Ethics debate will never die, just multiply (colors)

Forgive me for the lame Ice-T reference, but much like Ice-T’s acting career when that song came out, the topic of ethics and the web are in its infancy — so don’t expect it to go away any time soon.

A few weeks ago I presented the 10 Simple Rules for conducting ethical blogger relations campaigns and someone asked “Why not impose an ethics code for the bloggers?”. My response was that it didn’t make sense for an association for brands and agencies to write it. Here’s another example of how it doesn’t make sense:

A recent Microsoft Vista campaign, in which certain bloggers were given $2,000 laptops loaded with Vista, has bloggers once again talking about ethics and disclosure. The debate continues…

Separately, the World Organization of Webmasters (or “WOW”) is taking the ethics issue on in 2007 as well. Based on their blog, it appears they’re referring to accuracy when it comes to billing, knowledge, skill sets, etc. Certifications have tried to impose some sort of standard but none have really caught on.

We’ve discussed this issue for the past few years on the CIS Advisory Board at Henry Ford – what standards are recognized by businesses/employers, if any? I’ve argued that it’s nice to have the certifications but the proof is in the pudding – show me your code and I’ll judge for myself. One former employer gave written and hands-on exams during interviews to test coding and application (such as Photoshop) knowledge. Could adopting a similar practice for employers be the answer, WOW?

Tagged: Microsoft, ethics, world organization of webmasters, WOMMA, Ice-T

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