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Some thoughts about ethics and my rules.

Posted on by Eric Burke

There has been a lot of talk about ethics in the whiskey community lately. And it has come to my attention that I have never plainly stated the ethics policies I use in running BourbonGuy.com. Here they are and the reasons for them. A permanent, and continually updated, version without the reasons will be posted for all to see over in main navigation.

I do not accept advertising. 
I have three reasons for this:

  1. I believe that advertising that would be relevant to my audience may come to subtly influence the content. Maybe not at first, but eventually. Maybe I choose to write one story instead of another. Or I try to write something bad in less bad terms. All to keep the money flowing. I don’t know for certain that it would happen, but if I’m not tempted, I’ll never have to find out. 
  2. I believe that advertising that is not relevant to my audience will annoy them. I don’t want that either. 
  3. Advertising will mess up the design of my site. I like it, I worked hard on it. I don’t want it cluttered up.

I will not allow a comment that disparages women, men, minority groups, or homosexuals (or anyone else for that matter). I will not allow xenophobic or racist comments on the site.
The world is filled with hate. I don’t like it. I want a little safe haven from it. This is my site, if you want to speak ill of someone, go have your free speech somewhere else.

I try to buy everything I review/I seldom accept review samples.
While free stuff doesn’t always influence the reviews. It almost always influences how people perceive the reviews. I want to be honest. I want people to trust that I am telling the truth. See below.

If I make an exception to the sample policy, I will disclose it at the beginning of the article.
“Of course you think that’s the best bourbon out there, they gave it to you for free!” I never want to have to hear this. Trust. It’s important. Plus I like not being fined by the government.

There are spirits industry people who I consider friends. If I ever review one of their products, I will disclose that fact at the beginning of the article. 
I will only review one of their products if I truly enjoy the product and think the audience will too. Yes, I want my friends to do well and they may be how I learned of a product. They will not, however, influence if I review something or not.

When I visit a distillery or whiskey event, I pay for my ticket and take the same tours everyone else can. If this is ever not the case, I will disclose that fact at the beginning of the article.
This is not an item that has come up. If the site continues to grow, it might. I take the normal tour because I’m a normal guy. Plus from an editorial standpoint, how can I tell you what the tour/event is like, or if you should go on/to it, if I’ve not done the one the reader will do? If I ever get the opportunity to do a “Media Event” or “Sneak Peak”, I will probably do so, but will disclose that fact. 

Beyond the sample policy above, I do not accept trips, gifts, or compensation in return for posts or reviews.
This is a final catchall. Just don’t offer me things for the blog. Make me aware of them and let me buy them myself? Sure.

These are the guidelines I’ve worked under since starting BourbonGuy.com. They are now out in the open and official. As things come up or I think of more, I will add it to the permanent list in the navigation. 

If you have any questions, click the contact icons to get a hold of me via email or your favorite social medium.

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