Recently there has been a spate of interest in the ethics of food blogging with a variety of people weighing in on the topic from food blogs like Varmint Bites, FoodWoolf.com and Spicy, Salty, Sweet.com to an organization like The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts and Letters. The Code of Ethics developed by food bloggers Brooke Burton and Leah Greenstein can be found here. The one developed by the eGullet Society can be found here. Though I find neither document to be perfect for all parties or situations, they are both laudable efforts to fix a problem that I'm not really sure needs to be addressed. I have always made every effort to conform to the spirit of these codes and don't see any reason not to be transparent about it. As such, given my longstanding membership in the eGullet Society, I have signed on to the eGullet ethics code for online writers.
While the eGullet Code is pretty complete, I want to take it a little further and explain my point of view for anyone who may not already know it and who may be interested. I don't post from the point of view of a food critic. I don't write about every restaurant that I visit or item of food that I eat (although it may sometimes seem that way). I am first and foremost a culinary enthusiast, which means that I tend to write about the experiences that turn me on. That doesn't mean that I don't approach those experiences critically. I do and I do discuss elements of food or a dining experience that I find less than titillating within a generally positive report. However, unless I have a particularly egregious experience or am particularly disappointed by a generally highly regarded culinary experience, I tend not to write about things that don't excite me. I am not here to try to ruin anyone's livelihood.
I will accept comps to try various products or even a meal. If I like it, I will write about it. If I don't, I generally won't, except as stated above. If everyone is raving about a particular restaurant and my experience differs, I will write about it to express a dissenting opinion. That is true whether I pay for something or it is comped. I do not and will not write positive things about an experience, a business or a person because of a comp or a personal relationship. I make no effort to be anonymous though I generally am, since I am not particularly well known to most establishments. I write about my experiences, some of which may be a bit more special because of relationships that I have, but I try to make those relationships (developed from mutual respect and never from financial considerations or a quid pro quo.) as transparent as I can in my posts.
I hope that the point of view expressed above has been clear all along from my writing. I apologize if it hasn't.