Many virtual lawyers possess certain skills and knowledge about technology, the Internet, or operating a business online. Some may come from technological backgrounds, but certainly not all do. For example, prior to attending law school, my background was in the study of ancient, medieval and Renaissance history. What could be further from a “techy” background that that? Information that I have learned – and continue to learn – about new and emerging technologies, software, and even gadgets that may help you in your career as a virtual lawyer, or possibly help you transition into virtual lawyering are categorized under “Tech Reviews.” This information will be shared in a variety of different types of posts, including review posts of companies’ products and services.
At this point, I would like to write a word or two about “affiliate” programs and blogging ethics. Many of you may have read online articles recommending one software download or another, one telephone system or another, this or that gadget, and so on. What you may not realize is that many of these articles are written by “affiliates” of the companies that produce the software, phone system, or gadget about which they are writing. These individuals are paid what amounts to a commission (kick back?) from the company if their promotion of the product results in a sale of the product, download, etc. Terms of these relationships vary from company to company. Unfortunately, these individuals rarely, if ever, disclose their affiliate relationships in their articles. And, when it comes to their review or list posts, they often have not even tested or used the other products or services in the article.
So, at the outset, this is my disclosure and pledge to you:
- I do not have any personal, business, financial, proprietary, or other pecuniary interest in any of the products or services that I will be reviewing on this blog;
- I do not accept any money, free products, or other things of value from any of the companies that make the products or services that I will be reviewing on this blog. From time to time, it may be the case that I will temporarily receive a product on loan in order to test it and review it. Once the review period is ended, I pledge that the product or service will be discontinued or returned to the manufacturer, with the exception of inexpensive gadgetry or possibly software that the manufacturer does not want returned to them;
- The outcomes of my reviews are not negotiable with any company or manufacturer – period;
- If, at any time in the future, I should gain an interest in a company or manufacturer of a product or service that I am reviewing, that interest – whether it be as an “affiliate” or otherwise – will be disclosed to the reader as part of my review so that the reader can make an informed choice about the reliability of my reviews;
- All products or services that I review will be personally tested by me or my staff. If we have not personally tested a product or service reviewed on this blog, that fact will be disclosed.
This may be more information than some of you want to read. However, as both a lawyer and a consumer, I take information seriously, and at all times, wish to strive for the highest degree of integrity in making any recommendations to my readers.