I recently learned some information that is very important for bloggers. While I realize that people don’t like talking about things like compliance and rules, as a blogger you need to know what the rules are so you can follow them. I hope that these resources with strengthen your knowledge base and help to secure your blogging future.
The FTC has very strict rules on disclosing what you receive from brands, sponsors or advertisers in the form of cash or any other type of compensation. In the FTC guidelines, they “discuss what is an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”
I had previously added a disclosure policy and statement at the bottom of the website on the My Book Club website since I do receive books from publishers however; I did not have anything on this blog that needed to be disclosed. It is important for bloggers to think about the bigger picture as they change what they do or are approached with offers or requests. You and your website will evolve over time as you grow into being a blogger and your blog needs to be updated to reflect this.
This post by Simply Stacie talks about How to Write Disclosure Statements for Your Blog Posts and as you can see, this isn’t a one size fits all topic. CMP.LY is a very comprehensive site with a lot of helpful information.
CMP.LY’s 3 C’s of disclosure and transparency:
- Compliance with FTC Guides
Two smart and very different disclosure pages on some great blogs:
The Glamorous Code of Ethics by Marcy Massura
Domestic Executive Online Policies by Michelle Kay
I found a great website that lets you generate a disclosure policy for your blog: DisclosurePolicy.org. I used it to create one for this blog, it is very easy and goes step by step. This is the policy I generate as an example but please make sure that you create your own disclosure policy based on your blog and your needs.
“This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. This blog does not accept any form of cash advertising, sponsorship, or paid topic insertions. However, we will and do accept and keep free products, services, travel, event tickets, and other forms of compensation from companies and organizations.
The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Those advertisements will be identified as paid advertisements.
The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.
This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest. To get your own policy, go to http://www.disclosurepolicy.org”
The bottom line is follow the rules and make sure that you disclose things properly on your blog. I hope that these resources help you “be transparent with your readers — being proactive and responsible by disclosing your connections is about much more than FTC compliance. Being clear with your audience will reinforce your credibility, enhance your engagement and ultimately help retain the integrity of the social web for us all.” (from CMP.LY) Be smart!
Any tips or suggestions you would add for compliance on these regulations? Please share them with me in the comments.
Featured image courtesy of Creative Commons.