The Association of Online Travel Media Owners (in Bulgarian: ASTOM) is created by and for people, who are dedicated to preserving high standards and professional ethics in providing information related to tourism and travel on the territory of Bulgaria. The aim of the Association is to ensure that each of its members respects and complies with this Ethical Code and the following basic rules:
1. Accuracy of content
Association members agree to publish the most accurate and detailed information about the places they visit. This includes truthful historical facts, working hours and accurate information about the price list of attractions, hotels, restaurants, etc. Each blogger is obliged to periodically check the information published on his site and update it in order not to mislead his readers.
2. Uniqueness of content
Members of the association can be individuals involved in the creation of travel related content as well as owners of online media, which publishes and distributes such content. The Association does NOT tolerate any form of plagiarism and retains the right to refuse membership if any doubt of such exists in regards to the online media of the applicant.
All members of ASTOM guarantee for the uniqueness of the published content. If members of the Association shall publish content of other authors, they must:
- Be guest authors who have given their permission (preferably in writing). ASTOM may request a proof of such permission;
- In cases where material of other author is used for the purpose of adding clarity to a topic, the material in question should now exceed 30% of the overall article/video/image content and the external author should be cited with a link to his own website or public social media profile (and preferably informed).
3. Quality of content
The members of the Association are owners of websites that provide valuable and useful information to their readers, including advice on travel destinations and routes, suitable clothing and equipment, interesting places, best times of the year to visit various locations, historical information, legends and many more. The content of these online media outlets aims to enrich the knowledge of the reader by serving the information in an intriguing manner, thus engaging the consumer of the information. In relation to the above said, we at ASTOM insist on quality content, providing actual value to the reader. Personal blogs that do not meet these criteria may be denied membership.
4. Language of hate
The Association shall not tolerate any instance of use of Hateful language in any form. Any member who does not meet these criteria (or violates them at any point) shall be excluded without any prior warning.
5. Well-written and structured content
Well-written, grammatically correct and well-structured content are of high priority for ASTOM. We demand from all members that they follow this rule and double-check all content prior to publishing it.
6. Advertising and collaborations
ASTOM supports and encourages the collaboration between representatives of the travel industry of any type and the owners of travel related online media outlets, given that the following minimum conditions are met:
- The owner of the travel related media outlet has every right to demand payment for the services provided, including but not limited to description of a travel destination, restaurant, hotel or other, only in the occasion that the opinion he/she shares is truthful and honest, and does not hold back negative comments which he/she considers important;
- If the negative comments in question are subject to a personal opinion, then the author shall describe them in neutral tone, allowing the reader to judge the place/service according to their own preferences;
- The owner of the travel online media has the right to refuse describing a place or a service in case he/she decides that the minimum hygiene and aesthetics are not met*;
* We (ASTOM) believe that in such case a payment should not be received by the owner of the online travel media since he has not delivered any service, but he/she should not be responsible for any expenses made for the test of the service/place. In such case the assignor has not right to demand a refund of such expenses.