For a few years now, we’ve heard about bloggers and journalists being paid by companies to write on behalf of businesses – but because of a courtroom battle involving two IT giants, these “wild west” days of blogging are coming under the spotlight.
In news reports last week, we learned about a California court ruling aimed at forcing Google and Oracle to disclose the identities of bloggers or journalists who were paid in return for writing about issues related to the copyright battle the two firms are waging.
While Judge William Alsup ruled in favor of Google in the copyright suit, he said the case is not completely closed, arguing that details about paid bloggers could have an impact on an appeal of the ruling. The judge ordered that the company identify “all authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have reported or commented on any issues in this case and who have received money (other than normal subscription fees) from the party or its counsel during the pendency of this action.”
This could be a positive step for those marketing and public relations professionals who have adapted to a playing field changed by the increasing influence of blogs and other forms of social media — those of us who are working with bloggers to earn their support for the companies we represent.