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Mike Wendland Ethics Statement

Ethics Statement – / RV Podcast / RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube 

Photo of Mike & Jennifer Wendland, hosts of the RV Podcast

This is an ethics statement for our various RVLifestyle products and platforms. I will try to explain my policy in dealing with brands, sponsorships, affiliates, and advertising. This statement will be long because we have a lot of different ways in which we release and display the content I produce.

This statement is for our audience of readers, viewers, and listeners and for any brands wishing to associate with us.

These policies have evolved over the nearly 12 years that Jennifer (my wife) and I have been creating content about the RV Lifestyle.

We are content creators because we love sharing our travels, adventures, experiences and passion for the RV Lifestyle. We do so because it is fun. And while it certainly has evolved into a business for us, it is first and foremost a labor of love. Our loyalty is to our followers.

Over the years, as our various platforms and audience has grown, we have increasingly been approached by various brands and companies wishing to gain exposure through our content as sponsors and advertisers.

They call us “influencers.” When we first heard that term, we giggled. We're just two people, and frankly, the idea that someone would pay us for doing what we so enjoy seemed to be too good to be true.

Through naivety in the past, we jumped in a couple of times and accepted sponsorship from companies that we knew little about. We learned some hard lessons.

We value the trust of our followers more than anything. So to preserve that trust and avoid associations with companies and individuals who would exploit that trust in ways we do not condone, we have developed the following policies:

We do not automatically do reviews in exchange for free products.

We do not use guest posts, paid posts, paid links, link exchanges, or link additions. Ever.

We currently have a full team of writers and reporters and are not taking on any new ones. The writers we do use work as contractors for us, providing exclusive and original content that we direct and approve.

If I choose to work with a brand, it will always be because I actually use the product or service myself and genuinely trust the brand to provide excellent customer service and support. 

We have in the past done sponsored videos on YouTube. If and when we do, we will always make it abundantly clear that such content is sponsored. If I don’t explicitly say that a video is sponsored, then it is not sponsored. Simple as that!

Our RV Podcast DOES have sponsorships for standard 60-second commercials. If I do partner with a brand, it is only after we build a relationship with them over an extended period of time based on mutual trust and understanding. My blog, podcast, and YouTube channel has never been and never will be an extension of any brand’s marketing department.

Most of the equipment and products I use and review are purchased by me. Occasionally companies will send a product to me free of charge, and I will always clearly state in the video and description that it was provided to me at no cost. Usually, the reason I accept these offers is simply due to practicality as I don’t have an unlimited budget and sometimes there are things that I’m curious about or that I’ve been asked for my opinion on, and I would go broke pretty quickly otherwise (after the review, these products are either used regularly, returned, or donated).

Offering me free products never guarantees a positive review (or even a review/video at all). Just like with sponsorships, I’m extremely selective about accepting anything for free and will only do so after discussing this Ethics Statement with the brand.

All that being said, there are a few additional non-negotiable points I’d like to share for the sake of clarity. I’ve made all of this info publicly available to viewers and brands alike so that we’re all on the same page:

  • My content is my own. I create and produce each video, podcast, and blog post based on what I’m interested in and what I think will be relevant/helpful to my audience at that time.
  • My reviews are always as objective as possible, and my opinions are always my own. 
  • I do not submit previews of videos to anyone for approval or revisions. No exceptions.
  • I have full control over my content calendar. While I’m happy to work collaboratively when possible for scheduling, no outside party can pay or otherwise influence me in return for scheduling priority. 
  • Just because a product is provided to me at no cost does not mean I will review it or feature it in a video. Again, I do not make videos in exchange for free products or services.
  • I never work with Amazon resellers– only directly with reputable brands. 
  • I typically avoid “preproduction” versions of products/software and prefer to use what will actually be delivered to other customers.
  • It’s appreciated when companies offer information about their products/services, but I will only include what I think is relevant and necessary in any content I create.
  • On that same note, I will work to seek answers for anything about a product/service that I don’t fully understand to make my reports as accurate and helpful as possible.
  • While it usually makes sense to include certain links in video descriptions, blog text or social media posts, I retain full control over what is shared on my accounts across all platforms.
  • I never include additional social media promotion in sponsorship agreements aside from the company being mentioned or tagged in our regular blog post about the item/service. (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
  • YouTube’s “includes paid promotion” option will be checked any time a video features a commercial or advertising for a product or service that I talk about or show. If we review a product or service that was provided at no cost, even if it’s not an official sponsorship, we will clearly say so.
  • I’m more than happy to let others share my content, as long they link directly to the original content published on my blog or podcast or uploaded to my YouTube channel. My Videos may not be downloaded and then re-uploaded elsewhere.
  • I do not guarantee any number of views or any amount of audience engagement on any videos or content. As much as I want everything I create to “perform” well, there are too many variables beyond my control for me to make any claims regarding potential viewership. 

Thank you for taking the time to read and understand this Ethics Statement. This doesn’t cover every scenario, but it should give you a pretty solid idea of how highly I value the integrity behind what I do and the relationship with anyone who takes the time to check out something I’ve created.

Ultimately, I just want to keep having fun creating content, and that sustainable fun disappears without these guidelines. 

If you are a brand interested in pursuing a relationship with us you can contact me at A media kit that offers information on the advertising opportunities we have available will be provided by request after we get acquainted.

Mike Wendland

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