The Ethics of Reviewing Clients’ Products

Recently, I’ve had several clients ask me to review their book (and of course, give it five stars), share their status updates online, and in general do things that make my online and social media presence a venue to promote their work.

Now, I can sort of see how they think this is a reasonable request. After all, I’ve been hired to promote them, right? But if my Amazon or GoodReads account is used to write glowing reviews of my clients (and a lot of my clients end up on my website, so it’s going to be found in search), what does that say about my credibility online? Besides, since my clients give me their books, I wouldn’t even be an Amazon-verified purchaser, so it looks all the more like someone gaming the Amazon review system.

And moving on to my social media, those accounts and networks are for *me* and how I want to position myself, who I want to connect with, and get the information that I want. It’s one thing if it’s a corporate account, because that’s what a corporate account does, or part of it.  Now, I’m happy to promote a nice media placement for one of my clients over my professional social presence, but that’s because I’m tooting my own horn. The added exposure to my client is really incidental.

What do you think? How would you (or do you) handle these kinds of requests?

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