So it turns out that at least a couple of the women bloggers featured in a recent Playboy article that asked “Who’s the web’s hottest bloggers? Vote now and we’ll ask her to pose for Playboy.com!” aren’t very happy about the feedback they’re getting. In particular, they aren’t happy that Playboy says they’ll invite the winner to pose nude for the magazine, or that they are being compared to the other bloggers via a poll to determine who’s most attractive.
The problem is that Playboy is perfectly within their rights to post a poll like this (other sites like Wired have done this in the past), and it appears that everyone consented to be included anyway. Veronica Belmont says it was a bait and switch, though, in a comment to our original post: “I was also not informed that they’d be asking us to pose for Playboy if we won. They just told me that they were doing a feature on female bloggers. I guess we should have expected as much…”
Today Sarah Austin, who also originally gave Playboy permission to write about her and to use her picture, says she requested she be removed, but Playboy declined. In her email to Playboy she said “My parents found out about this feature on playboy and are not happy about it. I’d like you to remove me from the contest.” Playboy’s response: “Sadly, because of the nature of the poll that would throw off the percentage results, so we can’t do that. But we are planning to dismantle the story in a few days, so it won’t be up much longer.”
So did Playboy get the bloggers’ permission by misrepresenting exactly what they were planning on doing, or did the bloggers in question just underestimate the negative feedback they’d be getting? You decide – here’s a copy of the original email sent out to bloggers:
I’m Antonia, a senior editor at Playboy.com. I’m working on a piece that spotlights who we think are the sexiest female bloggers, and I was wondering if it would be all right if we included you in it. We can link to [your site] if you’d like, as well — and we have several million unique visitors a month, so there should be some click-through traffic. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure this was ok with you. Also, do you have a photo of yourself that we could use in the article? You can email me at **********. We’re planning to run this story at the end of next week, so hope to hear from you soon.