Is ghost blogging a violation of the NAR code of ethics?

I’m slated to speak on a panel on how blogging can get you sued, (or fired) at Inman Connect this summer. I’ve been exploring topics related this week and studying up on RESPA, Copyright Infringement, and even the NAR Code of Ethics.

One business practice worth looking at in this regard is the act of hiring a ghost blogger. Specifically, to hire someone else to write complete blog posts for you, then publish them on you blog under your own name. This is a fairly common practice in the publishing world, and amung big name CEO’s. But these folks aren’t bound by the NAR Code of Ethics.

In reading the first sentence of article 12, I think this practice could be considered a breach.

REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.

Representing yourself as an expert by taking credit for advice that you simply did not create on your own is not honest in my book. I think it would be different, and completely acceptable if you credited the ghost post to a “staff writer”, or something similar. But signing you name to that work is a different story.

What do you think?

0 thoughts on “Is ghost blogging a violation of the NAR code of ethics?

  1. Jay Thompson

    If I were to use a ghost writer (and I never would) I would disclose it fully.

    I suspect one could argue (successfully, I think) that as long as they “approved” the post, then that’s all that is necessary to stay within the COE. After all, MANY people outsource more traditional advertising. They don’t create it, some don’t even make input on it. They just say, “yep, looks good” and off they go with it.

    It would be interesting to hear Dan Green’s take on this.

  2. Todd Carpenter

    Jay, I’m inclined to agree, except that a blog is different from tradition advertising. There’s a perception that the comment is the opinion, advice, or even the pure ramblings of the person who signs their name to it. That’s not the case with traditional advertising.

  3. Sparky

    Todd – I think it would be difficult to enforce/impose the COE in this instance. Personally, I think it negates the whole premise of conversational blogging, at least as it applies to realty blogging. It’s like agents who use self-pictures in their marketing that were taken 20 years ago. When they finally meet their clients in person, there is this HUGE shock factor. The agent is nothing like they portrayed themselves.


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