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Is ghost-blogging an acceptable business practice?

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

Today’s poll analysis post was written by Erik Deckers, the owner of Professional Blog Service, a corporate blogging and social-media agency. He is also the co-author of “Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself,” due out in December 2010 from Pearson.

SmartPulse — our regular reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Our most recent poll question: Do you believe that ghost-blogging is an acceptable practice for businesses?

  • Yes — 54.49%
  • No — 45.51%

If you want to start a shouting match at a social-media conference, ask any of these questions: Who talks better smack, Jason Falls or Gary Vaynerchuk? Is WordPress or TypePad better? Is ghost-blogging ethical? While the first two questions can generate some energetic debates, if you want to enrage dozens of people at once, pose the ghost-blogging question at a conference, and then watch the fireworks.

But despite the controversy, ghost-blogging is an acceptable business practice, according to you, the social-media practitioners who responded. But just barely. (Insert your own hanging chad joke here.)

We asked you whether you thought ghost-blogging — writing blog posts on behalf of a corporate client — is an acceptable business practice, and 156 of you responded. The results are a little surprising, as 54.49% said “yes” and 45.51% said “no.”

The surprise was that it was so close. I actually believed the “yeas” would be around 60% or higher, so this shows that while blogging as a marketing tool is growing in acceptance in the corporate setting, and the need for ghost-blogging has grown, it’s still not getting much respect in the social-media community.

That’s because transparency and authenticity are still the battle cries for social-media purists. And while ghost-bloggers and their allies don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, people on the other side still believe it’s bad for companies to hire someone to write their blog posts for them.

Still, that doesn’t stop marketers from recognizing that blogging is important, but that they don’t have the time to do it themselves. So where will it end? Will ghost-blogging continue to grow in acceptance? Or will these numbers fall in the coming years?

What do you think? What’s good or bad about it? Why is it OK, or what makes ghost bloggers moral reprobates? Here’s the real challenge: Can you give your answer without using the words “transparency” or “authenticity?”

Do you believe that ghost blogging is an acceptable practice for businesses?