Content Standards: Promotional, commercial and gambling content
Editor’s Note: This post was updated on February 18, 2015. This is the seventh of a 10-part series explaining Bleacher Report’s Content Standards policies in depth.
If you’re a new writer on Bleacher Report, chances are you’d like to make your hobby into a stable career some day. Your ultimate success will depend upon your work ethic, talents and luck. As you build a personal brand to attract consistent readers, though, you may find yourself creating a Twitter account, Facebook page or even a small business based upon your work.
Bleacher Report understands the need for its contributors to promote themselves within submissions, but a fine line lies between professional, streamlined promotion in submissions and obnoxious commercial advertisements. The latter group simply alienates readers, as no one visits B/R to read print infomercials.
Bleacher Report’s promotional, commercial and gambling standards are outlined below.
B/R writers are encouraged to promote themselves and their work in italicized paragraph form at the end of a submission, though self-promotion may not be done in a standalone slide at the end of a slideshow.
Self-promotional blurbs should be 140 characters or less, and should serve one or more of the following:
(a) Identify the author as having obtained information firsthand, such as quotes at a press conference
(b) Encourage readers to follow the author on social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
(c) Establish the author’s credentials as an authority on the article’s topic
Here is an example of acceptable self-promotion:
Within the article’s text, B/R writers may cite and link to previously published articles, but such references should only be made to buffer a point in a current article. These links must also be done in moderation. Below is an example of acceptable in-text reference to an older submission:
As I mentioned in a previous article, the 1997 New York Knicks would have encountered a litany of varied difficulties stopping Michael Jordan and the 69-13 Bulls if they beat the Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Any article or tagline that reads as a press release or promotion for a certain product, news event or service (regardless of whether that person is aligned with the content subject or not), or otherwise violates the spirit of reasonable self-promotion, will be removed.
Exception: If a published article is part of an ongoing series, writers may post as many article links as needed at the end of a submission to ensure easy access for readers to the comprehensive series.
Again, Bleacher Report is not the place to turn your work into a giant billboard. Links that directly lead to for-profit services and products must be left out of submissions. Even without links, language that promotes such services and products will also be removed.
Example: “Visit Paul’s NFL blog for the complete 2012 fantasy football rankings, which can be purchased for just $4.99!”
Furthermore, any references to external contests or prizes are strictly prohibited. Bleacher Report does not endorse any contests and prizes it does not officially create and/or moderate.
Lone Exception: If you wrote a book, we will allow a buy link because it is a strictly editorial promotion akin to a blog.
Writers are not allowed to link or cite illegal live streams of sporting events. All links and citations must go to legal streams (e.g. ESPN3).
While gambling has long been an accepted (or at least tolerated) part of sports culture, it’s important that all gambling content abides by strict standards.
- Gambling content (betting tips, picks against the spread, analysis of lines, etc.) must stand on its own and provide quality analysis of value to B/R readers
- Writers must link and cite their sources for gambling information (betting lines, betting trends, ATS history, etc.)
- However, writers are NOT allowed to actively link and cite websites that take bets. Contributors must cite and link gambling-information sites that do not take bets, such as Odds Shark, Vegas Insider, Oddschecker and Covers.
- Writers may not actively promote or link to their own gambling-related site in content
- However, writers may include a link or reference to their site (to the homepage only) in an article tagline, provided it isn’t a site that takes bets
- Example tagline: “Writer X is a _______ for Bleacher Report and runs/owns/writes for the sportsbook information site _____.”
- These guidelines may be subject to change without advance warning
Bleacher Report understands the need for writers to promote their brands and work, but it must be done professionally and tastefully.
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Paul Kasabian is Bleacher Report’s Content Moderation Coordinator. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.