Editorial Ethics Policy
The ThePricer.org editorial staff and the freelance writers it works with have to follow our code of ethics which states:
1. Purpose – ThePricer intends to bring forth to its readers only the most well-researched, objective, and independent information regarding consumer costs. Seeing that the writers and editors that work for ThePricer are the website’s public face, they have no other choice but to show honesty and integrity in their work and outside of it. ThePricer will have credibility issues if any of its collaborators will be faced with either imagined or real conflicts of interest. We have made a code of ethics, adapted from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics and we ask all of the writers and editors that work with ThePricer to adhere to all the rules written below.
2. Gathering Information – ThePricer is built around impartiality and professionalism. The information gathered by the writers and editors will have to be real and useful and include costs that reflect the general diversity of the US in terms of geography, consumer tastes, means, and standard of living. Using their collaboration with ThePricer to either threaten to punish an uncooperative product or service owner by offering a negative review or to promise owners favorable exposure in exchange for goods or services could be grounds for not only disciplinary action but legal repercussions as well.
When talking to different sources and gathering information, employees or freelancers working with ThePricer won’t be made to disclose their affiliation with the website or their real identities. Our writers can use aliases and alternate email addresses in their online research when looking for information intended for the general public, but when gathering in-person data at stores or other types of businesses they will not use a false identity or impersonate another individual. ThePricer will sometimes pay specialized sources and professionals in particular niches like auto, real estate, medical, etc. to have them take part in the article creation process, to ensure the validity of the content. However, in their research, the writers are forbidden to pay for private information which not intended for the public or accept any incentive to mention a person or a company in an article. This would hurt the overall credibility of the website in the eyes of the reader and is inconsistent with what ThePricer stands for.
The entirety of the article, along with all the costs, tips, and products presented in it will be cited in ThePricer’s style. All of the claims presented in the article, especially information that will reflect poorly on a certain individual or business mentioned in the article or in close connection with the content, will be supported adequately by thorough research and credible sources. ThePricer writers and editors will avoid inserting any kinds of links unless agreed upon by one of the chief editors.
All of the ThePricer writers can add one or more comments to individual articles written either by them or someone else, only if they can accurately and objectively present their knowledge and experience on the subject.
Unethical usage, misappropriation of another individual’s work, or plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, will be punished promptly and can lead to the termination of the writer’s collaboration with the website.
3. Discounts and Gifts – ThePricer writers will not ask for or accept any gifts or discounts of the products or services they research. This restriction includes not only free or considerably discounted services or products closely related to the content they are working on, but also unsolicited gifts received after the piece of content is published. This particular restriction will not include any discounts, coupons, or deals that ThePricer writers take advantage of as private consumers if they are readily available to the general public and are advertised publicly.
ThePricer writers are forbidden to use their collaboration with the website to ask for or receive deals, discounts, or free products that are not available to the general consumer. Failure to abide by this rule will be seen as an abuse of their position and can lead to immediate termination of the freelance or employment contract. Any valid expenses incurred in the course of article research by writers in collaboration with the website will be paid by ThePricer. Expenses that are paid by ThePricer might include the purchase of products researched, educational materials, or meals for public interviews with sources. Writers may only accept products of little value, like a souvenir, a cup of coffee, or a soda offered during the research.
All writers will have to disclose any gifts received during their research and content writing for ThePricer. Writers must strongly refuse or make a real effort to repay, refund, or return any unsolicited gifts offered as an appreciation from a mention in any of ThePricer’s articles. If doing so would create an awkward situation, then any and all of the gifts received (products, services, coupons, discounts, or related gifts), if of significant value, will become property of ThePricer.
4. Stock Holdings and Outside Investments – All of the writers and editors having collaboration contracts with ThePricer will have to disclose their financial holdings that are linked to companies they are covering or are planning to cover, to prevent any real or apparent conflict of interest. A simple example would be a writer that works on an article about electric cars and owns stock with Tesla. Diversified investments don’t have to be disclosed. A writer owning stock at a company linked to an article they write will immediately be moved to another piece of content, one that won’t be considered a conflict of interest.
5. Outside Employment and Other Activities – Thepricer writers and editors, contracted or working as freelancers, are allowed to get other writing assignments or short-term tasks in their free time, with a few decent restrictions. Among these restrictions are taking on assignments that would be seen as a hit on the website’s reputation for objectivity or working on topics that might be considered competition for any of ThePricer articles. Anytime a conflict of interest occurs, the staff member or freelance writer will have to disclose all of their work outside of the tasks given by ThePricer, that relates to their activity with our website.
Writers under contract with ThePricer will avoid creating paid or unpaid testimonials or endorsements for any services or products that are already covered by our website. This restriction also includes any content written for a third-party publication in the name of ThePricer. Writers will also have to avoid writing personal opinions on services or products covered by our website, on community forums, or other media outlets.
Our writers will also avoid freelance work or part-time employment which would mean getting involved in projects or businesses whose services or products already appear or are likely to appear on our website. This will also include any paid or unpaid public relations job at companies that would get benefits from influencing ThePricer writers or coverage on the website.
6. Final Words – ThePricer management welcomes open and honest discussion around this policy and any breach of it. We strive to keep the highest ethical standards and try our best to adhere to these rules, which are critical to holding the number one place for objective cost-related information.