UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: BlogHer and Sponsored Bloggers: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Last year the BlogHer Conference saw a new phenomenon: Individual bloggers sponsored by companies to represent them at the conference. We issued guidelines for sponsored bloggers last year, and after gathering a lot of feedback both during and post-conference, we are updating those guidelines for 2010.
UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: We thought it would be a good idea to chime in and add two new FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) to the original list, so please check them out!
NEW! Q. Is everyone at this event sponsored?
A. We see a lot of folks out there assuming that every attendee is sponsored in some way or the other, but actually this is far from the truth. By our estimation less than a third of attendees are connected to sponsors, and that includes all the representatives from conference sponsors themselves! If you do not have a sponsor you are, in fact, like most attendees...sponsoring yourself to go, learn, network, connect and generally have a great time!
NEW! Q. What about those non-sponsored attendees...any guidelines for them?
A. As a matter of fact...Lots of attendees will be at the event to talk about their own work and interests...their products, services, arts & crafts, blogs, causes, projects, books, web sites, etc. Even if you are unsponsored, we gently suggest that you read the below guidelines, especially the one about last year's number one complaint: "distributing unwanted materials to other attendees." If you have materials to distribute, whether about a sponsor or not, please don't leave them lying around, and please let people opt in to receive them. We're a big, diverse group: Respecting one another's physical space is a good thing :)
Q. What does my sponsor get for sponsoring me?
A. By sponsoring your attendance at BlogHer 2010, your sponsor gets whatever benefits you agree to provide to them. Sponsoring an individual BlogHer conference attendee directly is not equivalent to sponsoring the event itself, and therefore attendee sponsors are not eligible for any official sponsor benefits. For example, you may decide to offer them ad space or other sponsored content on your blog. You may agree to wear logo wear at the event. You may agree to provide other consulting services in exchange for sponsorship.
Whatever you decide to offer, BlogHer Publishing Network members should simply remember to adhere to the Editorial Guidelines attached to your contract with BlogHer. This would mean, for instance, that if you write a post about your sponsor’s great products or services, you need to prominently disclose the relationship you have with them. Please contact the BlogHer Help Desk if you have questions: (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q. Can my sponsor have a booth at BlogHer 2010?
A. Only official sponsors of the BlogHer 2010 event itself receive official sponsor benefits, including exhibit tables or booths. Should your sponsor be interested in a bigger presence at the conference, such as a booth in the conference Expo Hall, our conference sales associate Jennifer Morris is available to assist – email@example.com.
Q. Can I pass out materials at the event?
A. One of the most widespread complaints we received about BlogHer ’09 was that sponsored bloggers were distributing unwanted materials to other attendees. We received overwhelming feedback that unsolicited materials from sponsored attendees were unappreciated and left a negative impression of both the attendee and the sponsor.
Therefore, in a change from last year’s guidelines, no sponsor swag, gifts or literature may be distributed within the conference space, directly or indirectly. Such materials will be removed if left lying on any surface within the conference space. Any bloggers seen indiscriminately distributing materials to attendees will be given a personal warning.
Any second incident, whether of leaving materials on a surface within the conference space or of indiscriminately distributing materials to attendees may result in the attendee’s badge being confiscated and attendance revoked for the rest of the conference.
Q. So, what is permissible?
Networking is a big part of BlogHer events. Of course, many attendees use the traditional business card to exchange information. Some attendees are more creative, offering buttons, bumper stickers, and other similar vehicles for their blog URLs and/or Twitter handles. You may include your sponsor information on such materials.
To be clear: You may include sponsor information on your contact materials, that you would exchange in the normal course of networking. You may not pass out sponsor materials.
Finally, while BlogHer will enforce these rules within the official conference space only, we encourage sponsored attendees to consider adhering to this policy outside the official space as well. Some attendees will express direct interest in your sponsor and what they have to offer. If someone doesn't express such an interest, we recommend assuming they are not interested!
Q. Can I wear clothes that are branded with my sponsor’s information?
A. No problem! Again, since you will likely be passing out business cards, another idea is to put your sponsor’s information on the back side of your card.
Q. Can I host a private party for my sponsor?
A. Should you wish to host a private party for your sponsor, your event must be held at a separate venue. All of the suites and meeting space within the New York Hilton will be held for official conference events only.
Q. What should I do if I witness an unofficial sponsor or a sponsored blogger violating the above guidelines?
A. Our goal is to ensure a pleasant and rewarding experience for all attendees. Should you witness a violation of the above guidelines, please reach out to a BlogHer staff member at our Registration/Information kiosk. Any reports will be kept anonymous. BlogHer Staff will attempt to independently verify any complaint before taking action.