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Codes of Ethics for PR & SEO are Welcome but Worrisome June 15, 2006

Posted by The PR Cassandra in Posts.

I have been pleased to note a number of Codes of Ethics by various organizations in public relations and SEO (search engine optimization).  I welcome this, because of the deterioration of ethical behavior and practices that I and many of my colleagues in the business world have witnessed, particularly since the dot com boom and bust era.  Yet, it is worrisome, in that we didn’t seem to need to focus on such a plethora of explicit codes of ethics in various areas of corporate governance, marketing, public relations and so on, until recently.

This concern over ethics appears to be a global phenomenon.  It appears that if the London Stock Exchange — if taken over by a US company — will be governed by the costly Sarbanes-Oxley corporate governance regulations, affecting companies seeking to go public on the UK Stock Exchange, perhaps due to the lower costs.

International public relations codes of ethics include those of the IPRA‘s, for example, in the area of Media Transparency, which includes not bribing journalists and not passing off paid coverage as editorial, when it is really advertising.  Bruce Clay has established an SEO Code of Ethics that benefits consultants and clients alike (the less fraud in SEO, the better for us all).  Virtually all reputable professional organizations have codes of ethics, but today, there seems to be a dividing line between those who really care and those who don’t.

I agree with Bruce Clay that following ethical practices is smart business.  Those practicing “Black Hat” SEO techniques may be able to get a quick result, but the search engines have dedicated significant resources to heading off the bad guys at the pass, so to speak. 

The cost to a company that thinks it can cut corners can be delisting from top search engines for years, as Bruce explained to us in his SEO ToolSet seminars, (which tools and ethical practices we at Agora Marketing are deploying to significantly enhance our clients’ marketing and PR programs). 

And, as I found out from speaking with some of the other attendees, can also lead to some pretty disatisfied customers with emptier pockets and nothing to show for it.



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