The Bloggers Union (or Association)

By Daniel Scocco

Should we create a bloggers union? This idea was floating on my head, so I decided to share with everyone.

Sometime ago there were already rumors on the Internet that some bloggers on the U.S. wanted to create such a union. Their purpose, however, was completely different from what I have in mind.

Basically they wanted to unionize the blogger profession, just like you have the dentists or writers union. Their main concern was health care and similar issues.

Now while this could be a good idea, I think that we need something more practical on the Web. That is, a union focused on helping and protecting bloggers with several problems, including:

1. Copyright infringement and content scraping
2. Online scams
3. Legal threats from companies and third parties

The union would be able to provide help for bloggers with similar problems in different ways. First of all it could have a fund, based on donations of members and other volunteers, to help bloggers facing legal issues.

Secondly, it would also provide advice on those issues. Ideally we would have some attorneys aboard, counseling the members on what action to take on the different situations,

Finally, the members itself could help each other to solve potential problems by blogging about them. Suppose one day the union grows to 2,000 members. If one of the members gets scammed by an online company, he would forward the problem to the union, and upon verification that the problem is real, we could ask all the 2,000 members to write a post outing that company.

I am not sure about you, but if I were an online company, I would think twice before messing around with such large group of bloggers. Combined we could reach millions of people on a matter of days, and probably hurt the reputation of some small businesses for good.

Obviously all matters would need to be taken seriously and not lightly. Each problem would need to be evaluated by a board before actions were to be taken.

Still I think it could work. Right now small bloggers are just too isolated to be able to fight for their rights. You see pretty every day a case where someone is getting scammed, someone else is getting threatened by a company just because he expressed his opinions and so on.

Should we get together, I am sure people would think twice before messing up.

What do you think about the idea? Would you be interested in joining? Any suggestions on how it could work?

I have created a private mailing list on Google to discuss the idea (the mailing itself come evolve to become the union). If you want to join just use the contact form and let me know in what email I should send you an invite.

Update: The union would work for all bloggers, regardless of their location or in what language they blog.

Update 2: Looks like many people are misunderstanding my idea. When I used the word β€œunion” it was not on the strict sense of the term. This has nothing to do with getting people to pay money or anything like traditional unions. Perhaps it is more a kind of association or simply a group.



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64 Responses to “The Bloggers Union (or Association)”

  • Todor Christov

    Hi Daniel,

    The idea is good and requires attention!

    I’d like to take the opportunity and to ask a question – do you propose a Blog Union for English blogs only or members of the Union could also be bloggers who create non-english content, too?

  • Melvin

    Yeah I really agree. Small blogs oftentimes just get scrapped, scammed and humiliated. When I was starting I am experiencing problems related to me being a newbie..

    btw, I think this concept is hard to implement and would worth a lot of work…

  • caschy

    Yeah – as Todor wrote -are non-english blogs allowed? I’m a german blogger and wrote about Software (ca. 1200 Feedreader).

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Todor, all languages could be involved I guess, those foreign blogs would have some limitation. For example, not all members would be willing to write a post outing a Russian company.

    @Melvin, why you say so? An email list could work pretty good initially.

  • Todor Christov

    Daniel, thanks!

    I understand well the example with the “Russian company” and I am very curious to hear some opinions from Russian bloggers.

    Regards from Bulgaria! πŸ™‚

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Todor, I was not implying you were Russian πŸ™‚ .

  • Vishal

    Hey Daniel,
    That’s an awesome idea. I feel that it’s the need of time. I hope you are not just talking about the U.S, but the Blogger Union of entire world. I would definitely like to join in if its for the entire world, because I stay in India. Let me know about this.
    I think, that if we all decide, to look into the matter of smallest blogger, nobody, will ever think of copyright infringement, or no company will threaten any blogger. Putting such cases on our blogs will ultimately lead to their defamation and we may not even require a legal action (probably), as you wrote in your post about Elitehost.

    Finally I missed yesterday’s post. Hope you are fine.

  • Kevin

    I think it’s a great idea. As you pointed out the other day in your post about elitehost, there are certain situations where we could all help each other out.

    What if a new network starts refusing to pay one of our members? There is very little to no regulation on the web so a union like this could really pressure bad companies to do the right thing.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Vishal, yes it applies to all bloggers, I just posted an update on the post.

    I didn’t had many links yesterday so I skipped it πŸ™‚ .

    @Kevin, Indeed, there are many situations with the law is gray, and a union could help to solve problems without the need of entering into those roads.

  • Ryan

    we’ve addressed this in the Wine Blogging world, and I personally decided that the word “blog” encompasses to many different styles/types of content. Would this union include any yahoo who thought they wanted to start writing about their Smurfs miniature collection?

    Maybe a qualification of “tech blog union” or “Online news publisher union” or “online publisher union” would make more sense then calling it a “blog union”. I don’t think that all bloggers consider themselves publishers, as much as journals, or “logs”…

    By narrowing the term a bit, you can then attach standards to that qualification, and people who are bloggers can choose to sign up to be included.

  • matt

    You could also offer a way for people to buy health benefits. If you looked around I am sure there are organizations that would want to partner with the union to offer a modest healthcare plan to the members

  • Andre

    I’m was about to ask about what happened to the IBNMA that I heard about at BlogWorld Expo last year, but I have not seen much activity on their site. They were talking about some of these issues, as do the Media Bloggers Association, though they seem to be geared towards a certain type of blogger…

    But it would be really cool to finally join one.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Ryan, I am not sure. Just because someone is blogging about smurfs it does not mean he should not be protected πŸ™‚ .

    I think we should aim to make the union as broad as possible, else it would be difficult to gain enough mass to make it efficient.

    Grouping 50 tech bloggers together could work sometimes, but having 1000 of them, even if they come from different topics, would be much more effective.

    @Matt, perhaps, though I think it would not be easy given the widespread of the members.

  • Ryan

    @Daniel I’m saying exclude, but if you have a “bloggers union” and the only qualification is haviing a blog, then what we just created is a universal healthcare plan, since getting a blog takes 5secs at blogspot. Therefore a parameter might be needed…

  • SEO Genius

    I think that is a great idea, definitely would be enticing towards any true bloggers that they could protect there articles through a copyright infringement act or something along those lines.

    The issues i have with the union are the enormous amount of backing an idea like this may need to have in order for it to be taken seriously. I believe members should have to pay a yearly fund for being a member of such union, like for example a work union (teachers union) they have to pay a fee to be in the union this helps with funding and staff, admin e.t.c

    I do not think it would be enough to just depend on donations, to take the idea further i think we would have to look at some sort of sponsors of financial backing off some of the more professional blogging companies, and individual professional bloggers for example your article on the “top 25 blogs” them people, yourself.

    All in all i think its a great idea, a long way of being refined in to a perfect finished plan but on its way.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Ryan, well the health care plan is not one of our priorities.

    But yes I agree some pre-qualification is needed. One of them could be the age of the blog. We could limit the entrance to people with blogs that are 6-months or older.

  • team ray

    i thought blogging was about passion

    when you start going route of union it loses that purpose imho

    so go for it if thats your passion

    but universal acceptance of one blogging union is going to be hard

    i can bet you they will be 1000’s of copycat union popping up after yours

    it will be like many boxing federation which imho help ruining good boxing

    btw if you cant get big blogs to partake i dont see much success for it

    my honest opinion

  • Young

    The first thing I think is to take blogs as an industry, this industry has her own benefits and rights, the member of the industry should fight for their organizer as well as theirselves.
    The second thing is that the industry should have her board.
    The third thing is the board should be totally honest, intelligent, brave and good at fight with laws.

  • jange

    I think it’s a great idea

  • Dean

    Well, http://www.bloggersunion.org sure ain’t available for purchase. Is it?

  • Jeremy (Discovering Dad)

    I like the concept, but it sounds like an “association” could achieve your goals too. A union might be a little more than needed.

  • Carey Suante

    Reading this post and the comments above I see two groups of bloggers – the probloggers and the non-probloggers.

    For probloggers an union of the sort suggests by Daniel is inevitable, I think, as their blogs become their business and in some cases their only income source and as such they ought to protect their interest, ie their blogs, contents, earnings from third party advertisers and networks etc.

    As for non-probloggers, they are just happy to blog and read blogs!

  • devjargon

    I agree with Carey,

    For people that are blogging as a job, a union makes a lot of sense since it protects their investment and their paycheques. For the bloggers that are doing this because they love it (and may make a little change along the way), I don’t see much benefit of joining a union. It’ll just cost them in dues and they probably won’t see much benefit.

  • Thursday Bram

    I think the biggest issue that a blogger’s union will face is how to define just what a blog is Ò€” but there is a surprisingly easy answer to that question. Ask any blogger wishing to join to pay fees and you’ll notice that people just posting pictures of their cats on Blogspot will choose not to join.

  • Robert Barr

    blogging and union really don’t have a place in the same sentence. You could have a federation since you would be enveloping all nations. Anything less would be restrictive which I think would counter to the blogging culture.

    Just one guy’s opinion

  • Flo

    I think an association of bloggers to help support all bloggers is a great idea. I think you need to move away from the term ‘union’ I am vehemently opposed to unions and would not be associated with one in any way shape or form. Also, once you start talking union people start looking for benefits, like health care mentioned by one commenter. You want to form an association of bloggers that one could join and find help when problems arise. That I think is a fantastic idea especially since this field is fairly new and when things happen no one knows where to turn or who to go to.

  • Katy Castro

    My feelings about this are very mixed.

    How much dues be? There’s a lot of bloggers that make little to no income from blogging and don’t have other means to make themselves part of something they have to pay for. Dues, rather than niche, may be exactly what pushes people out and yet won’t allow some of the best in just because of financial status.

    Who would manage the money? Few people are going to want to hand over dues to a person or company they know nothing about in the “hopes” that something right is done with it.

    To say we’ll all band together to go after a company sounds like a bit much to me. Frankly, there’d really have to be something going on that would warrant a “warning” of some time for me to blog about another blogger’s problems. While banning together and creating a true community out of blogging and supporting each other sounds great, there are aspects that you’ve mentioned that are a turn-off for me and I image it’d be the same for other people.

  • OldSailor

    You may call it as Bloggers union,association,forum,society etc., The requirement is very much there. But day to day running of this union is going to be complex considering the number of bloggers,type of bloggers,languages,countries. More discussions or polling are required.

  • Daniel Scocco

    @Dean, it is indeed. I already talked with the owner.

    @Jeremy, could be. I am sure really sure about the differences between a union and an association, but I will research it out.

    @Carey, I am not sure, even if you are not a pro blogger you can get in some pretty bad trouble online, so I see virtually any blogger being able to benefit from such an organization.

    @DevJargon, perhaps the “union” word was not a good choice them. There will be no fees or stuff like you see on the union of the dentists πŸ™‚ .

  • Mia

    A bloggers’ union sounds like a terrific idea. There’s a section about such a thing in the book Publish and Prosper: Blogging for Your Business (you can get it in ebook form here at booksonboard.com). It details more specifically the process that one would have to go through to get a bloggers’ union, and what exactly it would entail. Check it out!

  • SEOGURU

    This is not new idea… And that very hard to bring it into live
    But strongly recomended to be together with blogger, to help in many questions

  • Winning Startups

    Recently I’ve been researching the idea of putting a contest on my blog. I’ve been signing up for other people’s contests, and realize this could be a scam, as it’s not regulated at all that I know of. Also, there’s no way of knowing now what’s fact or fiction. I like the idea of some sort of regulation in this regard.

  • Dan Cole

    The domain Association of Bloggers is available.

    A union would help if comment ownership became a problem for bloggers.

    I think another post going into more detail about what a blogger union would mean would be helpful. All in all I think the idea would work. Bloggers need help with protecting there content, identity, domain (Ex: David Airey), as well as other things.

  • Ari Herzog

    How is your idea different from the pre-existing International Blog Association, Media Bloggers Association, UK Food Bloggers Association, and other such groups that may exist in the blogosphere?

    If you compare bloggers to writers (and there is much overlap), the journalism industry already has such groups as the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the South Asian Journalists Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, etc.

    In that vein, sure, why not create another blogger association to provide supplemental/supportive content to every other blogger association.

    The biggest question in my mind, echoed elsewhere online, is that of elitism. Why should someone join this association idea of yours, and what does the association say to the free enterprise of the Web and to those bloggers who choose not to join? Are they looked down on? Are they not provided information otherwise provided by other groups?

  • Alistair

    What about limiting to posting frequency rather than the age of the blog. At least once a week, for example?

  • Ben

    The International Society of Online Publishers who adhere to a set of standards. Hmmm, sounds like it would work and be easier to organize. Might be something worth starting.

  • Rick

    Perhaps “union” is the wrong word but I do like the idea of bloggers looking out for one another. There are a number of us who would be happy to lend advice, and help, to bloggers starting out. Instead of the word “union” which can stir passion or negative feelings (depending on who you are) a better word might be “association” or “society”. I would love to hear more if this idea begins to gel.

    Rick

  • mmhan

    I’m a Myanmar blogger and there’s such a loosely defined “society” for Myanmar Bloggers. Because of all the restrictions of Internet access controlled by Myanmar Government, it hasn’t grown pretty well though.

    Union or Association, this could turn out to be great, if the members really look out for each other.

    Being someone who only blogs for fun, the fees to join the association might be something that would hold me back.

    Personally, I’d love to join this association, if I could afford. πŸ™‚

  • Corey Freeman

    That’s an interesting idea you’ve got there. I think it would be an interesting spectacle to see a whole union of thousands of bloggers standing up for themselves. Strength in numbers, as they say.

  • Kurt

    This is a good idea man. Just let me know when you start it and I’ll be glad to give my share of help.

  • Dave Konig

    This is a very interesting concept. While I generally like the idea of an association type organization as opposed to a union, and considering that personal blogs generally outnumber professional blogs, I am left wondering what type of benefit it would have for Personal Bloggers?

    Union organization in the United States requires a majority vote of eligible workers/members. Union leadership is generally determined by a vote of the cumulative dues contributing membership. While each union differs on how the collect dues, most opt for a contract clause that has the Company pay the union directly either a flat rate or a percentage of salary. Would a professional blogger want to be in mixed company with personal bloggers who’s income does not rely on their blogs when it comes to deciding the leadership?

    I think an association would be much more successful. Similar to the success enjoyed by those who formed BlogHer.

  • Muhammad Siyab

    I think it’s a great idea, Daniel.

    Cases of bloggers getting into trouble are on the rise and such a union would be great to help defend bloggers’ rights. I’m in!

  • John Ti

    Hello, this the first time I’m reading your blog and you are good. The idea of a Bloggers’ Union or Association sounds like a really really good idea. Given that I am new to blogging, such Union or Association would be really really helpful for a person who just started blogging, like me.

  • SEO Genius

    I have read some more of these comments and still feel the idea is great but think the term “union” perhaps should be changed to an association or group, so it sounds more like a community rather. Union to me just gives of the wrong impressions, still a great idea though πŸ™‚

  • Devaki Khanna

    I think the idea of a bloggers’ group or union or association sounds great. Since I work as a freelancer, it’s very difficult getting any kind of response from anyone other than my clients!

  • Michael

    This doesn’t make any sense, why would we need a union? Who are we trying to protect ourselves from, Google treating us poorly. Most bloggers work for themselves and therefore a union wouldn’t make any sense, it we had some issues at the “workplace” are we going to strike against ourselves?

    It would make more sense if we had a “code” which would be more like a bloggers best practices, something that would keep things fair without seeming very dumb. It would almost be an etiquette that we would all follow.

  • wande

    This is a very good idea, and I am fully in support of this idea.

    keep me informed about its take off date

  • arun

    nice idea
    if u can fight against those blogspot scam sites , i m with you

  • Des Walsh

    Daniel

    As a person who has lived in several countries with different cultures, you will be the first to know that what you are proposing is a fairly tall order. So congratulations on promoting the big picture and on attracting discussion about these issues.

    A couple of people here have asked about the International Blogging & New Media Association – IBNMA. – http://www.ibnma.org/blog. IBNMA has certainly been quiet but I would suggest that you will be seeing some signs of concerted action from that direction very soon.

    Des

  • Aravind

    Daniel,
    this is a great concept and needs serious attention.
    Whenever I’ve thought about this, I felt the need of someone like you to coordinate the programme.

    Now that you’ve put forward this idea, I’m joining this with all my heart.

  • Nur Sarah Lam

    I truly support your idea of creating a blogger union or association or group..whichever that suits the most..the most important is to fight for the legal rights and protect ourselves from threats..
    In Malaysia, a blogger has been charged in court for the so-called ‘defamation’ and I find it totally useless to waste of time and money as there is no such thing at all and I think that some people take it too serious..some people labelled bloggers as monkeys..it happens in my country..

  • Lenin Nair

    I have an idea in mind. In fact, searching for and finding this post is quite timely I guess. There are quite a number of ad networks, affiliate programs, payment systems etc. that screw ordinary bloggers and help only professional bloggers just because they have enough reach and popularity and hitting them will be bad for these networks too.

    There is quite a bit of injustice floating in the blogosphere. some affiliate programs do not count affiliate incomes, some of them do not count clicks, impressions, etc. For instance, for the same placement of ads for adsense on my blog, I would get for each thousand impression an average of 20 clicks. But when I used bidvertiser, they gave me only one click for those impressions. clearly they didn’t count 19 clicks. And clicks are badly paid.

    What I think about is starting a network for all bloggers, and asking each blogger to post about any problem faced by any member of the group. And digg up the stories to get more public attention. This way, nobody will try to scam or malpractice with anyone in the union. And as the union grows further, the number of bloggers will increase, and that will cause any scammer to fear touching bloggers. If you think this is good, then we can work on starting a bloggers union. I currently don have a website or anything, so I am thinking about starting it as a free social network or community and then having a dedicated website to it. What do you think Daniel?

  • Lenin Nair

    Man, one more thing I need to add is like bloggers and news media organization found earlier in a comment, this union should not be one with paid membership. It should be completely free and open, like Wikipedia. But for selecting members, I have guidelines such that we avoid all scammers and spammers. Those honorable members of the blogosphere should be members.

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