Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Blogger’s Cattle

WOMMA, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, just released its "Ethical Blogger Contact Guidelines – 10 Principles for Ethical Contact by Marketers."

The principles can be summed up this way: Abide by the same ethics you’d use when pitching journalists, and don’t do anything illegal. Also, avoid coveting thy neighbor’s blogger’s cattle.

My question for WOMMA, and for any readers: do we really need ethics guidelines for this?

Those marketers who are engaging in best practices already know all this, and those who aren’t don’t care. As to the handful of marketers in the middle who aren’t following these principles but would if only they knew these principles existed… okay, I think that’s a straw man; I don’t think such a marketer exists.

Do marketers really need guidelines like "I will never ask bloggers to lie for me" and "I understand that if I send bloggers products for review, they are not obligated to comment on them"?

I’m not a member of WOMMA, and I’m in no particular rush to join, but if I were a member, I’d want my dues being put to better use.

As an aside, I’m still not sure what a WOMM is. You can engage in outdoor advertising or not. You can use search marketing or ignore it completely. Word of mouth marketing is something every marketer does, whether they know it or not, and it’s inherently part of any type of marketing. When it comes down to it, no marketer is in the business of driving word of mouth; marketers want to drive revenues, and WOM is usually a part of that.

Perhaps it’s this confusion over what WOM or WOMM is that led to a list of principles that no one really needs.