesn’t work, they can use us (generally speaking) as a fall guy so like you said, they don’t have to be accountable for their own actions.

  9. Quite important points and questions you have shared to keep the blog safe. Because different people search for different information and it happens sometimes that the wrong information with right keywords which is totally unacceptable in any way. Your information will definitely help readers to take care of this. Thank you very Barbara for taking time to write such helpful article.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Kevin,

      That’s a good point about blogs or websites which use keywords. Not only do a lot of them end up on the first or second page of the search results, but those who are looking for specific information may not dig deeper or change their search terms in order to find the best source for what they’re looking for.

      One thing I do if I doubt a product or service is to search for the name of the product/service and then add “scam”. That usually flushes out most of the positive reviews which might be paid reviews.

  10. AndyNo Gravatar says:

    That is one of the price people have to pay for for not using the best resources to learn about the things they wanted. However, this lesson is a double-edged sword; the bloggers should make sure that their posts are as accurate as possible.
    Check out Andy’s awesome post.guitar lessons dvdsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Andy,

      I agree. As bloggers we should be responsible and only publish what we believe is the truth. I know for some it’s difficult to be negative if they’re hoping to sell a product via an affiliate link, but I think sharing both the positive and the negative of a product makes a review sound more credible.

  11. EmilyNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, you are so right about a lot of people not being able to distinguish between an authorized website and a blog. I do help my children already now, while they are young, to not just accept everything they read, but try to find different sources of information first, and then decide what to believe.
    Check out Emily’s awesome post.dental implantsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Emily,

      That’s smart on your part – to teach your children how not to accept everything they read. Not only will they learn to research before they spend their hard earned money, but they’re also learning how to act when they’re online.

  12. I think this post is great, not everyone consider the possible effects the information you give might have on a reader. I know the majority of people in their privacy policy put a disclosure paragraph but not every reader will click on that link as to be honest it is not what there looking for when they reach your website. I always leave the last paragraph in each post just to reiterate the fact that my site is full of tips which are my own opinion and not scientific fact. Also that all information given and tips shown may not work for everyone just so the reader knows that it might not be successful for them. :)
    Check out Diane Shepard’s awesome post.How To Relieve StressMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Diane,

      That’s a great way to end a post. Not only will your readers be aware you’re only sharing what worked for you, but they’ll probably be cautious before trying your tips AND you may also be teaching them to act likewise when they read other hints or tips online.

  13. I definitely think that affiliate links should be disclosed as such… The more transparency you have, the more trust you gain from your readers. However I think it’s pretty evident that opinions in a blog aren’t facts, and I can’t really believe that people would believe what they read blindly, as internet users these days are more savvy than ever… But maybe there are people out there, who knows. It’s not something I’ve ever really thought about before.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Liz,

      With regard to affiliate links, as Mike stated (second comment), it’s the law in the U.S. that the affiliation must be disclosed, however it may be different in other countries.

      Like you, I’d like to believe internet users are savvy enough to know some blogs are only stating their opinions, but when I think how more and more children and elderly people are coming online, I try not to assume they know fact from fiction.

  14. Adrian@PULNo Gravatar says:

    Hello Barbara, first of all I would say You have raised a serious question which everyone should think and react about. Although Readers don’t get the proper sense of a real blog or any authoritative page, they have a rough concept on which information to rely on!! Okay Back to the point, Being a blogger me and almost every serious blogger understands the real value of their words because the statements which I say or Publish in my popular blogs represents my image and a kind of factor which stimulates my readers to react upon and follow.. For ex.. If i am going to write any review about any product , i will be little bit skeptical about that product i.e. I will try to mention both the positive as well as negative factors of that product! Since even you have said the right point that their is always a bias kind of situation where some will be in our favor and some will be not, hence by being a responsible blogger I have to face and treat both of the sides in proper way and give them the right feedback. Before publishing any content a blogger should be transparent about his thoughts!

    Thanks Barabara

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Adrian,

      I’m with you. I think as bloggers we need to be responsible for what we publish. As you mentioned, not only does it affect our online reputation, but we’re also building a better internet.

      As for product reviews, I don’t believe any product is perfect, nor do most potential customers believe they are. All the more reason, like you mentioned, to publish the good and the bad and let the reader make up their mind based on what we’ve shared,

  15. VectorPileNo Gravatar says:

    Look, I just followed all your recommendations in this post and now my life is ruined. I’m out of money, my wife has left me for a plumber, and my kids don’t call me daddy anymore.

    Can I just get my money back from the bad investment advice, or do I have to sue you? I don’t care if you’re running a blog or something like that – I trusted you because I found you through google.

    Did I mention that I’m offended?
    Check out VectorPile’s awesome post.Retro Vector Skull DesignMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      LOL Vector Pie, :)

      I’m sure some people think like that – that if they find something online, it’s true. Sadly there’s a lot of misinformation online. All the more reason to be smart and informed consumers – of products, services and/or information.

  16. DerekNo Gravatar says:

    On the web, anyone can can be a publisher, individuals can make their voices heard through comments on nearly every item of content, and search puts individuals rather than media brands in control of content discovery. We should be responsible.
    Check out Derek’s awesome post.P90X ReviewsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Derek,

      True. As bloggers we are published “writers” and what we say is often taken very seriously by our readers – all the more reason to blog responsibly.

  17. susanNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barb!
    Good food for thought here. I do have disclaimers on my website that I am not a doctor but rather a nutritional counselor. I have not felt the actual need to put it on blogs since I do quote sources where I feel it is important.

    You know that old saying “Consider the source”? Everyone should. I know you do, you know I do. For the most part, I would like to think that people do consider the source – and if they want answers they go to several sources.
    Then of course, there are people who don’t – they find one thing on the net and think its gospel. There is little one can do to save ignorant people – disclaimers or not. We can potentially worry ourselves so much about the information we put out there that we stop putting anything relevant out there at all. That would be awful!

    Hugs
    Susan
    Check out susan’s awesome post.Eating Pesticides – Today’s Food for Nobody’s Tomorrow?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Susan,

      I like your idea of quoting your sources. That leave the door open for those who are reading your posts to read what you read and show them how you came to your conclusions.

      I agree. Some people have a hard time considering an opposing point of view. Sadly, their tunnel vision could cripple them to the point of mental paralysis.

  18. LETNo Gravatar says:

    if i trust you enough because of the emotional bank accounts that you gained on me from the past, i think you have the right to sell me anything, or give an affiliate link for that matter.
    Check out LET’s awesome post.Marine Deck Officers March 2012 Room AssignmentMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi LET,

      That’s true. If a fellow blogger, site owner or company has gained our trust, we won’t doubt whatever they’re selling, affiliate link or not.

  19. Jackie StoneNo Gravatar says:

    When I read a blog post about a review of a product or service online, I try to find other blogs about the same subject matter to see if there is consistency between bloggers. I guess I am looking to see if the review is indeed genuine or just for monetary gain. If I do find that the blogger is sharing the truth and not just looking for a quick buck, I certainly feel a lot better about the whole situation.
    Check out Jackie Stone’s awesome post.Stop Sweaty HandsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jackie,

      That’s a great idea – to find more than one blogger who’s reviewing the same product. As you mentioned, if what we find is consistent across the board, we’re more easily sold.

  20. JohnNo Gravatar says:

    What you read isn’t always correct. Even though a blog post’s source is Wikipedia, you can’t really tell whether it’s true in its truest. Mind you, everyone can edit information in Wikipedia. Sometimes, I ask around and if I get an answer from a few people, then I’ll definitely go with that fact. It doesn’t help doing a little research from what you’ve just read online.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi John,

      I’m happy your brought that up about Wikipedia and how anyone can edit the information. It ends up being only as reliable as those who edited it.

      I like you idea of asking friends in the real world, too. Not only are they more likely looking out for our best interests, but may have experience with the information first hand.

  21. Thank you for sharing this great information that gives us an idea how our blog site can be considered as Authority site, all I know is its not easy to gain reputation in Google, specially that they keep on changing their own algorithm, testimonial is really important for our site to expand. sometimes blogger who don’t have reputation in Google keeps on sharing some lies, so it is better to we must know.
    Check out Kate Brown Wilson’s awesome post.Fab DefenseMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kate,

      Yes. Testimonials are another great source. Granted, some could be fictitious, however if a blogger shares testimonials plus links to their customer(s), chances are they’ll be truthful.

      • Hi there Barbara its been awhile since my last visit to your site, and I really want to thank you for your reply. so true that testimonial is very important specially when you want your site to rank.
        Check out Kate Brown Wilson’s awesome post.קבלהMy Profile

  22. MuratNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Here are my thoughts. You are right that many people will not differentiate a blog from a thin affiliate website or a shop, or even a wiki. They are looking for persuasion that they make the right decision to buy a product. Most reviews are biased for sure and can lead to wrong decisions. But, I think it is a rare case. At the end, a natural selection will be done on the bad quality products. I only provide real information with pros and cons on my blogs for example.

    We can apply this to informational blogs as well.
    Check out Murat’s awesome post.RooCase Leather Folio Case for Transformer PrimeMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Murat,

      I know. For those who come online to research a service or product, it can be difficult to differentiate between the sites they land on. I like your idea of listing the pros and cons for products. That way the consumer will be properly informed before making a purchase and won’t feel like you ripped them off.

  23. Clint GarvinNo Gravatar says:

    The internet is still relatively new, and many of its users come from a time when magazines/newspapers/print media in general were gospel. Everything in the paper was believed to be true. This is a trend that has transitioned into the digital world. There are still folks that think, hey, if this was published, it must be true. Younger generations are hip to the idea that a lot of a the stuff you read online is fabricated, satirical, or just fake, but older generations are still in the mindset of, “oh, this is published content, and therefore trustworthy.”

    People are catching on more and more to the reality of the internet, that some stuff is all opinion, no fact, some things can be trusted, some can’t. We will get there in time.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Clint,

      You’ve raised a good point – some readers to the internet are coming from the print media “generation” where what they read was “supposedly” truthful. I realize (some) journalists are schooled to be unbiased and publish only the facts, however with the onset of blogs and wikis, it’s hard to know who published the information and what their credentials and ethics are.

  24. Barbera, you raise an interesting point here, but what I would like to add is that ultimately all things online are written by somebody, and it’s not just blogs that are people’s own opinion. Almost website, blog or not could be just as potentially biased or whatever.

    There are some official health ones, for instance in the uk the nhs (national health service) has one, and this is a source of info I trust as they have standards to upkeep, but even then an individual article may contain biases or even mistakes.

    Still your point is valid, in that we as bloggers do or should have, a moral responsibility to think about how the info we present will be used. Louisa
    Check out Strollers and prams’s awesome post.Best Strollers And PramsMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Louisa,

      You’re right. It is up to us, as bloggers, to consider how the information we post will be used. I think if we take the time to put ourselves in our readers shoes, we’re more apt to err on the side of caution and word our posts so they’re not misconstrued.

      And, if we’re posting legal or medical “tips”, we need to disclose if we’re a schooled professional or not.

  25. Lily RoseNo Gravatar says:

    I guess that the proper course of action for me to determine if the damage is really my fault. If I wrote an openly invitational post about a product, I would consider myself responsible, at least partially, and apologize.

    However, if I wrote an honest testimonial about my experience, that is in no way my responsibility if something bad happened to somebody else. I was merely telling what happened.
    Check out Lily Rose’s awesome post.Is the Healthy Trim Price Worth It for the Results?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lily,

      Your comment reminded me of how it’s not so much what we say, but how we say it. And as you mentioned, if we’re writing about our own experience, (and it’s worded as such), the reader will be more aware the same may not work for them.

  26. I guess it all has to do with what is right for you may not be right for someone else….I think that people who land on a “Random page” should not equate the information as the absolute truth….The best way to make a decision is to gather up different sources and then come up with your conclusion. And I think most people understand that.

    Maybe just disclosing that it’s your opinion for a controversial topic would be of help!

    Leon
    Check out Leon T @ Learn to dance online’s awesome post.Choosing a Dance StyleMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Leon,

      That’s true. It should be up to the reader to check more than one source.

      I like your idea of disclosing “this is my opinion only” for posts which could be construed as controversial. That would also open the door for others to share their thoughts, as well. And then the reader could discern for themselves based on various viewpoints.

  27. beach chairNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    I guess we should mention all these things related to any product we sell or promote in the legal page/disclaimer page so that one can understand that its just bloggers review. Also people should learn to know how to check whether a blog or even a website is trustworthy or not. We can even provide a link as a disclosure at the bottom of the page so that if any reader is interested in it he can get it directly from our post. It will create trust among the readers.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Beach Chair,

      Yes. If we post a disclosure, a reader will be not only be more informed, but may learn to check for disclosures on other sites, too.

  28. Scott JonesNo Gravatar says:

    I would say it’s not only the blogger’s responsibility to add a disclosure, but it’s also the reader’s responsibility to double check the information provided and do further research, especially if it regards the purchase of costly items. You cannot take the word of a blogger for granted, whether or not they are being paid for it, no one person has the same taste, choice and appreciation of something.
    Check out Scott Jones’s awesome post.What You Need To Know About the Disabled Tax ClassMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Scott,

      You’re right. It is a two way street. That said, readers often forget that and believe everything they find online.

      For bloggers, I think it’s easy enough to either add a disclaimer or to word a post in such a manner the reader won’t be confused. And that way, we know we’ve done our part.

  29. I feel that there are two types of bloggers. There are bloggers that just write generic information on a topic, then use seo tricks to get themselves ranked in the search engines. Then there are bloggers that write genuine content and there reputation is built by returning visitors and quality links. Google still treats these two sites the same I feel in their search engines. That is why I feel that users who rely on search engines for all their answers and reading should not expect to get the most quality and accurate information.
    Check out Chris Roberts’s awesome post.5 things to know before registering a domain nameMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chris,

      You’ve raised a good point. In fact, it’s something I run into, myself. I know the articles I find on the first page of two of Google may be biased (based on the fact the authors are using SEO), so I’ll take the time to dig deeper. That said, most people don’t, so as you mentioned, in those cases it does become “reader beware”.

  30. The number one post that people come to on my blog is about a book review that I did on my own…About 600 readers a month, check out that post. When I had it as an affiliate ad on my site, not a single individual purchased anything. After a year I took it off. They send me hundreds of emails a year…not a penny…now they want me to advertise their conference in Florida in August…they promise to pay me $50 a person registered….ahhhh I do not believe them.

    I put lots of disclaimers on my site and be open….but I do think it is unfair that this group keeps signing up people directly and do not pay me anything at all….it does bring new folks to my blog – about 600 per month. :)

    After 4 years…I am finding most of the spiritual/ LOA sites very borning to read…they do not grow…
    I think after time one can spot the made up stuff, and yes we need to be a bit cautious about new readers…
    Integrity seems to be a word with many meanings these days.
    Now that dozens of his advertisers have pulled out Mr. Limbaugh says he was only joking -

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Ahhh. Affiliate links. That’s a topic for another post, but I hear what you’re saying.

      Integrity is important. With bloggers trying to build their brand online, I think it’s vital we blog responsibly. Not only can that help us grow our blogs and our online presence, but when and if we branch out and begin selling our own products or services, we’re more apt to get recommendations from fellow bloggers from whom we’ve gained trust.

  31. Adam JamesNo Gravatar says:

    I always make sure I include some form of disclosure along with privacy policy etc on my blogs or any products or reports I create.

    I always do recommend that readers do their own due diligence before purchasing a product I recommend whether it’s free or not and insist they seek legal advice when needed as I’m not a lawyer.

    I think it would be great if we could all take responsibility for products we recommend or services etc, but there is a lot of variables that come into the mix because as bloggers we can only assume the situation that our readers will find ourselves in and what works for one person may not work for someone else.

    And in this day in age, people generally like to throw blame around when things don’t work for them, and in a lot of cases end up blaming the wrong parties.
    Check out Adam James’s awesome post.WPSubscribers Plugin ReviewMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Adam,

      By the sounds of it, you cover all bases. I like your idea of recommending to your readers that they do additional research or consult an attorney, if need be.

      That’s true – often the wrong party is blamed. Unfortunately, in some cases, it’s the consumer who’s really to blame – only because they chose not to take responsibility for their actions.

  32. JackoNo Gravatar says:

    If you post something you are responsible for the violation of copyright if you are trying to take someone else’s stuff and use it as your own.

    So in that sense bloggers are 100% responsible.

    What do you think?
    Check out Jacko’s awesome post.Man uses technology to control other people?My Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jacko,

      You’re right. If a blogger claims to be the “owner” of something that’s been copyrighted, they are to blame.

  33. I agree with Kelvin,

    People should be aware by not to not trust everything you hear on the internet. However learning good search behavior and learning how to recognize an “authority site” can minimize the crap you have to tred through to find what you’re looking for.

    -Brent
    Check out Brent @DegreesFinder’s awesome post.Business Degree ProgramMy Profile

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Brent,

      Yes. Learning good search tactics is essential. Not only can a reader find authoritative sites, but they’ll be more apt to base a decision on fact and not bias.

  34. This is so true. Unfortunately, a lot of people are familiar with the term, blog, but they don’t really know what it is. I don’t think there should be a Readers Beware tab or section because it looks silly. It’s high time that netizens learn to watch for themselves. There have been so many victims of false advertising online and I hope people would learn from that and not easily believe anything and everything online.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jian,

      In a perfect world all internet readers/searchers would realize the difference between blogs, websites, wikis, etc, however with the way blogs are now being designed, some are more professional looking than websites which only present facts.

  35. Good point. I really believe that writing in a blog is the same thing as writing a term paper, thesis or dissertation–it has to be credible, original, authentic and comprehensive enough through researches. On the other hand, readers should be cautious enough to try browsing through other blogs to make sure the information they got from one blog isn’t false.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Pinay,

      I hear you. As bloggers we need to take responsibility for what we’re posting. Although we’re not being graded on our content, our loyal readers are more apt to come back, refer us to others and possibly link to our posts when what we’re sharing is well documented and accurate.

  36. Bloggers plays a huge role today in spreading information on the internet. Therefore, every blogger must establish integrity and credibility as a source of information. We should blog to provide readers right information and not mislead them for our own advantage.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Danica,

      I agree. It’s important we blog responsibly considering how most of our visitors will believe what we’ve posted and may even act on it.

  37. I love the fact that as bloggers we can share our hints, tips and reviews, but as I blogger, I also know if a product is being reviewed and an affiliate link is attached, there may be some bias.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi HVAC,

      You’re right. Affiliate links can imply bias is present. I think that’s why it’s important to check more than one source for consistency regarding the value of a product.