Ask 1099 Mom: What Does It Mean to "Disclose"?
Last year, I moderated a panel at SXSW on FTC Compliance. At the time it was a big deal, because bloggers were being introduced to new FTC Guidelines that gave recommendations on how bloggers were to be forthcoming with their relationships with advertisers and sponsors. Today, I had a chance to review some of these with a new blogger, and the word "disclose" came up. So, what does it mean, exactly?
The FTC requires that bloggers disclose their interests within an article, especially if they could benefit financially. (In this instance, "disclose" means to communicate truthfully and not leave anything to the imagination.) That is why bloggers are encouraged to disclose when they receive a product for free, or when a company supplies prizes for a giveaway, or even when a affiliate link is being used within a blog post.
You can use a sitewide disclosure: Common language commonly sounds something like "Compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. Even though we receive some compensation for our posts or advertisements, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely our own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question."
You can put it anywhere on your blog that's easy to find (the bottom of the page, for example, or under your "terms" section.)
You can also disclose on each individual post. Examplesof this language include:
- "Prizes have been generously provided by ABC Company"
- "Compensation has been provided by ABC Company for my time and effort to participate. Opinions are 100% my own."
- "This post contain affiliate links."
It's not as complicated as it sounds. Once you get in the groove, it will become second nature. And yes, you are welcome to cross-promote your husband's site or anyone else! Just don't ever act like it's a non-partial situation if you are making recommendations (disclose the relationship.) Otherwise, if you are just putting their link up or giving them free ad space, there's nothing additional you need to do.
You can learn additional disclosure tips and create your own policy at DisclosurePolicy.org