We are pleased to announce, and recognize the responsibility to disclose, that the BIOstock Blog has a sponsor - Price BIOstock Services (PBS). PBS is the subject of an article BIOconversion Blog ran in October entitled Inventing the BIOstock Services Concept.
I have posted an announcement of the sponsorship relationship on each page of this blog which simply states: "Sponsored in part by Price BIOstock Services."
The relationship between bloggers and their sponsors are becoming an area of some fascination. Recently, fellow blogger Jeff McIntire-Strasburg of Sustainablog, who also writes for Treehugger, attended the L.A. Auto Show. His trip was financed by Shell Oil and its online press relations company, Edelman.
Shell's requirement for sponsorship involved Jeff's posting the following legal disclosure on his blog:
Shell has underwritten Jeff McIntire-Strasburg's travel expenses to attend the LA Auto Show. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is not required to blog about Shell products or initiatives. The only Shell requirement as a condition of underwriting these expenses was to include this disclosure of this relationship on sustainablog.
After returning from his trip, Jeff subsequently took great pains to answer potential critics by writing a post on his blog titled Shell, Public Relations, and the LA Auto Show. In it he makes an astute observation:
I do believe that the Green Blogosphere and the green movement in general simply have to engage and build relationships with these companies. We're certainly not alone here -- NRDC and the Rocky Mountain Institute have worked with Wal-Mart, a representative of the Union of Concerned Scientists was a part of the Schwarzenegger press conference at the Auto Show (and was complimentary of the efforts by the governor and the auto companies represented at the press conference). None of this, including my trip, should be seen as an endorsement of everything these companies and politicians do -- I think we've all been openly critical when the situation called for it; we've also praised developments that we believe are largely positive. I plan to keep that stance -- you'll, of course, be the ultimate judges of whether I'm successful.
In short, there needs to be engagement between companies and the public - and that is a service of blogs. Blogs are educational vehicles. Those who write blogs are the first students. It is our privilege to be tasked with the responsibility to read what is going on in our chosen focus area and to write about it. Bloggers do need to be discerning about what they report for fear of misleading the public. Failure to do so reduces credibility and the integrity of the blog.
Supporting blogs aids the sponsor in several ways. Obviously, it provides them with heightened visibility, but it also provides them with vital news about the rapid changes in their industry, areas for growth, and insight into the demands of the marketplace. This is an important service for them to provide to their clients as well.
I have been given no guidelines by PBS on what I can or cannot write about. Using Sustainablog's legal disclosure as a template, I wish to aver:
The Price Companies, Inc./BIOstock Services division is underwriting a portion of the expense of research and editing of the BIOstock Blog. C. Scott Miller is not required to blog about Price BIOstock Services. The only requirement as a condition of underwriting these expenses was to include this disclosure of this relationship on the BIOstock Blog.