Bloggers & Honesty: What Do YOU Think?

The issue of honesty in blogging is a hot button topic and we're tackling it head on this month.


Maybe Zoella’s ghost-writing scandal last year sparked it, but everywhere you look online right now, from to Mumsnet and beyond, one issue dominates: blogger behaviour in relation to payments and disclosure. People want honesty and transparency from the media that they read, whether that’s a magazine, newspaper or a blog.

Bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers using their following and influence as a means to score commercial work isn’t the problem – everyone’s entitled to make a living. It’s bloggers not being honest about when they’re paid to recommend a product which is the issue.

It leaves an uncomfortable impression, and STELLAR readers aren’t going to accept it any more if our survey results*, below, are anything to go by.

But there is change afoot. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASAI) of Ireland recently confirmed that its Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications applies to bloggers, and the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) is also developing Guidelines on Engagement with Social Media Influencers to sit alongside its Code of Ethics.

In our May issue, out now for €1.95, you can read a full 4-page report on the issue, where we talk to industry insiders, enforcers, brands and bloggers to get the complete picture.

We’d love to know what you think about the problem too. Comment below or tweet us @stellarmagazine using our hashtag #blogon.

  • 48% of STELLAR readers read blogs daily.
  • 95% follow bloggers on social media like Instagram (49%), Snapchat (27%), Twitter (15%), Facebook (10%).
  • 74% have bought something based on a blogger’s recommendation.
  • Transparency in blogging is very important to 67% of STELLAR readers.
  • 53% say Irish bloggers aren’t transparent enough.
  • 28% do not trust bloggers.
  • If a blogger works with brands, 50% say that makes them less trustworthy.
  • 49% think bloggers are less trustworthy than traditional media sources like magazines and newspapers.
  • Readers overwhelmingly trust their friends or acquaintances when it comes to product recommendations or reviews (59%), with only 18% choosing to trust a blogger.
  • 78% want bloggers to disclose income earned from their blogs.
  • 81% want bloggers to disclose when they are given items for free.
  • 70% don’t mind bloggers doing sponsored posts, however…
  • 94% say bloggers should disclose when they are paid to mention a brand.
  • 47% say that bloggers who do sponsored posts or collaborate with brands regularly are less authentic than bloggers who don’t.
  • When it comes to bloggers and sponsored social media posts, STELLAR readers want disclosure here too. 39% want to see a declaration at the start of the post, while 33% would be happy with disclosure anywhere in the copy or caption.
  • 70% say bloggers should disclose if they are paid to attend an event.
  • When bloggers come in for criticism from their readers for not disclosing about paid work or endorsements, 51% feel that the criticism is valid. 38% feel is is valid sometimes.

*Survey of 251 readers, March 2016.