Bella Vida by Letty

Blogging Ethics & FTC Requirement of Full Disclosure

Key Biscayne Florida and quote

 

The blogging boom has created an exuberant amount sources for receiving information.  This is a huge plus since we no longer have to rely on a limited, antiquated or commercial sources for information.  It is also a great platform for new voices like mine where I get to share my knowledge and experience.  Most blogs can be compared to getting a word of mouth opinion.  This is why ethics and trust need to be established and maintained with your community. By displaying full disclosure you are protecting your reputation and respecting your audience.



There’s no shame in making money from blogging it’s just a matter of disclosing that information. The intention of disclosure is to let your readers know where your loyalties lay, who is receiving benefits from your posts, and what outside forces may be influencing your posts.  If you know me or read any of my articles you know very well I have to problem saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

 

A few examples requiring full disclosure:

  • If you are being paid to write about a product.
  • If you’ve received a free sample for your opinion or publicity.
  • Some people are paid to blog for their employers.
  • Affiliate marketing.
  • Sponsored posts
  • Endorsements
  • Product Reviews

A few blog post disclosure examples:

“I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.”

“I was financially compensated for this post. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.”

“Company X reimbursed my expenses for attending this event.”

” I received payment in exchange for publishing this post.”

I recommend you draft a policy for your blog. Below in the resource section you can find information and examples on how to create a disclosure policy for your blog.

In summary and this is very important for you to know and understand:

The Federal Trade Commission does regulate blogging and requires transparency and full disclosure from writers and advertisers.

and

Full transparency is also required on social media platforms. ie: Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Social Media disclosure hashtags:

  • #spon
  • #paid
  • #samp

There is nothing wrong with receiving compensation to endorse, promote, advertise or share information about a brand, service or product. If you are honest with readers and viewers, they will be more encouraged to continue the relationship.

Resources:

You can read the official guide, rules and regulations here:
FTC Publishes Final Guides Governing Endorsements, Testimonials
Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements

Read the actual FTC text here.

There is free help.  You can create your own disclosure policy at Disclosure Policy .org

You can pledge and get the Blog with Integrity badge here.

Humorous Image Disclosures by Louis Gray.

Cmp.ly a company which addresses social media compliance

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“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.” Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

“Unless today is well lived, tomorrow is not important.” Alan Sakowitz

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