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Ghostbusters of the Blawgosphere Take Aim at 'Ghostblogging'

Ghostbusters It feels like a debate that has been going on for weeks, but it was just Thursday of last week when attorney/ghostbuster Mark Bennett wrote on his Social Media Tyro blog about "ghostblogging."

Bennett wrote that "[h]olding someone else's resume, face, or results out as your own in marketing your practice is fraudulent. No ethical lawyer could possibly think that any of that would be okay. So how is it okay for a lawyer to hire a ghostwriter to write his blog?" He specifically referenced a service called Legal Ghost Blogger ("Blogging by Professionals, for Professionals") that offers bloggers people who have a blog "a steady stream of content for your estate planning blog, created by an experienced writer and estate planning paralegal. Your content can be a mix of syndicated or original posts, with new material appearing on your blog several times a week."

Bennett also linked to a page on the LGB site filled with testimonials and photos from smiling clients who said things like, "I can’t say enough about The posts go reliably and consistently onto my blog seemlessly [sic] without me ever having to do a thing." The "ghost" behind LGB, Jenni Buchanan, then wrote to Bennett to defend ghostblogging, but also to request that Bennett remove his reference and link to LGB's client testimonials page. Bennett, of course, said "no way."

This then led to a barrage of posts and comments questioning everything from whether ghostblogging was ethical, to whether Bennett and others ghostbusters such as Scott Greenfield were behaving like "cyberbullies" by exposing the issue.

These are not simple questions, and the facts of each case may be key. For instance:

  • Is it ethical to have a ghostblogger secretly write your blog?
  • If not, what if you disclose that fact somewhere on the blog?
  • Is there anything wrong with ghostbusters such as Bennett highlighting and linking to a page on the LGB Web site that publicly lists its clients?
  • If not, would it be appropriate for ghostbusters to "out" people who secretly use ghostbloggers?

What do you think?

Posted by Bruce Carton on February 2, 2010 at 01:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)


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